Where To Live: The 10 Best Places To Live In Denver
Although cities like New York City and Los Angeles tend to get all the attention, you’d be making a big mistake to ignore cities like Denver. Denver may not have the glamor of a “big city,” but it’s quietly become one of the most attractive cities in the country to live in. Since 2010, Denver’s population has grown by a staggering 21 percent. Even the pandemic hasn’t slowed things down. For every person that’s moved out of Denver, 1.34 people have moved in, making Denver one of the top ten moved-in cities in the U.S.
There are many reasons why Denver has experienced such growth over the years. First, the location is very desirable to potential residents. Outdoor enthusiasts especially love Denver for its natural elements and its 300 days of sunshine. Then there’s the local economy, which has seen a boom in recent years due to its agriculture and tech sectors. These factors have led to Denver being routinely named one of the best places to live in the country. U.S. News & World Report named Denver second on their list of best places to live in 2020.
Of course, Denver is a big city. If you’ve decided to live in Denver, then there are a lot of neighborhoods to consider. We’ll give you our list of ten of the best places to live in Denver:
1. Sloan’s Lake
Sloan Lake is one of the most historic neighborhoods in Denver and has become one of the most popular best places to live in the city as well over the past few years. The area was first settled by Thomas S. Sloan, who received a patent for the land to farm and raise cattle. It’s said that while digging a well, he hit a water aquifer, resulting in some 200 acres of land flooding. The body of water that resulted from the leak is known as “Sloan’s Lake” to this day and is the biggest lake in the city.
Sloan used the new lake to his advantage by advertising it as a recreational attraction for boating, swimming, and ice skating. The lake became incredibly popular as a result. By the end of the 19th century (after Sloan sold his farm), the Manhattan Beach amusement park opened up on the north shore, attracting over 10,000 visitors on its grand opening alone. Although the amusement park is long gone, the area around the lake remains popular to this day. Sloan’s Lake Park is the second-largest park in the city and one of the many reasons why the area is attractive to homebuyers.
Things To Do Near Sloan’s Lake
Living by the park is reason enough to want to live in the Sloan’s Lake neighborhood. In particular, outdoor enthusiasts will find plenty to do in Sloan’s Lake Park all year round. For example, you can go boating and fishing on the lake. There are plenty of facilities to take advantage of as well, including playgrounds, tennis courts, a baseball field, a basketball court, picnic areas, and a 2.8 multi-use trail for hiking and biking.
Due to the park’s vicinity, the neighborhood is incredibly walkable, making it both a kid-friendly and dog-friendly place to live. Although there are more than half a dozen restaurants in the area you can walk to, they are located on the outskirts, which means you will have to drive to options that are a little further away. There are plenty of cafes and local shops in the area as well. As for entertainment, Sloan’s Lake is located within ten minutes of Empower Field at Mile High, Elitch Gardens, and the Downtown Aquarium, to name a few notable sites.
The Uptown neighborhood is more formally known as North Capitol Hill; however, residents refer to the area as “Uptown.” Located north of Capitol Hill (hence the formal name) and east of Downtown, Uptown is a diverse and hip neighborhood with a thriving restaurant and music scene. Uptown was not in good shape a decade ago, with high crime rates compared to the rest of the city. Fortunately, the area is amid revitalization and has undergone significant redevelopment. More and more younger professionals (including out-of-town transplants) are moving into the neighborhood’s many homes and apartments.
Things To Do Near Uptown
One of the reasons uptown is in such high demand among younger residents is the abundance of things to do in the area. The Denver Zoo, the Denver Museum of Nature & Science, and the City Park (in which the zoo and museum are located) all offer visitors plenty to see and do. Yearly events are held in the park, including City Park Jazz concerts, the Colorado Black Arts Festival, the Zoo Lights, and The Fresh Market. The restaurant scene is also flourishing to the point where 17th Avenue has been dubbed “Restaurant Row.” Some of the popular spots on Restaurant Row include Stoney’s Uptown Joint, Watercourse Foods, Steuben’s Uptown, Ace Eat Serve, and more.
3. Jefferson Park
Jefferson Park is directly adjacent to Sloan Lake. Like Sloan Lake, Jefferson Park has a rich history dating back to 1873, when it was established as a part of the Town of Highland. What’s particularly interesting about the area is that it can be considered the first suburb of Denver. In the late 19th century, the Town of Highlands grew significantly in size to the point where it became known as the City of Highland. The area was developed as a residential community for workers in Denver. In 1896, the mayor of Denver forced the City of Highland to be annexed to Denver in return for viaduct access.
