Whether you’re thinking of moving to Denver, Colorado, already live in Denver but are looking for a better lay of the land, or a native trying to make sense of what’s been going on the last 5 years, we’ve got a real estate guide for you.
As with any up and coming city, the best areas chosen by young professionals in the mile high city are typically closest to where all the action is. Denver is no exception to that rule. Here, (in alphabetical order), are some of the best Denver neighborhoods.
Median home sale price in Denver, April 2021: $560,000
Best Denver Neighborhoods: Baker
Baker is defined by it’s eastern edge of Broadway, which runs one-way south from downtown Denver. The neighborhood begins at 6th Avenue to the north, just south of the Santa Fe Arts District, and is bounded on the west and south by I-25.
Broadway is the hub of Baker. Several blocks of North Broadway exist in Baker before transitioning into South Broadway. Both of which are lined with a colorful set of shops and restaurants. Some residents also call their neighborhood South Broadway, SoBo for short.
Sputnik and Hi-Dive are unique local venues, one being a bar and the other a music venue, respectively. Additionally, the Mayan Theater is a great independent and iconic theater in the area running non-mainstream films.
Baker is known for its hearty mix of many different kinds of housing architecture and was once a working-class neighborhood in the past. And it has transitioned through many different eras which has helped with this merry architectural mix-up. Baker is also remarkable as it’s particularly apartment-building deprived, as most of the buildings are single family homes.
Best Denver Neighborhoods: Capitol Hill
Capitol Hill, or “Cap Hill”, runs north to south from around East Colfax Avenue to 6th Avenue, and west to east from Broadway (and the Capitol Building) to Cheesman Park. Anywhere from Colfax and Speer east to Colorado Boulevard is pretty much the same neighborhood, although there are distinct smaller areas. These areas include Cheesman Park, Congress Park, and Governor’s Park; which are technically their own neighborhoods too.
Capitol Hill is a long-time favorite for first-timers to Denver and locals alike. It’s Colorado’s most densely populated neighborhood. Many Denver college students live there, and there are plenty of people and a lot of bars and restaurants to enjoy. It has an eclectic mix of people to keep the days and nights interesting.
Between workers and tourists going in and out of the Colorado State Capitol and locals and tourists visiting the neighborhoods many bars, music venues, restaurants and museums, there’s always something going on in Capitol Hill.
Parking is a pain, so trade your car for your own two feet or a bicycle. The streets blend old and new in both their combination of historic and trendy amenities and their mix of timeworn walk-ups, historic mansions, townhomes, and condos galore too.
There’s no one particular destination that’s the heart of Capitol Hill, other than the obvious Capitol building; instead worthy pit-stops are peppered throughout. Wax Trax Records is a classic, time-honored vinyl destination. Argonaut Wine & Liquor will have any kind of booze you could possibly ever need. Stop by Pete’s Kitchen for a hearty Breakfast Burrito Supreme at any time of day, including 4am. Or step back in time at the Molly Brown House Museum, one-time residence of a famous survivor of the Titanic, the “Unsinkable” Molly Brown.
Best Denver Neighborhoods: Cherry Creek
If you follow Speer Boulevard southeast from downtown Denver, you’ll reach the ritzy neighborhood of Cherry Creek. The Cherry Creek Shopping Center at Speer Boulevard marks the southern end of the neighborhood. Colorado Boulevard is its east side. Roughly 6th Avenue is its northern border, and University Avenue is the western boundary.
This upscale place to live and visit shares a lot in common with Capitol Hill with its living advantages, as it more or less borders it along the southeast. There are a mix of apartments and homes to rent, with some of the city’s most luxurious residences tucked away on its streets.
The center of the neighborhood is between 1st and 3rd Avenues, and University and Steele St. This is Denver’s most iconic luxury shopping area, known as Cherry Creek North.
Don’t miss the Cherry Cricket, a gem of a burger restaurant in the heart of Cherry Creek. It also has a famous annual festival called the Cherry Creek Arts Festival. But of course the massive draw to Cherry Creek continues to be the shopping; it is widely considered to be the best shopping between San Francisco and Chicago.
Best Denver Neighborhoods: Downtown
Downtown is really 2 areas: the Central Business District (CBD) and Lower Downtown (LoDo). The eastern edge of Downtown Denver is roughly Broadway, and Park Avenue helps form its northeastern edge. The northwestern cap is the South Platte River by Confluence Park, and the northeastern side is bounded by 20th Avenue. Speer Boulevard forms its southwestern edge and Colfax Avenue to the south. LoDo, which is north of the CBD, starts roughly at Larimer Street.
Both areas feature high rise apartment buildings and lofts, which often come at a staggering cost for their convenience. Some apartments in LoDo, especially around the ballpark, have a reputation for a younger party crowd.
The CBD is where all the business happens. The 16th Street Mall, an outdoor promenade of shopping and dining, connects the Central Business District with LoDo via a free mall bus ride. This complimentary RTD service picks up and drops off passengers on every block, heading both north and south on 16th. It starts close to the Colorado State Capitol building and ends in LoDo at Union Station.
LoDo is Denver’s most popular nightlife spot with many bars and restaurants radiating from Larimer Square and Union Station up to Coors Field. Recently refurbished Union Station has excellent restaurants, bars, and even a hotel inside. And if you want to catch a baseball game, Coors Field is right up the road from Union Station.
Best Denver Neighborhoods: Five Points
Five Points neighbors LoDo to the south and Uptown to the southeast around 20th Avenue. The South Platte River marks the north and west end and Downing Street marks the east. Five Points includes the neighborhoods of Rive North (RiNo), Ballpark, and Curtis Park.
