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.
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.