• Outdoor Venue Spotlight: Alleys to Activate

    POSTED February 19, 2020
  • Outdoor Venue Spotlight: Alleys to Activate

    POSTED February 19, 2020

With the introduction of two newer hotels in downtown Denver and Fort Collins, The Maven and The Elizabeth Hotel both by Sage Hospitality, the alleys are among the star attractions and have demonstrated their huge potential as outdoors venues. In fact, downtown Fort Collins puts a high priority on its alleys by utilizing murals, painting utility boxes and sometimes having pianos there to play as well!

The Alley at Dairy Block, Denver

Where: Behind The Maven and Denver Milk Market, part of the Dairy Block development.

Example Uses: From film screenings and weddings to art shows and fund-raisers, The Alley at Dairy Block has hosted a wide variety in 2019. On Sept. 28, The Intergalactic ‘90s Block Party for Colorado nonprofit Big Green drew more than 500 people, while the second annual Fall Flannel Festival on Oct. 20 attracted more than 1,000 families. Corporate events have included parties for Denver StartUp Week and the SeriesFest Opening Night. Music lovers have been discovering new bands at multiple Sofar Sounds concerts held in The Maven’s 2,300 square foot Windsor space, which opens onto the Alley.

Old Firehouse Alley, Fort Collins

Where: Adjacent to The Elizabeth Hotel alongside The Magic Rat.

Example Use: The Downtown Fort Collins Business Association showcases Old Town’s alleyways with its Hidden Spaces Series, which are family-friendly celebrations that include art, music, refreshments and games amongst the artwork, architectural enhancements, garden patios and landscaping of downtown’s improved alleys. On Sept. 20, 2019, Old Firehouse Alley hosted the third and final Hidden Spaces event for 2019 that featured all sorts of activities against the backdrop of live music by Justin Roth and Guerrilla Fanfare Brass Band on The Magic Rat’s patio at the hotel.

Event planners often prepare for the worst, but one thing they likely didn’t anticipate was a global pandemic when selecting event cancellation insurance policies for their 2020 gatherings. Panicked planners began contacting Marcia McKinney, owner of Northeast Insurance Advisors, in late February and early March, but as meetings and events ground to a halt, they were already out of luck.

“It’s kind of like trying to buy homeowner’s insurance as your house is starting to catch fire... it’s too late,” says McKinney.


Zehnder’s of Frankenmuth is one of six recipients of the James Beard Foundation’s 2020 America’s Classics Award, which is given to locally owned restaurants that have timeless appeal and are beloved regionally for quality food that reflects the character of their community. Per the foundation, “Zehnder’s of Frankenmuth, a chicken dinner behemoth positioned between Detroit and Michigan’s summer lake destination, is decidedly on the beaten path. William Zehnder Sr. and his wife, Emilie, bought a former hotel in 1928.


In early April Detroit’s TCF Center became a 1,000-bed alternate care site to help ease the burden on local hospitals during the COVID-19 crisis. The 723,000-square-foot facility became the TCF Regional Care Center. According to Pure Michigan’s Michelle Grinnell, who serves as public information officer for the state’s alternate care sites, 39 patients were treated at TCF, the last of whom was discharged on May 7.