A lot is happening in Five Points, with construction on Brighton Boulevard, Larimer and Welton. As the latest booming part of Denver, it’s where many new restaurants, bars, art galleries, and music venues in Denver have been popping up in the last couple of years. Throughout much of the twentieth century, it was also the center of Denver’s jazz scene and African-American community. Each year they honor this heritage at the Five Points Jazz Festival.
The Larimer Lounge and the newly built Mission Ballroom are great area music venues in the area. And a local partnership including basketball great and Denver’s own Chauncey Billups is working to refurbish the historic Rossonian Hotel. The hotel fell into disrepair over the years, but is an incredible part of Denver’s African-American and jazz history.
Apartment buildings and townhomes seemed to be a big focus in 2019, but there are many single-family homes in the area as well.
Best Denver Neighborhoods: Golden Triangle
The Golden Triangle is shaped just like it sounds. To the north, it’s bordered by Colfax Avenue. The west is bordered by the diagonal Speer Boulevard. It ends where Broadway to the east intersects with Speer Boulevard in the south.
The Denver Art Museum, Denver Public Library and various government buildings define the urban community. There are many tall upscale apartments newly built and still under construction in the Golden Triangle. If you want to see construction cranes in Denver these days, it’s a good bet that a large number of them are in the Golden Triangle. There’s also a good share of places to eat and drink within the community, with the hub being on Broadway. Additionally Sunken Gardens Park across Speer is one of the larger and better parks in Denver.
Best Denver Neighborhoods: Highlands
The Highlands, also referred to sometimes singularly as Highland, was historically just called North Denver in the older days. The region is named so because it’s raised up on a hillside overlooking the city. Small parts of the Highlands include the Lower Highlands (LoHi), which is the south-eastern start at Platte Street. It is bordering the South Platte River and Lower Downtown, as well as Sunnyside and Berkeley on the northern edge by I-70. West Highland leads to the western boundary on Sheridan Blvd. Going east to west, Speer Boulevard and then 29th Avenue marks the rough southern edge.
The Highlands are a great place to live. These primarily single-family home neighborhoods have a decidedly residential and almost suburban feel to them. However, they still include vibrant sections of nightlife and dining spread throughout. Some of the most popular clusters of bars and restaurants are in the Highlands Square area at 32nd Avenue and Lowell Street, and then there’s Tennyson Street starting at 38th going north to 46th Ave.
Since 1992, Common Grounds coffee shop has been roasting coffee beans in Sunnyside. In 2013, it added the cafe portion, providing a sunlit gathering space for area residents. Mondo Vino might be the best wine and beer shop in Denver. And you could wait for 2 hours to get a seat at ramen-emporium Uncle restaurant, but it’s worth every minute.
Best Denver Neighborhoods: Sloans Lake
Southwest of the Highlands area, Sloans Lake, is a nice choice for anyone looking to get just a little bit out of the city but still in the city. Sloans Lake showcases Denver’s biggest lake as its centerpiece. Its northern edge meets the Highlands at 29th Avenue and is bounded by Sheridan Boulevard on the west. The eastern end is I-25, and its southern side is West Colfax.
You can’t as easily walk to downtown from this neighborhood like you could from Uptown or Capitol Hill. Or even from the Highlands, which is reflected in Sloans Lake’s sleepy, slightly more suburban nature. It’s quieter and more residential than the Highlands. There are good places to eat and drink in the area, but most people head up to Highland Square at 32nd Ave for entertainment or over to Edgewater.
Sloans Lake is the main attraction of the area. In the early 1900s, there was an amusement park on the lake called Manhattan Beach, and you could reach it from across the lake by steamboat. Quite possibly the best Thai food in Denver is available at no frills US Thai, just across Sheridan in Edgewater. And diner beware – if you order your food Thai Hot, it really comes Thai Hot.
Best Denver Neighborhoods: Uptown
Variously known as North Capitol Hill (old name) to Uptown (new name), Uptown starts where Capitol Hill leaves off at East Colfax, heading north from there to around 20th Avenue. It leads west to east from Broadway to the start of the City Park area at York Street.
Due to its close proximity to Capitol Hill, Uptown shares many of similar features that attract people to Capitol Hill. 17th Avenue is the hub of Uptown, a one-way street running east from the city lined with hip bars and restaurants. However, you’ll also find a handful of other great spots on 18th and 20th Avenues too. The single-family Queen Annes, brick row houses, new apartments and condos are sprinkled throughout this neighborhood aren’t out of middle-class reach.
As with Capitol Hill, there is no one place that defines what’s happening in this neighborhood, but you can’t go wrong with Steubens, a classic Denver restaurant/diner. Marczyk Fine Foods really does have fine foods with the best butcher in town. There’s also the long thin and quirky The Thin Man bar. And don’t forget to stop by an old dive-y classic, The Horseshoe Lounge, where you can play some pool and get your whiskey shots on.
Best Denver Neighborhoods: Washington Park
Washington Park runs north to south from around Speer Boulevard to I-25. Lincoln Avenue is its western border and Colorado Boulevard its eastern edge.
Wash Park, as it’s known for short, is a great part of town to live. The houses in this old neighborhood are some of the most expensive in the city, as it brings a taste of the suburbs while also being still fairly close to downtown. Houses here feature remodeled early 20th century Victorian homes, brick bungalows, and more luxurious new builds.
The highlight of the neighborhood is of course, Washington Park. It’s one of the best parks in Denver with lakes, a running trail, a boathouse, and wide areas of grass and trees. It’s an extremely popular destination with Denver’s outdoor aficionados.
Steele Elementary School is a big draw for families wishing to live in the neighborhood, and there’s also historic South Gaylord Street’s quaint commercial strip with restaurants, bars and boutique shops.