If you're the type who likes to track down the most authentic, off-the-radar cuisine in any given city, then you'll want to head to South Federal, whose unpretentious eateries are local favorites. Asian markets and Vietnamese restaurants abound in Little Saigon, between Mississippi and Alameda avenues, as do Mexican restaurants and shops in the Barnum area (named after circus mogul P.T. Barnum). And all along Federal Boulevard, bright murals along with fragrant, spiced cuisine; piñata shops; bakeries; and vintage signs speak to the neighborhood's low-key, up-and-coming diverse vibe. See neighborhood map.
- Far East Center: A pagoda-style entry welcomes guests to explore a shopping center chock full of Asian eateries, markets and gift shops. Feast on coconut buns and noodle bowls, and shop for Buddha statues, straw hats, Chinese herbs and hundreds of other treasures.
- Parks: Several parks with water features offer an escape just off busy South Federal Boulevard. Visit Barnum Park for its views of downtown Denver; Huston Lake Park or Garfield Lake Park, each with lakeshores to explore; or Sanderson Gulch Park or Lakewood Gulch Park, where South Platte River tributaries meander through green spaces.
- Little Saigon Market: A favorite of the neighborhood is the Vietnamese food market carrying produce meats, spices and imported Asian products.
A hidden gem of the neighborhood is the Vinh Xuong Bakery. The décor has a traditional coffeehouse feel and serves some of the best banh mi and sesame balls in the city.
- Chinese and Vietnamese New Year: Every year the Far East Center celebrates the New Year in January with food, dragon and lion dancing and more.
- St. Cajetan's Parish Bazaar: A neighborhood highlight, taking place in August, with food, dancing and fun, celebrating the parish's patron saint.
- Chile Fest: In September, the Business and Culture District on Morrison Road hosts the annual event with cars, food, music and art.
South Federal Map
Start your neighborhood adventure at this suggested spot! This is a centrally located position that you can input into your GPS to get started exploring.