Kevin Pharris's career as a tour guide began when he was teaching English as a Second Language. His immigrant students imagined getting mugged, raped or killed if they ventured into downtown Denver, so Kevin started taking his classes on tours to calm their fears and show them a good time.
Today, Pharris owns Denver History Tours, which offers intimate, themed walking tours, such as Victorian Denver, Denver's Art District on Santa Fe, the Haunted Houses of Denver, Golddust and Traildust, and his personal favorite, Take a Walk on the Wild Side.
On that trip, Pharris explains why Market Street is one of the best inside jokes in Denver, named in the 1880s for being the biggest red-light district in the West, an actual flesh market. The tour also goes inside Denver's most famous bordello Madame Mattie Silks's infamous house of mirrors, where patrons could once buy a token "good for one screw." The last stop is the Wynkoop Brewery, for free beer.
Tours are scheduled up to one day in advance, even if you're going alone. The cost is $20 to $25 for adults and $10 for kids, though the occasional ESL class still gets taken around for free. For more information, call 720-234-7929 or visit www.denverhistorytours.com.
Starts: March 2. Daily, 2005