Eleven Cool Things in Capitol Hill, Cheesman Park and Congress Park

For its February edition, the Warm Cookies of the Revolution Stompin’ Ground Games neighborhood Olympics will tout Capitol Hill tonight. To prep you for the celebration, which focuses on comedy and the concept of “home,” we’ve put together a primer of ten places we love in the ‘hood — with one bonus thing — though we could easily have expanded the list to hundreds of favorite spots in what is surely Denver’s most diverse district.
Colfax Neon
The metro area’s expanse of neon has been shrinking at an alarming rate since its heyday of six or seven decades ago, but on East Colfax Avenue, a street that in some ways defines the culture of Capitol Hill — from its swanky origins to its rebirth as a starter neighborhood for the young and restless — some of the city's best-preserved examples still glow as lurid reminders of the town’s morphing past lives.
Wax Trax Records
638 East 13th Avenue

Wax Trax isn’t the only independent record store in Capitol Hill, but it is the oldest, which is a miracle for a business that’s gone through one format change after another over the last few decades. It’s grungy and dirty and the help can be a bit rude, but the miles of vinyl are meticulously catalogued and every trip to flip is rife with the joy of discovery. Meeting place, historical archive and a spot where you can still experience the joy of the hunt in a world overtaken by technology, Wax Trax is forever.
Kilgore Used Books and Comics
624 East 13th Avenue

Also a victim of technology, the corner used-book store is a fast-disappearing luxury, but Kilgore co-founders Luke Janes and Dan Stafford built theirs into a workingman’s temple of book-eared pages to suit every intellectual pursuit, with an ambience now carried on by new owner John Kuebler. The store’s focus on comix, zines and graphic novels also brings a rich lode of popular culture to the block it shares with Wax Trax.
1109 Ogden Street

Restaurants come and go in our city of fickle taste buds, but Teri Rippeto’s Potager, a tribute to fresh, garden-picked and seasonal fare, has weathered the comings and goings by never disappointing. As former Westword restaurant critic Gretchen Kurtz wrote, “Potager is comfortable in its own skin.”  Ever-changing yet delightfully always the same, it’s a second home and neighborhood haunt for folks seeking a great meal.

Dikeou Pop-Up: Colfax 
312 East Colfax Avenue
A chip off the old block, the Dikeou Pop-Up space brings the sensibility of the Dikeou Collection, its art-gallery mothership in a downtown high-rise, to street level. Ensconced in the former Colfax digs of Jerry’s Record Exchange, it’s not fancy — but it does host one-shot art exhibits, readings, screenings and performances. And in keeping with the building’s roots, it also houses an eclectic collection of more than 15,000 vinyl records, which are brought out for occasional community spin-fests.
City, O’City
206 East 13th Avenue

Like a Mercury Cafe for the millennial set, City, O’City is more than a restaurant. It’s where the vegetarian hipster elite meets to eat and play, munching on savory waffles, seitan wings, pasta, poutine and pizzas before heading upstairs to Deer Pile for an affordable night of comedy, music, readings or some other kind of uncategorizable fun.

Keep reading for five more favorite places in Capitol Hill.

KEEP WESTWORD FREE... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
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