Cherry Creek: One of America’s Top Spots for Chic Shopping, Lodging and Dining

City Sidewalks, Busy Sidewalks, Dressed in Holiday Style. It’s Christmastime in the Mile-High City.

Where are you shopping this weekend? With only two weeks left until Christmas, I’d say there’s a good chance you might find yourself in a store. Many Americans will be hitting the mall, a dreaded chore for some unless you’re lucky enough to experience the Cherry Creek Shopping Center in Denver, one of the world’s premier showcases for quality goods from sunglasses to kitchen accessories to classic and up-to-the-minute fashions. Think Tysons Corner and Bal Harbour Shops—if you’ve been to either of these renowned shopping areas you have a good idea of what to expect at the Cherry Creek Shopping Center. From Burberry to Juicy Couture to Montblanc to Keihl’s and many more, the finest American and European brands reign here in great force. Macy’s, Nordstrom and Neiman Marcus anchor this alluring complex where even during this busy retail season, shopping is a delight. You’ll also find an Apple store among the mall’s 160 retailers, reason alone to hit this celebrated shopping place in Denver. Their jewel-like Ice Palace where Santa Claus holds court distinguishes itself by having a Santa that signs to deaf and hearing impaired children. Indeed, this is not your ordinary mall.

I suggest you plan to spend at least a couple of days in this most gentrified part of Denver. You’ll also want to take in Cherry Creek North, a lively shopping district next to the Cherry Creek Shopping Center, comprised of over three hundred upscale boutiques, galleries, restaurants, salons and spas within a sixteen-block area. I love the leisurely feel of this area where you can shop at big and small emporiums such as Crate and Barrel, Eileen Fischer, Loro Piana, Lands’ End and many more. Why, there’s even an Hermès.

Me at The Lark

Looking for an even more boutique-y shopping experience? If so, you’re my kind of shopper. Just about a mile away from the Cherry Creek Shopping Center and Cherry Creek North, you’ll find a handful of shops worth the detour. Within the Country Club part of Denver’s Cherry Creek, I visited a few quaint stores that remind me of the sort of off-the-beaten-path boutiques I’d bring people to in Paris during one of my Chic Promenade shopping tours. (My official entry into the travel world came via a shopping service I founded in Paris during the late eighties.)

Don’t we all want to go where the locals shop? That’s becoming more of a rarity these days and all too often everything looks alike no matter where we go. Clearly the fashionable ladies of this well-heeled neighborhood have done a good job of patronizing this conglomeration of shops north of Speer near Downing Street since the ones I visited appear to be thriving.

You’ll want to stop first at The Lark (1219 E. 4th Avenue, 303-744-7464), a warm and inviting table arts and home decor shop that’s been here for forty years. Owners Jane Smithers and Jill Livian present gifts galore, all tastefully displayed on large wooden tables, endearing tableaus that showcase a festival of colors and textures, no matter the season. “We like to offer tradition with a twist,” Jane tells me. “I try to find things that look expensive but aren’t,” she continues. With backgrounds and extensive knowledge in interior design and decor, clearly these two ladies know how to pull together a look with great style. “Most Denver home decor shops have gone contemporary,” Jane explains to me. At The Lark you’ll find stylish lamps, frames, dinnerware, glassware, linens, decorations and more that exude such elegance and verve they’ll always be in fashion.

Lewis Bobrick Finds

Next door at Lewis Bobrick Antiques (1213 E. 4th Avenue, 303-744-9203), Native American arts and crafts vie for attention alongside western paintings, Persian rugs and sometimes even Italian ceramics from the sixties. “Anything with a patina works for me,” Lewis Bobrick explains, a well-respected dealer that’s been at this location for fifteen years. “Most things find me,” he responds when asked where he procures such an eclectic array of art and antiques. After digging a little more, I also learn that Mr. Bobrick spends a lot of time with pickers in Santa Fe. Ah-ha!

