Shopping in Denver includes a fun mix of indie boutiques, innovative art galleries, and reputable chains. Prices are reasonable and the selection is excellent, especially in popular Larimer Square and the 16th Street Mall. Affluent Cherry Creek has two huge shopping areas that collectively comprise the largest, most-varied shopping district.
Denver Shopping Districts
16th Street Mall
The 1.25-mile 16th Street Mall (Wynkoop St. to Broadway) is known for its pedestrian-friendly shopping. It’s easy to stroll between the several hundred stores and restaurants; if you get tired, hop on the MallRide (4:59am-1:21am Mon.-Fri., 5:30am-1:21am Sat., 6:30am-1:21am Sun.), a free electric bus that stops at every block along the mall between Civic Center and Union Station.
The mall consists primarily of chain stores, especially casual clothing outlets. Scattered in between are a few more unique options. Sole St. Shoes (716 16th St., 303/893-5280, 10am-8pm Mon.-Sat., 10am-7pm Sun.) is a “sneaker boutique” with retro options as well as standard brands like Nike and New Balance. Wild West of America (715 16th St., 303/446-8640, 9am-7pm daily) sells moccasins, key chains, and dozens of knickknacks.
Denver’s oldest and most historic block, Larimer Square (14th and 15th Sts. at Larimer St.) was the first place the miners constructed buildings after they settled along the South Platte River. Most of the square’s lovingly restored buildings date to the 1880s. They house a variety of shops and restaurants, making it one of Denver’s most popular destinations. It’s also fiercely autonomous; 20 out of the square’s 23 shops are independently owned.
The Blue Ruby Boutique (1426 Larimer St., 720/259-0031, 10am-6pm Mon.-Wed., 10am-8pm Thurs.-Sat., 11am-5pm Sun.) is a chic clothing store that features men’s and women’s garments from local designers as well as top New York brands. Eve (1413 Larimer St., 720/932-9382, 10am-7pm Mon.-Fri., 10am-6pm Sat., noon-5pm Sun.) focuses on stylish women’s clothing and accessories, including products from Papillon, Capote, and Trina Turk.
From boots and buckles to belts and bolos, Cry Baby Ranch (1421 Larimer St., 303/623-3979, 10am-7pm Mon.-Fri., 10am-6pm Sat., noon-5pm Sun.) sells anything your inner cowgirl (or boy) might crave. Moda Man (1459 Larimer St., 303/862-5949, 10am-7pm Mon.-Thurs., 10am-8pm Fri.-Sat., noon-5pm Sun.) sells contemporary-casual men’s clothing by top fashion designers and also specializes in custom garments.
Ever since he made his girlfriend a silver ring 40 years ago, John Atencio (1440 Larimer St., 303/534-4277, 10am-6pm Mon.-Sat.) has been designing and selling beautiful handcrafted jewelry in Colorado. His shop features a sparkling selection of beautiful rings, signature pendants, and gold and silver bracelets, crosses, and earrings.
If you have a furry friend to shop for, stop by the upscale Dog Savvy Boutique (1402 Larimer St., 303/623-3979, 10am-7pm Mon.-Thurs., 10am-6pm Fri.-Sat., 11am-5pm Sun.) for toys, beds, and oatmeal-peanut butter doggie treats, as well as blueberry facials and other spa treatments for the puppy who has it all.
Cherry Creek Mall
Denver’s ritziest shopping district is located about four miles southeast of Union Station, just east of the Denver Country Club and south of Speer Boulevard. In this area are two upscale shopping areas: the indoor Cherry Creek Mall (3000 E. 1st Ave., 303/388-3900, 10am-9pm Mon.-Sat., 11am-6pm Sun.), Denver’s largest, and the outdoor Cherry Creek North (299 Milwaukee St., Ste. 201, 303/394-2904, 10am-6pm Mon.-Sat., 11am-5pm Sun.), which has more character and correspondingly higher prices.
Cherry Creek Mall features mostly high-end chains, including Louis Vuitton, Ralph Lauren, Tiffany & Co., and Neiman Marcus, as well as an Apple Store, which is always packed. Cherry Creek North is a more spread-out shopping and restaurant district with a great selection of fun and fashionable shops, including Little Feet (201 University Blvd., 303/388-9535, 10am-6pm Mon.-Sat., noon-4pm Sun.), a family-owned store that specializes in kids’ shoes, Title Nine (160 Steele St., 303/321-4001, 10am-6pm Mon.-Sat., noon-5pm Sun.), which features super-comfortable women’s sportswear and casual clothing, and the Artisan Center (2757 E. 3rd Ave., 303/333-1201, 10am-5:30pm daily), a colorful and eclectic shop selling cards, candles, chimes, jewelry, and scarves made by mostly local artists.
Downtown and LoDo Shops
Books and Music
On the edge of the 16th Street Mall, the Tattered Cover Book Store (1628 16th St., 303/436-1070, 6:30am-9pm Mon.-Fri., 9am-9pm Sat., 10am-6pm Sun.), founded in 1971, is one of the best bookstores. It has remained a classic, community-oriented retailer, with regular local-author lectures and book signings, kid-friendly activities, comfy leather couches, and delicious coffee and pastries. Its floor-to-ceiling stacks feature more than 150,000 titles, with an entire room devoted to travel and maps (with an emphasis on Colorado), and the most extensive magazine selection in the state. It’s one of downtown Denver’s most venerable and popular institutions, with two other downtown locations: one in City Park (2526 E. Colfax Ave., 303/322-7727, 9am-9pm Mon.-Sat., 10am-6pm Sun.) and a smaller outlet in Union Station (1701 Wynkoop St., 8am-7pm Mon.-Fri., 9am-7pm Sat., 10am-5pm Sun.).
Two classic Denver shops are located near the Colorado State Capitol. Capitol Hill Books (300 E. Colfax Ave., 303/837-0700, 10am-6pm Mon.-Sat., 10am-5pm Sun.) consistently ranks as Denver’s top used bookstore. Wax Trax Records (638 E. 13th Ave., 303/831-7246, 10am-7pm Mon.-Thurs., 10am-8pm Fri.-Sat., 11am-6pm Sun.) is a real brick-and-mortar store selling new and used vinyl records and other music-related paraphernalia.
Clothing and Accessories
The third-generation business Rockmount Ranchwear (1626 Wazee St., 303/629-7777, 8am-6pm Mon.-Fri., 10am-6pm Sat., 11am-4pm Sun.) sells classic men’s and women’s Western clothing, including the original snap-button shirts designed by founder Jack Weil. The shop has a huge selection of hats, leather belts, cowboy boots, and fringed jackets. The well-known brand has been worn on stage and in films by the likes of Elvis Presley, Bruce Springsteen, and Tom Hanks.
Highlands and Platte River Valley Shops
On the northwestern edge of downtown, perched on the bank above Confluence Park, the Denver Flagship REI (1416 Platte St., 303/756-3100, 9am-9pm Mon.-Sat., 10am-7pm Sun.) is an adventure in shopping. The huge brick warehouse has an enormous selection from bikes and kayaks to windbreakers, gloves, and freeze-dried meals and also offers plenty of classes and clinics. The flagship store includes a climbing wall, a third-floor play area for kids, and a Starbucks with a nice deck where you can toast the hundreds of other bikers, hikers, and kayakers passing by.
Excerpted from the Ninth Edition of Moon Colorado.