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Downtown Littleton: Little city, big heart

By Hollen Wheeler; courtesy photo

Littleton has history worth noting.

Strolling westward on Main Street with a mountain view on the horizon, take in downtown Littleton, a 10-block enclave with panache. One of Denver’s oldest suburbs, and set in three counties (Arapahoe, Douglas, and Jefferson), Littleton has history worth noting. There are wonderful restaurants, antique and gift stores, and plenty of coffee spots and watering holes. But what sets the downtown apart from other pockets of Denver is that many of the stores and owners are native to Littleton or have established businesses, decades old.

Reinke Brothers is owned and run by two brothers who call Littleton home. Beginning their business as children in 1968 by charging a penny per person for a haunted house in their basement, the brothers have made careers with their store selling costumes, Halloween décor, stage props, magic and everything scary. Reinke Brothers is open year-round and they create a “Haunted Mansion” every fall.

Giggleblossom Boutique is a women’s clothing store with a large selection of inventory, to include plus sizes, and all with attractive price points. The shopkeeper is a Littleton native and said that she has enjoyed watching the downtown evolve but also maintain its small-town vibe. Colorado Frame Company can frame any of your family photos but also offers novelty gifts: a large selection of jewelry, candles, scarfs and accessories. The owner began the business in 1975.

For a meal with a purpose, visit GraceFull Community Café. The nonprofit is a kitchen run by volunteers who make fresh, healthy breakfast and lunches for all of the community. Paying is optional and each purchased meal goes to help feed someone who might be experiencing food insecurity.

If you’re looking for a robust variety of breakfast choices served daily until 2 p.m. (except Monday), it’s Grande Station. One delicious choice, the Jamaican bowl, has eggs, fried plantains, guacamole and black beans and rice. And there are eight menu choices for Eggs Benedict.

For a glass of wine in a relaxed and cozy space, try Kate’s Wine Bar. Happy hour specials include a wine list of 50 rotating bottles.

A night out with local music can be found at The Alley. It is known for its affordable and spicy margaritas and have a food truck offering Mexican specialties: queso, house-made guacamole and flautas.

The history of downtown Littleton began with the Pike’s Peak gold rush of 1859, which brought many westward, to include diggers, merchants and farmers. As Denver expanded, more water was needed to help farmers and businesses. An engineer from New Hampshire, Richard Sullivan Little, was hired to dig the ditches to help with the water supply process. He and his wife fell in love with the area and settled, began farming the land, and with others created the Rough and Ready Flour Mill in 1867. In 1872, Little filed a plat to subdivide his property into the village of Littleton.

Today many of the original buildings from the 1800s are historical landmarks and maintain modern-day businesses that entice visitors through their doors.

Take a stroll, grab a bite, shop a little in historical, quaint and local downtown Littleton. For more information, visit



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