ElizaQ

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Reviews

4/5
Just now

"Not quite as gentrified as Five Points, but more so than Cole..."

Whittier is a delight for aficionados of late-1800s architecture. Many of the old Victorians still stand, and have been lovingly restored in all their craftsman-made, gingerbread-trim glory. This neighborhood dates from the 1860s and, founded by abolitionists, was an integrated neighborhood from the start. It has strong African-American roots, and more recently there has been an influx of Latino and white families. Like in the case of Cole to the north, there are questions of what this change means for the longtime residents and the area’s character. Whittier is further along than Cole in this process of gentrification, and housing prices are substantially higher – similar to what happened across Downing Street in Five Points.

The neighborhood does have a lot to offer. In addition to the streets and their old homes being perfect for a stroll or bike ride, it’s close to downtown by car and within easy access of City Park. Although Cole is almost wholly residential, there are some pleasant neighborhood spots that are tucked away on the quiet streets: a couple of barbecue joints, convenience stores, and a great coffeeshop that also serves beer. Like many Denver neighborhoods, Cole lacks a walkable grocery store within its borders, though there is a Safeway about a mile away in North Capitol Hill.
Pros
  • beautiful old homes
  • interesting history
  • quiet
Cons
  • not a lot of nightlife/restaurants immediately in neighborhood
  • Need to car or bus to grocery store
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
2/5 rating details
  • Safe & Sound 2/5
  • Cost of Living 4/5
Just now

"What people think of when they think West Denver"

The stretch of South Federal Boulevard that passes through Westwood exemplifies the diversity that this road is known for. You can do all your marketing here, whether what you need comes from Mexico, India, Vietnam, or China. The same goes for all your eating. South Federal isn’t upscale, but offers some of the best kind of hole-in-the-wall ethnic eateries. Many of these places have strong local support and reputations that draw people from all over the metro area – despite the fact that South Federal doesn’t feel like the safest area ever. (Visitors be assured: it is extremely unlikely that anyone will bother you while you’re going out for Pho on South Federal.) And once you’re done eating, you can look. There is a high concentration of Asian businesses here – you’ll know where to look for this stretch of South Federal when you can no longer read the signs. Checking out the shops and markets can be a fun and interesting cultural experience, as can the dining. Elsewhere on South Federal, it’s an odd and interesting mixture of Asian and Mexican restaurants and businesses.

Now, for the Westwood neighborhood itself. It would be great to say that this diverse street was backed by a thriving, diverse, happy community, and that the bars on the windows of many of the businesses on South Federal are there for no reason, but unfortunately that is not the case. Westwood is known for poverty, crime, and being a center of Denver’s gang activity. Many of the primarily Latino families are struggling. The neighborhood itself reveals an interesting mix: bright owner-occupied homes, boarded-up buildings, low-rent houses that look it, low-rent houses that look well taken care of, and tire shops. It can be hoped that at some point the neighborhood will be a healthier and safer place, but in the meantime, aside from a visit to South Federal, there’s not much reason to come here – or, if you are planning a move to Westwood, research your block carefully.
Pros
  • South Federal a great place to dine, explore
  • Has potential to be a much safer, healthier neighborhood
Cons
  • typical West Denver problems: crime, gangs, poverty
  • bad reputation keeps housing prices low
5/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 4/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Parking 3/5
  • Cost of Living 2/5
Just now

"Now one of Denvers most wanted"

A rectangular extension of the Highland neighborhood west of Federal Boulevard, West Highland serves as the slightly more affordable, family-friendly version of the Highland neighborhood to the east. And many people are recognizing that: the neighborhood is gentrifying, with all the positive and negative implications that word carries. Lots of relatively well-to-do couples are drawn to this area to start families in a neighborhood that has great character, is distinctly urban, yet feels safe and welcoming. There are a lot of great reasons to live in West Highland: beautiful homes with yards (this area is less dense and has more single-family homes than Highland), manageable commutes, and easy access to the gourmand’s and urbanite’s paradise that is Highland to the east. As for reasons not to live in West Highlands, there really aren’t many, unless you’re on the lookout for quieter, cheaper, or less developed. Not all of West Highlands’ advantages are derived from proximity – far from it. The area has a “main street” type district, Highlands Square at 32nd and Lowell, that is worth visiting in its own right. There are trendy boutiques, some great restaurants, and plenty of nice architecture to ooh and aah over as you take your family/partner/dog for a weekend afternoon stroll.
Pros
  • Highland Square
  • historic character
Cons
  • becoming more expensive
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Tourists
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Hipsters
  • Students
  • Trendy & Stylish
3/5 rating details
  • Eating Out 2/5
  • Nightlife 1/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Cost of Living 4/5
Just now
This post-WWII neighborhood lies off of Federal Boulevard in southwest Denver. It seems to share more the character of Harvey Park to the south than of Westwood to the north. Although it’s by no means affluent, and many children receive reduced-cost or free school lunches, it doesn’t have the reputation of many other southwest Denver areas for poverty, crime, or gang activity (although such elements may still be present in the neighborhood). Construction is mostly tract homes that age, and decades of ownership, have mellowed. A few are tricked out with solar panels, and cottonwood trees line the streets. Sanderson Gulch trail runs through the heart of the neighborhood, providing a paved thoroughfare for bikers, walkers, and runners, that goes by an inviting trickle of a stream. Garfield Park, on the neighborhood’s northern edge, is a little gem. Trails circle a large pond or small lake with a couple islands of greenery in the middle. Major commercial strips are Sheridan, Florida, and Federal. (See my review of Westwood for more on South Federal Boulevard.) Federal in this area, however, could use some work – a solid handful of its stores are currently boarded up, and there are some dilapidated apartments in that area, as well. Otherwise, Mar Lee seems like a decent middle class neighborhood, with appealingly low housing prices.
Pros
  • good parks
  • Family-friendly
  • affordable
Cons
  • surrounding neighborhoods struggle with crime/poverty/gangs
  • Federal looks dilapidated in this area
Recommended for
  • Families with kids
2/5 rating details
  • Safe & Sound 2/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Parking 5/5
  • Cost of Living 4/5
Just now

"Green valley? It was, once"

This neighborhood west of the Platte was one of Denver’s first to be settled. The name, Valverde, means “green valley” and reflects what early residents must have seen in the area. Valverde doesn’t leave much of a green impression these days – half the neighborhood is industrial, and one of its most notable “residents” is the King Soopers supermarket distribution center. The neighborhood is bounded by Federal on the west, which looks down-at-heel in this area. Neighborhood and ethnic restaurants can be found on Alameda, amongst the dirty tinsel of used car lots.

Off the main roads, Valverde exhibits a paradigm common among many West Denver neighborhoods: cute-as-a-button homes and senior citizens chatting with the friendly mail carrier, juxtaposed with forlorn-looking houses and rumors of gang activity. Being a “mixed-use” neighborhood poses challenges as well, since unpopulated industrial areas so close to residential ones sometimes act like an invitation for criminal activity. Housing prices here are among some of the city’s lowest, and homes themselves often date back to the 1930s and ‘40s. The oddly named West-Bar-Val-Wood Park serves as an extended front yard for the surrounding homes. Farther east, Valverde Park offers a sports complex for kids and access to the Platte River bike trail.
Pros
  • good parks
  • cute, affordable homes
Cons
  • some problems typical of West Denver
1/5 rating details
  • Safe & Sound 2/5
  • Eating Out 2/5
  • Nightlife 2/5
  • Cost of Living 4/5
Just now

"You might have visited without knowing it"

Sun Valley’s name seems to fit it poorly. It conjures up images of green grass, blue sky, perhaps a cute little cottage. The reality, however, is that residents mostly live in public housing projects, and share the valley with a large amount of industrial and warehouse development. The sun shines on parking lots. As, unfortunately, might be expected, the area has a high poverty rate and a very high crime rate. The neighborhood’s location and its small size mean that it’s often overlooked – although the planned FasTracks rail expansion will include a stop in the neighborhood, which may help to bring more investment in. The Denver Human Services main office is located a few blocks west of the housing projects, near Federal Boulevard.

Despite this rather bleak description of the neighborhood, however, tens of thousands of people from Colorado and all over the world visit Sun Valley annually. The reason? Invesco Field, home of the Denver Broncos, is located here. The stadium and the gargantuan parking lots and freeway interchanges that surround it take up a third or more of the neighborhood’s area. In the context of its neighborhood, the stadium feels like a no-man’s land, and the vast majority of people go to and from the game without realizing that Sun Valley is there.
Cons
  • poverty, crime affects many residents
  • 94% housing projects
  • large industrial/commercial/stadium zones
NicoleA
NicoleA ElizaQ -- I know these were posted way back in 2011, and I"m not sure if you'll get this message or not... but I'd love to connect with you. I'm working on a really cool Denver start up where we need local experts. Please reach out to me if you get this message and I'd LOVE to tell you more! Nicole [email protected]
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4/5 rating details
  • Safe & Sound 4/5
  • Cost of Living 3/5
Just now

"Easy living near Denvers second-biggest park"

Stand at the eastern edge of Sloan Lake and squint a little – this might be what it would look like if the inland sea, which covered much of the Great Plains in prehistoric times, were still around today. Houses line the opposite shore, and behind them, the foothills loom up. For landlocked Colorado, and especially for Denver, Sloan Lake is a big lake. The park that surrounds it completely is second only to City Park in acreage, and taking a walk along its shores or biking the paths is an excellent way to take a break from the daily grind.

Not that the grind is that oppressive, if you live in the Sloan Lake neighborhood. This area enjoys low crime and poverty rates, the homes are a mix of new and old and are generally appealing, and yoga studios, wine shops, and art studios have moved in. Those pesky essentials, such as groceries, gas stations, and the occasional fast-food meal, are found on Sheridan or Federal, bordering the neighborhood, along with a few restaurants. The area’s gotten popular with youngish or middle-aged professionals, many of who are looking for a safe but close-in neighborhood to start a family. Sloan Lake is somewhat quieter and a little cheaper than West Highland, which abuts it to the north. The neighborhood doesn’t draw many visitors – except for the annual Dragon Boat festival on the lake.
Pros
  • amazing lake and park
  • safe neighborhood
  • not a long drive to downtown
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Families with kids
3/5 rating details
  • Parks & Recreation 5/5
  • Cost of Living 4/5
Just now

"A great park - but some other problems make this neighborhood a mixed bag"

Metaphorically speaking, the most striking feature of Ruby Hill is its park. It dominates a hilltop, taking in some seriously impressive vistas: glimpses of the mountains, a distant view of downtown, and a clear eastern view of the sky over the plains. There are some running and biking trails, playground space, and a row of power line towers marching up and over the hill. In winter, it offers unforgettable sledding.

Literally speaking, the most striking feature of Ruby Hill is its streets. The traffic control “dips,” if you’re not expecting them, will rip the underside out of your car. The long grooves in the pavement are reminders of the heavy toll these features have exacted. Ruby Hill definitely needs to work on its streets.

Unfortunately, there are bigger fish to fry. While not as notorious as some of the other Southwest Denver neighborhoods, Ruby Hill has its share of gang activity and poverty – problems that seem to plague the area as a whole, despite there being many blocks that feel friendly and safe. Ruby Hill is home to many of these, and the homes are neater than the cluttered yards of College View to the south. There are a lot of good things going for this neighborhood, but renters or buyers would be advised to do their homework first.
Pros
  • Great park
  • many areas feel safe
  • affordable
Cons
  • some problems typical of West Denver
Recommended for
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
3/5 rating details
  • Safe & Sound 4/5
  • Eating Out 2/5
  • Nightlife 1/5
  • Parking 4/5
  • Cost of Living 4/5
Just now

"Nice enough, but feels neglected for a college neighborhood"

Regis is a short, wide neighborhood, anchored at its northeast corner by Federal Boulevard and the campus of Regis University, a small Jesuit college. It was the college, in fact, that began development in the area in the late 19th century. For a while, the area featured wide open spaces and truck farms that fed the nearby city. Today, the brick homes are old enough to be mellow, though many of the apartment buildings in the area are unappealing brick boxes. The neighborhood is a mix of families, younger singles and couples, and, predictably, college students. Home prices are about average and may rise as the whole northwest Denver area – particularly the Berkeley area to the south of Regis – becomes more desirable.

One drawback to the area is that, for a neighborhood surrounding a college campus, it has surprisingly few amenities. Federal, amidst all its muck (tire shops, cheap motels, fast-food joints) does have a couple of gems (El Taco Veloz and McCoy’s, which is a divey diner also serving stiff drinks). Lowell, kitty corner from the campus, has a lot of potential to be a lively retail area – the infrastructure is there. Yet, the restaurant is shuttered, there’s a sketchy-looking pizza place, a couple buildings that are who-knows-what, a pot pharmacy… and, worst of all, the one and only coffee shop keeps sporadic and short hours. Dubbel Dutch is worth a look, if only to puzzle over the imported German cookies, but for the most part, those seeking to enjoy being out and about in Regis end up driving down to Berkeley – which is a shame.
Pros
  • affordable, pretty safe
  • could gain value in the future
Cons
  • want to do something interesting? drive to another neighborhood.
  • few amenities for a college 'hood
Recommended for
  • Students
5/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 5/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Eating Out 3/5
  • Nightlife 2/5
  • Shopping Options 2/5
  • Parking 5/5
  • Cost of Living 3/5
Just now

"The Three Bears Effect"

The Park Hill neighborhoods are a wide spectrum: locals who can have their pick of housing avoid Northeast Park Hill and drool over South Park Hill. It’s a three-bears situation: many people find that North Park Hill hits a good balance of affordability and safety. Housing ranges from plain townhomes to sprawling ranchers with high-end upgrades to tidy duplexes that accept Section 8. Construction is mostly of the post-WWII brick variety, though there are some older homes. The neighborhood is in a good location: close enough to downtown to be handy, far enough away to be quiet. Perhaps one of the biggest benefits of North Park Hill, however, is that you won’t need to get in your car or on the bus to take your sweetie out for dinner (or for gelato on Fairfax). A few restaurants, shops, and such are tucked into the neighborhood, and there is another nook well worth exploring slightly to the south at 23rd and Kearney. City Park, its zoo and its science museum, are across Colorado Boulevard.

