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While social media has made connecting easier, it’s also full of partisans who are only interested in making you want to strangle your screen. So, to engender a more productive and peaceful exchange of ideas, we created a guide to help Denverites find their perfect third places (home and work are the first two). A proper third place is a physical location where conversation with your neighbors and strangers is the main activity. It needs to be neutral ground where anyone can go without expecting to pay more than a modest amount. And there should be regulars—but no real social hierarchy. There are plenty of qualifying spots in Denver, as long as you know how to find them.
If you like making things with your hands…
Art Students League of Denver
A $60 annual membership to this nonprofit in Denver’s Speer neighborhood gives you access to general open studio time during business hours (8:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Friday through Sunday) for painting, drawing, and more. The league’s best resource, though, may be the other artists, who often trade pointers and stories over their easels.
If you have a penchant for profanities…
This South Broadway hangout puts the “craft” in craft brewery with events such as Foul-Mouthed Cross-Stitch Sundays. Spend at least $5 on snacks or brews, such as the Foggy Memory hazy IPA or the How’s Your Father ESB, and the brewery will provide you with all the materials you need for some R-rated needlework.
If you have kids…
W.H. Ferguson Park
Better known as Turtle Park for its concrete terrapin statue, this playground in Park Hill is tiny—and that’s a good thing. Unlike massive City Park a few blocks to the west, Turtle Park’s diminutive size encourages parents to chitchat over to-go coffee from neighboring Honey Hill Cafe as their little ones hit the slide and swings.
If you’re passionate about making positive change…
Stop by this Black-owned coffeehouse on East 25th Avenue at 2 p.m. on Sundays to enjoy a traditional Ethiopian coffee ceremony in which beans are brewed in a clay pot called a jebena. Visit at any other time to experience stimulating conversations: Whittier is nicknamed the Social Justice Coffee Shop due to the community activists and organizers who use it as a home base.