We have been visiting downtown Arvada for quite some time. I don’t remember how exactly it came on our radar, but we love to play here, especially now that we have friends who moved to the area. It’s a vibrant downtown with interesting places and shops like Scrumptious, a candy shop Ryan must visit every time we are in town.
Olde Town Arvada has an open consumption policy that’s sticking around this summer and maybe beyond this summer. Also, the street closures that started last year are going to be year round into the foreseeable future. See? A few good things have arisen from the 2020 pandemic woes.
Another excellent piece of Arvada’s downtown story is light rail. The G Line is a commuter train that is part of Colorado’s light rail line system. It transports a rider from Denver to downtown Arvada in twenty minutes. The route started in mid-2019, and is a convenient way for residents of Denver, or visitors, to access downtown Arvada.
The G Line literally pulls up and deposits travelers in downtown Arvada.
Why would you want to be in downtown Arvada? Well, let me give you 10 reasons.
1. Have A Pint at Two-Award Winning Breweries
Downtown Arvada is home to not one, but two award winning breweries.
New Image Brewing opened its doors in downtown Arvada in 2016. It’s a small space that feels like a genuine taphouse with beer and small bites. It’s old-school and cutting edge, sort of like downtown Arvada itself. New Image was one of the first breweries in Colorado to specialize in hazy IPAs.
Located a block and a half away, Denver Beer Company has been located in the former Arvada Chevy dealership on Old Wadsworth Boulevard since 2017. With a permanent food truck inside serving up some of the best hamburgers in Colorado, the front garage doors open onto the big patio, making it an especially popular summer hangout.
2. Munch on Colorado Cherries at the Farmers Market
Taking place every Sunday, the Arvada Farmers Market runs June through September. It takes place each week in Olde Town Square (57th and Olde Wadsworth). From 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. the park burst into sunflower blooms and aromas of freshly baked bread and tortillas fill the area.
3. Keep it Groovy with a Kaleidoscope Salad at So Radish
This is a 100 percent plant-based restaurant, and while all the dishes are vegan, most of it can be made gluten-free as well. Being vegetarian doesn’t mean it’s boring. From the vivid street art on the walls to the larger-than-life sunglasses bar, to the food, things here are full of color and flavor.
The Kaleidoscope Salad is naturally gluten free with a cornucopia of veggies, avocado and sunflower seeds. It’s all drizzled with a Carrot Ginger Miso Vinaigrette and pairs nicely with the Lavender Lemonade.
4. Find that Perfect Gift
Balefire Goods is located directly across from the Arvada Light Rail station, and there is a good reason Balefire Goods was named “one of America’s Coolest” stores by Instore Magazine. If you are looking for the perfect unique gift, this store will have it. Many Coloradan artisans are represented as jewelry designers, printmakers, glass blowers and more.
Also, we always find something to buy as a gift at Carly’s Boutique. This store has become one of our traditional downtown Arvada stops and last time we bought my mother-in-law a beautiful piece of yard art here.
5. Find that Darling Dress for Her & A Beard Balm for Him
Downtown has a handful of great clothing boutiques like Apricot Lane, which features flowing summer dresses and jewelry starting at just $8. VOUNA focuses on small US makers from around the country. For instance, their beard balm is locally made in Boulder County and they have totes made in Montana.
6. Grab an Ice Cream & A Charleston Chew at Scrumptious
Just a few doors down from Balefire Goods, is a store that is my husband’s favorite. Not only is Scrumptious an ice cream parlor, they sell candy, lots and lots of candy. Remember that candy you remember from childhood? There is a good chance that Scrumptious has it, alongside the Swedish Fish, pez dispensers and gum balls.
7. Come For A Cappuccino, Stay for Live Music at Bluegrass Lounge
During the day, this space moonlights as a place to get coffee and breakfast. In the evening, Bluegrass Lounge transforms into a bourbon bar that prides itself on a tasty bourbon for every pocketbook. They also focuses on music and features free live music every night of the week, as well as the highest bar stools in Colorado. You’ll see.
8. Drink a Pink Slushie at Elevated Seltzer
Next door to New Image Brewery, this “Seltzery” opened in July 2019. It’s like a brewery but instead of serving up craft beer, it serves up pints of hard seltzer. This is Colorado, so there are a few microbrews on tap, but this bar specializes in hard seltzers, a less caloric alcoholic drink that’s gained popularity in the last new years.
This summer, try one of their new seltzer slushies. Believe me, as a hardcore lover of craft beer, I think the pink slushie is summer in a glass. Yum. There’s food here too, and gluten free pizza crust is available.
9. Have a Peanut Butter & Jelly Sandwich with a Fine Whiskey at The Schoolhouse Kitchen & Libations
Nothing is quite like the School House Kitchen & Libations. This bar and restaurant is located inside an old school and the theme is apparent all over. Menus come in Pee Chee folders and whiskey is served in beakers. Chips are delivered in brown paper bags like a school lunch. And there may be no other place to eat a peanut butter and jelly sandwich with a fine whiskey, other than in your own kitchen.
This is one of those bars with a Whiskey Bible, and by judging from the wall of whiskey in the bar, they are all here. So when at The Schoolhouse, do as the other good kids do, and order one.
10. Have a Martini in the Stockroom
Spirits Wine Provisions has a secret. Pass their cooler and expensive wine area, and you’ll see a plain white door with a sign that reads: No Entry. Staff Only. Peek inside and one would expect to see boxes of liquor and perhaps a broom and mop.
Once your eyes adjust to the darkness, you’ll see Spirits Wine Provisions’ little secret. It’s called The Stockroom, and it’s a place in which to get lost among sips of good spirits. This is Arvada’s only speakeasy, a virtual “library of cocktails,” a phrase taken from Emily Evans, one of the speakeasy’s three bartenders.
Not only are these bartenders really good at what they do, they love a challenge. Tell them that you love big IPAs and they’ll craft a cocktail just for you. This speakeasy is one part educational, one part delicious and one part fun. Open after 4.
I hope this gives you more than enough reason to take the G Line to Arvada for the day.
Sponsored by Arvada Visitors Center.
Read more about Arvada, Colorado here.