Park Hill is especially proud of its history, with some good reason. After World War II, middle-class African-American families moving into the neighborhood provoked a “white flight” response. There’s nothing exceptional about that, but what was exceptional was the counter-response by Park Hill residents, of all races, who really drew together to work for a tolerant, welcoming, and diverse Park Hill community. Though there’s nothing in particular to draw visitors here, this middle-class neighborhood is a “just right” for many people.
Pros
  • wide range of housing
  • diverse (race, income, etc.)
  • good for strolling
Cons
  • Car or bus needed for grocery shopping
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 4/5
  • Eating Out 3/5
  • Nightlife 3/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Parking 3/5
  • Cost of Living 3/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 4/5
Just now

"An interesting, historic middle-class neighborhood"

Much like the Hale neighborhood, which it borders to the west, Montclair appeals to middle-class or well-to-do residents that want a neighborhood that is still fairly close to the center of the city, but quiet. And they get what they want. There’s a good quality of life in this neighborhood, visually inspired by the big trees and the mellow mix of housing from the late 1800s through recent decades. There’s a grocery store in the heart of the neighborhood, along with a couple of shopping plazas offering some eateries and small shops. As mentioned in my review on Hale, this particular stretch of Colfax Avenue to the north could use some investment and growth in order to provide more of a destination for residents and have a more inviting feel. In contrast, you will never find a dilapidated building near Monaco or 6th Avenue, where many elegant, historic homes are gathered.

Montclair is a neighborhood that values its history and, in fact, it was getting some areas recognized as a historic district that helped the neighborhood to pull through the urban decay of the 1970s. One of the most notable historic buildings is the Richthofen Castle. If the name Richthofen sounds familiar, it’s the surname of the Red Baron – it was his uncle who founded Montclair as an alternative to the rowdy and dirty city of Denver. Richthofen suffered from tuberculosis, as did many residents who were drawn to Denver in the late 1800s. After building his own castle, he opened a sanitarium in 1898, and promoted Montclair as the answer for Coloradans and new arrivals who suffered from poor health. For this reason, there are many “tuberculosis houses” (distinguished by their enclosed, large-windowed “sleeping porches” on the upper stories) in Montclair. After operating for a few years, the sanitarium was converted to an insane asylum. Unsurprisingly, the building is often reported to be haunted, as are many sites in the neighborhood.
Pros
  • Interesting history
  • good architectural mix/beautiful homes
  • quiet
Cons
  • Colfax needs more revitalization in this area
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Students
3/5 rating details
  • Safe & Sound 4/5
  • Eating Out 1/5
  • Nightlife 1/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Parking 5/5
  • Cost of Living 3/5
Just now

"Your basic Southwest Metro suburb"

Marston lies at the southwestern extremes of Denver’s city and county limits. It’s surrounded by the southwestern metro suburbs of Englewood, Littleton, and Lakewood, with which it shares a common ethos. It’s a basic, mid-range suburban neighborhood. Marston Lake, one of the southwestern area’s largest water features, is a reservoir that serves the metro area, which unfortunately lacks public access. There is, however, the Raccoon Creek Golf Club if golf is your game. There are also some smaller parks sprinkled throughout the neighborhood, which feature playgrounds in grape-purple plastic, carefully designed for safety. Homes are relatively new, many from the 1970s and with two-car garages. There are also numerous condo buildings, newer housing, and some retirement complexes. Home prices have dropped recently, and some areas and complexes have high concentrations of foreclosed homes. Currently, market prices are approximately mid-range. Marston is a car-mandatory area, where you will need to drive to stock up on groceries at Sam’s Club or browse the Barnes and Noble. The Southwest Plaza mall is also a popular draw for locals. It’s a long drive to downtown, but a short one to the open space parks of this southwestern metro area, or to the foothills that beckon on the horizon.
Pros
  • Family-friendly
Cons
  • far from central city or interesting urban attractions
  • may lack character
Recommended for
  • Families with kids
3/5 rating details
  • Safe & Sound 2/5
  • Nightlife 3/5
  • Parking 4/5
  • Cost of Living 4/5
Just now

"From Gold Rush to Art Stampede"

This is one of the oldest neighborhoods in Denver, settled when prospectors struck gold. Every first Friday night of the month, there’s a rush of a different sort nowadays: Lincoln Park receives a whopping influx of locals from all over the city who come in to check out the Art Walk on Santa Fe Drive. In high summer, the sidewalks are shoulder-to-shoulder packed, weaving in and out of the galleries carrying plastic cups of cheap or donation-based wine the galleries offer to lubricate all the art talk. This event provides some great people-watching: observe the tilt of the head, the knowing squint, and eavesdrop on a hipster couple on a date trying to impress each other with their vast art knowledge and aesthetic insight. There is, of course, the art itself, so much of it and in so many different styles that all but the pickiest connoisseur will be able to find SOMEthing they deem at least halfway pleasing to look at.

When the crowds leave, however, the residents are left to go about life as usual. Artists and some young urbanites love the area, and with good reason, but unfortunately, high crime and poverty rates make that life less than ideal for many residents and make a painful contrast with the thousand-dollar abstract paintings hanging in the galleries. Some of the homes are cute, historic, and well-maintained, even if that’s done with more love than money. Others look careworn, and the kids play listlessly in trampled yards. As with many sections of Denver, it’s block-by-block if you are looking for a place to buy or rent. The public housing projects tucked back into the neighborhood look somewhat sad and in need of attention. With grassroots investment and neighborhood effort, this area might soon take on a similar vibe to Baker: culturally and artistically vibrant, safe, and diverse.

In addition to the Art District on Santa Fe, in-town and out-of-town visitors are drawn to the Buckhorn Exchange on Osage, which bills itself as Denver’s oldest restaurants. Stuffed heads of wild beasts stare at diners from the walls. On offer: rattlesnake, quail, elk, bison, and Rocky Mountain Oysters, which aren’t oysters at all.
Pros
  • enormous potential
  • Arts district
Cons
  • poverty, crime affects many residents
Recommended for
  • Singles
  • Tourists
  • Hipsters
  • Students
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Eating Out 4/5
  • Nightlife 3/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Cost of Living 4/5
Just now

"Catching the Northwest Denver fever"

South of Highlands, north of Invesco field, and across the river and I-25 from downtown, Jefferson Park is an up-and-coming neighborhood. Having badly deteriorated in the ‘90s, locals and the city invested in the area and it has made a big turnaround. Today, it’s gaining popularity as locals realize that housing is affordable and that the neighborhood has a good vibe and historic character (sometimes with homes from the 1890s to the 1960s coexisting on the same block). There are also some larger, upscale lofts being built. Residents enjoy their proximity to downtown, the local Mexican places on Federal, and, for fancier fare and more nightlife options, the nearby Highlands neighborhood.

Jefferson Park is still a neighborhood in transition, as it faces challenges of poverty and responsible development. One striking example of the latter is a proposed large-scale, upscale residential development project on the east side of the neighborhood, which would allow residents to take in the neighborhood’s extraordinary skyline views of the city – and, according to local opposition, block the views of the homes behind it. Locals have fought the project for four years, and, in the worst case scenario, the project will still go forward, but with a less monolithic design. In any case, score one for the home team.
Pros
  • neighborhood in transition - housing values will rise
  • neighborhood spirit
  • historic character
Cons
  • poverty still exists in the neighborhood
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Families with kids
3/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 5/5
  • Eating Out 1/5
  • Nightlife 1/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 1/5
Just now

"Small neighborhood or big subdivision?"

Indian Creek is a strange neighborhood. For one thing, it’s so small that it doesn’t usually appear as a neighborhood in its own right on any local maps, and for another, it feels more like one large subdivision. Homes were constructed in the 1980s and feature the stone/brick and pastel vinyl siding construction typical of a couple of decades ago. The neighborhood’s housing is split between single-family homes, townhomes, and condos. Prices on homes have fallen during the recession, so it is much less costly to own here than it was decades ago. “Close to” is a much-used phrase here, especially by those advertising homes in the area, and this is especially important to know for those considering homes in the area. Whether it’s close to Cherry Creek or the Tech Center depends on your definition of “close.” It is not close to downtown unless you consider 30-45 minutes in rush hour traffic to be close. It is close, however, to Leetsdale Road in Washington-Virginia Vale, and all the interesting markets scattered along it (see my review of that neighborhood for more information). It is also close to not one, but two great bike and pedestrian trails: the Highline Canal, which winds northeast from Indian Creek, and the Cherry Creek bike path, which heads towards downtown. There are no restaurants, bars, stores, or grocery shops within the neighborhood’s bounds, so if you are looking for action, you will not find it here. What you will find is a very safe, very quiet neighborhood, “close to” the southeastern suburbs and the generally pleasant lifestyle there.
Pros
  • adjacent to two great bike/pedestrian paths
  • extremely safe
Cons
  • Car required
  • feels like a suburban subdivision
4/5 rating details
  • Safe & Sound 4/5
  • Cost of Living 1/5
Just now

"Hale and Montclairs Wealthy Uncle"

Hilltop is the wealthy uncle of Hale and Montclair. Like its neighbors to the north, its relatively quiet and has a great location relatively handy to central Denver and to more bustling neighborhoods. Unlike Hale and Montclair, however, it’s untouched by any of that love-it-or-hate-it Colfax grit and lacks anything like affordable housing. (If any properties advertised as “Hilltop” come with affordable rents or sale price tags, they are probably either not technically in neighborhood bounds, or are located along the rush-hour war zone of Colorado Boulevard.) Homes on 6th Avenue Parkway ride the “is it a house or is it a mansion?” line, and Monaco Parkway is a well-known address for smaller, but still extremely elegant, homes. Some of the lovely Tudors in Hilltop will set you back a cool million. For the price, residents get an overwhelmingly safe and daydream-pretty neighborhood in a close but not too-close location. It’s an easy drive or bike ride to either the upscale shopping, café-patio latte-sipping opportunities of Cherry Creek, or to take the kids to goggle at the cool airplanes at Lowry. The redevelopment of the old hospital campus around 9th and Colorado has potential to make this already desirable neighborhood more desirable yet.
Pros
  • Safe neighborhood
  • Beautiful homes
Cons
  • Out of most people's price range
  • No dining/retail/nightlife in neighborhood (is a short drive away)
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 4/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Parking 2/5
Just now

"One of Denvers most desirable - especially for foodies"

Nowhere is the clash between Denver’s high concentrations of great eateries and its relatively fit, pretty population clearer (or more galling to people with low metabolism) than in Highlands. In recent years, this neighborhood across the Platte from downtown has become known as the foodie capital of Denver. Everything from Mexican bakeries to coastal seafood to gourmet French and local, organic cuisine can be found here. That new place with the critically renowned chef that’s so cool you haven’t even heard of it yet? You can be pretty sure that’s in Highland.

This neighborhood does have a lot more going for it than just the food. Originally settled as a highly desirable, elite suburban alternative to the “dirty, sinful city” of Denver, Highland has come full circle and is now a highly desirable urbanized neighborhood. And it’s also becoming more elite. Although so far it’s managed to retain diversity and there are some affordable homes, rents are going up, and some of the gorgeous old Victorian homes top the million-dollar mark. Overall, Highland feels a bit like a more grown-up version of Capitol Hill – equally walkable, almost as convenient, just as architecturally interesting, and with as much going on, but slightly more upscale and a little less gritty around the edges.
Pros
  • foodie epicenter of Denver
  • a LOT to do
  • historic character
Cons
  • prices are getting high
  • lack of parking
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Tourists
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Hipsters
  • Trendy & Stylish
3/5 rating details
  • Eating Out 2/5
  • Shopping Options 2/5
  • Parking 5/5
  • Cost of Living 4/5
  • Public Transport 2/5
Just now

"Unspectacular, but solid"

Originally built during the post-WWII suburban boom, Harvey Park entered a period of brief decline during the late 20th century, but has come back as a more diverse middle-class suburban neighborhood. There is nothing spectacular about the area to outsiders, though fans of mid-century modern architecture find a lot to like about it, and many residents enjoy the eponymous park with its scenic lake, the mature trees, and the mellow homes. It’s bounded on the east by Federal (see my review on Westwood for more about South Federal) and on the west, Sheridan has a Target store as well as a handful of restaurants. Harvey Park streets are liberally dotted with churches. There’s nothing upscale about Harvey Park, and although South Federal can be gritty at times, nothing particularly downscale about it either. Housing is affordable, though unfortunately that has been in part because of some foreclosures in the area. Harvey Park generally sports smaller, less expensive homes, while those in Harvey Park South are somewhat larger and fetch higher prices. Many residents of both areas seem invested in the neighborhood, which has some nicely landscaped yards and basketball hoops and trampolines indicating a family-friendly feel. Commuters should be forewarned, however, that it may take a while to get from Harvey Park to downtown or the Tech Center during rush hour.
Pros
  • Family-friendly
  • affordable housing
  • mellow feel
Cons
  • admired for mid-century modern architecture
  • possibly long commutes
Recommended for
  • Families with kids
3/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Eating Out 2/5
  • Nightlife 2/5
  • Cost of Living 4/5
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"Caught in the Mousetrap"

Fitting to its name, Globeville has long been a culturally interesting neighborhood. The earliest immigrants were from Eastern Europe in the late 1800s: Polish, Russian, and other Slavic nationalities. The area still has some strong roots in that culture, including a few beautiful and historic churches (St. Joseph’s still conducts a Polish Mass, attended by the descendants of Globeville’s original residents). In the 20th century, it became home to a large Latino population, which is still the majority today.

Despite its relative closeness to downtown, Globeville feels isolated. The South Platte and the railroads must have made the early residents feel the same way, and this was vastly increased by the construction of I-25 and I-70 in the middle of the last century. They meet smack in the middle of the neighborhood, and Globeville is dominated by the interchange at this intersection, called “the Mousetrap.” It’s not as quick as you might think to get downtown by bus or to navigate the streets in this neighborhood. Much like adjacent Elyria/Swansea, the neighborhood grapples with environmental issues and its fringes have heavy industrial development. Poverty levels are above average, as many of the residents are lower wage-earners and have been hit by the recession, and there are pockets of very high crime. Yet residents report that Globeville is neighborly and pleasant. Homes are often charming and affordable (and some fixers-and-flippers have been taking advantage of that, and of the foreclosures that occurred after the 2008 crash). Redevelopment is taking place in the southwestern portion of the neighborhood.
Pros
  • neighborhood spirit
  • some redevelopment taking place
  • interesting history
Cons
  • pockets of crime
  • poverty in the neighborhood
  • heavy industry
3/5 rating details
  • Clean & Green 4/5
  • Eating Out 2/5
  • Nightlife 1/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 2/5
  • Parking 4/5
  • Cost of Living 4/5
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"Military precision, the mentally ill, and a solid middle-class suburb"

Today a far southwestern middle class suburb, Fort Logan surrounds two historic nuclei: the Fort Logan Cemetery and the Colorado Mental Health Institute. The former is Denver’s version of Arlington. Creeping along the cemetery’s roads will leave you dazzled with the symmetry: the white tombstones line up in perfect precision vertically, horizontally, and diagonally, which brings home the realization of just how many people are buried here. Not all died in the line of duty, but all either served or were family members of those that served, and their names and any combat tours are carefully inscribed on the neat tombstones. Around the cemetery, the newer, brick homes seem to have picked up an air of military precision.

