This summer you’ll find no shortage of guides to the best patios, burgers, and events in Denver. These kinds of lists are fun. They help us define a place—this is the best of Denver, here are the spots for locals, these are the things visitors must try before they leave. But there are as many layers to Denver as there are people living in it. These best-of lists and tours, while fun, often only show one side of a city.
Welcome to the Denver VOICE’s sixth annual Denver tourism issue. We’ve decided to publish an alternative guide to Denver this year, inspired by “invisible city” tours in places like London and Athens led by people experiencing homelessness. An invisible city tour shows alternate ways of interacting with landmarks and busy streets. While another guided tour of Denver might tell you that the Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception (a.k.a. the Colfax Cathedral) hosted a mass led by Pope John Paul II in 1993, we’d like to let you know that former VOICE vendor Brian Dibley slept behind the Cathedral in 2015.
Of course, people experiencing homelessness enjoy ice cream and public parks just as much as everyone else, so you’ll find a few of those spots, too. In his guide to South Broadway (page 7), vendor David Gordon said that he likes the neighborhood because most shop owners treat him with respect even though they know he doesn’t have much to spend. Experiences like David’s help define the character of a place.
Finally, we’ve added a Boulder tour to this year’s lineup. If you’ve ever met VOICE vendor Raelene Johnson, she’s told you that she’s the top-selling female vendor. She is a staple along the Pearl Street Mall and at the Boulder Farmers Market. It turns out Raelene loves talking about Boulder as much as she loves talking about the VOICE, and we’re excited to finally share her personal tour of Boulder with you. ■