Any time I can get closer to the mountains is a good day. I live in the heart of Denver near downtown, so when I get out to the front range foothills I’m a happy gal. The foothills that run north to south around the Denver Metro welcome you to our beautiful Rocky Mountains and are a popular area to live and play. West Arvada may be a suburb – but it’s not your typical suburb when you have views like this!
Where is Western Arvada
Go west…far west…so far west that a new term was created for this part of Arvada – Far-Vada! Redfin – a Seattle-based real estate company – ranked West Arvada No. 4 on its hottest neighborhoods to watch list for 2020. Its proximity to the mountains and wide-open spaces makes it a sought-after area to be. During the pandemic, the area seemed to double down and continued to grow and build new restaurants and businesses making it more than a place to live – but a place to visit and hang out.
West Arvada is 20 minutes away from Boulder, 20 to 25 minutes from downtown Denver and 15 to 20 minutes from downtown Golden. It’s the sweet spot of the Denver Metro for outdoor lovers. The first time I drove to the Candelas in Western Arvada I was a little shocked at how far out it was. I went past Golden and was practically in Boulder! But with remoteness comes great views and activities, and Western Arvada is one suburb that has a lot of outdoor adventure going on.
As I spent time this summer exploring the best patios in Arvada, I found myself gravitating west further and further. There I found that same community spirit that you find in Olde Town. In fact – driven by the need to entertain families, I think there are even more community activities in West Arvada than in Olde Town!
8 Reasons to Visit West Arvada
Here’s why I’m happy that I ventured out of Denver and explored Western Arvada – It’s worth the drive!
Western Arvada’s Growing Food Scene
With the enormous amount of residential growth in Western Arvada, there was one thing that lagged behind…the restaurant industry. That has recently been changing with a number of new restaurants and food concepts moving into Western Arvada to really round out the neighborhood experience you’ll find there. From Candelas neighborhood, it takes about 20 minutes to drive to Olde Town Arvada. In fact, Boulder is practically closer! It was time for Western Arvada to get its own food and drink options!
1. Freedom Street Social Hall
A food hall has made its way west! Freedom Street Social Hall opened their doors this month in Western Arvada! But this is no typical food hall, it has upped the food hall game with new concepts and technology that makes the experience even better. Yes – so much better that it’s worth driving out to Western Arvada to check it out! Plus – there’s plenty of parking.
Freedom Street Social Hall is home to a diverse mix of nine different food/drink concepts – including top national brands like Giordano’s famous Chicago stuffed pizza and new local concepts like Osito, a fast-casual version of Mister Oso by Denver Chef Blake Edmunds. These are the types of non-chain restaurant choices you would find in downtown Denver – but they are bringing the concepts out to the suburbs.
You’ll find food there for all parts of the day – breakfast to late-night cocktails. Plus – they have some sweet concepts like Jeremiah’s Italian Ice and a Bubble Tea vendor.
This hall is family and group friendly thanks to some cool new technology. With an easy-to-use website that uses QR codes, you can get appetizers, drinks, salad, a main, and dessert all from different places, but all of it will go onto one bill that you pay on the app (don’t worry – for you cash lovers – you can also still pay cash too). This makes it super easy to have a group that can all go to different food vendors and still have a shared eating experience. You can literally bounce around between nine great menus. Plus – this means you don’t have to go stand in line and look at menus at each place – all of that is handled on the app which means you have more time to sit and enjoy each other.
All in the Family
Nick and Amie Costanzo’s vision of Freedom Street was to create an environment where families from the local neighborhoods can go together and enjoy different ethnic foods and an elevated culinary scene. They modeled some of the décors from Nick’s grandma’s house and the name Freedom street references the street her house was on in Toledo Ohio. They want people to stay and work or have groups meet up or have a place for kids to do homework. Plus – they have many other community-based ideas in the works such as yoga, cooking and baking classes, music, holiday events, and more.
Chef Kitchen Popups
One of the most unique concepts is the Chef Kitchen. This is a restaurant that has a rotating visiting chef monthly; keeping things always fresh and new at the food hall. The residency program is designed to give chefs complete creative freedom to test new concepts and host incredible events in a dedicated space. The first resident chef at Freedom Street Social will be Chef Tracy Rogers of Charlotte, North Carolina who will dish out New Age Southern food, with inspiration from fresh Colorado produce and ingredients.
