Downtown a True Delight
Steamboat Springs offers one of the most quintessential downtowns a mountain town can offer. Lined with shops, restaurants, bars, storefronts and more, historic Lincoln Avenue has been town’s heart and soul since the city was incorporated in 1900, and remains so today, just a block away from the Yampa River. Throw in a backdrop of Mount Werner to the east and Sleeping Giant to the west, and it’s hard to script a better city epicenter.
It’s getting even more energetic now, with Steamboat’s City Council recently approving the biggest investment in the downtown corridor in years — a $10.3 million project constructing new walkways, public restrooms and other infrastructure on Yampa Street. Voters also recently approved spending another $1 million for other improvements, including the building of a new riverside park at Sixth and Yampa streets.
“Downtown is experiencing a huge rejuvenation, with Yampa Street leading the charge,” says Lisa Popovich of MainStreet Steamboat Springs. “When construction is complete, there will be a beautiful new promenade, making the street more bike and pedestrian friendly, creating a great restaurant corridor right next to the river. It’s becoming pretty vibrant.”
Restaurants and bars along the riverfront road include E3 Chophouse, Sake2U, Scratch, Carl’s Tavern, Sweet Pea Market and Restaurant, Sunpie’s Bistro and Aurum Food and Wine, with Mountain Tap Brewery recently revitalizing Yampa’s west end by opening at 910 Yampa Ave.
Add in the Yampa River, rodeo grounds and Howelsen Hill all nearby, and all the ingredients are in place for a true pedestrian-friendly wining, dining and cultural hub in the heart of downtown. “It’s a truly unique section of downtown,” says Popovich. “Historic downtown Steamboat is the heart of our community.”
Located at 13th Street and Lincoln Avenue, Steamboat Springs’ 33,000-square-foot Bud Werner Memorial Library is a true showcase, receiving a silver Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. It includes dedicated spaces for children and teenagers, a coffee shop, large community and conference rooms, various artwork, a Library Hall for presentations and more. With a collection of more than 88,000 titles, the library also has 30 public computers, audio books downloadable to MP3 players, self check-out counters (with fines payable by credit card), an electronic wand book-stocking system, free wireless, access to the library’s database subscriptions and additional cutting-edge features. But its main attribute could well be its downtown location, letting you watch and listen to the Yampa River course by as you simply sit back and relax or make your reading selection.
Steamboat’s historic shopping district combines the nostalgia of old-time storefronts with boutique shops, galleries and more. Downtown you’ll find such venerable establishments as F.M. Light & Sons, as well as other favorites like All That, a new Marmot store operated by Steamboat Ski Resort, and Off the Beaten Path bookstore, all sharing that little taste of Steamboat you can take home. If you’re staying on the mountain, take the free city bus to Fifth Street and begin your journey by passing the historic Routt County Courthouse before entering the heart of the downtown area where restaurants, bars and shops await.
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