What makes Jefferson Park so unique in the present day is its eclectic style. Due to its history, you can find architecture from the late 19th century through the mid 20th century, all of which are mixed with luxury apartment complexes. The population is a mix of new, younger residents attracted to Denver for its jobs and culture and families who have been there for generations. Properties in the neighborhood are highly sought after due to Jefferson Park’s community feel and proximity to downtown.
Things To Do In Jefferson Park
Residents of Jefferson Park who are looking for things to do indeed have plenty of options. You won’t have to venture far to find a place to eat or drink. Some of the restaurants located within the neighborhood’s borders (or right on the border, in a few cases) include the Federal Bar and Grill, Snarfburger, Briar Common Brewery + Eatery, and Little Machine Beer. Denver Bikram Yoga, the Children’s Museum of Denver at Marsico Campus, and the Downtown Aquarium are all located in Jefferson Park. Directly south of the Jefferson Park border is Empower Field at Mile High, which means catching a Broncos game is never difficult. Finally, outdoor enthusiasts can make the most of a sunny day in Denver by going to the Gates Crescent Park, which sits on the South Platte River banks. Here you can use a multi-use recreation trail and a sand volleyball court.
While there’s plenty to do in Jefferson Park, you can easily explore the rest of the city as well due to the neighborhood’s incredibly convenient location. US 287 hugs Jefferson Park’s western border, while I-25 sits on the eastern end, providing easy access to any part of Denver, including downtown.
4. The Highlands
The Highlands is an area located in northwestern Denver that consists of two unique neighborhoods: West Highland (directly north of Sloan Lake) and Highland (directly north of Jefferson Park). As the area was once referred to, Highland was first established in 1858 by the same person who founded Denver City. The neighborhood was historically suburban because it was separated from the city proper by the South Platte River and numerous railyards. Once Highland was connected to downtown Denver via a streetcar line, the area experienced significant growth and developed multiple commercial centers around the streetcar stops.
The Highlands experienced a revitalization in the early 2000s with the construction of several bridges. Its proximity to downtown led to substantial growth as one of the most in-demand neighborhoods in Denver. Despite the many luxury condos and lofts that have been built in recent years, there are still many Victorian single-family homes available, in part because the city made a concerted attempt to preserve the neighborhood’s historic architecture. You can find many of these historic homes in the Potter Highlands Historic District.
Things To Do Near The Highlands
There are plenty of amenities and entertainment options for residents living in either West Highland or Highland. You’ll find countless restaurant and bar options in West Highland, especially off of W. 38th Ave, where you’ll find Carl’s Pizza, American Elm, Flyte Co Brewing, and more. Also of note, Swan Lake is located only a few blocks south of the West Highland section of The Highlands.
As for the eastern part of the neighborhood, there’s arguably even more to do. Near 20th St. and Central St., which crosses over the South Platte River, you’ll find many popular bars and restaurants, including Prost Brewing Co. & Biergarten and the Family Jones Spirit House. If you’re looking to enjoy the outdoors, the City of Cuernavaca Park and the Denver Skate Park are right nearby as well.
5. Capitol Hill
Capitol Hill is home to both the Colorado State Capitol and the Governor’s Residence at the Boettcher Mansion, making sense considering the neighborhood’s name. What makes the area so unique is that it was originally where all of the city’s wealthiest residents lived. Because of this, the neighborhood is filled with historic mansions. However, after the city’s economy crashed at the end of the 19th century, construction was focused mostly on rental properties and boarding houses, making for an exciting and unique architecture mix.
One thing led to another, and the neighborhood became less desirable for even the middle class. However, it’s unique character and affordability attracted artists and musicians. Both Allen Ginsberg and Jack Kerouac were notable residents of Capitol Hill. The neighborhood continues to draw such residents to this day, resulting in redevelopment that has led to the construction of higher-end condos. Yet because many of the older houses in Capitol Hill lack street parking, there are still more affordable housing options available in the neighborhood than in other parts of Denver.
