Denver Neighborhood Guide: LoDo
Known as LoDo, the historic downtown district of Mile High City is both Denver’s hometown and its oldest neighborhood. Its 25 lively square blocks are full of nearly 100 restaurants, clubs, galleries and shops. This north-central Denver hood is located directly northwest of the Downtown Central Business District (CBD), near the confluence of Cherry Creek and the South Platte River. It is ideally located near the University of Colorado in Denver, the city’s River North Art District (RiNo) and two major sports venues: Coors Field, where the Colorado Rockies play, and Pepsi Center, which houses the Denver Nuggets (NBA), Colorado Avalanche (NHL) and Colorado Mammoth (NLL).
As this is a historic district, there is a lot of architecture preserved among the contemporary constructions. Coors Field has caused a major real estate boom in the region. The old warehouses have been transformed into new expensive lofts while the new apartments build sports roof terraces, swimming pools, recreation rooms, etc. With recent additions such as the Denver Milk Market complex and a new mega-development, currently under construction across from the baseball stadium, the region’s growth has no end in sight.
Built in the late 1800s, the Union Fine Arts-style station is a majestic rail / bus hub that also houses a hotel, restaurants, bars, and shops. The light rail and commuter lines of Denver’s RTD rail system span 34.8 miles, with more than 50 stations extending from the suburbs to the city. Local, regional and airport bus lines are also a convenient way of getting around. The 16th Street LoDo Mall has a free shuttle that goes up and down its 1.25-mile stretch of downtown. Nicknamed MallRide, the shuttle stops at every corner. One comes every few minutes, so you can get on and off as you please. The Free MetroRide transports commuters between Civic Center and Union Station during rush hour.
Go up 16th Street or take the MallRide to downtown. The airport is 40 km away, so it will take you about 30 minutes to get there by car or train.
Where locals eat Sunday brunch
Snooze AM Eatery
2262 Larimer Street
LoDo’s Snooze AM Eatery is so popular that it now has more than 35 locations in five or more states. Head to Denver’s quirky restaurant on 22 and Larimer Street for classic seasonal breakfast dishes, including many interpretations of Benedict eggs, toast, and pancakes. Wash the carbs with a brunch-y drink, like Orange Snoozius (made with vodka, orange liqueur, fresh OJ and whipped cream) or spicy cocoa if you’re not afraid of ‘a little tequila in the morning. Waits can be up to an hour on weekends, so sign up on the online waiting list in advance.
The best coffee for working remotely
1100 14th St.
You don’t need to be a guest of the Hotel Teatro to relax, crouch, hang out or relax in The Study lounge bar. With free Wi-Fi, Coda coffee, homemade pastries, home-made cocktails on tap, local craft beer, comfortable leather couches, fireplace, and Nickel breakfast and lunch next door , this chic place is ideal for work and meeting space.
The best place to take away when you don’t feel like cooking
Denver Milk Market
1800 Wazee Street # 100
Serving as the cornerstone of the historic Dairy Block, the Denver Milk Market complex is home to 16 restaurants and take-out and dinner bars run by Colorado chef Frank Bonanno.
In the evening, you eat when you have eaten too much
Two-fisted Mario pizza
1626 Market Street
A legendary LoDo dive, Mario’s two-fisted pizza serves slices and foam until the wee hours of the morning. The mustache pizzaiolos throw thin crust pies with toppings like “Vampyre Repellent” on tunes turned up to 11.
The dive bar where everyone knows your name
1962 Market St.
Close to Coors Field, at the corner of the 20th and the market, El Chapultepec is Denver’s oldest jazz and blues club. The small, old dive bar has been serving inexpensive drinks since 1933. Live music starts around 9 p.m. every night – arrive early if you want a seat. Word to the wise: they only take money.
Where to drink outside
Mile High Spirits
2201 Lawrence Street
Raise your spirits at Mile High Spirits. The distillery’s 4,000 square feet of outdoor space includes picnic tables, a corn hole, and a mini-frisbee. Choose from their list of handcrafted cocktails, or try one of their exclusive boxed Moscow mules.
