20 Things About ’11 You Should Know if You Live in Downtown Denver

Our Look at the Best (and, Worst)!

Everyone has an end-of-the-year list. But, nobody covers the ground we do.

Best Parade: Of course it’s the Stock Show Parade. And, next week at noon on the 5th, you can watch again as the longhorn steers spook their way around the steam vents on 17th Street! It’s also only 30 minutes long which is the ideal length for any parade.

Worst County Fair: Yep, Denver. There obviously was a good reason we didn’t have one of these for 150 years. And, amazingly, they’re going to do it again! Don’t go unless they re-book the trick dancing pigs.

Best Miracle on 16th Street: The "Shroud of Forever 21"

Best Use of Union Station: RTD actually got this right. A boutique hotel, retail and food engineered by the Union Station Alliance. All aboard!

Best Movie from the Film Festival that You Can See Near Downtown Now: “kART Across America” follows two guys from Colorado around the country in a golf kart named Christine while they seek the essence of the American culture by asking everyone “What is your art?” Terrific. At the Mayan. Go.

Best Barista: Eric Sasine at the Market in Larimer Square. No friendlier service Downtown.

Best Orthopedic Surgeon: Ted Parks, Western Ortho. See him when you need new parts! You’ll walk out happy.

Worst Downtown Food Trend: The “Pizzafication” running rampant on our streets. Pizza everywhere and more coming. Watch your step!

Best “Italian Bar”: Mangiamo Pronto. In Italy, you walk into a “bar” for coffee, food, a drink. In Denver, you can do that in style at the little place at 17th and Wazee. Warm, friendly, good!

Best New Restaurant: Coohill’s 1400 overlooking Cherry Creek on Wewatta. There are dozens of good reasons to go there. Decor, service, the Coohills, food, and the Duck Confit and Brussels Sprouts appetizer!

Best Neighborhood within a Neighborhood: The Market at Larimer Square. Mark Greenberg is the Mayor of his own community…and the owner for nearly three decades!

Best Food Store: Cook’s Fresh Market at 16th and Glenarm. Buy what you need, or buy what you want. A real asset to Downtown living.

Best Downtown Bridge: Manny’s Bridge over Cherry Creek at Wynkoop Street. Pedestrian access to parking, Pepsi, playground and pigeons. And, this is the current home of “LoDo Lights”, the interactive light art installation that lights your way and amazes your pets! And, while we’re at it…namesake Manny Salzman, 93, still rides his bike daily and plays a mean mandolin in the Denver Mandolin Orchestra.

LoDo Lights on Manny's Bridge

Best Urban Park: It’s called “Bob’s Park” (after the nearby building concierge, Bob) and it takes the northeast corner of 17th and Larimer to new heights. A peaceful space amongst trees and flowers you can easily miss.

Best Space Near Downtown to be Sort of Close to Nature: Starbucks at R.E.I. River, trees, breeze, beach and bikes in a constant flow. Go for the sunny deck. Try the coffee if you like. And, watch out for the wet bathing suits!

Worst Downtown Intersection for the Preservation of Life: 15th and Wynkoop. Here’s a smoldering combination of buses running red lights, bicyclists careening down the walks, pedestrians crossing against the signals, and too many cars that have no idea that they are staring straight ahead at a dead-end street. Tough to be safe at this one.

Best Public Space that Doesn’t Know It’s a Public Space: When they closed the intersection of 14th Street and Champa earlier this year for some high-tech digital art and light, the space was intriguing. Very European. An open plaza feel. We were surprised. And, so many people could fit in and enjoy the sights. We can only hope that the Wynkoop Plaza at Union Station takes on a similar feel when it is unveiled in 2014.

Worst Downtown Merchant: The cobbler at Writer Square. There are a lot of things wrong with Writer Square, but the shop on the Lawrence Street side may top the list. Don’t engage this guy in any conversation…even about shoes!

Best Downtown Merchants: A bunch. Wines Off Wynkoop, Tattered Cover, Players, Bouquets, Rockmount, Cook’s Fresh Market and Rudy Martinez who’s been a barber Downtown for 40 years.

Best Reason to Welcome Back the Nuggets and Hope the Broncos Play at least One Game in the Playoffs: It all helps Baseball seem to arrive sooner to bail us all out!

Oh, and one more. The Best Reason to Celebrate the End of 2011? It’s over.