Food+Travel

Colorado marijuana guide: Day-tripping Denver's Green Mile

October 4, 2017
Lonely Planet SOURCE: Lonely Planet

On a two-mile stretch of South Broadway in Denver, Colorado, it is said that there are more legal cannabis shops in a closer proximity than anywhere else in the world. There are no less than 15 dispensaries on as many blocks.

Some called it “Broadsterdam”, others called it SoBo, but the “Green Mile” nickname stuck. Blame Stephen King. This was long Denver’s Antique Row before legalization, but there now roughly the same number of antique shops in the old storefronts as there are pot shops. The cannabis boom has helped spark a number of new restaurants and breweries in previously underutilized spaces. It’s still in the midst of change; one frowzy motel recently had a date with a bulldozer, and condos are coming in its wake.

The Great American Beer Festival and numerous offshoot beer events take over Denver Oct. 5-7, making for an especially good time to check out the Green Mile and its ample attractions. Here’s a guide to day-tripping Denver’s Green Mile.


1. Visit a Dispensary

Patients Choice

2251 S. Broadway, (303) 862-5016

Why go? The Green Mile outpost for local dispensary group LiveGreen has been a Green Mile stalwart since opening in 2009. It’s now home to medical and recreational sales counters in a comfortable central room with a wide selection of flower, edibles, extracts, topicals, and vapes.


Colorado Harvest Company

1568 S. Broadway, (303) 722-1227

Why go? Part of one of the leading dispensary chains in metro Denver, Colorado Harvest Company is owned by the founders of O.penVAPE, so its selection and knowledge of vapes stands out, but Colorado Harvest Company has won a loyal following with its quality bud and overall inventory.


Wellspring Collective

1724 S. Broadway, (303) 733-3113

Why go? Known to throw an annual party for members that’s been headlined by Dean Ween of the rock group Ween. In recent years, Wellspring is a slick retail operation that’s fortuitously sandwiched between a coffee shop and a craft brewery. There’s an impressive selection of flower, edibles (jerky to truffles), and extracts on the shelves here.


Lucy Sky Cannabis
2394 S. Broadway, (720) 379-7295

Why go? Co-founder Tenicia Bradley now has three locations, including these medical and recreational shops in a converted duplex on the south end of the Green Mile. Her co-founder, Tyler Sapkin, heads up a cultivation facility staffed with technicians who wear scrubs and work in an environment comparable to a clean room at a pharmaceutical company.

FOOD PAIRINGS: There are a growing number of good restaurants on the Green Mile. The latest and greatest, Post Chicken & Beer offers some seriously tasty fried chicken and Southern standards.

For traditional Mexican and standout green chile, El Tejado is the spot on the south side of the Green Mile.

On the north end, Adelitas offers addictive margaritas along with creative (and often healthy) takes on tacos, rellenos, and other standards. Just to the south, Pasquini’s is the standby for Italian and pizza, Maria Empanada specializes in the traditional Argentinean dumpling of its name, and the new La Chiva Colombian Restaurant has won some early raves.

South of Evans Avenue, Morning Collective is a hip new breakfast spot that makes “elixirs” and inventive breakfast and lunch entrees. Across the street, Turtle Boat makes poke salad with sustainable seafood and healthful ingredients.

For a caffeine fix, Corvus Coffee roasts its beans on-site and offers hot and cold drinks of all descriptions, including hopped coffee on tap. Come happy hour, Bowman’s Vinyl and Lounge is a hybrid between a record store and a watering hole, with a classic bar and a living room with cushy furniture and rock posters.

For more music, longtime rock club Herman’s Hideaway has hosted more than 30,000 bands on its stage over the years. South of Evans, the new South Broadway Country Club offers golfing simulators and lessons, with a bar opening soon; and Cana Wine Bar, in a converted house, offers a nice selection of wines, as well as craft beer and spirits.


2. Drink a beer — or three!

With the Great American Beer Festival bringing 8,800 beers from 2,260 American breweries to the Colorado Convention Center in downtown Denver Oct. 5-7, the annual fall extravaganza — the largest beer event in the U.S. — offers an opportunity to savor the wares of the Green Mile by day and sample an endless array of IPAs, sours, chile beers, wild ales, and every other imaginable beer by night.

But watch out for the so-called crossfading effect: Alcohol has been shown to double absorption of THC into the bloodstream.

Back on the Green Mile, you’ll find Grandma’s House Brewery, one of the quirkiest taprooms in the city with crocheted taphandle covers and enough bric-a-brac from the local thrift stores behind the bar that you’ll discover something new every single pint; and Black Project, a brewery focused exclusively on spontaneous and wild beers

. Three blocks west of Broadway, Declaration Brewing Company has a taproom, kid-friendly beer garden, and a long list of IPAs and other beers.

If you're missing Paired this year, put it on your must-do list for 2018! 🤤 Michelin Stars and James Beard Awards for daysssss.

