Animals and Artwork Themes Amble You through La Alma/Lincoln Park
Animals and Art might be the themes of La Alma/Lincoln Park neighborhood. With MaxFund, a no-kill pet shelter, on its eastern boundary and the Buckhorn Exchange on its western, both places show the variety of the neighborhoods and the surprises around every artistic turn of this central neighborhood. Top it off by adding the renovated Mariposa (which means “butterfly” in Spanish), and you’ve got a well-rounded theme!
Bounded by W Colfax Ave on the north, W 6th Ave on the south, the Cherry Creek on the east and the S Platte River on the west, a 2.5-mile walk through La Alma/Lincoln Park is quite enjoyable.
The Soul of the City
If you have walked the Auraria neighborhood, you might have been through the 9th Ave Historic District and learned about the historic flood that invaded Denver in 1965. Many of the residents that lived in Auraria relocated, by choice or not, to the Lincoln Park neighborhood. Soon afterward, the residents organized and motivated the city to rename the area the La Alma/Lincoln Park neighborhood. La Alma means “soul” in Spanish. Finally, in 2013, the City officially changed the name.
Designated as one of America’s Great Neighborhoods in 2014, you’ll find that 93% of its residential blocks were half or more developed before 1900 and the remaining 7% developed between 1900 and 1914. Seven locations are on the National Register of Historic Places, four are Denver Historic Landmarks, and 20 qualify for historic preservation under Chapter 30 of the Denver Revised Code. (source)
Who’s Looking at You?
La Alma/Lincoln Park’s western edge of Osage Street was once the hangout for railmen and phone men. They installed this infrastructure during the day then hung out at the Buckhorn and other rough and tumble salons at night–which explains why the Buckhorn holds liquor license number one for Colorado. Now the Buckhorn, with its upgraded clientele, is the last stop before entering the light rail station to downtown. Around the corner, you’ll find the delicious Osage Cafe, a social enterprise diner that trains local students how to work in the culinary industry.
In Harmony and Mariposas
Moving easterly through the neighborhood, you’ll come across the Mariposa area. Once a place where folks avoided, it’s now a beautifully redeveloped income-qualified and market-rate housing complex with non-profits on the first floor servicing the community. The City sponsored a beautiful art program, where you’ll see street art wrapping around building corners in 3D effects and metal flowers reaching for the sky.
Next up on the easterly trek through La Alma/Lincoln Park is the Santa Fe arts district. Be sure to come back on the First Friday of the month to catch the open gallery scene, and enjoy the district on this walk as well. You’ll be welcomed by colorful murals, eclectic galleries and cultural museums. Don’t miss the Su Teatro theatre, originally one of Denver’s first silent movie houses and now home to great Latin-influenced shows, community plays, and local entertainment.
A Tiger Crosses the Road…
No matter what streets you walk in La Alma/Lincoln Park, a riot of colors will greet you on almost every available wall. You’ll eventually end up on the east side of the neighborhood at Sunken Gardens Park. Once the darling of the area with manicured gardens and flowing creeks, it’s now an open grassy park that welcomes West High School kids and locals to lounge in the open space.
Interspersed between the history and the murals are homes from the Victorian area, smaller historic shotgun homes, and a mix of wooden and brick homes in between. Be sure to enjoy the wide range of architecture and art throughout the neighborhood.
The Route (click for interactive link):
You’ll want to take time in your walk to visit the Buckhorn Exchange so that you can go in and look around this time warp, historic restaurant. It’s worth the effort. Park near 1010 Osage St.
Walk east along 10th Ave to the alley just before Santa Fe. Take a right in the alley, enjoying the artwork. At 9th Ave, take a left and then a right on Santa Fe. Enjoy the shops along the art district and stop at the Su Teatro theatre to see what’s playing.
Take a left on 7th Ave, then a right on Inca. Take a left on 6th Ave, walking by the historic St Joe’s.
Take a left on Fox then a right on 7th. At Delaware St, take a left. Walk past the Denver Health buildings and then into Sunken Gardens Park. Make your way across the field toward the sidewalk running diagonally along the park and next to Speer. Walk northwesterly along the sidewalk.
At W 11th Ave, take a left. At Galapago St, take a left. You’ll see the MaxFund on your right. If you have time, go inside and scratch a few dogs or cats.
Take a right on W 10th Ave, making your way back to Santa Fe. Take a right on Santa Fe and then a left on 11th. Continue on 11th to Osage. Pass La Alma/Lincoln Park on your right and enjoy the murals and art at the La Alma Rec Center.
Take a left on Osage, taking you back to the Buckhorn. Take a tour or maybe even grab a bite to eat there or at Osage Cafe!
Animals and Artwork Themes Amble You through La Alma/Lincoln Park and Supporting Denver By Foot
If you’ve enjoyed this walk, maybe you’ll enjoy some other walks curated by Denver By Foot. Get the 52 Hikes 52 Weeks Denver Calendar, which recommends a hike a week, subscribe to the YouTube Channel to hear about weekly hiking suggestions in Denver, and buy access to the Denver By Foot Challenge. The Challenge is 30 activities in Denver to do by foot where you’ll uncover treasures throughout Denver. It’s a great thing to do with friends and family.
Finally, please support Denver By Foot by purchasing Chris Englert’s books, The Best Urban Hikes: Denver and Discovering Denver Parks. Thank you so much!
Wasn’t this a fun walk?
~See you on the trail