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THE NEIGHBORHOOD: WASHINGTON PARK
Of course, we had to start our new monthly column on Denver’s neighborhoods with Wash Park, which is one of the city’s long-established neighborhoods. Its centerpiece is a 115-year-old park where joggers, cyclists, and volleyball players frolic (except when they don’t; read more about that here). With two large lakes on either end (frozen and still in the winter, lively and glistening in the summer), 10 tennis courts, a horseshoe pit, and plenty of open lawn for games and lounging, it’s little surprise the park was named one of America’s best public spaces in 2012 by the American Planning Association.
Boundaries: Bayaud Avenue/Denver Country Club to the north, I-25 in the south, University Boulevard in the east, and Downing Street in the west.
Give One Year of 5280 for just $16.
Who’s There: Families. Lots and lots of families (the median home price is around $600,000), intermixed with hordes of recent college grads looking for space to throw down a blanket in the park or for patios spots during happy hour.
The Hub: Just six blocks east from the park is Old South Gaylord Street, a 90-year-old commercial strip with a mix of local shopping, services, studios, bars, and dining.
Park It: Keep your eye on street signs; although you can almost always find spots within a few blocks, most eastside street parking is reserved for residents with special permits after 6 p.m.
- Shop: Knock two things off your to-do list with stops at Wish Boutique (the perfect summer dress!) and Wish Gifts (thank you cards!).
- Nosh: For breakfast, try the fried chicken and waffles at Devil’s Food Bakery & Cookery. Grab a snack at The Gnome’s Nook Confectioners (try the Belgian chocolate-covered pretzel). Time for freshment? Head to Agave Taco Bar, which opened last year, and order a Paloma—a drink made with tequila, soda, grapefruit, salt, and lime. Finally, don’t skimp on dinner and order the long-bone pork chop at the Wash Park Grille and bread pudding for dessert.
- Imbibe: The barbecue menu, great drink prices, and no-fuss atmosphere at Reiver’s make you feel less like you’re on South Gaylord, and more like you’re relaxing right in your living room.
- Work Up a Sweat: Pedal your way across Smith Lake (on the northern end of Wash Park) in the summer for just $20 (single) or $30 (double) an hour. Bicycles (tandem, too!), stand up paddle boards, and canoes are also for rent from May through December.
- For the Kids (and Hey, Adults, Too): Order the… actually, order anything at old-timey ice cream joint Bonnie Brae Ice Cream.
Follow digital assistant editor Jerilyn Forsythe on Twitter at @jlforsyt.