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3. Sample craft spirits on a side street

Not to be outdone by their brewing peers, a pair of standout distilleries are located less than a mile apart on South Acoma Street, a block west of Broadway.

Laws Whiskey House has won critical acclaim for its bourbon and rye, aged a minimum of 34 months, offering tours and $10 Flight Nights on Thursdays.

Four blocks south, Bear Creek Distillery makes vodka and rum as well as whiskey, and serves up craft cocktails with its spirit in a slick tasting room.


4. Shop for antiques, toys, clothes, art and glass

There are more than a dozen antique dealers that are part of Antique Row, but that’s not the only shopping on the Green Mile. Angelo’s CDs & More has a basement full of used vinyl. Fifty-Two 80’s stocks toys, games, and collectibles from the 1980s. Bill’s Sports Collectibles is the best place to buy sports memorabilia in Denver.

An increasing number of clothing stores dot the drag: FashioNation focuses on edgy footwear and apparel. The racks are stocked with vintage clothing at Ten Penny Store and Mercer Place. Canary in a Clothes Mine is an eclectic boutique.



To the south, you’ll find BOARDLife, a hybrid skateboard factory and store; Cabal, a collective gallery that exhibits outsider and pop art; and Purple Haze and Marley’s, the Green Mile’s resident head shops.


Getting Around:

Bike: South Broadway itself isn’t very bicycle-friendly, but you’ll find a bike lane on Logan Street, four blocks east of Broadway. Another block east, Pennsylvania Street is a dedicated bike route that connects with the Cherry Creek Trail at Speer Boulevard, about two miles north of the Green Mile. The South Platte River Trail is less than a mile west of Broadway and is best accessed at Dartmouth and Mississippi avenues.
Bus: The 0 bus runs up and down Broadway day and night. There are numerous stops on the Green Mile; fare is $2.60 one-way.
Train: The Evans Light Rail Station is located four blocks west of South Broadway on the D Line. It’s $2.60 one-way and 20 minutes to Union Station.

Where to stay: There’s a notable hole in Denver’s lodging map, and the Green Mile is in the middle of it. Avoid the motels; Airbnb and VRBO offer better options in the area. The ART, a hotel, is the nearest full-service lodging on Broadway, three miles north of the Green Mile. Further afield, Adagio is a cannabis-friendly B&B that offers wake-and-bake breakfasts and 4:20 happy hours.


IF YOU GO:

The Adagio, 1430 Race St., (303) 870-0903
Adelitas Cocina y Cantina, 1294 S. Broadway, (303) 778-1294
Angelo’s CDs & More, 1959 S. Broadway, (303) 798-6378
The ART, a hotel, 1201 Broadway, (303) 572-8000
Bear Creek Distillery, 1879 S. Acoma St., (303) 955-4638
Bill’s Sports Collectibles, 2335 S. Broadway, (303) 733-4878
Black Project Spontaneous & Wild Ales, 1290 S. Broadway, (720) 900-5551
BOARDLife, 1775 S. Broadway (800) 975-8112
Bowman’s Vinyl & Lounge, 1312 S. Broadway, (303) 927-6205
Cabal Gallery, 1875 S. Broadway
Cana Wine Bar, 2554 S. Broadway, (303) 993-7556
Canary in a Clothes Mine, 1448 S. Broadway, (970) 389-4030
Corvus Coffee Roasters, 1740 S. Broadway, (303) 715-1740
Declaration Brewing Company, 2030 S. Cherokee St., (303) 955-7410
El Tejado Mexican Restaurant, 2651 S. Broadway, (303) 722-3987
FashioNation, 1594 S. Broadway, (303) 832-2909
Fifty-Two 80’s, 1874 S. Broadway, (720) 358-1269
Grandma’s House Brewery, 1710 S Broadway, (303) 578-7654
Herman’s Hideaway, 1578 S. Broadway, (303) 777-5840
La Chiva Colombian Restaurant, 1417 S. Broadway, (720) 389-9847
Laws Whiskey House, 1420 S. Acoma St., (720) 570-1420
Maria Empanada, 1298 S. Broadway, (303) 934-2221
Mercer Place, 1388 S. Broadway, (303) 765-4776
Marley’s Pipe and Tobacco, 2574 S. Broadway, (303) 379-9277
Morning Collective, 2160 S. Broadway, (303) 953-9943
Pasquini’s Pizzeria, 1310 S. Broadway, (303) 744-9917
The Post Chicken & Beer, 2200 S. Broadway, (720) 466-5699
Purple Haze, 1951 S. Broadway, (303) 715-0055
Turtle Boat, 2231 S. Broadway, (720) 249-9477
South Broadway Country Club, 2265 S. Broadway, (720) 389-7811
Ten Penny Store, 39 E. Florida Ave., (720) 432-4274