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Old Posted Aug 15, 2016, 1:01 AM
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pdxstreetcar pdxstreetcar is offline
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Visiting Denver & Boulder: Urban development to see?

I was wondering if anyone might have advice on noteworthy urban development especially urbanism, TOD, great urban spaces and transportation to see in Denver & Boulder? Denver has been on my bucket list and I've been hearing lots of great things going on especially FasTracks and Union Station. So I finally booked a weekend plus Monday to check it out in about 6 weeks from now.

My general itinerary is to see Downtown Denver (esp 16th Street Mall, Union Station, Larimer Square), LoDo, Civic Center, Lower Highland, then Stapleton and Highland Village Garden and if time permits, Belmar.

I was wondering what recommendations there might be as to must sees especially for an urbanist like myself? New unique places, food/market destinations? Other neighborhoods? Uniquely Denver cuisines?

On my radar for food/drink is:
Avanti Food & Beverage, Linger, The Source, Big Wonderful/Night Bazaar

I was planning to spend one full day renting a car and driving to Boulder, Prospect New Town in Longmont and Fort Collins (Downtown, MAX, historic trolley).

I know little about Boulder other than Pearl Street Mall and the Transit Village area, what in particular might be worth seeing there?

Thanks!
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Old Posted Aug 15, 2016, 4:21 AM
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Cirrus Cirrus is offline
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HERE is a google map I recently made for a friend of mine who made a similar request. He's a transportation planner focusing on bike stuff, so the map has a lot of that, but it's good in general too.

I'm not sure one day is enough time to see both Boulder and Fort Collins, but more power to you if you can. Boulder is the better / more interesting of the two, so if you can only do one, make it that one. The best part of Boulder after downtown / Pearl Street is University Hill and the University of Colorado.
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Old Posted Aug 15, 2016, 4:13 PM
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Originally Posted by Cirrus View Post
HERE is a google map I recently made for a friend of mine who made a similar request. He's a transportation planner focusing on bike stuff, so the map has a lot of that, but it's good in general too.

I'm not sure one day is enough time to see both Boulder and Fort Collins, but more power to you if you can. Boulder is the better / more interesting of the two, so if you can only do one, make it that one. The best part of Boulder after downtown / Pearl Street is University Hill and the University of Colorado.
That's a little dated. I don't know how to edit your google map, but you need to go up to upper Larimer now and across up Brighton into RiNo to see where the new wacky development is.

And behind Union Station is the number one thing to see right now.

Five Points is, I would say, less critical to see. Although there's still stuff happening.

I wouldn't even go to Boulder anymore. It is no longer relevant for seeing dense/urban in the metro area. Denver has come enough into its own and far surpassed anything there is to see in Boulder.
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Old Posted Aug 15, 2016, 4:18 PM
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We were recently stranded in the Boulder area after our van broke down on a road trip. We ended up at a hotel in Louisville, from there we could walk to the Flatiron Flyer stop and take a bus into downtown Boulder. It ended up being a (relatively) great experience. There was plenty to do/see in Boulder and the bus was a fast and clean way to get to/from the city. It made a much better experience of what could have been two days trapped with three kids inside a suburban LaQuinta with no car to get anywhere.
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Old Posted Aug 15, 2016, 4:54 PM
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I wouldn't even go to Boulder anymore. It is no longer relevant for seeing dense/urban in the metro area.
Boulder is a great place to visit, and has only been a small townish niche stopover for decades now. I don't see how Denver getting better changes that at all. Boulder's mistakes are serious but not particularly visible on a one-afternoon stopover.

Actually, I think Boulder would be a particularly good and informative stop for someone from Portland. Portland is Boulder if Boulder had found a way to accept growth more responsibly. And Boulder is Portland if Portland's planning controls had gone horribly wrong.
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Old Posted Aug 15, 2016, 5:15 PM
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Your list looks great. Recommendations by others are also good, especially RiNo.

Only other suggestions are Cherry Creek (below), Colfax, and South Lincoln/Broadway. There are a bunch of old streetcar commercial nodes around town that may be useful (South Pearl, Tennyson, Cap Hill). Cherry Creek is probably the second largest urban node outside of the downtown core/neighborhoods and provides some interesting context.

