Recently I found myself with five hours to spare in one of America's coolest cities- Denver! Flying in a few hours before Clayton, I wanted to check out the city and make sure I had enough time to drive back to the airport a few hours later. Coming off a work trip, I wasn't feeling anything too crazy and didn't want to maneuver through traffic or the downtown scene.
That led me to the handy Google search of 'cool Denver coffee shops wifi' which usually results in a complete hit or miss. This time: hit. I found Denver Bicycle Cafe: bike.beer.coffee. As if the name doesn't say it all, it provided a delicious cup of coffee, friendly staff, and free stickers! A Sunday afternoon found every desk and table full of people on their laptops, ambient chatter between friends and a few gut laughs of guys enjoying a brew. Sandwiched between City Park West and North Capital Hill neighborhoods, I was thankful to get my cup of joe to go and check out a few of the local shops in the area.
Across the street I found Soul Haus an eclectic shop with clothing, gifts and unique artifacts. Striking up conversation with the kind store owner, explaining I wasn't from the area, only here for a few hours, etc. etc. (insert sharing of life story)... he directed me to the newly infamous 'Denver Spot You Should Know About': The Stanley Marketplace. (Technically in Aurora, but close enough).
Information in tow, I jumped back in the car, effectively caffeinated and headed to this gem of a spot. What once was home to the design and production of 'innovative and revolutionary airplane ejection seats' is now a community of small independent and local businesses with common good as their motive. To get a better idea of what they stand for, check out their 'Stanifesto' pictured below (or found here on their site).
Some of my favorite lines:
We believe rules are simple and clear: love your neighbor. Leave each place better than you found it. Be good and do good.
We embrace collaboration and curiosity, too. Also good food and music and dancing in the grass.
We are guided by the belief that nothing is better than spending time with family and friends in a beautiful place with excellent food and incredible views.
Everyday is an opportunity to put goodness into the world. Positivity is contagious. Kindness is a virtue.
It was inspiring to check out the boutique like shops, filled with local designs, clothing and delicious eats. It even hosted popular Denver eats such as Denver Biscuit Co., talk about melt in your mouth yum! I awed over beautiful chocolate designs at Miette Chocolat, and thankfully only purchased one small box of chocolate bark. Stanley Marketplace was only about 40% complete at the time I visited, so I'll be sure to visit again when I'm back in Denver!
An easy drive from Stanley Marketplace found me in the cell phone lot of DEN airport with a few minutes to watch plane after plane take off into the pink mountain lined skies! It was a day well spent.