The 16th Street is best when large public events are occurring, or when you have planned a specific event to go to on 16th street.
The 16th street mall is street in the center of the Denver business district organized for food, shopping, and entertainment. It's a street closed to local traffic for over sixteen blocks...which means it's safer for people during the lunch rush hour to cross the street for food or shopping on either side. It's basically where all the working people of downtown converge to eat during lunch hours. The street is only open to free public buses that shuttle passengers regularly throughout the day and horse and carriage rides. The buses are less regular in the evening.
The mall gets a lot of business and foot traffic from people in downtown Denver for regular every day things such as sporting events, conventions, business, living, and movie watching. At night it is where people who live near downtown or who are visiting the city go to see movies, dine, see a show, or do a little shopping. People converge on the mall before and after Rockies baseball games because mass transit to Coors Field runs through and near 16th street.
16th street has a few highlight destinations like the historic Paramount Theater, a Hard Rock Cafe within the Denver Pavillion's, ESPN Zone, and the D&F Clock Tower which was the tallest structure west of the Mississppi in 1910, below the tower is a cabaret theater. The mall is also where people go to see New Years fireworks downtown. In the summer months there's usually free concert shows scheduled near the Pavillions on 16th street.
Overall the mall serves it's purpose, it provides distraction and food for business workers, and people in town for events. There is no reason to schedule an entire vacation around visiting the 16th street mall, instead you might visit there if you have things planned near 16th Street or along 16th Street. If you are planning to go there, it's best to visit during peak hours, and when there are events in downtown or on the mall. To get the most out of your visit to 16th street and see it when it's most lively, plan your visit during an event like the Taste of Colorado.
Loudmouths, roaming idiots, and trouble seekers, do come out late at night like in most large cities, but they are usually most visible when there is no reason to be strolling the mall, such as when all the shops are closed, or when it's too cold for anyone but drunkards. But like another reviewer stated there are police around especially during peak hours and events.
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