Summer doesn’t really include a major shopping holiday, like Christmas or Valentine’s Day, so there’s no superego telling us where or what to buy. When it’s warm and sunny, we’re given over to lazy impulse buying and bargain hunting; we have the time to more completely enjoy our neighborhood shopping districts and chock-a-block markets and fairs. Here are ten ways to spend your time — and your money — this summer.
South Pearl Street Merchants Association
Old South Pearl Street
1200-1500 blocks of South Pearl Street
Shopping on Old South Pearl is a Denver tradition; with its lived-in ambience, charming shops and top-notch eateries, the neighborhood business district couldn’t be more inviting. On summer Sundays, the businesses host a small farmers’ market, and on the last Sunday of every month, flea-market vendors join in with an ever-changing selection of anything and everything, including antiques, vintage gewgaws and new handmade items. Special themed markets include everything from a car show on June 21 to a pet adoption fair on September 20.
Friday Night Bazaar
Fridays through October 30, 6 p.m.-midnight
Denargo Farm & Truck Park
3530 Brighton Boulevard
A Friday-night version of Saturday’s The Big Wonderful, but with a more party-like atmosphere, the Friday Night Bazaar takes over a warehouse in the Denargo Market with a mixture of live music, fancy cocktails, tantalizing bites and shopping booths set up by Colorado artisans. Want to pander for free drink tickets? The bazaar lets you do that, too, with its Beer Pawn promotion: Bring your best vintage/unwanted items to barter, and if your offering is deemed worthy, a trade will translate into free beer.
Le Jardin Secret
Le Jardin Secret
Saturdays 10 a.m.-1:30 p.m., through September 26
1420 Larimer Street
Larimer Square aims to charm the heck out of you with Le Jardin Secret, a hidden farmers’ market with a European flair that’s back for its second year. Ensconced in the Bistro Vendôme courtyard, the market focuses on heirloom tomatoes, grass-fed and hand-cut meats, fragrant cheeses, artisan breads and other gourmet ingredients. Other niceties include free recipe cards from top Denver chefs, as well as the lovely opportunity to sip a mimosa as you pick and choose, thanks to Vendôme’s outdoor patio liquor license.
Boulder Market in Central Park
June 28, July 12, 19, August 16, 23
Boulder Central Park
Broadway and Canyon Boulevard, Boulder
Brimming with a mixture of local art, crafts, clothing, food items and other uncategorizable treasures, this twice-monthly open-air bazaar is a paean to everything Boulder: Laid-back and a little bit hippie, it will appeal to your inner hedonist. And every event will feature a live band at noon in the famed band shell.
Photo by Sharon and Nikki McCutcheon, via Flickr
Denver Public Library Used Book Sale
Denver Central Library
Bookophiles, collectors and packrats arrive in hordes each year for the Denver Public Library Used Book Sale, a gargantuan effort that offers a constant flow of more than 80,000 donated and de-accessioned books, CDs, DVDs and audio books. The four-day event is a great place to stock up on gently used children’s books for baby bookworms, catch-up volumes from your favorite detective-novel series, exotic cookbooks or just plain crazy stuff you never knew existed — and most prices won’t top $3.
Denver Street Flea Market
Third Saturday of the month, June 20-October 17
2500 Larimer Street
There’s a new flea in town that promises to be old-school in the best ways possible: The Denver Street Flea Market operates on the time-honored garage-sale model, offering tables to vendors at low prices to guarantee a jamboree of inexpensive impulse browsing through the delightful detritus of others, from clothing and stereo equipment to lamps, tools and mystery treasures. If you’re tired of trolling the streets for yard sales every weekend, this market is an opportunity to park and shop in one glorious location.
Cherry Creek North Business Improvement District.
45th Annual Cherry Creek North Sidewalk Sale
First to Third avenues between Clayton and Steele streets
If the tony climes of Cherry Creek North are too steep for your wallet the rest of the year, this is the weekend to descend on the shopping district’s highbrow boutiques and shops for one-of-a-kind finds at a price you can afford. Nearly eighty area businesses will offer markdowns and deals on clothing, jewelry and other upper-crust niceties.
Peachy Sidewalk Sale
1430 Larimer Street
If you think Larimer Square (which is celebrating its fiftieth anniversary this year) is just for ritzy tourists and fine-food fanatics, think again: During the Peachy Sidewalk Sale, boutique prices at more than twenty shops will take a tumble — of up to 75 percent — that only a local can truly appreciate. While you’re there, you can also eat juicy Colorado peaches for free and enter a drawing to win tickets to the square’s Dining Al Fresco on August 16, when tables will be set up in the street for a foodie feast.
Jackalope Art & Craft Fair
Exdo Event Center
3500 Walnut Street
Another newcomer to Denver’s thriving artisan-market scene, Jackalope, which runs similar events in Pasadena and Phoenix, will bring a curated selection of indie goods from local makers, including original fashion and jewelry design, ceramics and paper goods, innovative home decor and housewares, art and photography. The fair is free and open to all ages, though it will boast a full bar among its many food and drink options.
Jefferson Park Farm & Flea
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Jefferson Park Farm & Flea
August 8, September 12, October 10
25th Avenue between Eliot Street and Federal Boulevard
Given the stellar track record of the three-time Westword Best of Denver-winning Horseshoe Market, this new concept from the same team is poised for success as it strives to change the way we look at street fairs in Denver. It’s a combination of the Horseshoe’s exceptional mix of small, local vintage, art and craft businesses, along with live music and a farmers’ market with local produce and activities targeting the new breed of urban homesteader.