8.2 out of 10

Barnum

39.7180715481671 -105.03093807323
Great for
  • Cost of Living
  • Parks & Recreation
  • Peace & Quiet
  • Eating Out
  •  
Not great for
  • Schools
  • Clean & Green
  • Neighborly Spirit
  • Gym & Fitness
  • Internet Access
Who lives here?
  • Singles
  • Professionals
  • Families with kids
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Hipsters

Reviews

5/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 5/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Pest Free 5/5
  • Peace & Quiet 5/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 4/5
  • Parks & Recreation 5/5
  • Shopping Options 5/5
  • Gym & Fitness 5/5
  • Internet Access 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 5/5
  • Parking 5/5
  • Cost of Living 5/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 5/5
  • Public Transport 5/5
  • Medical Facilities 5/5
  • Schools 3/5
2yrs+

"Cute and Affordable"

I've lived in Barnum West for about six years, and here's my take on Barnum and Barnum West:

1. Architecture. We live in one of the brick post-war veteran's cottages built around 1950. I adore our house and its beautiful architecture. Our living room has these amazing rounded edges on the tops of the walls where they meet the ceiling. And, our doorways have the most graceful arches. We even have *telephone nooks*. I love having such a large yard for gardening -- a rare and beautiful thing so close to the city. There are so many adorable houses in this neighborhood, though admittedly some are in need of a little more care than they've gotten. Very few of the houses are "big" by American standards though, so if you're looking for a very big home for a very big family, or a house that has a master suite with walk-in closets, this may not be the neighborhood for you.

2. Location. It takes me about 12 minutes to drive to the capitol building/art museum every morning -- in heavy traffic. It takes around 6 minutes to drive to Belmar, and maybe 10-15 minutes to the foothills. For driving, you couldn't even imagine a better location. Within 30 minutes walking distance, we have the light rail, several small grocery stores, a library, a couple of convenience stores, a couple of parks, and a huge number of locally owned restaurants and bakeries -- even two microbreweries. I suppose Dandy Dan's is also within walking distance if you're into that sort of thing.

3. Shadiness? Speaking of Dandy Dan's, this part of Denver in general does have a lot more poverty than other areas, though Barnum and Barnum West are a little better off than the surrounding neighborhoods. Those houses that do look a bit under the weather? They probably look that way because the folks who live there have bigger problems in life than when they're going to touch up their house paint or reseed their lawn. The walls around the creek do get tagged pretty often. That said, we've never been tagged or had any problems at my house. I moved into the neighborhood as a 24 year old white girl and I've never felt unsafe here, either in my house or walking around alone late at night or early in the morning. Folks outside their houses wave hello as I pass, neighbors chat with me when we're out gardening in the summer. etc. Last I heard, for Barnum and Barnum West, the crime rate isn't any higher than Denver in general. I think some of the people who remember the neighborhood having high crime rates might be thinking of 10-20 years ago.

I recently started a blog to keep tabs on all the new developments in the area and gather together some handy info for all of the new kids moving into the neighborhood (house tours, restaurant reviews, photos, links, etc.). So, if you're looking for more info, please feel free to drop by: http://www.welcometobarnum.blogspot.com
Pros
  • Great old homes
  • affordable home prices
  • Gorgeous views
Cons
  • some gang activity in West Denver in general
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Hipsters
  • Students
  • Trendy & Stylish
4/5 rating details
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • Eating Out 3/5
  • Cost of Living 4/5
2yrs+

"A West Denver neighborhood that seems to be turning the corner"

Barnum was named after THE Barnum – P.T., of “sucker born every minute” fame. He bought this large swath of land in West Denver in 1882, intending to use it as winter quarters for his circus. Despite local wishful thinking, however, he never used it for that purpose, and it was developed into a residential neighborhood in the early parts of the following century.

In a West Denver generally characterized as a land of gangs, crime, and poverty, Barnum may be one of the better neighborhoods to live in. Crime rates are at around the city average, which is always going to be higher than locals would like, but it's not as high as other West Denver areas. Incomes and home values are still generally low, and there are parts that look down-at-heel, but you'll find a lot of well-kept homes here. Barnum Park, on the east side of the neighborhood, attracts all sorts – gang members, perhaps, but also families and human and canine patrons of the off-leash dog park. The park comes complete with a lake and a view of the downtown skyline. South Federal is the rumbling commercial district, but for a more pleasant walk past a café, a couple of shops, and a Mexican market advertising fresh produce, try strolling down Knox. If you're considering moving to this area, bear in mind that it may be a good neighborhood in a few years - but scope out your block carefully for now.
Pros
  • affordable home prices
  • Great old homes
Cons
  • some gang activity in West Denver in general
  • longish commute to downtown
  • bad spots
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
2/5 rating details
  • Safe & Sound 2/5
  • Clean & Green 1/5
  • Peace & Quiet 1/5
  • Nightlife 2/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Cost of Living 4/5
2yrs+

"A neigborhood with potential, but just too scary"

Barnum is one of Denver's old neighborhoods, with wonderful older homes. Some of these neighborhoods have been restored and revitalized, and it would be hard to think of a better place to live. Unfortunately, Barnum is not one of these neighborhoods. There have been some recent efforts, but it's still a sketchy place. I've lived in Denver most of my life but have only driven past or into Barnum briefly.
It has an interesting history. Most of the neigborhood was bought by P.T. Barnum in (I think) the 1850's to use as winter quarters for the circus performers. It was later annexed to the city. Lots of the homes there were built in that era. Sadly, it has become very run down. I noticed some news stories recently saying that a volunteer group was starting a project to go in and restore some of these homes, so maybe that's a good sign. but there are still lots of run-down areas and gang activity, high crime, etc.
On the plus side, there is a park with gorgeous views west toward downtown and the mountains. Houses there are inexpensive and full of potential. I think this neighborhood might be a great investment, but of course it really depends on where the economy is headed in the near future. Someone with knowledge of construction and remodeling, who is able to wait for the home values to rise over the years might be very tempted to invest here. I definitely would not recommend this for anyone with kids. Barnum has potential, but it's not really a safe place.
Pros
  • Gorgeous views
  • Great old homes
Cons
  • High crime
  • bad spots
Recommended for
  • Singles
WelcomeToBarnum
WelcomeToBarnum Just curious -- if you've only driven past or into Barnum briefly and have limited personal experience with this neighborhood, where are you getting your information from to write a review? Also, PT Barnum did own the land briefly in 1878, but it was never meant to be home for his circus -- it was a development investment -- and he also gave some of it to his daughter, Helen Buchtel (think Buchtel Blvd) for $1. The Denver Public Library Western History and Genealogy Department has lots of great info if you're interested in researching the neighborhood more thoroughly.
2yrs+
Add a comment...

Best Neighborhoods to Live In

Best Cities to Live In

Tell everyone what you love about your neighborhood!

Leave a Review

Have a question?

How are schools? Is the area safe? What about public transit options?" Why not ask our community of locals!

Ask Now

Selling or Renting Your Home?

Maximize the selling price of your home by sharing what you love about your suburb to increase its appeal...

Leave a Review

Corporate Relocation Manager?

Enable your employees to share local knowledge in a private, trusted environment with those relocating... while building community.

Learn More