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Olde Town Arvada

A quick shot west of Denver on I-70, Olde Town Arvada is worth an afternoon of exploring as much for the eclectic dining and retail as for the chance to say you were hanging out at the site of Colorado’s first gold strike. Stroll through history—this is also the hometown of the guy who invented the automobile turn signal—and enjoy a slice of Main Street America, Colorado style.

December 2012

1 Snack Time

We dare you to resist the fresh-cut Belgian-style fries served in an old-school paper cone at Manneken Frites, especially once you see the menu of more than 20 dipping sauces. We recommend an unexpected option like the pomegranate molasses BBQ. 5616 Olde Wadsworth Blvd., Arvada, 303-847-4357, mannekenfrites.com

2 Just One Glass 

Grab a high-top at the charming year-old Silver Vines Winery and order a cheese plate to accompany your dark, smooth pour of Syrah; for a lighter finish, try the Chocolate Delight dessert-style red. Stick around on Friday or Saturday evenings for live acoustic music at 7:30 p.m. 7509 Grandview Ave., Arvada, 303-456-5212, silvervineswinery.com

3 Be Instrumental 

Attention bluegrass junkies and guitarists: If you haven’t visited Olde Town Pickin’ Parlor for your acoustic needs, drop in and check out the impressive inventory of guitars, banjos, mandolins, fiddles, and more. Or, bring in your own instrument for some quality TLC at the on-site repair shop. 7515 Grandview Ave., Arvada, 303-421-2304, picknparlor.com 

4 Get Played 

Grab tickets for a Sunday matinee at the Festival Playhouse—the oldest building in Arvada—and lose yourself for a couple of hours in a production by the local community theater troupe. Catch the current comedy for a laugh: The Man Who Wanted To Be Santa, Fri.–Sat. 7:30 p.m.; Sun. 2 p.m., through Dec. 16. 5665 Olde Wadsworth Blvd., Arvada, 303-422-4090, festivalplayhouse.com

5 Sugar Rush 

Keep the kids under close watch (or heck, let them have the run of the place—we don’t have to put them to bed) at the adorable Willy Wonka–like Scrumptious candy and ice cream shop. Take your pick of nostalgic, hard-to-find sweets, throwback soda pop in glass bottles, modern candy bars, and novelties like edible mustaches. Or, go with a scoop of the divine house-made pumpkin cheesecake graham swirl ice cream. 7523 Grandview Ave., Arvada, 303-431-2639, scrumptiousco.com

6 Something’s Fishy 

Pop into the unpretentious Charlie’s Fly Box and chat up one of the experts behind the counter about tying flies and river-worthy gear. With the holidays on the way, you just might score the perfect gift or stocking stuffer for the outdoorsy types in your life. 7513 Grandview Ave., Arvada, 303-403-8880, charliesflyboxinc.com

7 What Diet? 

If you’ve got any sort of sweet tooth, Rheinlander Bakery will be your Kryptonite and your heaven. The family-run German baked goods shop has been serving Arvada for nearly 50 years. The selection of gourmet pastries, strudels, cakes, and tarts is too lengthy to begin describing; just walking in the door is enough to kill our willpower. 5721 Olde Wadsworth Blvd., Arvada, 303-467-1810, rheinlanderbakery.com 

8 Listen Up 

The owners think of the D Note as a “playground for adults.” We agree. We’ve been checking out local bands and noshing pizza and small plates at this venue-slash-dance-studio-slash-bar-and-cafe for ages. If you’re more the participatory type, swing by for Zumba classes ($8) Saturdays at 10:30 a.m. 7519 Grandview Ave., Arvada, 303-463-6683, dnote.us