13th Ave. and Broadway

There are strips that are faster, but when you're heading west across central Denver, there's no more scenic route than Thirteenth Avenue. And if you happen to get stopped at the light at Broadway -- as you inevitably will -- your route will seem positively inspired. Rather than fume silently at the crimson glow overhead, use the time to ponder Denver's rapid ascension into a bona fide city of cultural note. To your immediate right, there's the Colorado History Museum, with its buffalo sculptures, exhibit banners and exasperated teachers bookending chains of linked-armed kids. Across the street, there's the massive central branch of the Denver Public Library, alternately spilling out and sucking in the bookish, the homeless, the hurried. To your left, a museum devoted to the work of Clyfford Still will soon join the galleries and theaters that already dot the Golden Triangle. And there, straight ahead, like some strange metal spaceship, is Daniel Libeskind's sprawling addition to the Denver Art Museum, slated to open this fall. Imagine the influx of art and architecture buffs; envision the lines out the door. Think about all the great concerts you've seen recently, all the creative, artistic people you know. Could this city be on the verge of something big? Twirling in the second floor of the Colorado Ballet building, the Degas ballerinas smile down on your still-stopped car. To them, that's the dumbest question in the world.

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