Where to have cocktails on a first date
The cruise room
1600 17th St, Denver, CO 80202
Built in 1891 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Oxford Hotel is Denver’s oldest hotel and is home to the city’s oldest bar, The Cruise Room. The elegant speakeasy features an art deco interior inspired by the liner Queen Mary. Head to this award-winning cocktail bar for one of their signature martinis.
Flanked by elegant Victorian buildings and illuminated by string lights, LoDo’s historic Larimer Square is home to trendy boutiques, bars, chef-owned restaurants, cafes, and more. Here you can buy women’s clothing from Hailee Grace, men’s clothing from Moda Man and western clothing from Cry Baby Ranch. A new addition to Wewatta Street, A Line Boutique offers a thoughtful selection of high-end brands, including Rag & Bone, Helmut Lang and Chloé. Bonus: it belongs to a woman and is made up of a team of professional stylists.
Home to the Denver milk market, Denver’s historic dairy block is its own little micro-district. The European-style pedestrian lane is dotted with restaurants, bars, shops, and more. Among its high concentration of retail stores on Blake and Wazee streets and in The Alley, you will find HEYDAY. This gem of the milk market has helpful staff who sell women’s clothing at reasonable prices.
Also located on Wazee Street, just across from Oxford, is the famous Rockmount Ranch Wear. This Mile High City original is the place where the Western snap shirt was born in 1946. They have everything you need to look like a cowboy from head to toe.
Buy more than 300 local stores and select chains from the 16th Street Mall. The pedestrian strip has more than 50 restaurants and 42 outdoor cafes that are great for people-watching over a café au lait. Near the southern end of the mall, the open-air Denver Pavilions complex offers even more shopping and dining options, including the Scout & Molly’s women’s boutique.
One of the largest independent bookstores in the United States, the Tattered Cover Bookstore offers more than half a million books between its three locations across the city. You can find the original landmark on several levels at the corner of the 16th and Wynkoop. Among the literature, the book giant also sells magazines, greeting cards, gifts and souvenirs. Many authors come here for events, and there is also a café with coffee and pastries.
LoDo is within walking distance of the Denver theater district, where the star of the show is the Denver Performing Arts Complex. The four-block entertainment band hosts a variety of seasonal events, including Broadway, ballet and opera.
The Union Station Farmers Market takes place on Saturdays at the Denver Union Station Plaza from May to October. The market peddles all the usual suspects, like local produce, as well as tacos, handmade pies, and sandwiches. Plus, there is live music and chef demos!
Almost 6,000 acres of Denver are dedicated to the city’s 250 urban parks. LoDo has a plethora of parks located along the South Platte River. Confluence Park is so named because of its proximity to the confluence of Cherry Creek and the South Platte River. The unique and scenic park includes a beach-like shoreline, kayak race, biking and walking trails, and panoramic views of downtown Denver. The Downtown Aquarium, the Denver Children’s Museum at the Marsico Campus, and the Elitch Gardens theme and water park are all conveniently located nearby. From Confluence Park, the Cherry Creek bike path runs over Cherry Creek for more than 40 miles to Franktown. Stick this pleasantly paved path and enjoy the scenery.
Just northeast of Confluence Park, on the banks of the South Platte River, you will find Commons Park. Like its neighbor, this 20-acre urban oasis offers jogging tracks, a riverside path and benches. The park is connected to the city center by a tree-lined promenade along Little Raven Street. Finally, Railyard Dog Park offers a place where Fido can run freely.
Top-rated places in LoDo
Climb the stairs or take the glass elevator to reach the Denver Millennium Bridge for breathtaking views of the river and downtown.
Denver is a city of breweries, but LoDo is home to the premiere of Mile High City: Wynkoop Brewing Company.
At the northwest corner of 15th and Delgany, you will find a four-story dark gray glass building which is the Denver Museum of Contemporary Art. MCA Denver is home to extraordinary works by some of today’s most innovative artists, while its rooftop café offers breathtaking views of the downtown area.
The Robischon Gallery hosts rotating exhibits from a range of contemporary artists, while David Cook Fine Art presents paintings dating back to the 19th century, American Indian art and artifacts.
There is a lot of reasons to move to Denver. Discover more of our favorite neighborhoods and Fun things to do in The Mile High City before you start your apartment search on Zumper.