Golden's south side is classic cool

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There’s something about the south side of Golden. Maybe it’s the colorful history of classic night spots like the Rock Rest Lodge. Or maybe it has something to do with the Golden Super Cruise, which turns South Golden Road into a chromed-out parade of hot rods and classic cars once a month May through October.

“It’s got more of a nostalgic feel to it, more like home. More like you know everybody here,” according to area resident Angie Sands.

Whatever the key ingredients are, they all add up to make south Golden a great place to go for visitors looking for something a bit off the beaten path.

Here then are a few recommendations for ways to enjoy this part of the city.

Dine

If you’re looking to eat “where the locals eat” then the southern end of town has you covered.
For that warm morning pick-me-up, a local option might be Scully’s Coffee Camper (15630 Olde Golden Road in the Columbine parking lot), where the eponymous Sophie Scully will brew you up a cup. She’s open 6:30 a.m. to 11 a.m., Monday through Friday.

“It’s more of a neighborhood vibe around here,” Scully says of South Golden Road.

There’s a reason that Manny and Bo’s Pizzeria (16399 South Golden Road) has several “Best Pizza in Denver” titles to its name.

Need a sandwich on your way to a picnic, or an epic hike on a surrounding trail? Mier’s Deli (15750 S Golden Road) is a quick and affordable option.

Wanting something more ethnic? Sushi Uokura (815 Nile Court) is an authentic place to go and enjoy Japanese cuisine. Sushi fans will likely want to check out
the all-you-can-eat lunch option.

For catering a large meal, you can’t go wrong with a meat-loving crowd if you pick up food from Tin Star Smokehouse (16400 South Golden Road). The barbecue joint’s menu features ribs along with chicken, pork, hot link and sandwich options. Try the house pickles!

Play

Just south of Golden sits one of the great outdoor music venues in the world — Red Rocks Amphitheater! You can check for show dates and special events at www.redrocksonline.com but the venue’s striking scenery and winding trails makes it worth a visit any time (18300 W. Alameda Parkway).

If you like music, but maybe not the crowds, there’s always The Columbine Cafe (15630 South Golden). The local-favorite bar often features live folk and bluegrass music acts, including a backyard concert series May- September.

“The Columbine’s a good place to meet up with friends and it’s unpretentious, which I appreciate,” said Sands.

Those in search of “local color” need look no further than the Rock Rest Lodge (16005 Mount Vernon Road). Quirky decorations both inside and out help decorate the bar, which has just as quirky a past. The “Lodge” part of the name supposedly comes from the site’s history as a one-time brothel. The “Lady in Red” ghost that reportedly haunts the bar is said to be the ghost of a former brother employee. Jazz greats, including George Morrison and Louis Armstrong performed there. A rhinoceros head, real according to the staff, dispenses beer... There’s just a lot going on.

Stay

It’s never been easier to explore the lesser-known portions of Golden. In fact, with the addition of the Holiday Inn Express and Suites (17140 West Colfax Avenue), Hampton Inn Denver West (17150 West Colfax Avenue) and the Origin Hotel Red Rocks (18145 Colfax Avenue), the south end of town can now be the preferred base camp location for visitors.

MORE: See the Origin Red Rocks "Do List" for guests

All three hotels are close to both I-70 and the RTD W Line light rail station at the Jefferson County building.

Tracy McGinnis with Origin says the hotel works hard to help connect guests to surrounding attractions, offering bicycle loaners, trail suggestions and shuttle service to nearby points of interest.

McGinnis points out that the hotel makes a nice stopping point for travelers passing through, too.

“Whether you want to stop and acclimatize on your way up to the slopes, or refuel at Nomad (taqueria and beer garden) restaurant on your way back down, we are here to offer an outstanding experience,” she said.