This Week: Doors OPEN Denver 2014

Despite not being able to attend due to my slightly ridiculous ARE study schedule (quick update: 2 down, 5 to go.. and yes, I am counting… all the while feeling strange swings of both hope and despair at the temporary but extended loss of freedom in exchange for quality time with the Prometric staff, uncomfortable noise-cancelling headphones, and the baristas of my neighborhood coffee shop…) I’m using this post as a chance to highlight Doors OPEN Denver, an event I would recommend to architecture enthusiasts, or really anyone that is curious about what the interiors of many of the old, historic, potentially-haunted buildings of Downtown Denver might look like…

The 2014 event is happening this upcoming Saturday and Sunday, April 12th and 13th.  The event is free and entails a literal translation of the event title: many historic buildings in Denver simply “open their doors” for the public to tour their spaces.

Tickets are required for expert-led tours (see website below for more information, as well as the tour map)  but I was both impressed and wooed by the overall informality and accessible nature of the event– whether you want to visit one building or ten, most sites were relatively flexible about people moseying through their spaces for a short or long look at antiques (I highly recommend the Kirkland Museum,) oddities (found in many themed Bed and Breakfasts in Capitol Hill,) and/or grand architecture of a time and place when budget and time were not they key drivers of a project…

For more information/to plan your route:


Snapshot: Uptown

If you’ve been following the blog the past few weeks, you’d have noticed our group of bloggers have been writing about the neighborhoods they live in as a means of sharing some helpful tips/context for emerging professionals that will be visiting Denver during the National Convention (which is hard to believe is less than a month away..!!!)

I am the “Uptown” representative… the neighborhood described by Sunset Magazine as “one of Denver’s hippest ‘hoods, with lively new restaurants, chic shops and a cheery, progressive vibe.”  Well said, if I do say so myself.

As a young professional with the more-than-occasional hipster tendency (balanced with a love for the outdoors,) Uptown has been a perfect lifestyle fit given its abundance of culture and greenspace concentrated into the area between Colfax Avenue (South boundary), 20th Street (North boundary), York Street (East boundary) and Broadway (west boundary).   Whether you’re looking for dining, ping pong, park-hopping, museum-going, or at the very least, coffee drinking and bike repair…Uptown has it all (and no, this is not a commercial announcement, but I do love where I live..)

In an effort to tailor this post to architects, I thought visuals might be a more helpful way to communicate what I consider the highlights of Uptown, so here is a quick visual tour of a place I highly recommend visiting while in town…

View from Uptown

Image 1: View from Uptown looking Downtown

Image 1:  This photo was taken on 17th and Pearl Street, looking Downtown.  It’s meant to highlight the close proximity to Downtown.. a mere 10-15 minute walk, and a nice way to step back and admire the city skyline..

The roof near St. Mark's coffee shop, near 17th and Race Street

Image 2: The roof near St. Mark’s coffee shop, near 17th and Race Street

Image 2: Character (and quirkiness) abounds.  Whether you’re walking the neighborhoods to admire Old Victorians or updated bungalows or strolling down 17th.. there are a lot of details that might go missed the first time, but can be appreciated for their unexpected addition of character and wit.


Image 3: Ace Restaurant, Summer  2012

Image 3: Nightlife and summertime are alive and thriving in Uptown.  The addition of Ace to an already vibrant neighborhood scene has given people another reason to stay out late to enjoy the warm Colorado weather, a game of ping pong, and a cocktail shared at an inviting picnic table..

Image 4: Some houses might (or might not) be haunted

Image 4: Some houses might (or might not) be haunted

Image 4:  While this is purely conspiracy theory, some of the more authentic Victorians can emit a feeling of mystery and intrigue.  Or perhaps there are just a lot of cat people in Uptown.


Image 5: Urban and green space are not exclusive.

Image 5: One of the big draws of Uptown is that despite its proximity to Downtown, it still feels like a dense, intimate residential neighborhood when circulating the cross streets.  This view from my window shows the tree-lined streets that serve as quiet canopy for a bike ride or walk.


Image 6: There are a lot of coffee shops. Choose wisely.

Image 6:  After recently reading this list of funny stereotypes entitled “9 things they don’t tell you about dating an architect,”  you will note that Number 8 is that we’re coffee snobs.  I hate to say this is probably true, despite not being “fact.”  I highly recommend the Denver Bicycle Cafe on 17th and Lafayette– they serve local coffee and have a built-in bike shop in the event you have a flat and need a caffeine fix.  Pablo’s and Illegal Grounds are also good spots to try if you’re looking for variety or a tour-de-coffee in Denver.. (a sport people take very seriously here.)


Image 7: Best Yoga Studio .. Ever.

Image 7:  If you need a break from the National Convention and are tired of conversing or networking, I highly recommend one of my favorite yoga studios of all time.. located on 19th near Uptown Square, Samadhi Yoga is a studio that offers a wide range of classes and perspectives to all levels of yogis…


Image 8: City Park is beautiful.

Image 8:  If you need a break from the inside of lecture halls and expo halls, City Park is Denver’s largest green space.  My favorite walk is to circle the huge pond in the middle of the park; stopping near the Natural History Museum for a panoramic view of the Denver skyline against the backdrop of the mountains.  Sigh.


Image 9: No matter where you go in Colorado, there are a lot of dogs.

Image 9:  Uptown, like most Denver neighborhoods, is very dog friendly.  …incase you were wondering.


Image 10: Another quirky image, just because.


Image 11: Steubens

Image 11:  While at the convention, you should probably have at least one meal here… I would recommend the crisply brussel sprouts.  And a moscow mule.  (not necessarily in that order.)


Image 12: There are a lot of vintage cars.

Image 12:  One thing I love about Denver is a tangible feeling of the past colliding with the present. Vintage cars, shops, clothing, and even menus seem to integrate seamlessly with the adoption of modern, contemporary flair and attitudes.


Hope this little visual guide is helpful, or at least entertaining (whether you’re from out-of-state or a Denver native..).  If you have any questions or comments regarding accommodations or things to do while in Denver, feel free to contact our editorial team in the comments section!