Larimer Square, Denver

Larimer Square is a historic district in Denver, Colorado, that has become a cultural hub for locals and tourists alike. The area was first developed in the mid-19th century and was home to some of Denver's earliest buildings. Today, it's a bustling pedestrian-only zone, filled with shops, restaurants, and entertainment venues. The district's Victorian-era architecture has been beautifully preserved, adding to the area's charm and appeal.

In the late 1960s, the area was in danger of being demolished to make way for new development. However, local preservationists fought to save the historic district, and in 1973 it was successfully listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Today, it's one of Denver's top attractions and a must-visit destination for anyone interested in history, culture, and entertainment.

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Why should you go?

  1. Experience the history. Larimer Square is a living testament to Denver's rich history. You can take a stroll through the district's streets and feel as if you've been transported back in time. The historic buildings are truly awe-inspiring.
  2. Dine at award-winning restaurants. The district is known for its incredible dining options. From upscale restaurants to casual eateries, there's something for everyone. Some of the area's most popular restaurants include Rioja, Ocean Prime, and Osteria Marco.
  3. Shop at unique boutiques. Larimer Square is home to some of Denver's most unique boutiques and shops. You can find everything from clothing and jewelry to outdoor gear and dog toys. Some of the most popular shops include Hailee Grace, Garage Sale Vintage, and Milly Rose Designs.
  4. Attend cultural events. The district is a hub for cultural activities and entertainment. From art walks to live music performances, there's always something happening in Larimer Square. It also hosts a variety of annual events, including the Denver Chalk Art Festival and the Larimer Square Fashion Show. Check out the district's calendar to see what's happening during your visit.
  5. Enjoy the outdoors. The district's pedestrian-only zone makes it a great place to enjoy spending time outdoors. Take a leisurely stroll through the streets or grab a seat at one of the area's outdoor cafes or restaurants.
  6. Take a guided tour. To fully appreciate the history and significance of the district, consider taking a guided tour. There are several tour companies that offer walking tours of the area, such as Historic Denver Walking Tours.
  7. Explore nearby attractions. Larimer Square is located in the heart of downtown Denver, making it a great starting point for exploring the city. Nearby attractions include the Denver Art Museum, the Colorado State Capitol, and many more.

Best places to visit near Larimer Square

  • Denver Art Museum. A world-class art museum with an extensive collection of American Indian, African, Asian, and European art.

  • Colorado State Capitol. A stunning building with a distinctive gold dome that houses the offices of the Governor, Lieutenant Governor, and the Colorado General Assembly.

  • Civic Center Park. A beautiful park with a Greek amphitheater, fountains, statues, and plenty of green space to relax and unwind.

  • Coors Field. A baseball stadium that is home to the Colorado Rockies team and a must-visit for any sports fan.

  • 16th Street Mall. A bustling pedestrian mall with shops, restaurants, and entertainment, which is a popular destination for tourists and locals alike.

  • Union Station. A historic train station turned transportation hub that boasts beautiful Beaux-Arts architecture and is a great place to grab a bite to eat or a drink.

  • Molly Brown House Museum. The former home of Titanic survivor Margaret "Molly" Brown, offering a glimpse into the life of one of Denver's most fascinating residents.

  • Denver Botanic Gardens. A 23-acre oasis in the heart of the city that features a wide variety of plants and flowers from around the world.

  • Colorado Convention Center. A state-of-the-art facility that hosts conventions, trade shows, and other events. It is a great place to see the latest technology, fashion, and more.
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    Who saved Larimer Square?
    The person credited with saving Larimer Square from demolition in the 1960s is Dana Crawford, a prominent preservationist and developer. She recognized the historical significance of the buildings and worked tirelessly to preserve the area, helping to establish it as a historic district in 1971.

    Crawford's efforts not only saved Larimer Square from demolition but also led to the revitalization of the surrounding area and helped spur broader interest in historic preservation in Denver and beyond. Today, Larimer Square is a vibrant neighborhood known for its restaurants, shops, and historic architecture, and it remains a testament to Crawford's vision and dedication.
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    What are the most interesting and unique facts about Larimer Square?
    • Larimer Square is the exact place where the city of Denver was established in 1858. The first cabin in Denver, housing the city’s founder General William Larimer Jr., was constructed on that same spot where the current-day Granite Building is located.

    • Larimer Square has experienced some extreme ups and downs. By the early 20th century, it had turned from the city’s main business area into a skid row of pawnshops, gin mills, and flophouses, but in 1971 it became the city’s first historic district. 

    • Larimer Square is the best-preserved block of 19th-century buildings in downtown Denver and is home to some of the city's oldest buildings, including the Kettle Arcade, the first building in Denver to be built using the neighboring walls as its own.