Are downtown crowds, limited parking options, and overpriced menu items feeling unsavory to you this spring? Skip the bustle of Denver’s more popular neighborhoods for an evening exploring a booming suburban neighbor: Englewood. The city may not have the same upscale urban amenities as the Mile High, but the Arapahoe county municipality is home to scattered gems. Amidst industrial complexes and residential areas, you’ll find all the cultural aspects of a city center: delicious dining options, low-key happy hours, live music venues, integrated and innovative museums, and sun-filled parks.
Boundaries: All over the place
The Vibe: Wander diverse blocks with vibrantly colorful homes, strip malls, industrial complexes, and rolling parks. You’ll find everyone from millennials, who make up roughly 31 percent of the population, to working families and singles.
Getting Around: Englewood is bike- and public-transit friendly. The C and D light-rail lines drop passengers at CityCenter Englewood, a transportation hub, where you can catch another train downtown or south to Littleton. Cyclists can access 20 miles of bike trails. The City of Englewood and RTD also operate a free shuttle named “Art.” Art runs Monday through Friday from 6:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., and takes riders from CityCenter to Englewood Parkway, where cafes, fast-casual eateries, and other amenities await.
Start Your Day: Caffeinate your day with a cup of freshly roasted coffee and a look at the brew process at Kaladi Coffee Roasters. The company’s new roastery opened on South Broadway last October and the connected cafe was unveiled soon after. This is their second location in the area, but their coffee beans can be found in many metro area coffee shops. Take Nixon’s Coffee Shop, right outside the CityCenter Englewood. This cozy shop serves Kaladi coffee in a space with plenty of tables that entice you stay and work—or you can just stop through on your way to the light rail. If you’re craving something more savory to start your day, Trompeau Bakery has some of the city’s finest savory croissants, authentic French pastries and quiches.
Explore the Hidden Corners: Take the kids for a day at Belleview Park. This 36-acre open space contains a petting zoo, playground, multiple pavilions, miniature train, dog park, creek, sports fields, and Pirate’s Cove Water Park—a family water park with rides and slides, including a lazy river and beach area. (Note: Pirate’s Cove and certain activities in Belleview Park are only open May 28 through Labor Day.) The kids might also enjoy the Museum of Outdoor Arts at CityCenter. The indoor exhibits rotate through in the Englewood Civic Center but you can find about 33 outdoor statues around the Center itself. The museum represents an effort by the city of Englewood to blend art with businesses and landscapes.
Grab an Evening Bite: Delight your date at Acres Restaurant, a newer Englewood establishment that has a great wine list and delectable tapas-style shared plates. The restaurant offers a relaxed yet classy atmosphere, making it the perfect place for a date. For a more casual but just as tasty night out, try Cochino Taco. This is the newest venture from Johnny Ballen, co-owner of the Squeaky Bean. Their street-style tacos are filling and combine interesting toppings and flavors that you won’t find at other taco places. And definitely don’t skip the bar. Cochino makes a mean house margarita and frozen Paloma. (Vegetarians, try their “Taco de Tofu?”. It’s worth it for the crispy kale alone.) The unassumingly fresh Cherry Hills Sushi Co. sits within a strip mall and claims an Englewood address even though it’s technically in Cherry Hills. In any case, it’s a great option for dinner, with Japanese whiskey and a refined list of sushi rolls.
Sips and Shows: Enjoy a finely made cocktail from Devil’s Head Distillery‘s tasting room, located just off South Broadway. Visit on a Thursday, Friday, or Saturday night to try one of their small-batch liquors (and to make use of their pinball machine). If you can’t make it there, Devil’s Head is served at a number of Englewood establishments, including Acres Restaurant and the Englewood Grand. Open nightly, the Englewood Grand is a favorite boozy addition to the neighborhood, and offers a healthy dose of down-home hospitality. While the bar sometimes has food trucks, shuffleboard, open mic nights, and live music, this is great place to stop in for just a cocktail or a beer. If you’re still thirsty, just head next door to the Brew on Broadway (the BoB). Staying true to Englewood, the BoB name each of their brews to reflect the history and traditions of the city. Take the Cinderella Twin Double IPA, named after the old Cinderella City shopping complex. Bonus: The brewery also has a coffeehouse.
Listen to live music or let the good times roll at the bowling lanes at Englewood’s Moe’s Original Bar B Que location, where a hearty barbecue sandwich and overly generous portion of fried pickles is obviously required. During weeknights, the bowling alley only charges $3 per game, and the joint is also home to a mini-arcade. (Tip: If you want to bowl, call to reserve a lane. The eight-lane alley is often rented out or completely booked.) For bigger concerts, check out The Gothic Theatre, just north of Moe’s. Originally built in the 1920s, The Gothic remains a classic Denver music venue.
Take a Trip Through Time and History: Bounded between East Bates and East Dartmouth avenues and South Marion and South Franklin streets, the Arapahoe Acres neighborhood is on the National Register of Historic Places. This subdivision contains 124 completely unique homes purchased by developer Edward B. Hawkins as part of the Revere Quality House Program. Hawkins hoped to design these homes for families of various sizes and financial ability. While it’s hard to describe the general architecture, because each is so unique, many of the homes sprawl horizontally, with a slanted roof, across large yards with billowing trees. With its wooden street signs, staggering architecture, and a great deal of lawn art, this community is worth strolling through.
Englewood is also home to one of the architectural feats of Charles Deaton, who is responsible for the “Sculptured House” in Genesee, made famous by the 1973 Woody Allen film, Sleeper. The “flying saucer building,” as called by some, is now owned by Community Banks of Colorado. The building is shaped like a UFO, with angular windows and rounded edges, and sits alongside the Samuel L. Love Greenway.
The soon-to-be (and highly anticipated) occupants of the historic 1915 Englewood Railroad Depot building (on the corner of West Dartmouth Avenue and South Galapago Street) are the Englewood Depot, a living museum of letterpress printing, typography, design, poetry, and art. The museum is currently hosting events and workshops around town while construction on the Railroad Depot is underway. When up and running, the Depot will have exhibits, demonstrations, and workshops, and will conduct research and projects on typography and printing. Until it opens, check out the historic exterior and head to the Englewood Community Garden next door, where you can volunteer, register for your own plot, or just check out the homegrown produce.