The Mental Health Institute is a different story. The largest building in the complex, made of tile that looks like old teeth, could be the setting for a dark psychological thriller or horror movie. Nearly-identical large brick homes with rambling porches surround it, some seemingly abandoned, others well-kept, and others with an air of shabby, faded elegance. These buildings date back to the late 1800s: once part of “officers’ row,” they are now group homes and mental health organizations, and there is also one that is a museum. The complex is fenced off with a high, chain-link fence all around, and some of the streets crossing it dead-end in vacant land covered in tall grass and big old trees. Established as an actual frontier fort in the late 1800s, Fort Logan was then used for military clerical training before the mental health hospital was built in the middle of last century. If any of this sounds creepy, bear in mind that the Mental Health Institute is a well-respected facility – the scariest thing about it nowadays is probably the budget cuts.

Fort Logan is popular with families and retirees. Shopping, dining, and nightlife are thin on the ground, though the suburban basics can be found east on Federal, which is technically outside the neighborhood’s borders. It’s also going to be a long drive to downtown for anyone who works there. One of the neighborhood’s assets is its extensive green space: the extensive Bear Creek Park abuts the cemetery, golfers can take advantage of the country club, and there are several other parks in the neighborhood.
Pros
  • Interesting history
  • good green space
Cons
  • lacks interesting dining/shopping/nightlife
  • car mandatory, commutes may be long
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
2/5 rating details
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 1/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • Eating Out 2/5
  • Cost of Living 4/5
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"In the shadow of I-70"

The most noticeable thing about Elyria/Swansea is the extent of industrial development. I-70 runs through the neighborhood, and there are many large manufacturers including the Pepsi bottling plant and the stockyards and pet food plant that scent Denver for miles around when the wind is right. Trains chug through the neighborhood. Dozens of parked trucks idle overnight at the truck stop, pouring exhaust into the air.

Off the main highway and industrial routes, however, the historic neighborhood emerges. Elyria and Swansea began as distinct towns in the late 1800s, settled by Slavic and Welsh immigrants. Today, many of these small, historic houses remain. Elyria, however, is struggling today, as the recession has hit the area hard. The vast majority of the area’s children qualify for free or reduced school lunch, there is some crime and gang activity in the area, and many public services and amenities have been cut and businesses have pulled up stakes. With the area’s historic roots, old, inexpensive homes, and relative proximity to downtown, the area might have potential for a renaissance, but the recession and the overbearing (and odoriferous) presence of heavy industry keep many away.

One of these massive, odoriferous complexes, however, is a well-known and respected neighborhood anchor. This is the National Western complex located off of Brighton Blvd. Best known for hosting Denver’s annual Stock Show, this area bustles – and draws crowds to Elyria/Swansea – in January. Much more than just a cattle show and sale, the Stock Show features nightly and matinee rodeos, exhibitions, a bewilderingly large vendor pavilion, horse shows, dog trials, and a petting zoo. It’s an extremely spectator-friendly way for locals and visitors to draw close to Denver’s cow-town roots. Year round, the National Western complex hosts everything from horse shows to concerts and monster truck rallies.
Pros
  • historic character
  • very affordable
  • relatively close to downtown by car
Cons
  • struggling neighborhood, some poverty/crime
  • heavy industry
3/5 rating details
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Parking 5/5
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"Its a little bit of country, a little bit of West Denver"

If you are one of those Americans who dislike being told what you can and can’t keep in your yard, you might like College View South Platte. Yard art is not only permitted, but some of it is personally created by the owners. Many of the yards are pretty standard, with neat play areas, but others feature overgrown evergreens, sailboats, vintage campers, an auto repair shop, a maze of cluttered sheds, and a horse carved out of logs with a chainsaw. Keeping with the area’s farming roots, you’ll also spot real horses, and probably some chickens. Homes date from several decades, making an eclectic mix exemplified by the Vietnamese Buddhist temple with its white wrought-iron fence and arched entryway… which is right across the street from Gethsemane Baptist Church.

The rural feel, however, that you might get from exploring the neighborhoods quickly evaporates as you approach the periphery. The western border is a busy strip of Federal, and the northern edge at Evans features a couple of shopping plazas. There’s a King Soopers grocery store and a giant white K-mart, but some boarded-up stores, law offices, and bail bonds offices hint at some of the area’s problems. Crime rates are relatively high here, as are teen pregnancy rates and poverty. This is no new story for a neighborhood along South Federal, but if you are considering College View as a place to set up your yard art, do your homework and pick your block carefully.
Pros
  • rural feel
  • messy yards (if you like keeping your yard messy)
  • seems to have permissive livestock zoning
  • good home values
Cons
  • some problems typical of West Denver
  • messy yards (if you dislike messy yards)
  • gritty areas of old industrial development
Recommended for
  • Families with kids
  • Students
  • Country Lovers
4/5
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"A neighborhood in transition"

Developed early, with many little Victorian homes dating back to the late 1800s, Cole has a historic character. In this respect, and in other respects, it has a lot in common with Five Points. They are both home to established African-American and Latino families, as well as newer arrivals, had an older reputation for urban blight that they are currently shedding, and are becoming more and more desirable as people realize that home prices are low and the area is a quick drive to downtown. This is a neighborhood in transition, and with that come the standard practical and ethical questions: will the working class and working poor find themselves living in a better neighborhood, or displaced to Aurora? Will longtime locals begin to feel out of place in their own neighborhood? Regardless of the eventual outcome, a lot of people are investing in Cole, opening new businesses and buying (and fixing and flipping) homes.

Small markets are scattered along the periphery. The area has a couple of neighborhood bars and small restaurants, but overall, little shopping, nightlife, or dining opportunities (although these are all close by). Unless you live close to the supermarket and have a lot of time on your hands, or you like to bike, it’s probably best to have a car. Buses exist, but they are not as frequent or direct as locals might like, and the light rail line that serves Five Points doesn’t come this far northeast.
Pros
  • historic character
  • close to downtown via car
  • beautiful Victorian bungalows
Cons
  • still some crime
  • Little nightlife/dining/shopping within the neighborhood
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Eating Out 3/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Parking 4/5
  • Schools 4/5
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"Quiet, but might catch the Northwest Denver buzz soon"

Chaffee Park is one of Denver’s neighborhoods on the outskirts of town, dating from the 1940s. Some of the small brick and ranch-style homes are being fixed and flipped, and although the neighborhood has gotten a little more attention in recent years, the northwest Denver buzz centers around Berkeley, to the southwest. Chaffee Park has a quiet feel - unless you’re within earshot of I-70, which roars along the south of the neighborhood, or you’re at the Sunnyside Music Festival, held annually at the park on Zuni Street. Culturally, the area has a strong Latino presence, and a lot of families and retired folks. People in Chaffee Park don’t generally have a lot of money, but crime rates are relatively low and the area has some good schools. On the east, the area backs to the train tracks that run along the Platte, and to the unprepossessing industrial area surrounding them. There are a few bars scattered along the periphery, and a well-stocked local supermarket (the Colorado Ranch Market). There are some good Mexican joints along Federal Boulevard – one of them, El Taco Veloz, was picked by the local Westword paper as “Denver’s Best Taco” last year, and in this town, that’s a high honor!
Pros
  • adjacent to great shopping, dining areas
  • Low housing cost
Cons
  • a lot of industrial development
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
5/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 4/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 3/5
  • Parking 4/5
  • Cost of Living 2/5
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"Northwest Denver is booming!"

In 1910, hardly anyone wanted to move to Berkeley. Although the neighborhood had been open for development for almost a decade, it was still largely a patchwork of small truck farms – not that there was anything particularly bad about the land, but there was simply no interest.

The situation could not be more different today. The area started to grow in the 1960s, and this area is now becoming one of Denver’s most desirable, somewhat gentrified but not obnoxious, and with plenty of neighborhood pride. Concerts at the retro Oriental theater and the Tennyson Street Art Walk draw visitors from other neighborhoods in metro Denver to the thick sprinkling of galleries and shops. These visitors can quickly see the appeal of the friendly, quirky Berkeley. The Tennyson art walk isn’t as big yet as its older brother on Santa Fe Drive, but it’s growing, and there’s great local interest in having a neighborhood arts scene. Tennyson is also a fabulous district for strolling during the day: visitors and locals can grab a cup of coffee or ice cream cone as they window-shop the antique stores and boutiques, or pick one of the many local cafes for lunch. It’s easy to see why housing prices have remained steady or are increasing in Berkeley – if you visit, you might want to stay a while.
Pros
  • ideal for a weekend afternoon stroll
  • Eclectic, exciting
  • Great vibe
  • Lots to do
Cons
  • Cost of living continues to rise
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Gay & Lesbian
3/5 rating details
  • Peace & Quiet 4/5
  • Eating Out 2/5
  • Nightlife 1/5
  • Parking 5/5
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"The bears moved out in the 1970s"

Tell someone you live in southwest Denver and they’ll probably think of the Vietnamese food and Mexican supermarkets on South Federal. They probably won’t think of Bear Valley. The neighborhood shares more of the feeling of Lakewood to the west. It’s suburban through and through. Not that that is a bad thing. The neighborhood is quiet, made up mostly of split-level brick and wood ranchers from the 1970s, with some large apartment complexes on the periphery. Hills, which are rare in Denver, can make walking in this neighborhood a rare workout for the legs. As for destinations for your walk, depending on how close to the neighborhood’s borders you live, you might be out of luck. Those near Sheridan may find a shopping plaza to suit them.

You won’t have to worry about bears in Bear Valley, either – they’ve been displaced and replaced by squirrels that scamper across front lawns and root through trash cans. On the whole, this is an affordable and relatively safe southwestern suburb. It’s a long and traffic-ridden drive to downtown or the tech center, but may be a good bet for people who work in Littleton or Englewood. Those who like to be close to the city action or live in a very walkable neighborhood may find themselves going stir-crazy. If this happens, and you have a car, try heading west on Hampden. Better known as state route 285 as it heads further west, the road heads towards the large Bear Creek Lake and Red Rocks amphitheater before winding up into the foothills, past some small mountain towns, and becoming one of the state’s most scenic drives.
Pros
  • family-oriented
  • a quick escape to the mountains
Cons
  • far from central city or interesting urban attractions
  • may lack character
Recommended for
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
3/5 rating details
  • Eating Out 3/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Cost of Living 4/5
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"Perhaps one of the better West Denver choices"

Like Barnum as a whole, Barnum West is a square neighborhood of neat grid-system streets and smallish, boxy cottages. These homes date from the middle of the last century. Those that have been well-maintained have mellowed nicely, and some have been remodeled, painted bright colors, or neatly landscaped. The stretch of Alameda on the southern border feels run-down, but the western border, on Sheridan, offers some markets, bars, drugstores, carnicerias, and an outpost of the locally famous Santiago’s Mexican restaurant. In the afternoons, kids multitask, riding bikes on the street while eating ice cream on a stick.

Barnum is part of the block of West Denver that shares a common character: developed in the middle of the last century, with home prices and incomes lower than the city average, a strong minority presence, specifically of Hispanic/Latino groups, and commercial development concentrated around Federal Boulevard. Like the other neighborhoods in the area, there are still spots in Barnum West that are unsafe or might have a derelict feel to them. Yet Barnum and Barnum West don’t have bad reputations to the extent that some of the surrounding areas do. If you’re looking to settle on the west side of town, you’d likely enjoy a better quality of life here than in Westwood or Athmar Park. In the late afternoon, with the sun slanting into the big old cottonwoods and the wind tossing the flowers in one of the lush gardens, it looks downright cute. If you're adventurous and confident in your urban common sense, this could be one to try.
Pros
  • Potentially great homes
Cons
  • West Denver as a whole has bad reputation for crime
  • some areas feel run-down
4/5 rating details
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • Eating Out 3/5
  • Cost of Living 4/5
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"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
3/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Safe & Sound 2/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • Eating Out 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Cost of Living 4/5
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"Denvers best Dim Sum... but dont get too comfortable."

First, the good. Athmar Park isn’t bad to look at, and if you are in the market for a home, it’s possible to get one of the solid little mid-century homes for an affordable price. Many of the houses are owner-occupied, which means that their residents take pride in keeping them up. On weekend mornings, people from all over the Denver metro area drive in and throng the nondescript shopping plaza that is home to Star Kitchen. This is Denver’s best dim sum, delicious Chinese dumpling chaos, and although you may not know what you’re eating, it’s hard to go wrong. This shopping plaza is part of the multi-cultural stretch of South Federal (see my review of Westwood for a fuller description of South Federal) that offers a fascinating hodgepodge of Asian and Mexican restaurants and shops.

Now, the bad. Many areas of Denver formerly known for violence, crime, and gang activity have largely shed their bad reputations, but Athmar Park is not one of them. The problem has gotten better over the last decade, but overall, Athmar Park remains an example of the problems endemic of the west side/south Federal neighborhoods as a whole. Although there are plenty of safe streets and good neighbors, there are also pockets where residents and visitors alike feel unsafe. West Denver is a hub of gang activity, and in the Athmar Park area, gangs of different ethnicities vie over territory. Along with Westwood and some of the other West Denver neighborhoods, cleanup efforts are being undertaken by some nonprofits and grassroots groups, but it has yet to be seen if they will have an impact.
Pros
  • diverse area, interesting stretch of South Federal
  • affordable housing
Cons
  • above average crime rates
  • some areas safe, but others feel sketchy
4/5 rating details
  • Safe & Sound 5/5
  • Peace & Quiet 4/5
  • Eating Out 2/5
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"Nice Enough, But Beware False Advertising."

For the most part, Windsor is a neighborhood of large apartment, condo, and townhome complexes. Given such evocative names as “Windsor Towers” and “Lighthouse at the Breakers,” these developments mostly seem well-tended, with balconies, fresh paint, ample parking, and nice landscaping and trees. A couple (such as The Breakers) are gated, resort communities, and there is the 9-hole Windsor Gardens golf course, which is open to the public.

Given the competition among complexes and distance from the central city, rents and housing prices are relatively inexpensive given the amenities and space. If you are considering this area, however, be forewarned to take apartment complex advertising with a grain of salt and do your own research, especially regarding any statements about the area’s proximity to downtown. When they say “minutes from downtown,” that means 30 minutes, or 45 at rush hour. Windsor isn’t “centrally located between downtown and the Tech Center,” but rather sits at the apex of an isosceles triangle formed by those three locations. It’s convenient for retirees, who don’t need to commute, and in fact many of the neighborhood’s residents live in the 55-and-over communities located here.

The eastern side of the neighborhood is a mix of apartment buildings and single-family ranch houses, split-levels, and newer construction, some with large yards. On the east, the area is bounded by Havana Street, a heavily-trafficked thoroughfare offering some commercial development, including a few Pho restaurants. The area appeals to retired folks, to those who want a tidy but low-fuss apartment far from the hustle and bustle, and to families.
Pros
  • Family-friendly
  • Well-tended housing complexes
Cons
  • Not a quick commute to downtown
  • Little nightlife/dining options in the area
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
4/5 rating details
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 2/5
  • Shopping Options 5/5
  • Cost of Living 4/5
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"Travelers Rest"

The first building to be constructed in Washington-Virginia Vale was a stagecoach stop. Built in 1858, this stoic little house is now Denver’s oldest remaining building: called the Four Mile House, it’s the centerpiece of a park and museum. It was frequently a traveler’s last stop along the Cherokee Trail, a place to wash off the dust, have a meal and possibly a good night’s sleep before heading into Denver proper.

