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16th Street Mall

16th Street Mall
16th Street Mall

© Catchpenny

Trying to explore all the shops and dining establishments the 16th Street Mall has to offer would be like opening the gift-wrapped retail edition of Pandora's Box.

This pedestrian mall stretches one and a quarter miles right through the heart of Downtown Denver. While the mall itself is confined to 16th street, the shops and restaurants sprawl several blocks north and south of the main stretch. Those willing to wander off the beaten path are rewarded for following their noses with a number of delicious destinations.

Adding to the myriad shopping opportunities of the 16th Street Mall is the “mall within a mall” at the Denver Pavilions. Here, shoppers can explore over 40 shops and restaurants, as well as a movie theater and a bowling alley. This three-story open air mall complements the more specialized boutique stores found along 16th Street with some of the bigger names in retail—including the Gap and Niketown. The Pavilions are easy to spot, marked by the signature 20-foot neon guitar of the Hard Rock Cafe, one of the many fun restaurants in the area.

But, stores and restaurants are not what make this mall unique. Though Armenian Shish Kabobs and Mongolian Barbeques may be exotic, the 16th Street Mall is renowned for its atmosphere. During winter months, the mall becomes a veritable winter wonderland—snow dusted trees are adorned with twinkling lights and the streets bustle with horse drawn carriages and shoppers bundled up against the cold. In warmer weather, the mall attracts a slew of fascinating street performers, from virtuoso musicians to very convincing robot-men.

Due to its size and diversity, most shoppers utilize a free mall shuttle, the MallRide, which stops at each block along main drag. The shuttle also connects to Union Station and the RTD LightRail, for those looking to broaden the scope of their Denver adventure.

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