The diverse neighborhoods of Denver are certainly a large part of what makes this city so captivating. Park Hill is one of those quaint “suburb-in-the-city” neighborhoods that offers a relaxing escape from the bustle of downtown. Located in the northeastern quadrant of Denver, this area is actually broken up into three different ‘hoods: Northeast Park Hill, North Park Hill, and South Park Hill. What you’ll likely see strolling through Park Hill today is an upscale yet diverse neighborhood, but that was not always the case.
Among these well-kept properties and ancient houses on Montview Boulevard, lies a history of division between economics, class, and race. Park Hill’s roots go back to 1887 when Baron Allois Gullaume Engine von Winckler designed the neighborhood on a plot of land he owned. Homes were built and sold to new settlers in the early 1900s, including families from Europe as well as African Americans. In the 1920s, as Park Hill was becoming one of the most sought-after neighborhoods, developers began to create racial restrictions, which caused the area to become demographically almost all white. After World War II, North Park Hill began to draw in middle-class black families, which spurred the “white flight” that realtors used to their advantage. As a result, segregation within Park Hill was imminent.
Today, Park Hill is made up of people from varying ethnic backgrounds, making it a much more diverse neighborhood than in past years. You can find something for everyone in this area of the Mile High City, including local restaurants and shops, great little grocery stores, and many hidden gems. This friendly neighborhood is also quite bike friendly, with ample bike lanes throughout. If you’re visiting on a weekend, you may even notice that cyclists seem to outnumber cars. Of course, public transport is well-developed in this area, so it’s easy to go without a car. Here are some of the key spots you should check out if you find yourself in the Park Hill area:
BRUNCH: Park Hill Hub
Looking for a interesting joint to satisfy your brunch needs? Take a walk over to Park Hill Hub and see why locals love this neighborhood coffee and breakfast spot. Caffeinate with a spicy Bhakti Chai latte while sitting out on their shaded patio surrounded by plants. Not just a coffee shop, this place plates up some serious brunch options, including their protein breakfast bowls. Try their Mediterranean delight which includes two perfectly-cooked eggs, pesto, mozzarella, quinoa, zucchini, artichoke hearts, and sundried tomatoes.
STROLL: City Park
Just adjacent to Park Hill is City Park — a great place to escape the city noise and experience nature. This 330-acre urban park contains a 7.5 mile-long bike path, which leads you past many sights, including tranquil duck ponds, civil rights memorials, and beautiful greenery. As well as containing tennis courts, multipurpose fields, two lakes, and historical monuments, City Park also holds two major attractions — the Denver Zoo and Denver Museum of Nature and Science. If you’re looking for something to do with your kids, head over to the Zoo to give them an educational experience they won’t forget.
Finally, if you’re searching for a great hidden gem in Park Hill for a date or night out, grab a reservation at Tables and see why it’s a local favorite. This farm-to-table neighborhood bistro has a comfortable yet elegant feel. On warm Denver evenings, try to get a spot outside in their trendy outdoor seating area. The fantastic wait staff serve up specialty cocktails that vary by season, so you can always find something new to experience. Tucked away in the residential area of Park Hill, this homey spot serves up mouth-watering fares, like their pan-seared trout served with a pumpkin green bean sauté, smoked trout-tonnato sauce, and a hazelnut -pepita and horseradish crumble.
These are just a few great places to start exploring all that Park Hill has to offer, but certainly the best way to get a feel for this neighborhood is by taking a walk around their tree-lined streets and seeing the new hip places that are popping up left and right. It’s a fun neighborhood to explore, whether as a resident or visitor.
Among all the varied neighborhoods that make up the city of Denver, Cherry Creek sits at the center with a character all its own. The area got its name from the Cherry Creek that runs along its south side. In this neighborhood, you can find a mix of tree-lined residential streets and more urban areas. Cherry Creek is home to about 6,000 people who consider it a little oasis within the Mile High city.
