Folks lucky enough to live in the loft-style flats in Lakewood, Colorado's Belmar development insist there's no reason to venture elsewhere.
Who can blame them? This foliage-flush neighborhood, sprinkled with honey locust trees and colorful flower beds, has itself blossomed into an open-air mini metropolis abuzz with boutiques, art galleries, and always-hopping restaurants.
Belmar's summertime markets, though, are the real draw right now; there you can wrap your arms around bushels of freshly cut blooms, sample artisanal cheeses from local farmers, and dance the day away to music in the streets.
Info. Belmar is located 10 minutes west of downtown Denver, at the corner of Alameda Ave. and Wadsworth Blvd.
The Market at Belmar. Chef demos, gardening lessons, farmers hawking fresh produce, and booths featuring everything from fluffy pancakes to pommes frites. Every Sun. Alaska Dr.; 303/742-1500.
A Paris Street Market. A shabby-chic antique flea market à la Paree. Every third Sat of the month through Sep. Alaska Dr.; 303/742-1580.
Kamala. Emporium gleaming floor-to-ceiling with handcrafted pieces for your neck, wrists, and hands, plus art from around the world. Open daily. 7240 W. Alaska Dr.; 303/935-3337.
Chama. Snappy south-of-the-border sustenance including zingy ceviches, roasted chicken moles, and citrus-splashed margaritas. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner daily. $$. 425 S. Teller St.; 303/935-5170.The Oven Pizza e Vino. Go for the cheesy, thin, blistered crusts, topped with locally farmed ingredients or for the sugar-kissed doughnuts dunked in chocolate-espresso mascarpone. Lunch and dinner daily. $$. 7167 W. Alaska Dr.; 303/934-7600.
Baker Street Pub & Grill. Fifty-plus well-poured pints and a slew of creative summer cocktails, enjoyed in a Sherlock Holmes-themed tavern. Open daily. $. 7260 W. Alaska Dr.; 303/953-5510.