Photo from DenverInfill - Larger Version

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Old Posted Aug 17, 2016, 2:30 AM
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Awesome, thanks! I greatly appreciate the map and all these comments/thoughts.

That tea house in Boulder looks amazing, Ill probably take a rest there. Id be curious to check out those garages. I definitely want to check out Boulder but to be honest I don't see a whole lot in Boulder. Then again that ties in exactly to what you guys are saying.

"upper Larimer now and across up Brighton into RiNo to see where the new wacky development is"... l looked into this, are you referring to that NINE dot ARTS campus?

I'm kind of curious to see real BRT in a small city (much more of true BRT than Eugene), so that's driving me up to Fort Collins plus the historic trolley they have.

I'm really eager to check Avanti and The Source but any thoughts about must eat food in Denver? Favorite buildings and projects in Denver?
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Old Posted Aug 17, 2016, 4:27 AM
Agent Orange Agent Orange is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pdxstreetcar View Post
"upper Larimer now and across up Brighton into RiNo to see where the new wacky development is"... l looked into this, are you referring to that NINE dot ARTS campus?
Have never heard of nine arts. He means the River North (sigh.. RiNo) neighborhood. The main commercial streets in this formerly industrial part of town are Larimer and Brighton (where the Source is located). This is an area where a good amount of new development is happening and where a lot of the more innovative restaurants are located (along with tons of breweries-I can recommend Black Shirt, Ratio, Epic, Our Mutual Friend... there are more. Bar Fausto is good for cocktails). I'd definitely check Larimer Street out. The other part of town with good foot traffic and many of the newer bars is South Broadway (less development going on though).

Your list of neighborhoods is good. If you're passing through NW Denver, I might also add Tennyson Street in Berkeley for a pleasant commercial strip with a bit of new development. More importantly, I'd balance your new development touring with some time spent in our densest neighborhood, Cap Hill, and a walk around Cheesman Park. It's a neighborhood with a great mixture of architectural styles and scales. Similar to Northwest Portland. Very little new stuff, but enjoyable nonetheless.

I don't eat out a ton and I'm a newer resident so my list is far from exhaustive, but for restaurants I have liked: The Populist, Euclid Hall (elevated bar food), Root Down, TAG, TAG Burger Bar, Pinche Taqueria, Acorn (in the Source, definitely need reservations), and Beast and Bottle. Hop Alley and Rebel are two restaurants in River North that I plan to try soon. Denver doesn't really have much in the way of hometown food, except maybe a greasy burrito smothered in green chile. Oh, and brunch is a big deal here (I'm sure Portland is no different) and the most often heard suggestion for that is Snooze (several locations, but they have one in Union Station--the chilaqiles benedict is my go to). I think Eater Denver has an article about all the popular brunch options if you want to see what's out there.

Oh and finally, for cocktails I gotta throw out St. Ellie and Williams and Graham. Both are in Lower Highlands.
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Old Posted Aug 17, 2016, 4:33 AM
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While you are at Stapleton the new Stanley Marketplace near by will be partially open.

Anything smothered in green chili is a regional favorite, particularly a smothered chile relleno.
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Old Posted Aug 17, 2016, 3:25 PM
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Originally Posted by pdxstreetcar View Post
I'm kind of curious to see real BRT in a small city (much more of true BRT than Eugene), so that's driving me up to Fort Collins plus the historic trolley they have.
Oh sure, that's a good reason to go to FC. But for what it's worth, Boulder's bus system is actually way better than Fort Collins', and is definitely one of the best college town networks in the US. Boulder doesn't have BRT (except sort of the bus from Denver), but it has some really interesting features of its own.

Boulder has a network of frequent-headway buses that each get a unique brand. Like, rather than call it "route 482B" or something, the best lines each get their own name and paint scheme, like the DASH, or the SKIP or the JUMP. It's a more extensive and more easy to use frequent network than many a much larger city.

And Boulder's downtown bus station is a great model for a small city's central transit depot. It's easily better than the central stations in a lot of big sunbelt cities. Definitely worth a stop if you're interested in transit.
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