Things To Do Near Capitol Hill
Capitol Hill is the most densely populated neighborhood in the city, and its location makes it particularly attractive to younger professionals. It’s a very walkable neighborhood only 20 minutes away from downtown. There are tons of shops, cafes, bars, and restaurants, all within walking distance anywhere in Capitol Hill. Some of the more popular local restaurants include Jelly Cafe, Sassafras American, and Sliceworks. Popular nightlife spots include Prohibition, The 9th Door Capitol Hill, and Benny’s.
Of course, there’s plenty to do outside of eating and drinking as well. Capitol Hill is home to the History Colorado Center and the Molly Brown Museum. If you want to go for a stroll through a park, Cheeseman Park and Congress Park are less than 10 minutes away. Golfers will also be happy to know that the Denver Country Club is less than a 10-minute drive south of Capitol Hill. Within a 10-minute drive, northeast is City Park, home to the Denver Museum of Nature & Science, the Denver Zoo, and the City Park Golf Course.
6. Denver University (DU) Neighborhood
The University neighborhood is often referred to as the “DU.” It was initially called South Denver when it was incorporated back in 1886. Presently located west of University Park and south of Washington Park, the neighborhood is aptly named for being Denver University’s location. It was initially established as a town to restrict the increasing number of saloons and roadhouses built in Denver. However, South Denver was annexed not long after its incorporation in 1894.
Although the university campus’s presence certainly dominates the neighborhood, the rest of the area consists of a combination of high-end homes and traditional single-family homes, many of which are rented out by students. The architectural style, like many parts of Denver, is eclectic. You’ll find frame-and-siding bungalows, brick bungalows, brand new townhouses, duplexes, and older apartment buildings. While many college students live in this neighborhood, the general atmosphere (including the bars and cheap eats) and the beautiful architecture and natural elements) makes the area attractive to younger professionals.
Things To Do In The DU Neighborhood
Being a college neighborhood, it’s not surprising that there are plenty of drinking and dining options to explore. The Fermaentra Brewery, Asbury Provisions, and the Crimson and Gold Tavern are all popular with students and locals alike. There are plenty of restaurants and cafes around the neighborhood, especially along Evans Ave, the main road that cuts through the DU. Some of the local favorites worth checking out include Birdcall, Snarf’s Sandwiches, Lucile’s Creole Cafe, and Spanky’s Roadhouse.
As for other forms of entertainment, there’s the Newman Center for Performing Arts, where you can check out various plays and concerts, and the DeBoer Park, where you can join in for a game of pickup at the basketball court. If watching sports is more your thing, you can always catch a game at the University of Denver Soccer Stadium, located in the neighborhood’s northern part. When it comes to getting around the city, you’ll have no troubles: the DU neighborhood sits directly south of I-25.
7. Cherry Creek
Named after the Cherry Creek, which runs alongside the neighborhood’s southern border, Cherry Creek is located in the center of Denver. It’s one of the most affluent parts of the city; however, it’s the perfect mix of residential and urban development. Because the neighborhood is directly in the center of the city, it’s also the most accessible neighborhood. Four major roads run through or alongside Cherry Creek, including I-25. One thing that draws residents to Cherry Creek is that it has some excellent public schools. Its school district is rated one of the highest in the city.
Things To Do Near Cherry Creek
Although there are plenty of high-end homes in the neighborhood, Cherry Creek is more known for its retail and dining offerings. The area known as “Cherry Creek North,” which sits just north of the actual creek, boasts 16 blocks packed with award-winning restaurants, bars, art galleries, and retail shops. Located in the same area is the Cherry Creek Shopping Center, which contains 160 different stores. All of this makes the Cherry Creek neighborhood the go-to part of the city for shopping and dining.
There is, however, more to do in Cherry Creek than just shop and eat. The neighborhood features:
- A 22-mile bike path
- A Cherry Creek Fresh Market held twice a week in the summers
- The Denver Botanic Gardens
- Within a few minutes’ drive of the Denver Country Club and Cheesman Park.
Cherry Creek also hosts numerous events throughout the year, including:
- The July Sidewalk Sale and the Cherry Creek Arts Festival
8. Washington Park
Washington Park is a mostly residential neighborhood in Denver named after Washington Park, which is easily the biggest park in the city at one mile long and a quarter-mile wide. The park was designed back in 1899 and is Denver’s answer to New York’s Central Park. The impressive park was named one of the Great Public Spaces in America in 2012 by the American Planning Association. The neighborhood is located in south-central Denver, just north of HWY 87 and directly south of the Denver Country Club.