In keeping with its roots, the neighborhood still welcomes new arrivals, but in a much different way. Leetsdale Drive, the heart of the neighborhood, is a central commercial thoroughfare for many of Denver’s immigrant communities (Eastern European and Mexican being the most visible). This is the place to go if you want to get some fresh, authentic Russian bread, Polish sausage, or a cheap and delicious enchilada dinner. Leetsdale is also where residents go to stock up on the basics (grocery stores, gas stations) and some of the not-so-basics (bars, medical marijuana dispensaries, and bowling at Monaco Lanes).

Some of the recesses of the neighborhood boast appealing single-family homes from the ‘50s or ‘60s, on streets that are old enough to be shady. Around Edwina Fallis Elementary, which bills itself as a “green school,” neighbors grow sunflower, pumpkins, and even corn in front-yard gardens. The area also has numerous apartment and condo complexes, primarily around Leetsdale. While many are well-maintained, some have a shabby, depressed feel to them, which makes them unappealing despite the low rent.
Pros
  • Great restaurant options!
  • A center of Denver's Russian community
Cons
  • Heavy car traffic on main roads/commercial areas
  • Some pockets of sad-looking buildings
Recommended for
  • Families with kids
  • Tourists
5/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 5/5
  • Peace & Quiet 5/5
  • Eating Out 4/5
  • Nightlife 4/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Parking 4/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 5/5
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"The More Affordable Side of Wash Park"

Washington Park West was part of the Washington Park neighborhood until the 1970s, when the city decided to split it into two neighborhoods. The history, architecture, and ambience are largely the same in the two neighborhoods. The owners of the single-family, century-old homes are typically relatively affluent professionals with high-earning jobs downtown or in the Tech Center. They walk their dogs daily, keep nice gardens, and frequent the park. There are some rental homes and apartments to be found, which are quickly snapped up by youngish single or married professionals looking for a slightly quieter alternative to Uptown or Capitol Hill.

Like its eastern neighbor, Wash Park West is a good place to live and considered one of Denver’s more desirable neighborhoods. South Pearl Street, with its scattering of cafes, pubs, and shops, is a good strolling destination even for folks who don’t live in the immediate neighborhood. It’s not a bad bike ride to the DU campus, the more developed commercial district of South Pearl across I-25, or the buzzing section of South Broadway known as SoBo to the north.
Pros
  • Quiet and safe
  • Relatively close to downtown
  • Close to Wash Park
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Students
  • Trendy & Stylish
5/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 5/5
  • Peace & Quiet 5/5
  • Eating Out 4/5
  • Nightlife 4/5
  • Parks & Recreation 5/5
  • Parking 3/5
  • Cost of Living 2/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 5/5
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"Active Elegance in Wash Park"

Visitors passing by might be excused for thinking there’s a race going on in Washington Park. Runners, joggers, and walkers throng the gravel trail along its perimeter, weaving around each other, overspilling the path onto the grass, talking in pairs, walking dogs, and listening to iPods. This is no special event, however - just an ordinary fair-weather evening in Wash Park. By U.S. standards, Denver’s an abnormally fit city, and nowhere is that clearer than here.

Washington Park itself is a gem: two small lakes, open grassy spaces, a kids’ fishing pond, rental paddleboats, exotic flowerbeds, and a historic boathouse. It makes sense, then, that the neighborhood surrounding the park is a little on the upscale side. It draws many of the people who use its paths to keep toned and fit after they get done at the office, and during the day welcomes moms in yoga pants pushing high-tech strollers. Wash Park residents are well-heeled. The average home price is well over half a million and, fittingly, these classic homes are easy on the eyes. If you’re looking to rent, you’ll have better luck in Washington Park west. A one-block stretch of Old South Gaylord serves as the hub for nightlife, dining, and shopping, and is home to some respectable and well-known restaurants.
Pros
  • Gorgeous park
  • Historic and upscale housing
  • Safe neighborhood
Cons
  • High housing costs
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Trendy & Stylish
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 5/5
  • Peace & Quiet 5/5
  • Eating Out 2/5
  • Nightlife 2/5
  • Parking 5/5
  • Cost of Living 3/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 2/5
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"Average In a Good Way"

Locals don’t hear a lot about Virginia Village. There are no big developments or redevelopments going on here. It’s not particularly close to downtown, nor particularly far away. There isn’t any real reason to visit, unless you know someone who lives here, nor is there a reason to stay away. Housing isn’t especially expensive, or especially cheap. A glance at the statistics says that Virginia Village is average.

All this average-ness, however, is not a bad thing. Virginia Village is an established, ethnically diverse middle class neighborhood with a mellow suburban feel. A quick glance at the homes, many adorned with vibrant flowerbeds and shaded by mature trees, reveals pride of ownership. Residents jog and bike along the quiet streets, or take the kids to play at Cook Park. This is a family-oriented area with low crime rates. The area was developed from the ‘50s to the ‘70s and some areas, such as Krisana Park and Lynwood, are noted for their exemplary mid-century modern architecture.

Much like Hampden, the area has heavier commercial and residential development along its borders. Colorado Boulevard is loaded (possibly overloaded) with shopping plazas where residents shop, dine, and play. Office buildings and apartment complexes also line the edges of this large neighborhood. At the southwestern corner, a light rail stop offers a shortcut to downtown or the Tech Center during rush hour. All told, there is nothing remarkable about Virginia Village – but it has a cozy and livable feel to it that draws many people move here and stick around for years.
Pros
  • Family-friendly
  • Peace and quiet
Cons
  • Car required
  • Retail/entertainment in busy strip malls
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 5/5
  • Peace & Quiet 5/5
  • Eating Out 4/5
  • Nightlife 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Cost of Living 1/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 5/5
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"Stately, Established Neighborhoods Near DU"

Although statistically Wellshire and University Park are two different neighborhoods, they are often grouped together, and with good reason. One gets the sense that a well-paid DU professor might settle in either neighborhood, and that the choice of Wellshire vs. University Park might depend simply on whether that professor prefers mid-century modern architecture or an older, stately brick colonial. The more southern, newer Wellshire neighborhood boasts the former: sprawling, brick homes that now have a retro yet classy feel, fronted by large emerald lawns and shaded by willow trees. The Wellshire golf course occupies the southern part of the neighborhood. University Park, to the north, mixes its large older homes with some more modern single-family homes and lofts. Both neighborhoods have resisted the housing crash well, and homes are some of the priciest in the city. Schools are good, crime rates are very low, and if you want a break from the quiet, leafy, elegant neighborhoods, it’s a quick walk or bike to all the busy-ness on University Boulevard. Locals are drawn to Observatory Park, as, periodically, are most Denver-area astronomy aficionados. DU’s Chamberlin Observatory hosts monthly open houses where, for $1, you can check out the stars and planets through the century-old but still keen-sighted telescope.
Pros
  • Safe neighborhood
  • Lots to do nearby
  • Striking architecture
Cons
  • Out of most people's price range
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Families with kids
4/5
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"A College Town Within Denver"

Visitors and new residents are often thrown by Denver’s severe case of University Acronym Dyslexia. The University of Colorado is UC, right? Wrong! It’s CU. And the University of Denver is DU. (Thank goodness for the Community College of Denver, which is, reassuringly, CCD.)

The University of Denver is a large private university, with about 12,000 students. The campus is a tightly-packed mixture of old and new buildings that still preserves a lot of green space. Its students, and the college vibe, spill out into the surrounding University neighborhood.

The neighborhood includes the DU campus as well as the abutting Iliff School of Theology. DU’s strong graduate programs mean that the area is home to, in addition to many undergraduates, graduate students and assorted white-collar professionals. Around the university, you’ll find many apartment complexes geared towards students. Further south, the neighborhood is mostly made up of cute older wooden cottages – many without off-street parking, so residents have learned to parallel-park their Subarus well.

Although the interior of the neighborhood, away from the campus, is quiet, University Boulevard bustles at all hours with students on their way to and from school, or frequenting the many bars, stores, and inexpensive eateries.

Rosedale, Platt Park, University Park, and Wellshire, together with University, constitute a DU-centric enclave south of I-25. Residents are well-educated. Neighborhoods are safe. There’s a lot to do nearby, especially considering the performing arts, music, and sports going on at the university. Owning a home is costly, but the area offers a great quality of life if you enjoy the feel of living in a university town. This, however, can be its own drawback: taken in the context of Denver as a whole, the area around DU can feel like a cultural bubble.
Pros
  • Great quality of life
  • Lots to do!
  • Feels like a vibrant university town
Cons
  • Can feel like a cultural bubble
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Students
4/5 rating details
  • Safe & Sound 4/5
  • Peace & Quiet 2/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 5/5
  • Parks & Recreation 3/5
  • Lack of Traffic 1/5
  • Parking 1/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
Just now

"LoDo: Denvers Epicenter of Urban Glitz"

Ask five residents to describe Denver, and at least four of them will use the phrase “laid-back.” Perhaps it’s the proximity of the rugged Rockies, perhaps it’s the city’s cow-town roots, or both, but there’s not generally a lot of pomp and circumstance here. Although bars can be crowded from Thursday through Sunday, brewpubs, wine bars, or dives seem to be a more Denver-esque choice than the club scene.

Union Station, better known as LoDo (Lower Downtown) is where you go in Denver when you want urban glitz. The 16th Street Mall runs through the neighborhood (see my review of the CBD for more information), but savvy travelers and locals pass on the Mall for the western or southern portions of the neighborhood. Streets on the western side bristle with steakhouses, dance clubs in old warehouses, and large sports bars/brewpubs. Larimer Square is glamorously festive, draped with a curtain of lights all year round. Coors Field, home of Colorado Rockies baseball, is also located here, and the surrounding blocks are full of bars tailor made for pre-game pumping up and post-game celebration or consolation.

At its best, LoDo offers an enormous variety of urban fun. You can get a salad topped with quail’s eggs, drink swanky cocktails made with organic booze, take in some live music, or sing along to Irish pub tunes or dueling pianos. You can’t swing a sparkly purse in LoDo without hitting some restaurant, bar, or club, and many of them are among Denver’s most notable.

If you’re lucky, the crowd around you will stay classy. But at its worst, LoDo can feel crowded and exhausting as you fight your way through mobs of the young, pretty, and loud, or of frenzied sports fans, who have all converged on LoDo with the singular goal of getting as wasted as possible.

LoDo also has a more sober, daytime identity as part of the downtown business district. Like the Central Business District to the southeast, LoDo is home to more office workers and nighttime revelers than full-time residents, though there is more residential housing here than in the CBD. And that housing is definitively upscale: lofts and luxury condos with drop-dead gorgeous views of the mountains or the bright lights of the city.

The heart of the neighborhood, and what gives it its name, is its historic train station. Union Station is currently undergoing redevelopment as Denver expands its rail network. In addition to more tracks, however, the plans call for a huge amount of retail, residential, office, and hotel construction in areas around the station that were once parking lots or weedy fields. This already desirable neighborhood is going to become more so when this project is completed.
Pros
  • City's highest concentration of nightlife; vast array of choices
  • Planned Union Station development will add even more residential/commercial density
Cons
  • Can be swamped by loud, drunken crowds
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Tourists
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Trendy & Stylish
3/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 4/5
  • Peace & Quiet 5/5
  • Eating Out 2/5
  • Nightlife 2/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Parking 5/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
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"Landing the Big One"

Redevelopment has been a buzzword in Denver for decades. And the big daddy of Denver redevelopment projects is Stapleton.

The entire neighborhood was once Denver’s airport. Today, the old control tower is all that remains to serve as a visual reminder of the past. Starting in 2001, all other vestiges of the Stapleton International Airport were plowed under and rebuilt. Stapleton currently has 14,000 residents, with eventual plans to contain 30,000 by around 2020.

Controlled by a master “green book,” Stapleton bills itself as a sustainable, community-oriented, walkable neighborhood. And indeed, it’s crisscrossed by walking paths, has the Central Park green space at its core, and boasts a farmers’ market and a pedestrian town center. It’s an ambitious and laudable project.

As with many such projects, though, there have been blunders. The area was redeveloped with incredible speed, and homeowners have noticed that the quality of construction sometimes shows it. Many of Stapleton’s dining options, both in the larger plazas and in the pedestrian district, are garden-variety chains. Most residents need to drive to reach Stapleton's shopping and dining options, making it feel more like suburban renewal than urban renewal. The Northfields shopping center is a giant mall – which, aside from featuring a Bass Pro shop so huge that it draws stares from out-of-towners, is unremarkable. There’s not quite enough going on here to make Stapleton a destination in its own right – at least not yet.

Unlike many new developments, Stapleton has at least made an effort to avoid the common aesthetic blunder of having every home look alike. Architects used several different design types, with a variety of finishes and textures. The developers also took care to build different types of housing, from condos to townhomes to large single-family homes. Residents are mostly white-collar, with above-average incomes, and homes are well-kept. Since all the plantings are new, there isn’t a lot of shade, and the wind can really howl when it comes in from the plains. And some of the residents may be around that long. It takes a certain gung-ho spirit to buy a home on a former runway, but many Stapleton residents seem to have it. They’ve taken ownership of this experiment in redevelopment, and they want to make it work. This neighborhood isn’t done yet, and while it’s still finding its feet now, it may be worth a more lingering look in 20 years or so.
Pros
  • Ambitious redevelopment project
  • Family-friendly
Cons
  • Uninspired dining options - drive to South Park Hill instead.
  • Not generally walkable from residential to commercial areas
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Families with kids
CharleyT
CharleyT Just moved to Stapleton 2 months ago because of the high ratings and its website. The neighborhood is nice, but not at all what I expected. The houses are all built on postage stamp-sized lots, most houses don't even have a back yard at all. Even though the architecture differs vastly here, all of the houses are EXTREMELY cookie cutter and congested. If you don't have or appreciate LOTS of kids or LOTS of dogs, you won't fit in here. Coming in from another city (Albuquerque), everyone seems nice but a little Stepford wife-ish/like Twilight Zone if that makes sense. It's like every 30 something family is trying to recreate the stereotypical Hollywood 80's neighborhoods (think Goonies or E.T.) with perfect porches and facades but it always forces me to think of what really goes on behind their closed doors? The 80's are gone and no one is perfect. Recently I witnessed a young lady abusing her dog here but I suppose that could happen anywhere. Don't be deceived by home builders' websites, you would be HARD PRESSED to get a detached, single-family home for less than about 380,000-400,000 (with 5 month wait), and even then it would not have a back yard. Many homes "share" a back yard. One lady was having a yard sale in the "communal" courtyard which looked more like a park in the middle of the houses' front yards while our realtor took us to see a house across the way. She rudely asked, "how much are they selling it for," then told her kid that this house had to be sold before they could move. It was strange. It's so true that bad neighborhoods are bordering Stapleton, and you will definitely have to venture into the bad neighborhoods to go to the bank, church, get gas, etc. There is 1 grocery store that has a gas station with a few pumps that is always crowded. Many of the front lawns are littered with signs saying "Stapleton, keep your promise about a town center..." Don't get me wrong, it is a nice neighborhood and has a few small strips of shops, a small farmers market weekly and even a Target. The parks are always full of happy-looking people and doggies. It's just not for me. So, I'm taking my 400,000 and moving to a neighborhood that has yards, access to banks, grocery stores, gas stations, etc. Don't get me started on the Stapleton Apts (one company owns all of them, there are 3-4 around Stapleton.) The management company is very disorganized. One of the apt complexes is directly across the street from the jail!
2yrs+
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5/5 rating details
  • Safe & Sound 4/5
  • Peace & Quiet 4/5
  • Eating Out 4/5
  • Nightlife 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Parking 3/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 5/5
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"Close In, But Quiet"

The Speer neighborhood is defined mostly by its fringes. Its western border is South Broadway, a bustling and sometimes raucous spot for nightlife, shopping, and good food. (See my review of Baker for a fuller description of everything that South Broadway, a.k.a. SoBo, has to offer.) On the north, 6th Avenue abuts Capitol Hill and offers some great restaurants (Little India, Brothers BBQ), a cigar shop, a local favorite coffeeshop (Pablo’s), and a cozy classic movie theater (the Esquire).

