Arts and Culture

Five Cool Things in Ruby Hill, Athmar Park and Overland

There’s a new game in town starting Saturday: That’s when Denver’s civic health club, Warm Cookies of the Revolution, takes to the streets for the Stompin’ Ground Games, a yearlong series designed to celebrate cultural richness in the city’s thriving and sometimes lesser-known neighborhoods. First up is a love song to Ruby Hill-Godsman, Athmar Park and Overland, all ‘hoods bordering the South Platte River to the south. To prime your pump for the community celebration at Ruby Hill Park, here’s our introduction to what’s cool there.
1) Ruby Hill Park
South Platte River Drive and West Florida Avenue

We would be remiss to not mention Ruby Hill Park on this list. An ever-evolving treasure in the city, the green space on an incline above the river possesses some of the best views of downtown Denver and the Platte Valley. When there’s something to see in the sky, from July 4 fireworks to eclipses of the moon, it’s a prime viewing spot, too. In winter, the park is an urban railyard for snowboarders; a world-class mountain-bike park is in the works here for next spring. Further into the future, Ruby Hill will be home to the Levitt Pavilion, an outdoor concert venue promising fifty free concerts each summer, beginning in 2017. The park is already home to such amenities as a public pool and a community garden, where folks of all ages from the neighborhood congregate — and do what communities do.

2) Federal Boulevard/Little Saigon
Ruby Hill-Godsman and Athmar Park both border Federal Boulevard to the west, from Alameda to Jewell avenues. This is one of the city’s richest cultural strips, where Vietnamese pho joints, dim sum houses and taquerias rub elbows with Asian import emporiums and bilingual businesses. From burritos to bánh mì, you’ll find it all during a cruise down Federal.
3) Antique Row, Overland
1100 to 1800 South Broadway

While the current hipster-heaven version of Baker seems to steal all the attention on South Broadway, Antique Row, which picks up at Mississippi Avenue near what was once the Gates plant, has been around as a dedicated retail strip for a much longer time. Lined with fun and funky businesses hawking antiques, pot, resale and thrift, old guitars, costumes, under-the-radar art and more, Antique Row is also home to fun eateries like the French art bar La Cour, Maria Empanada and Adelitas, as well as burgeoning breweries like Grandma’s House.
4) Tank Studios, Overland
1474 South Acoma Street

While Tank isn’t really a public place, it’s evidence of the Denver art community at work. Christened in 2013 by nine artists linked by residencies at RedLine in Curtis Park, it’s since expanded to house an impressive cross-section of local creatives in a two-floor beehive of beautiful open studios. Tank is also home to the Art-Plant studio, a home base for temporary resident artists.
5) Eron Johnson Antiques, Athmar Park
389 South Lipan Street
Antique collector and entrepreneur Eron Johnson broke away from the pack by leaving Broadway for the industrial edges of Athmar Park. Here on Lipan Street stands his paean to rare and beautiful treasures from around the world. Any afternoon at Eron Johnson’s place is the most exotic staycation you could ever hope for, but don’t miss the annual Valverde Bazaar, which Johnson hosts on his grounds every May.

Learn more about the ‘hood and its musicians, artists, activists and storytellers at the Stompin’ Ground Games: Ruby Hill from 3 to 5 p.m. Saturday, October 3. Admission is free, but a $5 donation is suggested. Of course, warm cookies will be served. Visit Warm Cookies of the Revolution online for information.
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Susan Froyd started writing for Westword as the "Thrills" editor in 1992 and never quite left the fold. These days she still freelances for the paper in addition to walking her dogs, enjoying cheap ethnic food and reading voraciously. Sometimes she writes poetry.
Contact: Susan Froyd