I love pedestrian malls, and the beautiful 16th Street Mall in the heart of downtown Denver is my newest favorite.
Designed by I.M. Pei, the famed architect, the 16th Street Mall stretches from north to south for one mile. It features a lovely promenade all decked out with an abundance of flowering plants and trees and unique, domed-top street lights, as well as an eclectic mix of locally owned shops, some major retailers and 42 outdoor cafes, which make the 16th Street Mall the best people-watching spot in Denver.
The promenade is made of red, white and gray granite in a repeating pattern. I was told that the pattern resembles the skin of a Diamondback rattlesnake when viewed from above. I didn't get to see that for myself, so I'm taking the "reporter's" word for it. It does sound like something Pei would think to do!
Near the south end of the mall, there is a shopping and dining complex with 12 movie theaters and more than two dozen shops and restaurants. At the north end, the path continues over three bridges, connecting downtown to Commons Park and LoHi, a hip urban neighborhood filled with restaurants and brewpubs.
There are many points of interest along the mall, including the D and F Tower, a replica of the Campanila of St. Marks in Venice. Notably, it was the highest building west of the Mississippi River when it was built in 1909.
Making it extra easy to get around and see everything are the free electric shuttle buses that roll continuously up and down the mall and stop at every corner.
My visit to the 16th Street Mall today was delightful. I enjoyed poking my head in a number of new-to-me shops, favorite big-guy stores and the Visit Denver office.
And, then, before exhaustion set in, I thoroughly enjoyed breaking for an ice-cold Mocha Frappuccino at the corner Starbucks.