2. Supper Club
This is a concept unique to West Arvada that is actually a part of the Freedom Street Social Hall. However, it was so cool that I think it stands alone as a reason to get to know West Arvada! Supper Club is a monthly pop-up series fueled by Chef Tajahi Cooke. I sat down and talked to Chef Taj to learn about the concept and his background. I listened to his fascinating worldly history as he fed me delicious brown sugar bacon (it’s on his breakfast menu and you don’t want to miss it!).
Chef Taj started this concept during the pandemic and now Supper Club has a permanent home on Freedom Street. On the first weekend of the month, the visiting chef from the Chef Kitchen along with Chef Taj will make a special dinner showcasing the chef’s background and local ingredients. Seated at community tables, there will be multiple courses and wine pairings and don’t be surprised when the chef comes out and talks to the guests about their vision and ideas. This unique dining experience intertwines people and their passion; the experience is coupled with conversation, unity, and authenticity.
This is an event for the foodie and I can’t wait to go!
Watch this space for info on visiting supper club chefs and making reservations.
3. Lot Que
I recently went to Austin and stuffed myself at their famous BBQ restaurants. I remember thinking that it was a shame that Denver didn’t have BBQ like that. Well – I was wrong – they do have great BBQ – in West Arvada! Welcome to Lot Que.
As soon as you walk into Lot Que in Five Park you will smell it – an aroma wall of smokey goodness will hit your nose and make you salivate. At the far end of the restaurant is the smoker filled with pork butt, ribs, sausages, wings, and more. The behemoth smoker is 8 feet tall by 12 feet long, and weighs about 2500 pounds!
This newcomer to Western Arvada has people coming from all over the metro area to try one of the best BBQ joints in town. Chef Ray was the inspiration behind the BBQ theme since he spent years competing in the BBQ circuit. When you think of BBQ you probably think of the sauce – however at Lot Que all of the meat is served plain and you can choose from their 5 different sauces to be served on the side. The meat is so good that it can really stand alone without sauce – thanks to the spice rubs and slow roasting.
Lot Que’s menu features ribs, brisket, pastrami, and turkey as well as sides including jalapeno bacon Mac & Cheese, baked beans, hash brown casserole, sweet potato cornbread, and fried okra. The meat can be ordered by the pound – so go hungry! And don’t forget to leave room for local ice cream from High Point Creamery.
I had one of their combo platters because it’s impossible to just choose one meat. Sitting outside at their sister restaurant, Lot One (they serve the BBQ menu there too), I enjoyed a cocktail with my platter of meat on a perfect summer evening. Western Arvada has won me and my taste buds over yet again.
As I drove back to Denver with my leftovers I was treated to the finale…a perfect West Arvada sunset.
4. Colorado Tap House
I came around the bend of the Ralston bike trail and there it was – big, shiny, and new – the Colorado Tap House in Western Arvada. This new addition to Western Arvada is a mecca of outdoor fun; exactly what you expect of a Colorado establishment. It is quite literally a perfect bike path destination.
“We aren’t looking for i70 traffic- we want the bike and trail traffic,” the manager told me. She went on to say that they are happiest when the bike parking fills up first! And don’t worry – they have a lot of bike parking – in fact, there is a bike parking lot that has room for up to 70 bikes. They even have horse parking! That’s right – you can ride your horse to the brewery and tie them up on the hitching posts on the opposite side of the trail. Now that screams ‘Western’ Arvada – doesn’t it?
I parked my bike and did a tasting of all of the fruited beers and sours: Nitro key lime, strawberry, tangerine, tropical, and a freestyle Saison. All were delicious and perfect for summer brews. I also had my eye on their extensive cocktail list – but decided to keep it a beer-y weekend since I still had more biking to do! They have 30 taps that run upstairs and down so you’ll never have to go far for a refill.
I could’ve spent the entire day there in the inviting outdoor space; there is so much to do! There are multiple levels of outdoor space that overlook the bike trail. They have an entire ‘games area’ including corn hole, bocce, and more. We played a round of corn hole while we enjoyed our tasting flight of summer beers! Plus, when you get tired of games – you can cozy up to one of the 4 firepits.
