Denver’s Old South Gaylord Street This vintage Denver commercial row is a much-loved Washington Park neighborhood hangout By Laura Beausire
hen the Denver City Tramway Company had a cable car turnaround on South Gaylord Street between Mississippi and Tennessee Avenues, the area’s shopping district was a natural place to get out and explore. The streetcars vanished in the 1950s, but the business district, founded in 1924 and one of Denver’s oldest, still crackles with its own kind of vibrant electricity. Running north-south through the eastern end of the charmingly tree-lined and bungalow-blessed Washington Park neighborhood, South Gaylord Street, then as now, is a perfect place to stroll and browse. Since the 1920s, the street has been lined with an eclectic mixture of commercial buildings and private residences. The old drygoods store, creamery and watchmaker have made way for today’s boutiques, restaurants and salons, and many of the vintage homes have been retrofitted as businesses. But you still won’t find any chain stores here. On Old South Gaylord, the vibe is funky casual, the mood is Sunday-afternoon relaxed, and the shopping offers a comfortable blend of unexpected discoveries and trusted local standbys.
Boutiques and bites to make you say…
Wow: Find that perfect canvas in Arts at Denver (1025 S. Gaylord St.), which carries gorgeous original oil paintings by more than 30 Colorado artists. The well-traveled owners of Silk Road (1065 S. Gaylord St.) track down “the very best treasures from countries around the world,” including artisan jewelry, clothing, and housewares. A “cornucopia of paper” welcomes visitors to The Paper Lady (1018 S. Gaylord St.); and you’ll happily get lost in The Tended Thicket (1034 S. Gaylord St.), filled with gifts and flowers and garden enchantment. Cool: Follow the irresistible pink sign to wish gifts (1071 S. Gaylord St.) for “thoughtful, funny and chic gifts for your best girlfriends throughout all stages of their lives,” and then stop at their sister store, wish boutique (1099 S. Gaylord St.) for women’s clothing. Guys might want to pop into to Trout’s (1077 S. Gaylord St.), a purveyor of American sportswear for men “who take life less seriously.” Yum: Loyal patrons flock to the retro-funky Devil’s Food Bakery & Cookery (1020 S. Gaylord St.) for heavenly daily pastries (Brown Butter Spiced Pear Galette, anyone?) and inventive menus that mix nostalgic and new. The Wash Park Grille is celebrating its 20th anniversary as a neighborhood favorite, with a covered outdoor patio, live music and a popular Sunday brunch buffet. Woof: Since South Gaylord Street is only a stick’s throw away (five blocks actually) from dog-friendly Washington Park, it’s no surprise to find shops with canine connections. Heavenly Dog (2224 E. Tennessee Ave.) is an upscale self-service dog grooming salon, and Lil’ Angel Pet Boutique & Gallery (1014 S. Gaylord St.) offers custom pet portraits. Cheers: The high-spirited r+d Wine Shop (1080 S. Gaylord St.) offers monthly wine classes and a wine-of-the-month membership. Or render you speechless: You might feel as if you’ve slipped the bonds of reality when you enter The Gnome’s Nook Confectioners (1078 S. Gaylord St.), a delightful fantasy realm of “chocolates, candies & all things gnome.”
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