Denver has a great deal to offer everybody in its many diverse neighborhoods. The state capital of Colorado is an eclectic mix of relaxed Rocky Mountain charm and urban excitement that make it the perfect place for residents and visitors alike. Denver’s neighborhoods offer a wide variety of attractions, restaurants and highlights, each with their own unique style and flair. Take advantage of the city’s easy walkability, public transportation, or awesome bike sharing system to check out 10 of Denver’s coolest neighborhoods.
Lower Downtown, or LoDo as it has been nicknamed, is Denver’s place to be during the weekend. Lodo is full to the brim with hip bars and restaurants, as well a wide variety of shops. Enjoy rooftop views of the Denver skyline at The Viewhouse or enjoy a romantic outing at Vesta Dipping Grill. Visitors can also find their way to the historic Larimer Square shopping and dining district, Union Station and Coor’s Field – where the Colorado Rockies play baseball.
The River North Arts District has an industrial appearance that can be misleading. RiNo bills itself “where art is made,” and rightfully so. RiNo’s historic warehouses and factory buildings are home to everything from music venues, restaurants, breweries and a wide array of art galleries and studios. RiNo’s First Fridays events on the first Friday of every month give guests a chance to attend art openings and live music in many of the studios and galleries in the area. Visitors will also enjoy walking the neighborhood and taking in the abundant street art.
Capitol Hill resides east of the Colorado State Capitol building. It’s a true piece of Colorado history, full of several turn-of-the-century mansions and is worth exploring for the architecture alone. It’s also full of restaurants and bistros, coffeehouses and a few seedier bars along Colfax. Benny’s Mexican Restaurant is a Denver staple and an excellent place to try that signature Colorado green chili. City O’ City is a vegetarian restaurant that’s been racking up accolades for years. Capitol Hill also has several parks and specialty shops and is a great area to walk around.
Uptown is one of Denver’s oldest neighborhoods, full of Victorian houses with plenty of charm just outside the downtown area. 17th Ave, Uptown’s main street, features a wide array of restaurants, coffee shops, bars and boutiques. Enjoy the retro-themed Steuban’s or take a stroll a few blocks to the popular Fluid Coffee Bar. Uptown also borders the beautiful City Park , which features a wealth of outdoor recreation activities, as well as the Denver Museum of Nature and Science and the Denver Zoo.
Five Points has a long history as one of Denver’s oldest and most diverse neighborhoods. It’s also been called the “Harlem of the West,” a historic stop for many jazz greats from Billie Holiday to Miles Davis at places like the old Rossonian Hotel. While Five Points has seen rough times, urban revitalization is bringing the neighborhood back to life and trying to honor its rich cultural history in the city. Enjoy the Black American West Museum or catch the Five Points Jazz Festival every May. In terms of food, Five Points serves up some of the best Caribbean, soul food and barbecue around.
The Highlands area is a large neighborhood slightly removed from the heart of downtown, but don’t think this makes it any less exciting. The Highlands can essentially be divided into three distinct areas. LoHi, closest to downtown, features some of the city’s most interesting restaurants and bars. Enjoy urban street food in an old mortuary at Linger Eatuaries and save room for Ice Cream at Little Man, in the shape of a giant milk can. Highlands Square boasts several trendy boutiques, coffee shops and restaurants like Happy Bakeshop. And, finally, enjoy the galleries and artists on display in the Tennyson Street Cultural District.
Washington Park, or Wash Park as the locals call it, centers on the 165-acre area of the same name. The park is lovely, with plenty of tree-lined paths for dog walkers and fitness fanatics (of which there are plenty), as well as two lakes and several flower gardens. But the Wash Park neighborhood is also home to South Pearl Street and Old South Gaylord, both hotspots for local restaurants, art galleries and boutiques. Take advantage of the South Pearl Street Farmer’s Market from June to October. The whole area is pristinely manicured and very family-friendly.
South Broadway is one of the major transportation routes in and out of Denver. It’s not surprising that the South Broadway – or “SoBo” – area and Baker district that has developed around it has become a diverse neighborhood. Visitors will find an array of unique restaurants and bars along South Broadway, from Punchbowl Social to the whimsical and top-rated Beatrice and Woodsley. There’s also everything from thrift stores and craft shops, to live music venues and the Mayan Theatre – a restored movie theater originally built in 1930. A little further down the road is “Antique Row,” where shoppers will find more than 100 antiques stores within an 18 block radius.
Cherry Creek is Denver’s high-end shopping and dining district and it’s only about a five minute ride from downtown. Central to the area is the Cherry Creek Shopping Center. The mall features over 160 stores, 40 of which are exclusive to Cherry Creek. Designers available at Cherry Creek include Burberry, Louis Vuitton and RH. The district also features Cherry Creek North, an outdoor shopping area with 16 blocks of art galleries, independent boutiques and upscale dining options. Diners might enjoy eating at Elway’s, owned by former Denver Bronco’s quarterback John Elway.
Santa Fe Arts District is the largest art district in the state of Colorado, with more that 30 galleries and studios, as well as several restaurants and shops. The neighborhood honors its Hispanic roots with the Museo De Las Americas and many of the local restaurants, such as the popular El Noa Noa. First Friday Art Walks give visitors an opportunity to tour galleries and studios along with live music, food carts and other festivities. Stranahan’s Whiskey Distillery, the first Colorado-born whiskey, also offers tours and tastings at their facility.