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“It kept me busy for my 8 hour layover”
Review of 16th Street Mall

16th Street Mall
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Denver Scavenger Hunt Adventure
Ranked #22 of 259 things to do in Denver
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Owner description: Located in the heart of Denver, this vibrant area offers a variety of shops and places to relax.
Reviewed July 17, 2009

I had 8 hours to wait for an evening train, and the ticket person at the station recommended the 16th Street Mall. As others have said, this is basically a very long street that has been closed to traffic, yet there are free buses that run on solar energy that go constantly up and down the street, so you can get on and off at will.

There were a lot of interesting shops on the street here, a few souvenir stores, clothing stores, lots of restaurants of different kinds, chocolate stores, a bowling alley, movie theater, and a wonderful bookstore, The Tattered Cover Book Store.

As other people have pointed out, there were a few homeless people that were congregating in the middle of the pedestrian mall, but there was a large police presence that kept them moving, so at no time did it feel unsafe. An interesting place to visit and pass the time.

6  Thank MiouMiou
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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3,166 - 3,170 of 3,417 reviews

Reviewed June 3, 2009

This is basically like an outdoor mall, with a free shuttle bus that runs the length of the mall. It is mostly mixed mid-range retail and restaurants. While there have been issues with homeless people in the past, they have been resolved to a large degree, and there are only a few problem spots left. It really doesn't feel as touristy as you might think, though there are plenty of shops that cater to that. The "street" of the mall is now pedestrian only and elaborately paved, with trees everywhere.

The McDonalds and Taco Bell towards the middle of the mall are the places the homeless seem to hang out most, but really, it is not that bad. Both restaurants have gone through remodeling and have taken measures to correct the problem, even if they have only been partially successful. Denver enacted an anti-panhandling law a while back that has reduced the problem quite a bit, and the mall is much more inviting now.

The McDonalds at the East end of the mall seems to have completely removed the problem (which is impressive, since it used to be one of the worst areas of the mall). They did an extensive remodel last year, and it is really slick...one of the nicest fast food restaurants I have ever seen. They are aggressive in kicking out transients and trouble-makers. It is actually very pleasant now, and I never see homeless people there anymore.

The street performers are a big part of the mall, which can be entertaining or mildly annoying depending on what you like. Personally, though I'm not a big fan of them, they've never bothered me much. They are mostly active in the afternoon and at night. If Street Performers are your thing, you will probably like Boulder's Pearl Street Mall much better.

There are a LOT of restaurants on the mall, as well as cart vendors, and they range from very affordable to expensive. My personal favorite at the moment is Boney's BBQ, which is probably the best BBQ I have had in Colorado so far. It is hard to find...it's in a basement nook next to the McDonalds/Subway restaurants towards the middle of the mall. They have a cart in Writer's Square as well, but I would go to the restaurant if you can (the menu is more extensive).

There are two mini-malls within the 16th Street system. The Denver Pavilions is really nice (they have a website), and contains a movie theater, bowling alley (nicely themed but expensive), a Barnes and Noble, and many mid to high end restaurants (Hard Rock Cafe, Colorado Chocolate Factory, Maggianos, ect..). It is towards the east end of the mall and covers two blocks and three stories (with an elevated walk over the street). It is very well maintained and landscaped. During the summer they have flowers everywhere, and during the winter Christmas lights.

The other mini-mall is the Tabor Center, which has seen better days. It is towards the Western part of the mall in a big greenish glass building. It is enclosed and used to be really cool, but there is not a lot left in it. It is anchored by the ESPN zone store/restaurant now. While it is clean and pleasant enough, it feels a bit empty now.

Tabor is right across the street from Writer's Square, which is also a mini-mall of sorts. It has several small shops and restaurants (including another Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory and a good Deli). There are many public tables to eat/picnic at if you want, and it is a pleasant place to eat on the mall.

The mall has free shuttle buses that run it's length, and there are transportation Hubs at either end (The light Rail station at the West end, which will also take you to the Elitch Gardens Amusement Park, and the Bus Terminal at the East end, which is a Hub for Denver's Bus system). While the mall never "really" closes, most stores close around 9pm on weekdays, and maybe 10 or 11 on weekends.

