The Scrogue’s Guide to Denver and the DNC: worthwhile miscellany
And now, a few more things that didn’t quite fit into other articles, or that arrived late, or that we forgot, or whatever. The fact that these are all being lumped under a miscellaneous category doesn’t mean they’re not well worth the time and effort. So here are some scattered thoughts about food, neighborhoods, recreation, sports, shopping and more.
First, a couple restaurants. Dixon’s, located at 16th and Wazee, is convenient to the DNC venues (and even more convenient to the Big Tent). It’s owned by the same folks who run Racine’s, and the food, service and overall dining experience are correspondingly exceptional.
If you find yourself down in the Washington Park neighborhood, you might drop into The Handle Bar & Grill. I was there at least three times a week when I lived in Wash Park because the food is great, the staff makes you feel like you matter, and the general vibe is laid back and comfortable in the way that genuinely neighborhood spots often are. It’s especially cool if you, like the owner, are a cycling enthusiast.
Another nice option up in the Highlands area is Trattoria Stella, a crowded one-room affair that just oozes with casual neighborhood ambiance. Especially nice if you can score a spot on the patio – but if that’s the plan get there early. (3470 W 32nd Ave.)
Finally, if you like Thai, Boulder’s Siamese Plate is the best in the Metro area. Their sushi isn’t bad, either. 1575 Folsom.
If you have the time, you owe it to yourself to trek up to Rocky Mountain National Park. From downtown you can probably make the drive in an hour or so. RMNP is one of the most staggeringly beautiful spots on the Front Range and the town of Estes Park provides the visitor with a lot to investigate.
RMNP features a wide array of hiking options, and if you’re in moderately decent shape I recommend the walk up to Fern Lake. It’s 3.8 miles one way and ends at a pristine glacial lake so beautiful it defies words. If you take this hike, please note: as you can see in the picture here, the local fauna can be quite entertaining if you bring food.
Denver is home to the best damned independent bookstore in America, The Tattered Cover. It surpasses the chains in selection and service (well, that last part goes without saying, I guess) by a country mile, so unlike most places around the country you don’t sacrifice anything by shopping local. Here, the local indie is better by any measure.
Nancy Pelosi will be autographing her new book and doing an interview with J-Loop (Mayor John Hickenlooper, that is) on Wednesday. The LoDo location is at 16th and Wynkoop (very close to the Big Tent, folks). The second store is in the old Lowenstein Theater at 2526 East Colfax, and there’s also a new Highlands Ranch location for those of you staying down south. More on the various locations here.
Capitol Hill is one of the 5280’s hippest neighborhoods, and the stretch of 13th Street between Washington and Lincoln features a variety of edgy, alt.culture restaurants, bars, clubs and stores. At one end you’ll find Wax Trax records, an indie store that’s found a way to stay in business. That alone tells you something important. A couple blocks down is one of my favorite stores ever, Fashion Nation. I haven’t been in there lately and I think some things have changed (looks like they’re marketing mostly to women these days where once they served men and women) but where real (not Hot Topic at the mall) urban goth is concerned, it can’t be beat.
The Rapids don’t play at home during the DNC, which is a shame because The Dick (Dick’s Sporting Goods Park) is perhaps the premier soccer venue in the US. Sorry.
However, if you like minor league baseball, the Colorado Rockies wrap up a set with the Cincinnati Reds at Coors Field on Saturday and Sunday before embarking on yet another doomed road trip.