The chewy center of the neighborhood is made up of quiet residential streets. Towards the north, Speer feels like a grown-up and more sedate extension of Capitol Hill: homes are gracious, older, expensive. South of Speer Boulevard, there are more apartment buildings and a slightly younger population, drawn by the bright lights of South Broadway. The neighborhood is relatively safe and a popular choice for families with breadwinners who work in white-collar jobs downtown.

If you’re looking for a close-in neighborhood that also offers peace and quiet, Speer is a good choice. Cherry Creek and its bike path run diagonally through the neighborhood. Speer Boulevard traffic rumbles up on its banks, but down along the creek, it’s not unusual to see mallards dabbling, black-crowned night herons stalking, or even one of the red foxes that haunts the storm drains in the neighborhood.
Pros
  • Close to downtown
  • Lots of dining and nightlife options on the periphery
Cons
  • High cost of ownership
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Trendy & Stylish
3/5 rating details
  • Safe & Sound 5/5
  • Peace & Quiet 4/5
  • Eating Out 2/5
  • Public Transport 3/5
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"Worker Bees are Buzzing In!"

This new neighborhood is nestled alongside I-25, and is a hop, skip, and jump from the Tech Center. Like Hampden South, construction here really took off after the Tech Center was built, but Southmoor Park is newer and feels exclusively custom-built for tech center workers. Given its small size and narrow, boomerang shape, it’s dense. Imposing and trendy condo complexes line either side of South Monaco street, seeming to go on forever. Convenience is the catchword here: your or your landlord’s HOA will take care of the maintenance, keep the lawns and flowers picture perfect, there’s probably a fitness center in your complex, and, if you work in the Tech Center, your commute is mercifully short. Dining and retail is either up on Hampden Avenue, where a shopping plaza offers a grocery store, a Starbucks, and a bar, or across I-25 in the Tech Center area.

The Belleview light rail stop offers an easy, car-free escape from all the custom-built convenience for residents who want to go downtown for a day trip or a night on the town. This means that Southmoor draws a slightly younger crowd than Hampden or Hampden South. Housing, predictably, is on the pricy side, but most of the white-collar tech center workers who are drawn to this area can afford it. If you’re one of those workers, Southmoor Park is handy, safe, and has some very nice homes. The possible drawback is that after a while this neighborhood may begin to feel homogenous and a little too neat and tidy.
Pros
  • Handy for Tech Center workers
  • Light rail access to downtown
Cons
  • Can feel prepackaged
Recommended for
  • Professionals
4/5 rating details
  • Safe & Sound 4/5
  • Peace & Quiet 4/5
  • Eating Out 4/5
  • Nightlife 3/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Parking 4/5
  • Cost of Living 2/5
Just now
This historic neighborhood east of downtown sees hundred-year-old homes rubbing elbows with a quirky stretch of Colfax Avenue. Residents love the neighborhood: safe, shady, and quiet, with good high schools, it’s in demand as a place to raise a family.

Montview Boulevard and 17th Avenue Parkway take you past rows of beautiful old mansions and several historic churches. Evening walks are popular, and for good reason. If you’re looking for a destination for your stroll, head up to 23rd Avenue, at either Dexter or Kearney. These two tucked-away nooks, each only a block or so long, have an impressive concentration of restaurants, markets, and boutiques. A few of them, such as Cake Crumbs bakery, Spinelli’s market, and Oblio’s pizza, have local fame that reaches beyond neighborhood boundaries. The stretch of Colfax on the neighborhood’s southern edge boasts a mouthwateringly high concentration of Ethiopian restaurants, and, in terms of safety and fun, is catching up with the redevelopment that’s been going on further west. At 17th and Quebec, you’ll also find the campus of Johnson and Wales University, a culinary school busily turning out chefs, restaurateurs, and food reviewers to serve the foodie population of Denver and the world.

This is not a rental neighborhood, and many of the homes here are expensive. Despite the still-sluggish national market, prices have remained stable and may be starting to rise, since demand for a neighborhood this nice never really went down.
Pros
  • Family-friendly
  • Some good restaurants
Cons
  • Generally high housing costs
  • No grocery store in immediate neighborhood
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
4/5 rating details
  • Safe & Sound 5/5
  • Peace & Quiet 5/5
  • Eating Out 4/5
  • Nightlife 3/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Parking 3/5
  • Cost of Living 2/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 4/5
  • Public Transport 2/5
Just now

"No Longer a Dry Town"

Platt Park is one of the several neighborhoods that form a desirable enclave surrounding the University of Denver campus. Originally, the area west of the campus, including Platt Park, was developed in the 1880s as a separate town, the town of South Denver. This was conceived as a less rowdy alternative to the saloon-riddled, Wild West ambience of Denver proper, which South Denver curtailed by making liquor licenses hugely expensive.

Today, you won’t find any such restrictions. South Pearl Street, at the heart of the neighborhood, is one of Denver’s hubs of fine dining, boutiques, and slightly upscale nightlife. You can get a drink at most of the restaurants, from sake at Sushi Den to Hungarian wine at Budapest Bistro. Yet, the area still has a slightly more highbrow feel to it than other parts of the city. Locals walking the streets are well, if casually, coiffed, and can stroll to South Pearl to pick up some organic pet food or a pilates lesson. The housing is also on the pricey side, with a mix of beautiful old Victorian homes and trendy, high-end condos and townhomes. The proximity of the DU campus is also palpable, as some students rent homes in the neighborhood or can be found studying or socializing at Stella’s coffee house or the Pajama Baking Company. Platt Park and the neighborhoods surrounding it aren’t cheap, but they offer an undisputedly high quality of life: beautiful homes, lots to do within walking distance, proximity to downtown, and all the cultural offerings of DU at arm’s reach.
Pros
  • overall high quality of life
Cons
  • high cost of housing
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
2/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Safe & Sound 2/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • Eating Out 2/5
  • Nightlife 2/5
  • Shopping Options 1/5
  • Lack of Traffic 4/5
  • Parking 5/5
  • Cost of Living 4/5
Just now

"Run-Down but Fighting Back"

Northeast Park Hill is directly north, and not at all east, of North Park Hill. It’s one of those slightly confusing local naming oddities, similar to the University of Colorado being dubbed CU instead of UC, and the University of Denver going by DU. It’s doubtful that neighborhood naming was a consideration when development of the Park Hill area started in the late 1800s. Northeast Park Hill is the newer section, overwhelmingly built after 1940.

Park Hill as a whole covers a wide spectrum: the southern reaches have older homes and are occupied mostly by a more affluent, less diverse crowd, while Northeast Park Hill residents are mostly African American or Latino, and the area’s median income is under the city average. Most of the shopping and dining opportunities require residents to go east into Stapleton or south to 23rd Avenue. Downtown is a relatively short commute for residents with cars. The neighborhood itself, however, lacks walkability, since the two original retail areas on Dahlia and Holly streets are both gone – due to neglect on Dahlia and arson on Holly.

Northeast Park Hill has long been a hub of Denver’s gang activity, and the torching of the Holly shopping center in 2008 (in retaliation for a high-profile gang member’s murder in Aurora) was a sharp reminder of that. Although most of the neighborhood feels safe and sees few incidents, crime and poverty rates are above average. This is counterpoised with a sense, among many residents, that it’s time to take the neighborhood back. Locals have taken the planned redevelopment of the Holly shopping center into their own hands, and neighborhood events reveal a deep-seated streak of pride. After all, many families have lived here for decades, the neighborhood has nurtured at least one great name (NBA superstar Chauncey Billups), and many locals still remember the safe, thriving Northeast Park Hill of decades ago. There’s a growing sense that Northeast Park Hill is too good for the crime, poverty, and stagnation that might, at first glance, seem to be its fate.
Pros
  • many areas feel quite safe
  • good housing values
  • may improve in the future
Cons
  • hub for gang activity, some areas feel less safe
  • lack of commercial anchors - restaurants, stores, etc.
3/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • Eating Out 3/5
  • Nightlife 2/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Parking 5/5
  • Cost of Living 4/5
  • Childcare 4/5
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"A Family-Oriented, Suburban Neighborhood out East"

Located in the arm of the City and County of Denver that reaches east, towards the airport, Montbello is a long commute down I-70 from downtown, and farther from the Tech Center. Aesthetically, the neighborhood looks like suburban Anywheresville: a mix of 1960s and ‘70s split level homes and ranchers with grassy yards, and a few large apartment complexes.

All the basic amenities are accessible: grocery stores, restaurants, and fast food joints. Commercial development is concentrated along Peoria and Chambers, where the large variety of restaurants (Mexican, Vietnamese, Thai, Chinese, and soul food) hints at the area’s ethnic mix. This is a family-friendly neighborhood, and the preponderance of day-care centers, schools, and churches, and the relative lack of nightlife, is in accord with that. There are some pockets in the area that feel neglected, so prospective residents may want to make sure they check out the area on foot.

On the north, Montbello is bounded by the Rocky Mountain Arsenal Wildlife Refuge, a former chemical weapons manufacturing plant closed in 1992 and now home to birds and roaming buffalo. The space is appealing, with large native cottonwood trees and tall grass, though unfortunately access requires a car – it would be lovely to have some access points accessible by walking, biking, or mass transit. Half a dozen smaller parks, however, dot Montbello’s winding streets.

On the whole, Montbello is low-cost, family-oriented, and feels more like a suburb than part of the city. Those looking to take advantage of the low housing costs may love the area, although those looking for accessibility to central Denver’s activities will want to stay further west.
Pros
  • Family-friendly
Cons
  • Long commute to downtown
Recommended for
  • Families with kids
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 4/5
  • Peace & Quiet 4/5
  • Eating Out 2/5
  • Parks & Recreation 3/5
  • Parking 4/5
  • Cost of Living 2/5
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"History, Luxury, and Aeronautics"

Lowry Field has a similar story to Stapleton, and a similar feel: both have their roots in aviation, lived past their useful lives in their previous incarnations, and were redeveloped into residential communities. While Stapleton was Denver’s international airport, Lowry was an Air Force base. Initially the birthplace of the Air Force Academy, it was subsequently used for training activities until it was closed in 1994.

More remains of Lowry’s past than of Stapleton’s. The gigantic B-52 bomber parked outside the Wings Over the Rockies Air and Space Museum (a destination in its own right for locals) is perhaps the most conspicuous reminder of the area’s past. The former base’s administrative buildings, barracks, and smaller hangars still remain, converted into luxury condos and lofts. And luxury is a watchword here: deluxe 3-bedroom, 2-bath condos start in the mid-300s.

Lowry, at least at present, has a denser, more urban, and more compact feel than Stapleton. Commercial development is heavier and simultaneously more pedestrian-friendly: grocery stores, cafes, bars, and coffeeshops are tucked into plazas along Lowry Boulevard and Quebec Street, and other plazas house large modern office buildings. Developers and residents alike seem proud of the area and its historic character. Aficionados of military history and well-planned urban communities will find a lot to see and explore in Lowry.
Pros
  • Interesting history
  • safe neighborhood
Cons
  • No really noteworthy dining/nightlife options
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Families with kids
4/5 rating details
  • Safe & Sound 4/5
  • Peace & Quiet 4/5
  • Eating Out 2/5
  • Nightlife 2/5
  • Parks & Recreation 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Parking 4/5
  • Public Transport 1/5
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"Fore!"

If you live in the Kennedy neighborhood, you are probably a groundhog residing in the John F. Kennedy Golf Course. Although technically a neighborhood, Kennedy’s acreage is mostly taken up by the golf course and by Cornell Park. These green, grassy spaces provide a play space for the residents of the nearby Hampden and Hampden South neighborhoods, as well as the neighboring suburb of Aurora. Along with the course at City Park, Kennedy is one of the courses maintained, and maintained well, by the city. The regulation course stretches along Cherry Creek, flat and sprawling. Billing itself as a “golf mecca,” Kennedy also has a pro shop, a restaurant, and a mini golf course. The Cinderella-style castle on the mini-golf course stands conspicuously at the side of the road, its gold-topped turrets beckoning to local youngsters or striking dread into the heart of teenagers who are being reluctantly dragged there for mandatory family fun.

The neighborhood is home to about four thousand people who live within its bounds. The neighborhood is at the intersection of Hampden and Havana, kitty-corner from the Hampden neighborhood. The surrounding area is heavily developed, with car dealerships on Havana, lots of shopping plazas on Hampden, and a tendency towards heavy rush-hour traffic. (See my review of Hampden for more information.) Perhaps it’s all the better, then, that Kennedy is where and what it is, providing a great big swath of green for southeast Denver residents – especially those who like golf.
Pros
  • Green space for recreation
  • Golf course
Cons
  • Heavy rush-hour traffic
  • Heavy commercial development
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
3/5 rating details
  • Safe & Sound 4/5
  • Peace & Quiet 4/5
  • Parking 4/5
  • Cost of Living 2/5
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"Convenience is a Double-Edged Sword"

Hampden South is a newer extension of the Hampden neighborhood to the north. In the late 1800s, the area was a lucrative farm owned by Rufus Clark, better known as “Potato Clark,” who made his fortune and his name there. The area really began to grow in the 1970s, when the Denver Technological Center was established here. Designed as an alternative to downtown for corporations and businesses large and small, the Tech Center continues to grow. The glass and concrete towers, office buildings and plazas, large parking lots, and retail strips that comprise the DTC are a heavy presence in the neighborhood, especially to the west and south.