The neighborhood has remained popular over the years due to its proximity to the park. Although mostly residential, Washington Park does have access to several commercial business areas. Because it’s one of Denver’s oldest neighborhoods, you’ll find a mix of 19th century and 20th-century brick homes throughout the area.
Things To Do In Washington Park
As you can guess, the biggest attraction in the neighborhood is the park itself. There’s no shortage of things to do there. There you’ll find two lakes, numerous walking trails, a recreation center, several playgrounds, a lawn bowling field, tennis courts, and more. You can even go boating on the lakes. The park also boasts the largest flower garden in the city.
Going to the park isn’t your only option in Washington Park. There are several breweries worth exploring as well as some great shopping and dining options. Old South Gaylord is one of the oldest shopping and dining districts in Denver, while South Pearl Street is home to a wide variety of restaurants and hosts a farmer’s market every week in the summer.
Berkeley is a residential neighborhood in northwest Denver flanked by HWY 95 and HWY 287. I-70 marks its northern border. Berkeley has long been an attractive place to live, especially due to its green space: the neighborhood is home to two different parks, Berkeley Lake Park and Rocky Mountain Lake Park, both of which contain beautiful lakes. Like many of Denver’s most desirable neighborhoods, Berkeley offers a mix of architectural styles, including duplexes, townhomes, Tudor-style homes, and Denver Square-style homes.
Things To Do In Berkeley
Berkeley’s proximity to three of the city’s major thoroughfares means that getting around the city is incredibly easy; however, there’s plenty of things to do without leaving the neighborhood as well. Outdoor lovers will find themselves spending lots of time at the local parks, where you can enjoy playgrounds, athletic fields (including basketball courts, baseball fields, and tennis courts), walking trails, picnic areas, and more. Berkeley Lake Park even has a dog park.
The neighborhood also has plenty of amenities to enjoy, including various breweries, bars, shops, and restaurants. Many of the neighborhood’s hotspots are located on Tennyson Street, such as the Local 46 Bar and Biergarten, Berkeley Untapped, Allegro Coffee Roasters, Sushi Bay, and more. Neighborhood events are regularly hosted on Tennyson St as well, such as sidewalk sales and art walks.
10. Denver Tech Center
The Denver Tech Center, or the DTC, is a commercial neighborhood located in the southern part of downtown Denver. It was first established in the early 1970s when a group of investors, including various cable companies that operated out of the city, tasked an architect to create a master plan along a new fiber-optic line. The plan initially started with 40 acres, but it has grown to 850 acres since then, covering over 25 million square feet. The DTC is essentially the city’s tech sector’s hub. It is one of the main contributing reasons why Denver’s tech sector has experienced such growth over the years (and has become a primary driver of its economy). Some of the DTC companies include Boeing, Comcast, HP, JP Morgan, Kraft, Morgan Stanley, and more.
Although known as a commercial hub, the DTC has plenty of places to live, mostly in apartments and condos. The DTC is particularly attractive to young professionals working in the area as it helps to reduce their commute times drastically.
Things To Do In The Denver Tech Center
There’s more to do in the DTC than just go to work. There are some great places to eat around the neighborhood, including Bistro in Denver, Shanahan’s Steakhouse, Hapa Sushi Grill and Sake Bar, and Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steakhouse. Despite being a very commercial area, the neighborhood is also bordered by Wallace Park. The Village Greens Park and the Cherry Creek Reservoir are within a five-minute drive as well. Drive roughly ten minutes from the neighborhood center, and you’ll reach the Kennedy Golf Course. Getting anywhere in Denver is convenient since I-25 sits on its western border and I-225 sits on its northern border. As a result, you’ll only be 20 minutes away from downtown Denver by car — although you can also get there with ease by taking the light rail, which was built to connect the DTC to downtown Denver directly.
Denver Is Full Of Amazing Neighborhoods To Live In And Enjoy
One of the benefits of living in Denver is that it’s filled with unique and eclectic neighborhoods that are walkable and provide easy access to the rest of the city. You’ll have little trouble finding a townhouse, apartment, or home in an area that’s near all the amenities you need. Because Denver’s neighborhoods are so diverse, no two neighborhoods are the same. While dozens of neighborhoods can fulfill your needs, whether you’re looking to live in a more private, residential area or a more bustling area that’s closer to the action, we believe that these are ten of the best places to live in Denver.