Best Bets: 10 Places to Find Shade

July 2012

Denver's scorching weather broke multiple records last week—and the forecast indicates that we should expect more of the same. That doesn't mean you have to stay indoors. Here, 10 ways to find shade so that you can retreat from your air-conditioned lair and enjoy all kinds of summery goodness.

1) Chow down: The covered patio at Lola provides shady relief all day long, so forget about sunscreen and order up some coastal Mexican cuisine instead. (1575 Boulder St., 720-570-8686) 

2) Get your game on: Large trees surround the public tennis courts at Sloan's Lake Park South, granting cool respite during a heated match. (4200 W. 17th Ave.)

3) Bench time: Find a shaded bench in Washington Park and soak in the scenery, not the sun. (S. Downing St. and E. Louisiana Ave.)

4) Bird watch: Staff at the Denver Zoo consider the Carousel Meadows area to be somewhat of a hidden gem. Explore the wooded picnic area, winding path, and flamingo pond for yourself. (2300 Steele St., 303-376-4800. $10-15; free for children under two).

5) Make a move: Venture to 16th Street Mall and check out the permanent outdoor chess boards. A canopy of trees provides cool coverage, whether you're watching the masters or trying your own luck at the game. (1067 16th St.)

6) Restaurant hop: We love the Village Cork's small plates and thoughtful wine list, which, depending on the time of day, can be enjoyed in the shaded comfort of their outdoor seating area. However, if things get especially toasty, head across the street and cool off with a brew on Hanson's Grill & Tavern's covered patio. (The Village Cork, 1300 S. Pearl St., 303-282-8399; Hanson's Grill & Tavern, 1301 S. Pearl St., 303-744-1052.) 

7) Grill and chill: At Marczyk Fine Food's Burger Night, juicy Niman Ranch meat is the only item under fire, as the outer east side of the building doubles as a shaded hangout. (770 E. 17th Ave., 303-849-9499.)

8) Sweet relief: As if their innovative menu of fresh, house-made flavors wasn't enough, Sweet Action Ice Cream also features an awning and sprawling tree out front for maximum feasting enjoyment. (52 Broadway, 303-282-4645.)

9) Take a ride: Ditch the Cherry Creek Canal, with its inferno-like passageways, and try the flat, wide, and tree-lined Highline Canal bike ride instead. (Open daily 5 a.m.-11 p.m.)  

10) Indulge in suds: The entire front patio at Vine Street Pub is shaded until around noon, so if you arrive later in the day, grab a cold pint and head to the backside of the patio for the ultimate cool space. (1700 Vine St., 303-388-2337.)

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