5. Resolute Brewing Tap & Cellar
Nestled right up against the foothills in the Candelas and Leyden Rock neighborhoods, Resolute Brewing’s western Arvada location is so much more than a brewery and taproom; it is a place where community is created.
Behind the bar and glass sits the heart of Resolute’s barrel-aging program. Their temperature and humidity-controlled barrel room can house 120+ barrels. This is where the creativity happens; barrel varieties range from whiskey, rum, sherry, and more! Many of Resolute’s barrel-aged recipes are served in limited quantities so be sure to always check and see what new barrel-aged variety brew they have on tap!
What I loved about Resolute was how they have really become a part of their surrounding community – often hosting neighborhood events in their parking lot (the advantage of being further out with more space). From daily food trucks, to live music, to car shows, run/bike clubs, and a special Far-vada Farmer’s Market – it’s a summer of fun community-focused events! They even do food truck and beer pairings most nights.
Check out some of their upcoming events:
Pups and Pints adoption event Aug 13, Cars and Brews Aug 20th, Far-Vada Farmers Market Aug. 28
6. Bluegrass Lounge (West Arvada location)
Not only can you expect to get great food and whiskey at the Bluegrass Lounge West Arvada location – but you’ll also be entertained. Much like the extensive event listing Bluegrass has in Olde Town, they also have a lot going on in West Arvada. And the biggest news is that they are constructing what will be the ‘nicest patio in the west’ and are making a new coffee lounge inside with couches – the perfect place to lounge.
Plus, don’t miss their summer concert series sponsored by Jim Beam. You’ll be treated to outdoor music on the patio, drinks, food, and local artists.
In addition, they have beautiful views to enjoy out on the nicest patio in the west while you enjoy their NY-style pizza (yum!) and sip refreshing whiskey cocktails!
7. Bike Trails
Western Arvada has over 150 miles of hiking, biking, and horseback trails! There are plenty of adventures that will keep you enjoying the outdoors. I took off on my bike and headed to West Arvada to check out their trails recently. Like most of Denver, the bike trails are plentiful and Arvada is no exception. You can easily go out on your own and bike the miles of trails or you can join a group cycle.
The city put together a loop route using bike lanes and trails to enjoy. Click on the map below and download it to your phone for quick reference. Don’t worry – there are also signs along the route to keep you on track!
Check out this Arvada Bike Loop Map that connects all parts of Arvada!
I mainly stuck to the Ralston Creek Trail (that goes by Colorado Tap House), a 27-mile out-and-back trail that is used by residents and Denverites regularly! It follows the meandering creek, linking several City parks and open space areas. Along the way, I was treated to a variety of plant life, lakes and ponds, preserved wildlife habitats, bird sanctuaries, and historic sites.
Bicycle Friendly Arvada (a local group), organizes bike rides all around the community from April into October each year. These rides are geared for cyclists of all levels with a focus on children, families, and casual/recreational riders. They organize 5-7 mile Family Rides and 12-20 mile Recreation Rides. And the best part, all rides have a theme such as Coffee, Ice Cream, Hot Chocolate, Buffalo Bill, Community Gardens, Arvada History, Brewery, Pizza, Graveyards, and many more. Learn more about the group rides on Meetup.
Looking for a serene area to cast a line? Then check out Blunn Reservoir located between Highway 93 and Indiana on W. 64th Parkway. This is the perfect fishing hole located conveniently in West Arvada. It’s stocked with rainbow trout, brown trout, largemouth bass, and walleye. Electric trolling motors are allowed as well as kayaks, or you can just fish off the shore! Day passes cost no more than $5 for fishing!
After discovering all of these fun things to do in Far-vada, I will always plan a stop there on my way home from the mountains or the foothills – it’s a perfect place to stop, enjoy the sunset with a beer and a meal before bidding the weekend goodbye! Whether you live in Arvada, Western Arvada, or other parts of the Denver Metro – don’t just drive by this lively community – stop and enjoy it!
Check out the Arvada Summer Guide for all of the great events happening around the area!
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