The 16th Street Mall, which opened in 1982 and was expanded in 1992, is a tree-lined pedestrian and transit mall lined with restaurants, retail stores, historic office buildings and modern skyscrapers.
Free shuttle buses, known as MallRide, run the one-mile length of the mall between the Civic Center Station on Broadway and the Union Station Bus Concourse. The buses are powered by natural gas and electricity. About 15 million people ride the buses each year.
At the Civic Center Station, visitors will find the State Capitol, the Civic Center park, the Denver Art Museum, the History Colorado Center, the U.S. Mint at Denver and other historic sights. Near the Union Station Bus Concourse are the LoDo and Larimer Square shopping and dining districts, the Oxford Hotel and Coors Field.
The stations at each end of the mall offer connections with other buses and light-rail trains operated by Denver’s Regional Transportation District. Light-rail connections also are available at stations along the route where it intersects with California and Stout streets.
Designer Henry Cobb, a partner of I.M. Pei, had granite pavers set on the street in a pattern intended to resemble the diamonds on the back of a Western Diamondback rattlesnake. The red, light gray and slate pavers came from Colorado, Massachusetts and Minnesota.
The pavers proved costly to maintain, however, because of design flaws and installation problems. The RTD filed suit against the design team at I.M. Pei and Partners, and the company agreed to pay part of the maintenance costs each year.
The mall’s medians are lined by rows of honey locust trees that proved popular with Denver residents and with post lanterns designed to provide shade during daylight hours, transition to twinkle lighting during twilight hours and full lighting at night.
The mall features street cart vendors and street entertainers in warm months, along with sidewalk cafes and horse-drawn carriages.