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.

Denver Pavilions in Downtown Denver

Denver-Pavilions-downtown-denver Shopping Downtown at the Pavilions

On the eastern end of the 16th Street Mall is the Denver Pavilions, an outdoor mall within the mall. The Pavilions has numerous shopping opportunities including a two-story Barnes & Noble, Gap, Banana Republic, Nike Town, Bath & Body Works, and a Victoria’s Secret store. The Pavilions also houses smaller local stores and boutiques ranging from nail salons to tobacco shops.

Downtown Denver Pavilions Restaurants

Pavilions restaurants offers a variety of dining eateries ranging from restaurant chains to local favorites. Maggiano’s Little Italy is a popular family style Italian restaurant. That means that you should order the half-order unless you plan to share, because the portion are huge. On weekend evenings, the wait can be long, so grab a reservation earlier in the week, or show up before 6:00 P.M. to avoid a long wait in the bar.

There is also the Hard Rock Cafe Denver,  Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory, and local lunch favorite, Corner Bakery Cafe which serves sandwiches, hot Panini’s, soups, and bakery creations.

Denver Pavilions Nightlife in Downtown Denver

When it’s time to have some fun in Downtown Denver, the Pavilions has plenty of options for daytime fun as well as hot spots for those looking for fun nightlife. Jazz @ Jack’s offers, as you might guess, live Jazz music and drinks. Jack’s has live music 7 days a week, including Sundays. The house band, Dotsero, has been playing together for 18 years! The core members of the group are all University of Colorado (CU) alumni.

So, whether you flew in on Sunday for a business meeting, or are tourists in Denver with the family, or are locals out for the Denver’s nightlife downtown, you can always drop by Jack’s for some music.

If you are looking for something a little louder and flashier, consider Coyote Ugly Saloon, as franchised offshoot of the real Coyote Ugly bar in New York City made popular by the Coyote Ugly movie starring Piper Perabo and Maria Bello.

Look for the free weekly newspaper, Westword Magazine, in sidewalk displays and in the entryways of many shops and restaurants around the city. Many of Denver’s nightclubs, bars, and other hot spots run ads in the back of the paper. The ads in Westword often list bands that are playing all over town, including in the Pavilions, as well as any drink specials or special theme nights or parties. Ladies nights, in particular, can be very generous in downtown Denver.

Downtown Bowling at Lucky Strikes

If that weren’t enough, there is also bowling. That’s right, I said bowling.

Lucky Strike Lanes takes the stogy, smoke-filled, bowling alleys of suburbia and turns the idea on its head with a hip way to hang out with friends, enjoy music, and have a couple of cocktails. As one patron put it, how much more fun can you have than getting drunk and throwing stuff. (Perhaps this is why darts is so popular?) Flashy lighting, and cocktail waitresses round out the ambiance as this nightclub slash bowling alley combination in Downtown Denver.

Denver Pavilions Movie Theater

If you are looking for entertainment downtown that doesn’t involve food or drinks, the 14 screen multiplex at United Artists Theaters on the third floor of the Pavilions shows hit movies and fan favorites. The movie theater offers validated parking in the Pavilions parking garage for customers who buy a movie ticket. Take your parking ticket from the garage into the theatre with you to have it validated. Just look for the validation machine on the wall to the right of the doors (as you face the entrance/exit). Validation is only good for three hours. That time starts when you drive into the parking garage, not when your movie starts.

Denver Pavilions Location on 16th Street Mall

The Denver Pavilions is on the eastern end of the 16th Street Mall. If you are staying in a Denver hotel on the west end of town, or are finishing up seeing some of Denver’s tourist attractions, like the Denver Aquarium, don’t worry about getting a cab or driving your car. The free 16th Street shuttle will take you across downtown along the mall for free.

Parking downtown is at on street parking meters, or in the Pavilions parking garage.

Denver Pavilions Parking Garage Downtown

denver-pavilions-parking-garage-graphic Denver Pavilions parking, like all parking in Downtown Denver takes place either on the street at a parking meter, or in a parking garage. Denver parking meters, as always, run $1 per hour, with a two-hour maximum until 10:00 P.M. Monday through Saturday. Meters are free all day on Sunday and holidays.

The Pavilions parking garage is accesses off of Welton Street. You need to be headed northbound on Glenarm to get in easily, so get on 15th Street (one-way westbound) from Tremont Pl., Court Pl., or Colfax and turn right (north) onto Welton St.

Elevators from the Pavilion’s garage go directly up into the Pavilions Mall. However, there are two different elevators, so make sure you pay attention to which one you come out of.

From the ground level, you can hop on the 16th Street Mall Free Shuttle and be anywhere in downtown Denver in minutes.

Parking Garage Rates Pavilions

Pavilions parking rates are $4.00 per hour for the first three hours, and $14.00 for anything over 3 hours during the day. However, after 5:00 P.M. weekdays, and all day on weekend, its a flat rate of $7.00, so if you’ll be less than 2 hours, try and find a parking meter. Meters on the nearby cross streets are typically full during the day and when there are events downtown. However, you may have better luck parking on 15th Street.

Patrons of the United Artists Movie Theater in the Denver Pavilions can park for free in the parking garage with validation. Take your parking ticket with you to the movie theater. In the lobby validate your parking ticket with the automated validation machine on the wall next to the door across from the concession stand. Keep in mind, that validation is for three hours only and the clock starts when you enter the parking garage, not when your movie starts. That means that dinner and a movie isn’t going to work unless you really finesse it and see a short flick.

During the Christmas holiday shopping season, the Pavilions parking garage usually has special rates to help lure shoppers to the downtown mall. For the holidays in 2009 through Christmas, parking rate specials are just $2.00 on weekends and evenings after 5 p.m. if you have your ticket validated with a Pavilions merchant, restaurant, nightclub, bar, or the movie theatre.

Many merchants do not require a purchase for validation, so don’t forget to ask, even if you are just window shopping.