For delegates and demonstrators looking to escape the madness of the main venue for the Democratic National Convention, the Pepsi Center, a quick walk to Denver’s Lower Downtown should do the trick.
Known to the locals as LoDo (pronounced low-doe), this 23-plus-square-block area encompasses Denver's original downtown. What used to be an area of old warehouses and railcars is now a bright historic district where people of all ages flock for food, baseball and relaxing entertainment day or night.
A historic designation and zoning ordinances keep building heights to restricted levels, but one structure that can't be missed sits with a sense of pride for residents at the southeast corner of this neighborhood: Coors Field, the home of the Colorado Rockies.
While this town has spent much of its recent history bleeding blue and orange for the Denver Broncos, the Rockies have made their case for purple and black. The team boasts a ballpark with 76-acres of prime real estate and seating that boasts a view of the Rocky Mountains over the outfield fence.
The team is away the week of the convention, but the stadium is still worth a tour, and a great start to your LoDo experience.
5. For Brain or Belly
Pick up your morning newspaper from Denver, New York, Spain or almost anywhere in the world at the Tattered Cover Book Store (1628 16th St., Denver, 303-436-1070). The Tattered, as the locals prefer to call it, is one of the largest independent booksellers in the United States and is a warm and welcoming way to begin the day.
Whether you’re in need of coffee to go, a breakfast burrito or an empanada, the Tattered also tempts you to sit and read. Despite the cavernous 20,000 square feet of retail space, cozy sofas and chairs offer the warm intimacy of a small corner shop.
A fun and easy way to get there is on one of the hybrid buses that make up the free 16th Street Mall shuttle, which make frequent stops along the length of the vibrant pedestrian zone.
4. Hideaway for the Homesick
Lunch can be as casual as you like at Pat’s Philly Steaks and Subs (1624 Market St., Denver, 303-534-1333), a little slice of the East Coast in the Rockies. It is the place for can’t miss cheese steaks, Old Bay fries and a cold one.
The basement space is an underground haven for Penn State and Eagles fans, and a popular haunt for Denverites of all stripes who like to duck in before and after a Colorado Rockies game.
This Philadelphia family-owned establishment oven roasts their own turkey and insists on freshly baked bread for their sandwiches. If you’re not looking for a hot hoagie, try one of their Italian subs or an order of hot wings.
Family friendly, there’s plenty of space at the bar, or you just can settle into a booth and enjoy a game on one of flat-screen TV’s that are just about anywhere you look.
3. Where It All Began
The Wynkoop Brewing Company (1634 18th St., Denver, 303-297-2700) is the place that helped put LoDo on the map. It was founded by the current mayor of Denver, John Hickenlooper, who had a vision of a neighborhood watering hole with high quality, locally brewed beer.
The state’s oldest brewpub, it has become an anchor for Colorado’s status as the microbrew capital of the world and is often credited with launching the revitalization of LoDo.
Housed in an old mercantile building, the hardwood floors, timber pillars and pressed tin ceilings give the Wynkoop part of its charm. But it’s the handcrafted beers brewed here that bring in the crowds and visitors from all over the world.
As you enjoy one of their many creations, head upstairs for a game on one of 22 pool tables or in one of their private billiards rooms. On warm evenings, the patio is an enjoyable place for people watching, as folks make their way around town.
Want a little Wynkoop for later? You can take home a half-gallon jug of your favorite flavor, just remember to finish it off before you get to airport security.
2. Taste of the Old Town
Step back in time for lip-smacking cocktails in a tucked away lounge where bartenders dress in red butler jackets and black tie to complete the style that is the Cruise Room (1600 17th St., Denver, 303-825-1107).
Located in the lobby of the historic Oxford Hotel, this local favorite was modeled after one of the lounges on the Queen Mary and the Art Deco bar still transports visitors back to the day that it opened -- just 24 hours after prohibition was repealed.
Enjoy your fresh squeezed cocktail to the tunes offered on a working antique jukebox filled with the sounds of the day -- any day that is from the 1930s and '40s.
1. Finish at the Top
Sometimes you have to leave LoDo to appreciate its charm. Head straight up 15th Street from downtown and in a few minutes you will find yourself at Lola Coastal Mexican (1575 Boulder St., Denver, 720-570-8686). As you enter, you can’t help but look left to take in the amazing skyline view of the Mile High City.
End your day with a taste of one of more than 100 varieties of tequila before sitting down to some authentic Mexican seafood. Try the Lola guacamole and the sea bass ceviche for starters. Sundays bring music, brunch and family-style paella.