New Denver Public Library Location Selected

Although it will be a couple of years before Denver area residents and visitors can enjoy the newest edition to the Denver Public Library system, the new library location has been selected. The Denver Library Commission voted unanimously to build the new library on West Colfax Avenue at Irving Street. The new library should be a welcome addition to the list of fun places for kids in Denver.

(For those of you non-Denverites familiar with Colfax Avenue’s seedy reputation, keep in mind that, that is in reference to a very specific (and short) stretch of East Colfax Avenue, and that reputation is significantly overblown. This location is west of downtown Denver. )

new-denver-library The new library location was selected to help fill in the sizable gap between the Woodbury Library and Barnum Library branches on the western side of Denver. The library’s funding comes from the 2007 Better Denver Bond Program which Denver voters approved to help fund a whole slew of capital construction projects. The bonds were designated both for the construction of new libraries and the remodeling and retrofitting of existing libraries, some of which where aging dangerously past current building safety and code standards.

Although Denver Library hours have been cut drastically due to budget cuts, the commission felt that the service need for the new facility outweighed the drag of additional costs.

Free Events For Kids Denver Area

The Denver Library system doesn’t have as many free activities for kids as it used to, but still offers plenty of fun summer programs for children in Denver. The Summer of Reading Program is underway, which is a great incentive to get kids to read over the summer vacation holiday.

In addition, story time and story hour is still on at most library branches. Story time at the downtown library comes in multiple flavors that are age-based story readings for kids at the library. There is Book Babies for infants, Tales for Twos for that in between age, and Tot Tales for older children.

There are also fun upcoming events for adults in Denver as well, including a Bike Mechanic course seminar held at the Central Library branch downtown. Sundays, June 27 and July 25, 1-3 p.m.

See the Denver Library website for more details.

Excercise For New Moms In Denver

Having a baby takes quite a toll on Mom. Whether a first time Mom in Denver with a new baby, or as an experienced mother, taking in all the great stuff that Colorado offers requires being able to get outside. Unfortunately, many mothers don’t have a good way to get back into shape after having a baby.

While Heidi Klum style get in shape programs that take recently pregnant women down 4 sizes while losing 30 pounds in four weeks might be the bread and butter of fitness magazines and late-night infomercials, they aren’t very practical for real world moms looking to get back out into Colorado’s great outdoors and enjoy the Denver sunshine with their families.

An interesting enterprise known as Stroller Strides offers an alternative take on the concept of mothers getting back into shape after having a baby.

By taking advantage of the fact that most moms love taking babies for walks in strollers, Stroller Strides offers fitness for Mom, and fun for baby.

Basically, the workout program involves trainers instructing moms in how to get into shape by power walking with the extra weight of the stroller providing the juice that turbo charges weight loss and improved cardio fitness. In addition, there are stretches and exercises with rubber tubing at various pit stops.

While Stroller Strides appear to be a nationwide fitness program, we noticed a class of moms pushing baby strollers around the lakes at Washington Park in Denver. Wash Park is popular with fitness seekers of all kinds with runners on the trails everyday of the week rain or shine.

Wash Park blends a nice beautiful fun Denver attraction with an exercise program that allows Moms to get back into shape without the boredom of concrete walled gyms or the repetiveness of whatever cardio class fad is currently in vogue. (Is it stripper areobics, still?)

Grab a brochure for Stroller Strides at local businesses or eateries. If you can’t find one, head over to Stella’s on Pearl Street, which is where we found ours.

Cherry Creek North Shopping District

Cherry Creek North is the name for the shopping district just to the north of the Cherry Creek Mall. Next to Downtown Denver’s 16th Street Mall, Cherry Creek is the best known shopping spot in town.

Unlike many shopping districts, Cherry Creek North, or CCN to some, sprang up organically after the mall opened and brought an increase of shopping traffic to the area. Small boutique shops in line with the lineup of upscale shops located in the Cherry Creek Mall developed across 1st Avenue into a loose collection of stores, art galleries, and salons. The resulting business district proved popular with locals and those traveling to Denver. Eventually, the area was organized under the Cherry Creek North Business Improvement District.

