Consistently ranked near the top of cities where Americans want to live, Denver has captured the imagination of many people. Could it be because of its picturesque surroundings along the Rocky Mountains, or because of its liberal tendencies? Or possibly because it’s still a relatively medium sized city with big-city amenities? The City of Denver boasts hip and fun neighborhoods which visitors should head to whenever they find themselves in the Mile High City.
Best Neighborhoods To Explore In Denver
Restored and renovated, Lower Downtown is now one of the liveliest neighborhoods of Denver known for its style, history, huge independent bookstore, and dozens of dining and nightlife options. Lower Downtown is home to over 90 brewpubs, sports bars, and restaurants, as well as Coors Field (the Colorado Rockies' home stadium) and the city’s young artist population. While visiting downtown, be sure to visit Larimer Square, a charming area with shopping boutiques from around the world, the Elitch Gardens Theme & Water Park, the Downtown Aquarium, and the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver. Larimer Square is home to the annual Denver Chalk Art Festival in June as well as Oktoberfest in the fall.
Denver’s premiere shopping neighborhood houses over 300 independent shops, restaurants, and galleries. Located just five minutes away from Lower Downtown, this is where Denver residents come to shop and eat. The Cherry Creek Shopping Center has more than 160 shops, including many upscale brands. For those that don’t want to shop, Cherry Creek also has a 22-mile bike path that connects to other Denver neighborhoods. Cherry Creek is home to the annual Cherry Creek Arts Festival every July over Independence Day weekend.
The home of Denver’s Restaurant Row, Denver Zoo, and the Museum of Nature & Science has rapidly gained prominence with Denver locals. The neighborhood is characterized by a mix of Victorian and Queen Anne homes, as well as modern high rise apartments built along tree-lined streets. Uptown is also home to City Park, which has miles of jogging and bike paths, all of which offer great views of the surrounding mountains. Uptown is home to the annual City Park Jazz Concert Series every summer, as well as Zoo Lights every winter at the Denver Zoo.
One of Denver’s oldest neighborhoods, Five Points is rich in African American culture and great cuisine. Five Points is one of the few historically predominantly African American-owned commercial streets in the United States, resulting in the neighborhood being dubbed as “The Harlem of the West.” The neighborhood is home to the African American Heritage Center, the Blair-Caldwell African American Research Library, and The Black American West Museum. Restaurants in this fun neighborhood offer the city’s best barbecue and Caribbean cuisine. Five Points is home to the annual 5 Pointz JazzFest which occurs every May.
Recently featured in Travel + Leisure, Highlands is a rapidly growing neighborhood of Denver that is known for its historic Hispanic culture, trendy restaurants, bars, and shops. The neighborhood is comprised of the Lower Highlands, Highlands Square, and Tennyson Street commercial districts. Highlands Square is a cozy neighborhood of small boutiques and Mexican/Caribbean restaurants. The Tennyson Street Cultural District houses several art galleries featuring local artists and photographers. The neighborhood is home to the annual Highlands Street Fair every June and the Colorado Dragon Boat Festival in July.
Golden Triangle Museum District
Home to eight museums, the Golden Triangle Museum District is filled with art galleries, restaurants, music venues, theaters, and impressive architecture. The museums that are in the neighborhood include: Denver Art Museum, Byers-Evans House Museum, Molly Brown House, Kirkland Museum of Fine & Decorative Art, Denver’s Firefighters Museum, the Clyfford Still Museum, and the History Colorado Center. Visitors should note that the first Friday of every month, galleries stay open and the “Art Bus” shuttles run from gallery to gallery.
Art District on Santa Fe
The Art District on Santa Fe is the capital of the city’s art scene. The neighborhood houses the largest concentration of art galleries in Colorado, with more than 40 galleries, shops, and restaurants. The art galleries feature a diveresity of pieces from traditional art to emerging art. On the first Friday of every month, galleries open their doors for the First Friday Art Walk, in which crowds can gallery hop for free. The Art District hosts the annual Art Day on Santa Fe festival every August as well as the annual Dia de los Muertos celebration in November.
Capitol Hill/Congress Park
The home of the Colorado State Capitol, Capitol Hill features art galleries, bars, and restaurants along 6th Avenue. The neighborhood is also home to the 210-foot high French Gothic Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, and the Denver Botanical Gardens. Capitol Hill is also a great place to hear live music, and the area is also the hub of the city’s LGBTQ scene. The neighborhood is home to the annual Denver PrideFest festival in the summer as well as the largest Cinco de Mayo festival in the country.
This article was written by Walter Godinez.