In the early 1900s, the Washington Park neighborhood was just beginning to form and a need for a business district was uncovered.
Now, more than one hundred years later, South Pearl Street has become just that — and a little more.
Nestled amongst the historic homes of South Pearl Street, between Buchtel Boulevard and Jewell Avenue, sit more than 70 boutiques, cafés, restaurants, wellness centers and novelty shops. Here, residents and visitors can stroll up and down seven tree-lined blocks and enjoy an afternoon window shopping, savoring a tasty treat or to simply hang out.
According to Mark Gill, President of the South Pearl street Merchants Association, the area has just about everything you may be looking for.
“We have anything you want, personal and wellness services, great shopping and some of the best dining and drinking establishments that you’ll find anywhere,” Gill said.
Recently, the area has seen a larger amount of growth with new, original shops opening and a growing audience at their weekly and semiannual events, such as Blues and Brews and weekly farmers market.
“The neighborhood and surrounding businesses have prospered with the increasing preference toward more walk-able, bike-able communities,” Gill said.
And South Pearl is walkable. Strolling down the blocks, you see new and original businesses such as Aiko Pops, popping up throughout this highly-desirable, historic neighborhood.
“It just made sense to open here,” said Chris Mosera, Owner and ‘Smooth Poperator’ of Aiko Pops. “The whole herd is a nice mix of people in a well-balanced neighborhood that has a great vibe.”
Now the first popsicle shop in the Denver, Aiko Pops is swiftly becoming the go-to snack shop on South Pearl. With around 12 different culinary creations in the freezer at a time, this pop shop is cultivating a new and tasty trend in the area.
“South Pearl is an extremely open-minded, young and adventurous area where we can provide an extremely healthy option,” Mosera said.
From the sweet and spicy flavors of Avocado Sriracha to savoring your favorite cocktail on a stick, – yes you can get a ‘poptail’, try the mojito or Bloody Mary – Aiko Pops serves a distinctive, gourmet twist on an old American favorite treat, the popsicle.
In keeping with trends and the flavor of this happenin’ neighborhood, other retailers like, Unity Boutique, have geared themselves towards being socially conscious and making a difference in the community.
Unity Boutique offers a variety of environmentally friendly and socially conscious clothing and accessories for men, women and children.
While talking to Megan Smith, Unity Boutique’s Owner, she detailed to me how many of the designers they incorporate make their jewelry and clothing to help local nonprofit organizations or fund their own education.
“I wanted to do something that was good for people and the world,” said Smith. “In the fashion industry, it seemed like everything was being made in China or elsewhere and I wanted to change that.”
And she did. For the past seven years, Smith has been successfully featuring designs from all over the country who only use reusable and organic ingredients. Unity also takes part in the community by featuring local artists, such as Lynne Furrer, each month to stay fresh and help promote Colorado art.
For Smith, South Pearl Street offers a vibrant atmosphere and demographic where her business thrives.
“I get to be a part of the neighborhood and a fun place people can come shopping where there is always something new and they feel good and comfortable about purchasing.”
The area and merchants around South Pearl exemplify the fresh, charming feel of Washington Park, and it’s easy to see South Pearl Street’s appeal.
“There is a genuine friendliness and neighborhood feel around here,” said Gill, “You can have an exceptional dining and shopping experience without even a hint of pretentiousness to be found.”
Washington Park is a charming neighborhood and, in my opinion, the South Pearl Street area is an extension of that. This eclectic mix of passionate people, authentic cuisine and fresh, fun boutiques makes this historic district one happenin’ place to shop, eat and play.
Crystal Anderson is an adventure-seeking journalist, who loves geeking out to Lord of the Rings, meeting new people and traveling. She’s interested in exploring all of Denver’s hidden wonders and hotspots. Have a favorite hidden haunt you want covered? Divulge your secrets to [email protected]