Like Hampden, the neighborhood offers a variety of housing options, from apartments and condos to single-family homes with yards. Residential development generally seems denser, newer, and pricier here. Heavy retail development can be found along Hampden Avenue to the north (see my review of Hampden for more information). And like Hampden proper, this neighborhood’s convenience and level of development can be a double-edged sword. Many people are finding it a great place to work, live, and raise families. Yet since it was built around the Tech Center, with residential and commercial areas close together yet segregated, Hampden South can feel somewhat inorganic and prepackaged.
Pros
  • Family-friendly
  • Convenient for Tech Center workers
Cons
  • Big-box feel
  • Heavy commercial development
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Families with kids
3/5 rating details
  • Safe & Sound 4/5
  • Peace & Quiet 4/5
  • Eating Out 3/5
  • Nightlife 2/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Parking 4/5
  • Cost of Living 4/5
  • Public Transport 1/5
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"Suburbia Bounded by Commerce"

In Hampden, the familiar Denver grid system gives way to curving streets that dead-end in cul-de-sacs backed by cottonwood trees and lined with grassy yards. This is a stalwart middle-of-the road suburban neighborhood, with a mix of large apartment towers, smaller complexes, and many single-family homes from the 1960s and 1970s. For the most part, people take pride in their homes, which are well-maintained. The neighborhood is popular for families, especially if a parent has a job in the Tech Center, which is close by.

Hampden is bounded by Hampden Avenue and South Havana Street. Everything inside of these boundaries is residential, often quiet, with several large parks including Babi Yar, Hampden Heights, Hentzel, and Bible Parks. (Note that despite the odd name, Bible Park is not a Christian Disney World but a regular park with trees, trails, and athletic fields, very popular among locals.) The fringes of the neighborhood, however, bustle with commerce and traffic. Hampden is thickly lined with shopping plazas: grocery stores, chain restaurants, a gigantic Whole Foods, clothing shops, and blocky office buildings. There are also some hidden gems of hole-in-the-wall ethnic eateries, especially Vietnamese and Indian. South Havana is marked by a large cluster of car dealerships.

The drawback is that since you’d need to face the roaring roads and pedestrian-unfriendly shopping plazas to get there, running errands or going out on the town in Hampden can be draining. Hampden Avenue’s intense rush-hour traffic and big-box feel don’t really lend themselves to pleasant strolling and urban exploration, either. The high degree of commercial development is convenient, though, and means that it’s possible to live, work, play, and shop without ever leaving this large neighborhood.
Pros
  • Family-friendly
  • safe neighborhood
Cons
  • Commercial development is primarily strip malls
  • Heavy rush hour traffic on Hampden Avenue
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
5/5 rating details
  • Peace & Quiet 4/5
  • Eating Out 4/5
  • Nightlife 3/5
  • Parking 3/5
  • Cost of Living 3/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 4/5
  • Public Transport 3/5
  • Medical Facilities 5/5
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"A Neighborhood to Watch"

Residents of the Hale neighborhood, also known as Bellevue-Hale, are in for an interesting ride over the next few years. Its western edge, along Colorado Boulevard, was once anchored by a cluster of hospitals and medical facilities, including the University of Colorado Hospital and medical school as well as the VA Hospital. The Rose Medical Center is still located in the neighborhood, and the main campus of the National Jewish hospital is right across Colorado.

In 2007, the CU hospital and medical school moved east to Aurora, where the new Anschutz Medical Campus offers more room for future growth. The VA Hospital is also planning a move to the Anschutz campus after 2013. This leaves Hale with a large swath of real estate in a highly desirable location. Some of the existing buildings have been bought by other health care providers, but there is large-scale redevelopment being planned in the area once occupied by the CU system. The plans call for new retail, residential, and office space.

Hale is also bounded on the north by Colfax Avenue. This stretch of Colfax already offers a couple of coffeeshops and eateries – including an unusually high concentration of mouthwatering, Mom-and-Pop Ethiopian restaurants. Yet there are a few run-down or vacant retail spaces that hint at future potential – and with the Colfax redevelopment wave spreading east of Colorado Boulevard, it’s quite possible that new businesses and developers will pay more and more attention to the area.

Like Congress Park, Hale is an area that is highly accessible to all the work and play downtown, yet doesn’t have the clamor of a closer-in neighborhood like Uptown or Capitol Hill. (One thing it lacks is a walkable grocery store, although there is one in Mayfair, the next neighborhood to the east.) There’s a nice mix of housing here, from apartments to duplexes to modest single-family homes, which have held their value well in the face of the housing bust.

This is already a good neighborhood to live in. With the spreading redevelopment of Colfax Avenue, and the potential from the planned mixed-use enclave along Colorado, it’s likely that it’ll become even more vibrant, interesting, and desirable in the next few years.
Pros
  • Quiet yet accessible
  • Redevelopment of old hospital site in the works
Cons
  • Car or bus needed for grocery shopping
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Hipsters
  • Students
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 4/5
  • Peace & Quiet 4/5
  • Eating Out 2/5
  • Nightlife 1/5
  • Parks & Recreation 3/5
  • Parking 5/5
  • Cost of Living 4/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 2/5
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"A Solid Suburban Choice"

Goldsmith residents take pride in their neighborhood, as the streets upon streets of well-kept brick ranchers attest. Along with the neighboring ‘hoods of Hampden and Virginia Village, Goldsmith is one of those established southeast Denver neighborhoods that offers peace and quiet and a good quality of life overall.

Some of Goldsmith’s homes, which mostly date from the 1960s, are still occupied by their original owners. It’s clear, driving along the pleasant, leafy streets, why those original owners have absolutely no reason to leave, and why the area has also drawn many families in the last decade. The homes are well taken care of, with substantial yards. The neighborhood borders I-25, and is relatively close to the Tech Center, which is a few miles down the highway. The area also abuts the oddly named yet popular James A. Bible Park, which is in Hampden and offers an inviting green oasis of athletic fields, playgrounds, trails and trees.

Although initially resistant to the real estate bust, housing prices in Goldsmith dropped substantially in 2008 and have declined more than in surrounding neighborhoods. New residents drawn to this neighborhood may find a good deal on a well-built home in a desirable residential area.
Pros
  • Family-friendly
Cons
  • Car required
Recommended for
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
3/5 rating details
  • Safe & Sound 5/5
  • Eating Out 2/5
  • Nightlife 1/5
  • Parking 5/5
  • Cost of Living 3/5
  • Public Transport 2/5
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"Growing Suburbia on the Plains"

When the Denver International Airport was constructed in the 1990s, it was situated far out from the main nucleus of Denver, in an empty spot on the plains. This was done to save the eardrums of local residents and to allow construction of runways that would be easier to maintain during winter storms. It was also done in anticipation of Denver’s growth: the airport was put so far from the city based on a prediction that eventually the city would grow to reach it. That prediction is starting to show some truth, and recent years have seen the construction of many new residential developments in Gateway and Green Valley Ranch. This neighborhood (or two neighborhoods, depending on who you ask) is located close to the airport along I-70 and Pena Boulevard.

The single-family homes, townhomes, and condo complexes are spacious and new, but generally seem cookie-cutter in design. Residents might also face long commutes – unless you happen to work at the airport. Gateway has large pockets of development geared towards travelers, offering a bewildering array of hotels, extended-stay suites, chain restaurants, and the like for business travelers and for drivers who would rather stop before tackling I-70 through Denver and the Rockies. The area has the basic amenities: grocery stores, a few restaurants, parks, and recreation centers. It was planned with families in mind, so couples with kids looking for plenty of room to stretch and wide open spaces around them may enjoy living in this neighborhood.
Pros
  • Family-friendly
  • Wide open spaces nearby
  • Safe neighborhood
Cons
  • Cookie-cutter development
  • Downtown workers will face a long commute
Recommended for
  • Families with kids
3/5 rating details
  • Safe & Sound 2/5
  • Nightlife 2/5
  • Parking 4/5
  • Public Transport 3/5
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"Still Awaiting Its Renaissance"

East Colfax lies on the eastern edge of Denver’s boundaries, just before you get to its neighboring suburb, Aurora. It has roots as far back as the 1850s, when settlers used the area as a place to stop and set up camp. Originally established as a separate city, Montclair, with the intent of being “the pride of all Denver,” the area is far from that today, though it has a deal of potential. Some of the nicely aged, small brick houses to the north and south of Colfax are cute and well-tended and show pride of ownership. The area has some history, and the areas off the main streets are quiet. Immigrant populations manifest themselves in Mexican, Asian, and Ethiopian restaurants and markets.

The main problem here is Colfax itself, which leaves much to be desired in this area. It’s riddled with empty garages, strip joints, check-cashing places, and cheap motels. Overall, the feel is not welcoming, and the neighborhood has high crime and poverty rates. It’s easy to get from East Colfax to the more developed stretch of Colfax to the west, as well as to Lowry to the south or Montclair to the west for shopping, dining, recreation, and work. The neighborhood would be more inviting if it had a safer feel and Colfax were more developed. This may eventually happen as revitalization spreads farther east – but it’s not time for East Colfax yet.
Pros
  • Low housing costs
Cons
  • Higher than average crime rates
  • Colfax needs some redevelopment in this area
3/5 rating details
  • Safe & Sound 4/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 5/5
  • Shopping Options 4/5
  • Parking 1/5
  • Cost of Living 2/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 4/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
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"Business by Day, Culture in the Evening, Empty at Night"

Denver’s 17th Street has been called “the Wall Street of the West” ever since it became the regional center for financial transactions in the 1980s. This is also when the area began to take on its current appearance, with high-rise towers springing up and blighted historic buildings being renovated. Today, 17th Street is a canyon of steel and glass, bustling with office workers and traffic during the day. At night, the wind funnels down the empty street. Denver’s Central Business District (CBD) centers around 17th Street, though extending from 14th to 20th.

Most nightlife downtown gravitates around LoDo, the northwest half of Denver’s downtown. Yet, the CBD also hosts a number of eateries, bars, and nightclubs. The Denver Center for the Performing Arts is nestled along the district’s southern edge. A powerhouse of art and culture, the DCPA’s integrated complex of theaters and concert halls, built and renovated over the last century, hosts the opera, ballet, symphony, and theater.

Many local culture lovers have situated themselves right in the heart of it all by living (as well as playing and sometimes working) downtown. Housing offerings are predictably high-end. Many of the historic brick buildings and warehouses have had their upper stories converted into posh, high-ceilinged lofts. In recent decades, glassy towers of luxury condominiums have also been built, with one striking addition to the Denver skyline being the new, LEED-certified SPIRE building on 14th street, which is appropriately impressive and glows blue at night.

Given this rather swanky picture of the CBD as a whole, 16th Street can sometimes feel like a bit of an anomaly. This was one of Denver’s first redevelopment projects, completed in 1982. It has gotten a lot of hype, and as a result, this is what many residents of the metro area, and many tourists, think of when they think of “downtown Denver.” While it succeeded in beginning the transformation of what used to be a blighted area, in many respects the 16th Street redevelopment project backfired. Most of the businesses situated along 16th are the kind of chains that can be found in any mall: clothing retailers, the gamut of fast-food places, about a dozen Starbucks, and droves of indistinguishable souvenir shops. Some of the fast-food places have taken to playing classical music in an effort to keep away the bands of rather thuggish young adults and teenagers that loiter there loudly and scare off potential customers. A redevelopment of the redevelopment is currently being planned.

Some culture lovers and urbanites may relish living close to the best of Denver’s museums, music, performance art, nightlife, and even their jobs, but the tradeoff is that the residential population is very small in proportion to all those big buildings. The area can feel abandoned after the office workers go home for the day and the diners, drinkers, and theater patrons go home for the evening.
Pros
  • Easy access to downtown arts, museums, and businesses
  • Historic and upscale housing
Cons
  • Pricey area to live in
  • Lack of parking
  • Mostly a business district; empties out after hours
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Tourists
  • Trendy & Stylish
Dia
3/5 rating details
  • Eating Out 1/5
  • Nightlife 1/5
  • Parking 5/5
  • Cost of Living 4/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 4/5
  • Public Transport 1/5
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"Big Skies, Big Planes, and a Very Big Airport"

The Denver neighborhood known as DIA (Denver International Airport) has, at almost any given point, more travelers than residents within its bounds. Opened in 1994, the Denver International Airport is, by land area, the largest in the United States.

Denver residents, when asked where the airport is located, might say “Kansas.” They are only slightly kidding. While DIA is still technically in the City and County of Denver, it’s a long haul from the main residential neighborhoods of Denver and from downtown. Driving out to DIA from closer-in neighborhoods – and all of the other neighborhoods are closer-in – may put you in mind of the times when settlers crossed the plains in Conestoga wagons. It’s not unusual to hit a tumbleweed rolling across Pena Boulevard or I-70 in this area.

While there is some residential growth in this area, and developers are trying hard to make housing appeal to residents, it still feels somewhat raw and faraway. Perhaps some of that is the harsh (yet exquisite, in its own way) landscape of the eastern Colorado plains. And some of that is the fact that anyone who tries to commute downtown or to the tech center will be facing an arduous day of driving. The tradeoff: there are some bargain prices on roomy newer homes. The area is still being developed, so it may, at some point, take on more of a community feel.
Pros
  • Some good housing values
  • Wide open spaces nearby
Cons
  • Far from downtown/central Denver
  • Still in its residential infancy; feels new and raw
Recommended for
  • Families with kids
  • Country Lovers
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 5/5
  • Peace & Quiet 5/5
  • Parking 5/5
  • Cost of Living 2/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 4/5
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"A Lovely Neighborhood, for Those Who Can Afford It"

Located off of busy Speer Boulevard a few miles southeast of downtown, the Country Club neighborhood takes its name from the Denver Country Club, which is just across the road. The golf course and country club take up a good few acres of prime city real estate along Cherry Creek, and if the club has an air of exclusivity, so does the neighborhood.

Homes here are stately, and the neighborhood is very quiet. It feels, especially in the area near Speer, more than just elegant and shady with mature trees. It feels downright wooded, complete with chirping crickets and the peaceful rustling of leaves – or perhaps that’s just the sound of the money. Houses here are show-stopping mansions from the early 1900s. Towards the west and north, near Downing Street, there are more affordable options, in the form of well-maintained and upgraded craftsman bungalows. In this neighborhood, it’s easy to forget that the bustle of the Cherry Creek area with its shopping district is so close.

