If you’ve never taken the time to explore this well-established suburban hub, then plan your visit. Located just eight miles northwest of Denver, downtown Arvada—otherwise known as Olde Town—offers a charming small-town feel and a family-friendly mix of dining, shopping, and history. While downtown Arvada is designated on the National Register of Historic Places (in fact, Arvada was the site of the very first gold strike in Colorado), there’s plenty of new developments happening in the up-and-coming Olde Town these days, too. You’ll notice the busy construction crews near Grandview Avenue working on the gold light rail line, which will connect Arvada to Denver this fall.

Boundaries: Ralston Road to the north, Yukon Street to the west, Grandview Avenue to the south, and Wadsworth Bypass to the east

Who’s There: Families and an after-dark bar crowd

The Hub: Olde Wadsworth between Grandview and Ralston Road is Olde Town’s main street.

Your Itinerary:

Tour: You can’t miss Olde Town’s iconic Flour Mill Museum. Built in 1926, the restored mill houses a variety of 1800s flour milling equipment. Book a tour with the Arvada Historical Society.

Taste Old Town Arvada: Although small, Old Town’s got plenty of dining (and drinking) options to satisfy you both morning and night. Have a sweet tooth? Then you’re in the right place—Old Town is home to multiple bake shops, a creamery, and a doughnut shop, making it the perfect place to satisfy a craving.

  • Breakfast: For a leisurely breakfast, nab a patio table at the homey Bread Winner’s Cafe on Grandview. Order the pancake sandwich featuring two eggs and bacon between two fluffy pancakes and take in the panoramic views of the mountains.
  • Lunch: Downtown favorite Manneken Frites keeps it simple with a menu of Belgian-style French fries and hot dogs. Pair your crispy fries with one of the 20 sauce options (we recommend the onion-y Belgian “ghent” sauce).
  • Sweets and Coffee: Rheinlander Bakery has been Arvada’s go-to dessert outpost since 1963. Walk into this sugar-filled wonderland and you’ll be overwhelmed by the gleaming cases of cakes, cookies, tortes, strudel, and more. Pick up a selection to take home, or grab one of the patio tables and enjoy the tiramisu torte with a cappuccino. Bonus: This bakery has an entire case devoted to gluten and sugar-free offerings.
  • Dinner: Located right on the northwestern edge of Old Town, Yak & Yeti Restaurant and Brewpub serves hearty Indian fare in an old (and reportedly haunted) mansion. Pair the chicken tikka masala with the chai milk stout, which is brewed on site.
  • Cocktails: Head to the Arvada Tavern for a sultry speakeasy vibe and incredible craft cocktails. Stick with a perfectly made Vieux Carré, or order one of the rotating seasonal concoctions.
  • Dive Bar: When you’re craving a stiff drink and a laid-back atmosphere, look no further than the gritty 12 Volt Tavern. The jukebox is always playing outlaw country or punk rock, the bar keeps the cold Coors flowing, and there’s no shortage of interesting characters to chat up over a game of pool.
  • Ice Cream: Scrumptious combines two things that everyone loves—ice cream and candy—into one sweet place. The old-timey candy and soda store is filled with all sorts of rarities, and the always-delicious ice cream flavors run from traditional (strawberry) to wacky (chipotle).

Stroll: To experience all that Olde Town has to offer, get out of your car and start strolling. Loop around Webster Street to check out the historic McIlvoy House (which is now the Arvada Historical Society’s HQ), and keep your eyes peeled for the Olde Town Arvada water tower to the West.

Shop: The variety of small businesses in Olde Town makes for a fun afternoon of browsing. Pop into Rolling Sands Yoga Boutique & Fitness Store for natural clothing, hand-made jewelry, and yoga gear. If gifts of the edible persuasion are more your style, stop by Kristos Olive Oil. You’ll find a staggering array of infused oils and vinegars for sampling, as well as gourmet meats, cheeses, and condiments. And lastly, be sure to visit Global Goods and Coffee Shop, a volunteer-run, nonprofit boutique and cafe that benefits Global Refuge projects around the world. Sip an organic, fair-trade latte and peruse the selection of African handicrafts.

Callie Sumlin
Callie Sumlin
Callie Sumlin is a writer living in Westminster, and has been covering food and sustainability in the Centennial State for more than five years.