Bargain hunters must take in La Cache (400 Downing, 303-871-9605), a consignment shop benefiting the Children’s Hospital of Denver, which occupies the corner spot of Downing and 4th Avenue. How about snatching up a Prince Charles and Lady Diana souvenir plate for $22.? Or a cut-glass bowl, perfect for your next dinner party? You’ll find all kinds of collectibles, table arts, paintings and furnishings here, all finely-made treasures likely dropped off by the ladies of this tony part of Denver. It’s an old-fashioned store filled with old-fashioned goods that sell at old-fashioned prices. Still though they’re turning a nice profit because La Cache has raised close to three million dollars for the Children’s Hospital since their opening in the mid eighties.

HMK Enchantment

For a whiff of Old World charm, wend your way around the corner and peek into HMK (408 Downing Street, 303-321-5878), a darling floral and home accessories shop filled with more sentimental gift ideas. Truly this reminds me of the sort of neighborhood florist I’d find tucked away on a side street in Paris.

Voilà, that concludes this chic promenade through Denver. Bet you didn’t realize that Denver and especially the Cherry Creek district of the mile-high city offered such extraordinary shopping. Mais oui, from big names to lesser-known boutiques, there’s something for every taste and budget, every season of the year.

Where to Stay

JW Marriott Denver Cherry Creek

JW Marriott Denver Cherry Creek, 150 Clayton Lane, 303-326-2700

This JW Marriott in Cherry Creek is a must. No other establishment epitomizes the sophistication and naturally refined style of this renowned Denver neighborhood than this stunning hotel. Good news, too:  a recently-completed five million dollar renovation of this seven-year-old establishment has rendered it more sleek and spectacular than before. The color palate in most of the rooms features dark blues, with hints of magenta and orange, perfect hues for accenting the sunsets that captivate you from most of their guest rooms. Overall, I love the warm, contemporary vibe of this JW Marriott and I’m sure you will, too.

Sunset View at JW Marriott Denver

Where to Eat

Second Home Kitchen + Bar, 150 Clayton Lane, 303-253-3000

Down-Home Urbanity at Second Home

Located within the JW Marriott Cherry Creek, Second Home Kitchen + Bar evokes a sense of style and ease that we all crave, especially after a big day of shopping. I love how the notion of urban sophistication translates into the menu of this Sage Restaurant Group concept dining establishment. You can savor a plate of artisanal cheeses or charcuterie with fine wine or come with the kids (in their pajamas, if you want) for Sunday brunch. Other upscale comfort food selections include Chicken & Waffles, Wild Mushroom Risotto, Grilled Romaine Salad, Brick Oven Pizzas, Sugar Mama’s Rum Cake and many more delectable offerings. Never has home cooking tasted so fresh and flavorful. Their lively bar scene rates as one of the best in Cherry Creek as well.

Yummy Dessert at Second Home

Elway’s, 2500 East First Avenue, 303-399-5353

Elway’s

If you’re looking to take up the swank a notch, book a table at Elway’s Cherry Creek, conveniently situated at the edge of the Cherry Creek Shopping Center. Their booths and tables fill with a big business crowd at lunch, creating a club-y feel akin to major cosmopolitan centers. In the evening, the scene slips into a decidedly more intimate mode. At all times, the sleek, Art Deco-inspired decor of this elegant space provides a soothing backdrop for a break from the busy-ness of the Cherry Creek retail scene. Whether you come for lunch or dinner, you’re sure to wow yourself over their beautifully prepared seafood and steaks. And for desert, you can order Elway’s crème brulée by the spoonful. But I suggest you don’t, since it’s so exquisite you’ll want to gobble up a full portion unless, of course, you hardly have room after your Maine Lobster Tail or Grilled King Canyon Buffalo Ribeye.

Elway’s Crab Cakes

This Just In

Elway’s Vail recently opened and is now serving après ski and dinner daily. Check them out at 174 East Gore Creek Drive, 970-754-7818.

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