Aside from the facilities of the country club itself, there’s no retail, dining, entertainment, or the like in the immediate neighborhood. Country Club is a small neighborhood in size, however, and so close to Cherry Creek, Congress Park, and Capitol Hill that it doesn’t matter. This area is a lovely, leafy refuge for those who can afford it.
Pros
  • Elegant, historic mansions
  • Close to downtown and Cherry Creek
  • Beautiful trees
Cons
  • Out of most people's price range
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
4/5 rating details
  • Safe & Sound 5/5
  • Peace & Quiet 5/5
  • Eating Out 3/5
  • Nightlife 3/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Parking 4/5
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"Another Pleasant, Leafy Place Close to Wash Park and the DU Campus"

Cory Merrill isn’t usually talked about as a neighborhood in its own right. Together with the surrounding neighborhoods, it blends into a pleasant, leafy whole. This is far from being a bad thing, however: this particular area of Denver has so many good residential areas that neighborhood boundaries get blurred. The neighborhoods surrounding Washington Park and the University of Denver campus are all older, established areas with some well-integrated new construction. They are safe, low-key, and relatively affluent.

Cory Merrill stands out for its excellent schools, Cory Elementary and Merrill Middle. Housing is mostly owner-occupied, although there are some homes that are rented, likely by students or those with some other connection to DU. Most homes are subtly upscale, as opposed to the more overt wealth of Belcaro to the north. In the middle of the neighborhood, the John Paul II Center, a large, tile-roofed building, stands on a large grassy campus. This houses the Catholic theological seminary as well as the administrative offices of the Archdiocese of Denver. Farther east, the largest area of commercial development adjacent to Cory Merrill can be found along Colorado Boulevard. There are several sprawling shopping plazas along this very busy road, with hotels, restaurants, clothing retailers, and a movie theater.
Pros
  • Family-friendly
  • safe neighborhood
Cons
  • Not a whole lot of nightlife in the immediate area
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Families with kids
  • Students
5/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 4/5
  • Clean & Green 5/5
  • Peace & Quiet 4/5
  • Eating Out 4/5
  • Nightlife 4/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Parking 4/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 5/5
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"Close, Quiet, and Mellow"

Congress Park is an older, established, and picturesque neighborhood that offers easy access to downtown and abuts a vibrant stretch of Colfax Avenue to the north. (See reviews of the City Park neighborhood for a description of Colfax in this area.) Within its borders, it has its own small commercial strip along 12th Avenue that offers coffeeshops, cafes, boutiques, a wine bar, and a bike shop. Buses periodically rumble by. This main drag feels mellow and peaceful, however, especially when compared with the hullabaloo of the Capitol Hill neighborhood to the west or Colfax on the north.

The quiet and convenience attract a lot of high-earning couples and families who can afford the costs of owning one of the well-maintained, turn of the century homes. The apartment complexes in the northern part of the neighborhood draw a younger and significantly less moneyed crowd, primarily students and young professionals. The neighborhood is walking distance to two of Denver’s best parks, and a short bus ride or drive from downtown. (As in the case of City Park West, though, it’s hard to stock up on groceries if you live here without a car.) Overall, this is a safe and beautiful neighborhood with a good quality of life, where residents can enjoy peace and quiet while still being close to all the city has to offer.
Pros
  • Quiet yet close to downtown
  • Borders a vibrant revitalized stretch of Colfax
Cons
  • High cost of ownership
  • Need to car or bus to grocery store
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Hipsters
  • Students
  • Trendy & Stylish
4/5 rating details
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
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"Denvers Hub of Civic Administration and Museums"

Civic Center is one of a handful of Denver neighborhoods that is almost or completely non-residential. As of the most recent census, there are only 1500 living residents within the neighborhood’s boundaries. They’re vastly outnumbered by the neighborhood’s painting subjects and fictional characters. Civic Center houses the art museum and the central library, as well as the State Capitol and the City and County Building. It’s a cultural and geographic nexus, and almost all visitors to the city, as well as all locals, pass through or make a quick visit at some point.

All Civic Center’s attractions are definitely worth a look. The art museum houses a very apropos collection of western art as well as shelves upon shelves of Central American artifacts and art and design from pretty much every time period and culture. The library, like the airport, is floored with fossil-bearing stone. Denver's history museum is currently undergoing a total reconstruction, with a grandiose new building slated to open in 2012. In all seasons, festivals, concerts, and protests take place in Civic Center Park. Every Wednesday night in the summer, hundreds or thousands of bicyclists converge on the park’s amphitheater and briefly transform it into the “Circle of Death,” a furious whirlpool of wheels, pedals, and rowdy, costumed riders. Many cities can draw a crowd for a bike ride like this – but perhaps only Denver can routinely boast over eight hundred people. The area gained a bad rap in the '70s for crime and homelessness, and while it's improved substantially since then, visitors would still do well to be cautious after dark.

One of the best times to visit Civic Center is around Christmas. The City and County Building’s entire façade is lit up with multicolored lights, as is the tower at the top. Bells, candy canes, and other seasonal paraphernalia, also in lights, adorn the building as well. Flanking the grand neoclassical entry are, on one side, Santa and his mechanical elves, and, on the other side, a Nativity scene. Reactions to this whole spectacle run the gamut: eye-rolling, outrage, fierce protective affection. As a transplant from Montana put it: “The City and County Building is like the Tammy Faye Bakker of Christmas lights. Is it gaudy? Or is it beautiful? Yes.” This display stands in contrast to the state Capitol, which remains unilluminated, except for the light that shines on its golden dome.
Pros
  • Some of Denver's best museums
  • City and County Building lights display at Christmastime
Cons
  • Doesn't feel 100% safe after dark
Recommended for
  • Tourists
5/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Safe & Sound 4/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 4/5
  • Shopping Options 2/5
  • Parking 2/5
  • Cost of Living 4/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 5/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
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"Cheap Urban Fun and Some Great Dining"

Although technically a separate neighborhood, City Park West is often, along with North Capitol Hill, lumped together under the blanket designation “Uptown.” Perhaps this is because of the restaurants along 17th Avenue, which connects the two neighborhoods in a blaze of delicious glory. Foodies know City Park West well and find a variety of decadent-yet-affordable dining options there. Bars such as Vine Street Pub and The Thin Man, as well as the quirky, always-hopping St. Mark’s Coffee, give this area a cozy, neighborly feel. Housing options are varied (some lovely old single-family homes as well as relatively affordable apartment buildings), as are the residents.

Colfax Avenue bounds the neighborhood’s southern stretch, and houses more dining, drinking, and shopping options, mostly of the type that cater to either the young and hip, or to blue-collar workers, or both. Once called “the longest, wickedest street in America” by Playboy magazine, Colfax has a reputation as the favored hangout of prostitutes, drug dealers, and people who are generally up to no good. Decades ago, this reputation was earned, and to some extent it still is, but revitalization of Colfax is underway. If you spend time on the stretch of Colfax along the southern edge of City Park West, you will be rubbing shoulders with much of Denver’s homeless or transient population that uses Colfax as a main route and hangout, but the area is good for some cheap fun and is safe if you practice urban common sense.

For commuters, it’s easy to get to and from downtown via a 10-15 minute drive, a couple of buses that run frequently during business hours, or the bike lanes on 16th Avenue. Those attempting to go carless, however, should be forewarned: although there are some convenience stores, there is no proper grocery store in the neighborhood.
Pros
  • Lively and eclectic
  • Some great dining/nightlife options
Cons
  • On-street parking is tight
  • Need to car or bus to grocery store
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Tourists
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Hipsters
  • Trendy & Stylish
5/5 rating details
  • Safe & Sound 4/5
  • Clean & Green 5/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 4/5
  • Parks & Recreation 5/5
  • Parking 3/5
  • Cost of Living 2/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 5/5
  • Public Transport 3/5
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"Green on the North Side, Urban on the South"

Most of the City Park neighborhood is green space. The park itself is Denver’s largest, one of its oldest, and arguably its most impressive. If the view west from near the Nature and Science Museum looks familiar, it’s because that’s where they take the postcard photos of the city skyline with the Rockies as its backdrop. The park offers free open-air jazz concerts in the summer, as well as swan-shaped paddleboats visitors can rent at the small lake.

The residential area of the City Park neighborhood is all on the south side, between 17th and Colfax (15th) Avenues. The area intermixes classic older homes with apartment/condo buildings and some trendy new towers. Ownership and rental costs are both high.

What residents get for the price is one of Denver’s best parks for their backyard and a thriving, revitalized stretch of Colfax Avenue for their front porch. This area, between York and Colorado, is a destination in its own right that even draws people from Denver’s other super-trendy neighborhoods for a night out on the town. There’s good food here, everything from biscuits for breakfast to cupcakes for dessert, and good drinking at a fun and friendly chain of bars that run the gamut from good tequila to cheap PBR.

Near York and Colfax, there’s a large, elegant building in a style reminiscent of early colonial, with a soaring clock tower. This is East High, which predates the current architectural trend of designing high schools to resemble prisons. Across the street is the flagship Tattered Cover bookstore. The Tattered Cover provides a rare and happy tale of a brick-and-mortar bookstore that’s not only remained in business, but flourished over the last few years: locally grown and well-supported by residents, it has a large selection good for hours, if not days, of browsing. The Starz Film Center, one of the best places to catch an independent movie, is housed in the same complex. Residents of City Park will find themselves with plenty to do – and that’s without even mentioning the zoo, the science museum, or everything that’s going on in downtown, a short drive, bike, or bus ride away.
Pros
  • Great green space
  • Near one of the best redeveloped areas of Colfax
  • Lots to do!
Cons
  • Relatively high housing costs
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Tourists
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Hipsters
  • Trendy & Stylish
4/5 rating details
  • Safe & Sound 4/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 4/5
  • Shopping Options 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 1/5
  • Public Transport 3/5
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"Synonymous With Shopping"

A little word association: mention Cherry Creek to anyone who lives in Denver or the suburbs, and odds are that their response will have nothing to do with the waterway itself or the neighborhood that lies to its north at University Boulevard. They’ll say “shopping.”

The Cherry Creek Mall and the Cherry Creek North retail area, both opened around 1990, were, and still remain, the primary destination for upscale shopping in the metro area. There are plenty of stores for middle-income shoppers (such as Sears, Bed Bath and Beyond, the Gap, etc.), but the mall is anchored by Nordstrom and Neiman Marcus, and Cherry Creek North boasts the only Hermes retail store for 800 miles in any direction. The shopping area draws locals from all income levels – some to drop some serious money, others to window-shop or just stroll – especially on the weekends. It can be tricky to find parking in Cherry Creek North, where most parking is on-street and high-end coupes and shiny SUVs crawl as if on parade.

Beyond the mall area and Cherry Creek North, the neighborhood is residential and housing prices are predictably high. There is a mix of new and old single-family homes and new lofts and townhomes. This appeals to high-income single professionals and families who enjoy being able to take a leisurely stroll to Cherry Creek North for a morning cup of coffee, and the neighborhood’s relative closeness to downtown. There are also a few apartment complexes surrounding the mall that appeal to younger, single professionals or to people staying in town for a few months for business. Downtown is about 3 miles away: 15 minutes by car, longer at rush hour. The neighborhood is also convenient to some of Denver’s best bike routes for commuting or recreational biking, including the Cherry Creek bike trail, the lanes along 7th Avenue, and Washington Park.

This neighborhood definitely offers an impressive address, though those looking for peace and quiet or for historic charm may be better off elsewhere. But residents who like being close to a major upscale shopping hub, with a wide range of dining options as well, will really love Cherry Creek. Thousands of Denver residents and tourists alike enjoy visiting the area and, if their wallets can take it, shopping like the locals.
Pros
  • Shoppers' delight!
  • safe neighborhood
Cons
  • Tons of traffic around Cherry Creek North and the mall
  • Lacks historic feel of some other neighborhoods
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Tourists
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Trendy & Stylish
5/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 5/5
  • Safe & Sound 5/5
  • Pest Free 4/5
  • Peace & Quiet 4/5
  • Eating Out 3/5
  • Nightlife 2/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Internet Access 5/5
  • Parking 4/5
  • Cost of Living 1/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 5/5
  • Public Transport 2/5
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"A Wealthy Enclave with a Wee Scottish Flavor"

As you enter the Belcaro neighborhood, the streets lose their normal grid pattern, winding about confusingly. This is the first clue that you’re leaving the more ordinary Denver neighborhoods behind. Belcaro is posh. Parts of it are hidden to prying eyes by high brick walls, leaving only the towering tops of venerable evergreens and willows to hint at the luxury that lies within. Half a million dollars for a home is a bargain basement price, and many of these homes may leave you musing over where exactly one draws the line between “house” and “mansion.”

There’s no commercial development within Belcaro itself, and hence little reason to visit unless you live here. Cherry Creek is directly to the north, however, and there is an inviting strip of a few eateries, boutiques, and bars around University and Exposition. This includes one of Denver’s most well-established and popular ice cream shops, Bonnie Brae ice cream.

The name seems anomalous at first, until you look closer at the area and realize that half the businesses are Bonnie Brae this or Bonnie Brae that. There is even a church called “The Kirk of Bonnie Brae.” Bonnie Brae is the name for the southern half of Belcaro, which was the first area in the neighborhood to be developed. In the 1920s, the area’s developer, George Olinger, strove to recreate the ambience of a Scottish Village on the outskirts of the growing city. That explains the use of gray stone in the older homes, the winding streets, and the name everywhere. Residents of Bonnie Brae and of Belcaro as a whole are, understandably, proud of their neighborhood. There are many neighborhoods in Denver where homes routinely top the million-dollar mark, and this is one of them – but for the money, residents live in an area that’s close (but not too close) to the center, with gorgeous architecture, and a unique identity and history.
Pros
  • Gorgeous architecture
  • safe neighborhood
Cons
  • Few can afford to live here
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
5/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 4/5
  • Peace & Quiet 4/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 5/5
  • Shopping Options 5/5
  • Internet Access 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Parking 2/5
  • Cost of Living 4/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 4/5
  • Public Transport 3/5
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"Something for Everyone"

Located a mile and a half south of downtown, the wedge-shaped Baker neighborhood houses an eclectic mix of professionals, families, and the young and hip. It’s also mixed-use: along I-25 and in the south, it gives way to graffiti-covered abandoned factories; the residential core sits west of South Broadway, and South Broadway itself is one of Denver’s most popular out-on-the-town destinations.

The cost of owning or renting a home has increased in recent years, but Baker’s historic cheapness and proximity made it appealing to a wide variety of residents. Hispanic and Latino families and young professional couples occupy the single-family homes, and singles buying their first condo or renting apartments often seek out this area. Many of Baker’s homes are historic, dating back to the 1880s.