Until recently, Cherry Creek North was anchored by long-term staples like The Tattered Cover and Mel’s restaurant. However, escalating rents and renovation projects pushed by miscalculating landlords and developers right before the economy took a down turn in 2008 forced out several of these popular businesses. The Tattered Cover relocated to the renovated Lowenstein Theatre several blocks north on Colfax Avenue across the street from East High School. Mel’s closed down, as did a popular cooking store, and numerous other shops and boutiques.

While some long-time Cherry Creek businesses like the Cherry Cricket, Little Ollies, and the Cherry Creek Grill weathered the storm, for a time, it seemed as if the magic of Cherry Creek had been lost and several commercial spaces sat empty. Luckily as the various construction projects finally were completed, some of the magic was recaptured, thanks to new local anchors like Whole Foods, Crate and Barrel, and the only J.W. Marriot Hotel in Denver.

Other newcomers are helping to redefine what Cherry Creek North is today and into the future. Argyle Bistro Pub is fast becoming a local favorite, and Houston’s Steakhouse is busy with diners most every evening. New fashion clothing stores and designer brands as well as big name artists have filled in many spaces.

Today, the Cherry Creek North Shopping District again sports an eclectic mix of shops, spas, salons, restaurants, and even a fitness club. In addition, the Denver Public Library in Cherry Creek, formally named Ross – Cherry Creek Branch, has reopened after a much needed renovation funded by Denver municipal bonds, bringing to a close most of the building oriented construction. While some summer improvements courtesy of the CCN BID are on tap, Cherry Creek North is once again a bustling shopping area.

16th Street Mall – Downtown Denver Colorado

16th-street-mall One of the most visitor friendly features in Downtown Denver is the 16th Street Mall. This long pedestrian mall stretches across Downtown Denver from East to West and in place of 16th Street, which makes navigating downtown in a car slightly more complicated. However, the mall makes downtown very accessible for business travelers, conventioneers, families on vacation, or locals working downtown.

While a pedestrian mall is a nice way to make the downtown area more friendly for walking, the real benefit comes not from the banishment of cars, but rather the presence of free shuttle busses. The free 16th Street Mall shuttle busses are run by the Regional Transportation District, or RTD and are provided as a free service every day of the week. The 16th St. Mall shuttle runs from early morning until late at night, so it is equally useful for the commuting in the morning or going out to breakfast, as it is for making it home from a night out on the town at one of Denver’s nightclubs, LoDo’s bars, or any of downtown Denver’s restaurants.

16th-street-mall-shuttle-buses There is a bus stop on every corner, and riders can hop on or off at any stop without any transfers, tokens, or tickets, making the shuttle a great way to travel the full length of the mall for Denver siteseeing, or just a quick way to go a block or two for lunch or shopping.

The first floor of most buildings on the 16th Street Mall has some form of retail or consumer shopping entity. Stores range from tourist trap T-shirt shops, to banks, to coffee shops (half a dozen Starbucks alone), to full fledged department stores, and of course, a wide range of restaurants and fine-dining.

At the west end of the 16th Street Mall is Wynkoop Street and popular Denver attractions such as The Tattered Cover Bookstore, Wynkoop Restaurant, and just a few blocks north, Coors Field, home of the Colorado Rockies. A similar trek to the south deposits visitors at the Pepsi Center, home to the Colorado Avalanche and the Denver Nuggets. This end of the mall is also home to the main RTD bus terminal downtown (underneath the plaza at 16th and Market) and Union Station. Behind Union Station are the downtown Light Rail terminals for RTD’s C-Line and E-Line. (The D-Line, F-Line, and H-Line connect to the other end of the mall along California Street.)

On the eastern side of the 16th Street Mall is the Denver Pavilions an outdoor shopping center located right on the Denver mall and home to Barnes & Noble, Maggiano’s Italian Restaurant, and an United Artists Movie theatre among other things. Many visitors choose to park in the Denver Pavilions parking garage and then ride the shuttle bus to Denver events and downtown destinations.

The Denver Convention Center and numerous other downtown venues and sites occupy the areas just off of the mall to the north or the south.