Larimer St. btwn. 14th and 15th Sts., Denver
Larimer Square is not really a square, but a preserved city block—the historic buildings along each side are now used for offices, restaurants, and shops. The history of this place goes back to the city’s earliest days, when the area was inundated with people who wanted to strike it rich from gold found in the nearby creek.
General William H. Larimer Jr. arrived in 1858 and built a cabin on what is now Larimer Square. The city quickly grew and by the 1880s there were 25 buildings on Larimer Street—including a bank, a drugstore, and a bookstore.
Over time saloons and bars prospered here and this block became known as Denver ’s skid row. In the 1960s officials were ready to start anew, but preservationists gathered support to save the block from the wrecking ball. With 1870s and 1880s buildings fully restored, the block was listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Now Larimer Square is the heart of LoDo, and draws people year-round. Stop in for coffee and a pastry at The Market , buy a little something with cowboy flair for gals or little ones at Cry Baby Ranch , or enjoy a sumptuous Mediterranean meal at Rioja .
During weekdays the square is filled with students from the nearby Auraria Campus  and businesspeople having lunch at one of the many restaurants. Evenings and weekends attract more tourists who come to shop, dine out, or have a laugh at the Comedy Works club (1226 15th St., 303/595-3637, www.comedyworks.com , Sun.–Thurs. 8 p.m., Fri. 8 and 10 p.m., Sat. 6:30, 8:30, and 10:30 p.m., $12–45).
Larimer Square is occasionally closed off to traffic for one of the handful of annual festivals the area hosts, such as June’s Piazza del’Arte , when artists paint murals on the blacktop.
For walking history tours of Larimer Square, call 720/234-7929 or go to www.denverhistorytours.com .
Parking for Larimer Square is on Market Street, directly behind the square. Fees vary depending on parking duration.