South Broadway, sometimes referred to as SoBo, is a destination in its own right for people living in the suburbs or other parts of the city. It’s a mishmash of chic and gritty, trendy and old-school. Sometimes it’s hard to tell whether that guy walking down the street is a purposefully disheveled hipster, or just… disheveled. Decadent Beatrice and Woodsley, with its aspen-tree-and-chainsaw décor, $10 cocktails, and oxtail soup, is a few doors down from Swift Steak House, an unpretentious hole-in-the-wall with a crackly old radio and chicken-fried steak. Up on 3rd Avenue, the Mayan theater, built in 1930, is true to its name, with the walls inside covered with murals of fierce warriors. The Hi-Dive and some of the other bars make this a good place to go for live music. Bibliophiles will find it easy to lose an entire day in the half-dozen new and used bookstores, many of which are labyrinthine and piled floor to ceiling with paperbacks. Like SoBo, Baker itself seems to offer something for everyone: quiet, family-friendly streets, proximity to downtown, and one of Denver’s most vibrant and bustling dining and entertainment enclaves.
Pros
  • Unique and Eclectic
  • Bibliophiles' delight!
  • Historic buildings
  • Urban vibe
Cons
  • Parking
  • A couple of pockets to avoid
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Tourists
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Hipsters
  • Students
  • Trendy & Stylish
4/5 rating details
  • Nightlife 5/5
  • Internet Access 5/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
  • Schools 5/5
Just now

"Higher Education with a Skyline View"

The entire city of Denver came very close to being named Auraria, a name that means “Golden Valley.” Established in 1858 by settlers from Georgia who named it after a successful gold mining settlement in their own state, Auraria lost the name battle to Denver City, which was established three weeks later on the opposite, northern bank of Cherry Creek.

Today, Auraria – which is technically considered a Denver neighborhood, although it has few actual residents in its boundaries - is primarily known for the Auraria Campus, which takes up most of its space. This is downtown Denver’s educational mecca, with Metro State College, the Community College of Denver, and the University of Colorado at Denver all sharing its tightly-packed acres.

Collegians expecting dreaming spires will be disappointed: the buildings of Auraria campus are, for the most part, in the utilitarian brick-box style, connected by a series of paved plazas. Some nice plantings and grassy areas do break up the city concrete. Notable features on campus include the gothic St. Elizabeth of Hungary church and the Tivoli, which was formerly one of Denver’s oldest breweries and is now the student union.

Off campus, Auraria also encompasses the Pepsi Center, which is one of the city’s largest concert venues and home to the Denver Nuggets (basketball) and Avalanche (hockey). Six Flags Elitch Gardens skirts Auraria’s western edge, down by the Platte River. Although there’s no dining or nightlife options in Auraria itself, students attending one of the three colleges have no lack of choice, since downtown, Larimer Square, and LoDo nightlife are all within walking distance.

There are a few rental units available in Auraria itself, and little housing, with the exception of a few ultra-exclusive lofts and condos along Speer. Many students live in Capitol Hill or one of the surrounding neighborhoods, or commute from the suburbs. Auraria may not have ivy-covered dorms or stately quads, but it offers a panoramic – and very close – view of the city skyline. Students seeking the thrill of an urban experience could do much worse.
Pros
  • Downtown-adjacent
  • Entertainment
  • Lots of education options
Cons
  • Uninspiring architecture
  • Lack of student housing in immediate area
  • Parking
Recommended for
  • Students
5/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 4/5
  • Clean & Green 4/5
  • Pest Free 2/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • Eating Out 4/5
  • Nightlife 4/5
  • Parks & Recreation 5/5
  • Shopping Options 4/5
  • Gym & Fitness 5/5
  • Internet Access 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Parking 2/5
  • Cost of Living 2/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 5/5
  • Public Transport 3/5
  • Medical Facilities 5/5
Just now

"A Beautiful Central Denver Neighborhood - With a Ghoulish Past"

In the minds of most locals, the Cheesman Park neighborhood is the eastern swath of Capitol Hill, where the apartment buildings mix with elegant single-family homes and the hubbub of young revelers is muffled a little by the rustling of the leaves. The neighborhood offers a few bars and eateries on 13th Avenue (such as the venerable Gabor’s bar and Liks ice cream), but, in between Capitol Hill with its myriad of offerings to the west, and the more sedate stretch of cafes along 12th Avenue in Congress Park to the east, residents aren’t hurting for choice in terms of dining, activities, or nightlife.

The closer you get to Cheesman Park itself, the higher housing costs go, until on the streets immediately surrounding it, you’ll find flat-out mansions as well as luxury high-rise towers. What that gets you is a beautiful neighborhood of old trees and historic houses right next to one of Denver’s best green spaces.

Cheesman Park is picturesque, with its gently rising hill topped with a stately, white-columned neoclassical pavilion. At pretty much any time of day, any time of year, runners and bikers use the 1.8 mile jogging and biking trail that circumnavigates the park, passing by the back of the Botanic Gardens and under colonnades of deciduous trees. In the summer, people use the grassy open spaces to throw tennis balls to their dogs, play Frisbee, and lie on blankets in the sun.

What the joggers and sunbathers probably aren’t thinking about are the bodies, as many as 4,000 of them, that are buried under Cheesman Park. In Denver’s early years, the area that is now Cheesman Park, as well as the Botanic Gardens to the east, were all Mount Prospect cemetery – and before that, an Arapahoe Indian burial ground. By the 1890s, the cemetery was no longer used, and had become decrepit and overgrown. The city was growing up around it quickly, and decided that it needed the land for homes and a park. Some of the dead were relocated by their families, but many – young men who moved to Denver in the Wild West days and died in gunfights and accidents – were left behind. The Cheesman Park neighborhood is a great place to live, but in addition to being one of the most central and most historic neighborhoods in Denver, buyer beware – it may also be one of the most haunted!
Pros
  • Close to dining, nightlife, downtown
  • Excellent green space
  • Quieter than Capitol Hill
Cons
  • Not a lot of parking
  • Rent/homeownership costs are high closer to the park
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Hipsters
  • Students
  • Trendy & Stylish
2/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 4/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 4/5
  • Eating Out 1/5
  • Nightlife 1/5
  • Parks & Recreation 2/5
  • Shopping Options 1/5
  • Gym & Fitness 2/5
  • Internet Access 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 4/5
  • Parking 5/5
  • Cost of Living 4/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 2/5
  • Public Transport 1/5
  • Medical Facilities 5/5
Just now

"Lots of Potential, But a Little Left Behind"

Initially the Clayton neighborhood was mostly farmland, producing crops to feed the rapidly-growing city of Denver. It gets its name from George W. Clayton, a Philadelphia-born philanthropist who established Clayton College for orphan boys in 1907. The complex of elegant sandstone buildings that housed Clayton College still stands, at the corner of Martin Luther King and Colorado Boulevards. The surrounding neighborhood was developed in the middle of the 20th century. Almost all homes are single-family bungalows or ranch houses. The neighborhood is a few miles northeast of downtown, and its southern edge is north of City Park, one of Denver’s largest green spaces.

The neighborhood is family-oriented, with strong African-American and Latino populations, and many families have lived in the neighborhood for several generations. Most residents are blue-collar workers or retirees. The poverty rate in Clayton, however, is much higher than the Denver average. There are not a lot of employment opportunities in the immediate neighborhood, especially for residents without cars – and public transportation, while it exists, gets much slower and less reliable once you are in neighborhoods like Clayton, which are off the main commuter routes.

Indeed, in the wave of redevelopment and economic growth that’s affected many Denver neighborhoods in the last decade, Clayton feels a little forgotten. There are convenience stores, but no grocery store in the neighborhood, and aside from a couple of gems such as Cora Faye’s soul food café, the only real options for going out for a meal are summed up in a dismal stretch of fast-food joints on Colorado Boulevard. With a planned expansion of Denver’s light rail system to DIA passing near the Clayton neighborhood, let’s hope that in a few years this little neighborhood will get the TLC it needs to reach its potential.
Pros
  • Good deals on housing
Cons
  • Very limited shopping, dining, nightlife options in the area
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 5/5
  • Safe & Sound 4/5
  • Clean & Green 4/5
  • Pest Free 4/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • Eating Out 4/5
  • Nightlife 3/5
  • Parks & Recreation 3/5
  • Shopping Options 4/5
  • Gym & Fitness 3/5
  • Internet Access 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Parking 5/5
  • Cost of Living 3/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 5/5
  • Public Transport 3/5
  • Medical Facilities 5/5
Just now

"Historic, Eclectic, and Close to Downtown"

This eclectic neighborhood northeast of Denver’s Central Business District was known at one point as “the Harlem of the West.” In the early 1900s, it became established as Denver’s center of African-American population and culture, and at one point had dozens of jazz clubs hosting such greats as Miles Davis and Billie Holiday. Like many other parts of central Denver, Five Points was hit hard by urban decay in the 1960s and ‘70s and gained an unsavory reputation.

Unlike other neighborhoods such as Capitol Hill and Uptown, however, Five Points has been slower to shed its bad rap. Some pockets of the area remain in need of TLC, and possibly even caution if you're walking through alone at night. But this is a large neighborhood, and one that it’s hard to address in generalities. A block of shabby, bleary-eyed apartments gives way, the next block over, to well-maintained affordable housing, which is around the corner from the duplex that’s been fixed-and-flipped, with recessed lighting and granite counters. The former crackhouse has had its gingerbread wooden trim lovingly repaired and given a bright paint job, though you get the sense that a few residents in the neighborhood still wish it were there in its former incarnation. On Walnut and Blake, some of the old warehouses have been converted to galleries by artists who are drawn by the wide-open post-industrial spaces.

Five Points still maintains a strong grasp on its African-American heritage, but a large amount of Mexican-American and Mexican/Latino immigrant families have also made the neighborhood home over the last few decades, especially in its northern reaches where you’ll find some good taquerias and restaurants. Though Five Points is largely residential, a good handful of cafes, bars, and concert venues line the Welton Street corridor. The light rail and new bike lanes make it an easy commute for those who work downtown, and many people of all backgrounds are finding that Five Points is a good place to raise a family.
Pros
  • Great architecture
  • Close to downtown
  • Eclectic and historic
Cons
  • Some areas look dilapidated/feel sketchy
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Tourists
  • Hipsters
  • Trendy & Stylish
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 5/5
  • Clean & Green 5/5
  • Pest Free 2/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 5/5
  • Parks & Recreation 5/5
  • Shopping Options 4/5
  • Gym & Fitness 5/5
  • Internet Access 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Parking 3/5
  • Cost of Living 2/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 5/5
  • Public Transport 3/5
  • Medical Facilities 5/5
  • Schools 3/5
  • Childcare 1/5
Just now

"Better Known as Uptown"

North Capitol Hill is more commonly known as Uptown, perhaps in an effort to distinguish itself from its cheaper, louder, dirtier neighbor to the south, Capitol Hill proper. Directly east of downtown (making “Up” a confusing designation, especially since there’s no Midtown neighborhood), the area is an easy commute, meaning that many residents are younger professionals. Housing tends towards apartments or condos, though there are some single-family homes and old mansions thrown into the mix, and the area is noted for its interesting variety of architecture. Many buildings are newer, upscale constructions, including whole blocks of loft-style housing, the ground level filled with florists, wine shops, yoga studios, and the like, along 19th Avenue.

Since it takes more money to live in Uptown – North Capitol Hill – than it does to live in Capitol Hill to the south, the population tends to be a little older, a little more white-collar, and a touch more sedate, although 17th Avenue is a bright-lit strip of bars and restaurants that gets very lively on the weekends. In fact, 17th Ave is sometimes referred to as Denver’s “Restaurant Row,” and the stretch that passes through Uptown offers nouveau-American, upscale Mediterranean, casual Mexican, and hearty vegetarian restaurants within a stone’s throw of each other, as well as a drag-queen hamburger joint and a gourmet market.
Pros
  • Amazing restaurants!
  • A quieter, more mature alternative to Capitol Hill
Cons
  • High housing costs
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Tourists
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Hipsters
  • Trendy & Stylish
5/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 5/5
  • Safe & Sound 5/5
  • Clean & Green 4/5
  • Pest Free 1/5
  • Peace & Quiet 2/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 5/5
  • Parks & Recreation 5/5
  • Shopping Options 5/5
  • Gym & Fitness 5/5
  • Internet Access 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Parking 2/5
  • Cost of Living 4/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 5/5
  • Public Transport 3/5
  • Medical Facilities 5/5
  • Schools 3/5
  • Childcare 1/5
Just now

"The Roaring Twentysomethings"

Historically one of Denver’s oldest neighborhoods, Capitol Hill is demographically one of its youngest. Originally settled in the late 1800s, Capitol Hill underwent a period of decline in the 1960s and ‘70s. As the neighborhood became decrepit, violent, and impoverished, residents fled the city for the suburbs.

Today, their grandchildren drive in, every Friday and Saturday night, to frequent Capitol Hill’s bars, restaurants, and concert venues. Far from its former reputation for drugs, madness, and violent crime, Capitol Hill is generally a very safe neighborhood. Its density, walkability, and the amount of people taking advantage of its density and walkability all mean that you’ll rarely find yourself alone on a dark street. Those practicing city common sense will probably avoid being victims of crime. Unfortunately, residents don't have nearly as much control in defending themselves from bedbugs, which in this neighborhood, with a high proportion of renters and a lot of apartment turnover, is not an "if" but a "when" if you live in an apartment or condo.

A mere mile or less southeast of the Central Business District, Capitol Hill is an easy walk, bike, or bus commute for those working or studying downtown. Like some other central Denver neighborhoods such as Uptown and Highlands, Capitol Hill’s selection of delicious, eclectic, and relatively inexpensive places to eat and drink seem to present a paradox when viewed side-by-side with the fit and athletic residents – until, that is, you see the amount of runners pounding the pavement every morning and evening. Housing ranges from historic mansions to relatively inexpensive studio apartments, although the area’s traditionally low rents have been rising. Although there’s a good amount of urban grit – spray-painted walls, discarded pizza plates on the sidewalks, and a few too many people who don’t clean up after their dogs – there’s also enough old trees, beautiful historic architecture, and front-yard gardens to take the edge off.

The area’s very youthful demographics could mean that thirty- or forty-somethings looking for a quiet Friday night at home might sigh wearily as they drive their car around and around the block in the futile search for a parking spot, or wake up at 2 a.m. to packs of twenty-one-year-olds shouting drunkenly as they reel down the sidewalk. The area is still diverse enough, however, to avoid feeling like a college flashback. Although Capitol Hill has drawn in the young for well over a decade now, if you take an evening walk you might see, in addition to all the hipsters, a retired couple walking their dachshunds, an orange-robed female monk gardening in front of the Buddhist meditation center, and the guy who drives the #40 bus, all of whom have lived in and loved the neighborhood for years.
Pros
  • LOTS to do!
  • safe neighborhood
  • friendly, mellow Denver people
Cons
  • sometimes TOO youthful and energetic
  • people don't clean up after their dogs
  • could lose diversity and charm in the future
Recommended for
  • Singles
  • Tourists
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Hipsters
  • Students
  • Trendy & Stylish

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