It’s All Here!
The Renaissance of Denver’s Little Saigon
The Little Saigon district, located on South Federal Boulevard between Alameda and Mississippi, offers visitors the experiences, sights, tastes, sounds and aromas of a vibrant, engaging and delicious vietnamese-american culture.
With an abundance of restaurants, shops and markets to choose from, Little Saigon is the place to explore and discover new and delightful cuisine and culture. Artisans, chefs, community leaders and business owners are invested and engaged in building a thriving and culturally rich destination for all to enjoy.
The Friends of Little Saigon hosted the first ever Little Saigon Night Market on June 21, 2019. The parking lot of the Asia Center on South Federal and Mississippi was repurposed into a multicultural marketplace and public plaza complete with an artistic pedestrian walkway, trees, flowers, lighting and seating. A colorful mural of swimming koi was also installed at a nearby bus stop.
An estimated 500 people attended despite cold, rainy weather. Vendors sold colorful, delicious wares, and cultural heritage performances were presented to a appreciative and engaged crowd.
Business owners requested a second event on the corridor, and the Friends of Little Saigon responded by hosting the Mid-Autumn Festival on September 13, 2019 at the same location. The event drew an estimated 5000 people, where the parking lot was again transformed into a marketplace and plaza, and a new, vibrant mural was added to a large exterior wall space.
Besides being a great time, the success of these events demonstrated the social, cultural and economic benefits that come with the creation of a more welcoming, walkable environment. There is clearly an appetite in metro Denver for culturally-focused districts and events.
The Friends of Little Saigon partners are working with business owners to explore establishing a Business Improvement District (BID) in the area. BIDs are formed to promote the continued vitality of commercial business areas, as well as the health, safety, property, security and general welfare of the community. Across the U.S., Vietnamese-American communities have come together to create Little Saigon districts to celebrate the culture, history and businesses at the heart of their communities. The BIDs not only allow local property owners a greater role in guiding improvements along their corridor, but also provide a unified, collective voice for the community and boost the economic vitality of the area.
The Denver Streets Partnership was thrilled to help fund patio expansion in 2020 for small businesses in Denver multicultural districts: Saigon Bowl, Now Pho, and Pho 555 on South Federal Boulevard, Las Hijas de la Chilanga and Kahlo’s Mexican Restaurant on Morrison Road, and The Corner Beet and EastFax Tap on East Colfax Avenue. The Denver Department of Transportation and Infrastructure reimbursed us about $21K in December 2020 with federal CARES Act grants. Now we can continue to pay it forward to more small and multicultural businesses!
In the video below, hear from:
– Jill Locantore, Denver Streets Partnership
– Monica Martinez, The Fax Partnership
– Ivonne Bringas, Las Hijas de la Chilanga
– Nina Tram Vo, Saigon Bowl
– Jose Esparza, BuCu West
– Noe Bermudez, Kahlo’s Mexican Restaurant
– Tor Ericksen, EastFax Tap
– Toan Le, Now Pho
– Cindy Ambs, Denver Streets Partnership