Roadmap to Denver’s Perfect Fall Weekend

Photo: Ashley Bauler


With so much to do and so much to see, what’s wrong with taking the back streets? Nothing. Nothing is wrong with taking the back streets during the autumn season. Doing so allows for a proper exploration of Denver and all its districts and neighborhoods. The metropolitan area is filled to the brim with shops, restaurants, and activities that are worth visiting when there is ample time to wander and enjoy the vibrant colors of fall.

Areas that boast exquisite shopping are located in the neighborhoods of Pearl Street, Washington Park, and South Broadway. Although shopping can be a draw no matter the time of year, fall’s scenery and atmosphere almost guarantee a pleasant experience. Pearl St., located between Mexico St. and Louisiana St. in South Denver, is a historic business district that is lined with several boutiques and rustic shoppettes. As yellow leaves blanket the streets, the doors of Ruffly Rose offer a warm retreat from the bite of chilly air.

Ruffly Rose is a home goods store located in a rustic Victorian cottage that offers homemade art by different artisans that range from antiques to other refurbished items. The current theme is pieces that surround fall: pumpkins have been made into centerpieces and lawn decor. The interior of the house is welcoming and cozy, and knick knacks crowd surface.

Down the street is Gracie’s Boutique, a store that offers modern women’s clothing that is both classic and chic. There are several shawls, ponchos, and knitted scarves that are waiting to be worn throughout the changing of the season.

For those weary of shopping, Harrington Gallery waits next door to Gracie’s. The gallery is composed of contemporary art with pieces stretching from the floor to ceiling, and juxtaposed with the scenery outside and canvas paintings in fall colors, it’s a perfect place to rest and warm up chilled hands.

Wandering through the streets, Sexy Pizza, Uno Mas, and Pajama Baking Company provide a midday snack on a day filled with shopping. Whether it’s baked goods, pizza, or mexican food, there is something for everyone on Pearl Street. However, the perfect day to stop by for food is on Sundays, because the Pearl St. Farmers Market is every Sunday until November 13th. The market offers fresh food from several different vendors in the state, and what’s better than shopping with leaves crunching underfoot?

The Wash Park area offers even more options for the adventurous shopper. Located in the interior blocks circa Univeristy and Exposition, the neighborhood offers a range of ways to spend a weekend. Most noticeable at this time of year is the park is at the center of the neighborhood, perfectly-situated for an evening stroll around its idyllic ponds. The walkways are lined with golden cottonwood trees that stretch 30 feet overhead. For those who can’t easily make it up to the mountains to cruise through aspen-lined highways, Wash Park makes a great alternative to see the iconic fall sights.

Reiver’s on Gaylord St. in Wash Park is a premier choice in fall dining. It offers a menu predominantly composed of American cuisine (including burgers, wings, salads, and more). On any given Sunday, it is packed with people enjoying fall’s return of football season. The Tavern, located across the street from Reiver’s, offers the same experience. Both places have wonderful apple pie desserts strong with a favorite flavor of the season: cinnamon.

A little further up the street at University and Alameda lies a sprawling pumpkin patch along the side of the road. There waits pumpkins of all sizes, and on any given day families, are there to pick pumpkins to decorate their homes. Anyone is welcome to the pumpkin patch, and as Halloween nears, it’s necessary for people of all age to be festive and partake in America’s fall pastime of strolling through fields of decorative gourds with a warm cider in hand.

Beverages are an essential component to all these activities. The Denver area is the nation’s pride and joy when it comes to breweries and craft beer choices. The city takes the gold medal in America for what is commonplace to natives; that being said, there are some unparalleled places to grab a crisp beer. Among literally hundreds of choices, Renegade Brewing stands out. The Renegade Brewing Tap Room is located on 9th and Santa Fe. The tap room is a lively, rambunctious place to revel in conversations with friends and enjoy the fall-flavored beers on tap. There is an assortment of different beers that fill the heart with flavors of the season, meaning beers that are less citrus and fruity and heavier in molasses flavors.

For those who are dying for the Halloween activities, Reinke Brothers in Littleton offers a fun, not-so-scary place to spend a Friday night with friends and family. Located at Littleton Boulevard and Prince, the family-owned store has been a staple to the downtown Littleton community. Reinke Brothers is a high-end Halloween store that is open year round, and any costume piece that is impossible to find in other stores will almost surely be found at Reinke Brothers.

Shelves upon shelves of assorted colored wigs are hung from the walls. Makeup kits, shoes, front yard decorations, whatever can be thought of as Halloween necessities are housed here. After sundown, the store also operates its own production of a haunted house. It differs from places like 13th Floor because it’s bearable for most ages and is affordable. The best part for CU Denver students is that the area is easily accessible by light rail. The D and C lines run from Auraria Campus to the Downtown Littleton stop.

Last, if transportation options allow, there are innumerable places to explore outside of the city for those wanting to experience a Colorado autumn at its peak. For many, the breathtaking landscape the immense Rocky Mountains is profound. Scenic views can be seen from Sedalia, Salida, Pikes Peak, Aspen, Mt. Evans, and almost any road that exits off of I-70. West is the direction to go; even Golden, Colo., minutes away from downtown Denver, has plenty of beautiful views. Considering that snow has already begun to fall in many of these places, hiking is only recommended for experienced Colorado natives. For a relaxing and physically non-strenuous activity, grab the fam and drive to the top of Mt. Evans, which is the closest 14,000 ft mountain to Denver proper. From the top of the 14er, thousands of beautiful golden trees stretch for miles and miles, making the trip well worth the amount of gas money that was pooled together.

Needless to say, Denver might be on the list of top cities to experience autumn in. The weather is incredible—despite a randomcold spree here and there—and it’s a solid 65 degrees on any given day. Take the dog, S.O., parents, or siblings out on a fall adventure this year. Any of the above places is guaranteed to provide plenty of entertainment and positive memories of the autumnal time period.

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