3  Thank pruje
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 30, 2008

My Lovely 16th Street Mall:

The best place to hang out in downtown Denver; with your lovely discount stores, many fast food and cheap places to eat, typical bars and all the homeless and crazy people in town.... I read a little bit of your history: a local street closed down and turned into an open-air mall to attract businesses, tourist and revive life in downtown Denver. You have succeeded my dear 16th Street Mall. The many times I've visited you, I've always enjoy your comfort, especially when the inclement of weather are not a threat to my enjoyment.

It does seems to be the hangout place for all of those who can play musical instruments to a minimum, like the bag piper who made your ears bleed or the guy who thinks he can make music with two empty plastic cubes and two sticks of wood or the one who plays the guitar thinking he is Jimmy Hendrix.

But yet, I still love walking all around... looking at your overpriced souvenirs stores. Oh wow! I just saw a southwestern style souvenir shop with many artifacts that are so cool to hang in someone's basement, like the tribe leader's headgear, which reminds me of that guy in the musical group the Village People. I thought it could be a great part of a Halloween costume until I saw the price tag and ran out of the store faster than the Road Runner being chased by the Coyote.

But yet, I still love all of your other souvenir shops, and discount stores like Ross, Payless and TJ Maxx, that makes me wonder why, as a tourist, I feel like shopping at the 16th Street Mall when I can do the same thing back home and not having to carry all of my purchases on the plane.

And I'm loving 'cheating' on my daily walking workout with your convenient Hybrid 16th Street Mall free shuttles. When I get inside and take a seat, the smell of urine overwhelms me. I try not to breath too deep and the couple of open windows do not help air the smell out. Yet, we all stay in the bus and ignore the strong urine odor, like that will make it all better and go away....

I did enjoy the protesters in front of the Federal Building conveniently located in your 16th Street Mall. Then again, I think: "why are they protesting on a Saturday when the building is closed and none is there to really see the protest? Yes, chant about all the money they are throwing away in bailouts and give me two dozen of free literature for me to read on my flight back to New York as a substitute to the cheesy movie that plays in the overhead video system that I always fall asleep watching.

And do not forget all the homeless people that love to beg for money. We got beggars from the moment we left the hotel one block away from 16th Street all the way to Larimer Square. Some of them were nice enough to say: "have a nice day" to the one that was screaming to people: "you fools!"

At night, I enjoyed walking the street, with a few cops here and there ensuring our safety. Christmas lights are decorating the street even though we haven't pass Thanksgiving yet. And everyone is bar hopping from Rock Bottoms (review available) to Rialto Café (review available).

The best part of your mall, my dear 16th Street, is the detours to Writers and Larimer Square. With the many outdoor cafes, restaurants and shops, this is the classiest part of town. Love the architecture of the few good historical buildings that have not being flattened to make room for more ugly high-riser buildings.

Well, my dear 16th street mall, this is my goodbye. I did enjoy what you had to offer and will definitely visit you again and again.... your ambiance is like no other open-air mall I've seen. I feel safe and enjoy doing people watching. Seeing the old men playing checkers or reading books in your lovely benches is comforting. This is it. Time to head back home. Will enjoy coming back to you soon!

3  Thank Flyairhost
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 31, 2008

Open air mall with chain shops, restaurants,curio shops, a Cooks Fresh gourmet market, brew pubs,hotels,a couple of pharmacies, a movie theatre and a retro bowling ally. The road is closed to car traffic. A free bus shuttle service with multiple stops runs the length of the mall every few minutes. On the weekend we noticed carriage rides along the same route. The is a place that is frequented by tourists and used by downtown office workers. Lunch time is a very busy time. Union station is near one end of the shuttle line and the opposite is adjacent to the city bus terminal. It is very user friendly.

2  Thank 2draw
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 16, 2008

Pretty cool to have a mall outside. Have been here a couple times. Usually just go for the walking not really the shopping. There are also horses pulling carrages which adds to the feel.

While here, try the Hard Rock Cafe. I always try to stop by them when I can, trying to get to one in every city I go to.

1  Thank Pens4821
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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