This area wasn’t always referred to as Cherry Creek. When exploring this neighborhood, you may come across an old building with a plaque that reads “Harman Town Hall” on the corner of 4th and St. Paul. This hints at the history of the neighborhood which was established as the town of Harman in the 1800s and remained so until 1895, when it was annexed by Denver. In the 1800s, this neighborhood was rich in agriculture and trade since it bordered the creek. The Cherry Creek was known for causing trouble, and in 1864, it overflowed and flooded much of the city. It wasn’t until the 1920s that the new Cherry Creek neighborhood had been plotted out. The city tried to quell the creek with concrete walls, and in 1950 the Cherry Creek Dam was complete. Around the same time, a man named Temple Buell built the famous Cherry Creek Mall. While the mall has been rebuilt several times, the history of area rests largely on the Cherry Creek and the area’s transformation.
Today in Cherry Creek you can, of course, find the popular Cherry Creek North outdoor shopping and dining area, as well as the Cherry Creek Shopping Center, both of which attract many residents and tourists. Cherry Creek North boasts mostly locally-owned, independent shops within its 16 blocks. The upscale neighborhood itself is a very welcoming and energetic community with a lively nightlife. Whether visiting briefly or spending a bit more time in Cherry Creek, here are a few places that you won’t want to miss:
SIP: Aviano Coffee
To get your caffeine fix, head to Aviano Coffee. You’ll find them in their new location in the heart of Cherry Creek North. This place has an array of unique coffee drinks and a modern, inviting space, making it one of the most hip coffee joints in the neighborhood. Often with lines out the door, Aviano’s cult-like following is a testament to the great quality of coffee you can get there. They pay careful attention to perfecting each cup, so don’t come in a hurry. Instead, pull up a chair in their relaxing outdoor patio area and enjoy the atmosphere.
This new restaurant opened a little over a year ago in August of 2016, and Denverites have been raving about it ever since. Self-described as a “global adventure in dining”, this Asian-fusion restaurant puts a delicious spin on authentic dishes and even offers a handful of vegan options. The space itself is modern and trendy, sometimes described as futuristic, with bright lights adorning the indoor space. They also have a rooftop terrace called “Departure Elevated”, reached by a ride in their disco elevator. Here you can gaze at the gorgeous downtown Denver skyline, sip a finely crafted happy-hour cocktail, and eat some delicious dim sum.
GET OUTSIDE: Cherry Creek Bike Path
If you plan to spend one of Denver’s many sunny days enjoying the outdoors, consider grabbing your bike and heading to the Cherry Creek Bike Path. This 11.2-mile path runs from downtown Denver’s Confluence Park all the way to Cherry Creek Reservoir. The trail hits many different attractions along the way, including Cherry Creek Shopping Center. Cherry Creek State Park is a great place to stop for a break, offering activities like boating, swimming, camping and horseback riding.
VISIT: Cherry Creek Arts Festival
Cherry Creek is host to several popular festivals, particularly in the summer months. The Cherry Creek Arts Festival (CCAF) is a weekend-long, world-class festival where the visual, performing, and even culinary arts are celebrated. Over 350,000 people gather for this 3 day long event, which includes live music, food, performance art, and family fun. This is a free festival whose mission is to give access to art and to support education for all. It takes place annually on the 4th of July weekend when the neighborhood of Cherry Creek is alive and buzzing.
While the neighborhood of Cherry Creek has undergone major changes from its farmland and small town roots, it’s maintained much of it’s charm. Today, of course, many flock to Cherry Creek for their shopping needs or a summer festival, but its residents know that the day-to-day experience in this special neighborhood is equally worthwhile.
When exploring Denver for the first time, you’ll probably notice distinguishable neighborhoods in this vast city. Spending some time in each one will give you a better overall picture of what it means to live in Denver. Capitol Hill is an urban neighborhood with the perfect balance of grit and charm. This diverse neighborhood is home to many artists and bohemians, and it’s the most densely populated. Located in East Denver, Capitol Hill, or “Cap Hill”, is really the heart of art and history in the Mile High City.
As you can probably imagine, the history of this neighborhood is defined by the Colorado State Capitol building. Colorado began the gold-domed building’s construction in 1867, when Henry C. Brown donated about ten acres of land to be used as its site. Around the 1880s and 1890s, Capitol Hill was discovered by the wealthy and began to transform with each new extravagant mansion built along its streets. The streets themselves changed from dull and bare roads to picturesque tree-lined boulevards. By the 1890s, Capitol Hill became one of the most desirable neighborhoods in Denver. Today, people can walk the streets of Capitol Hill and gaze at the grand architecture that has been actively preserved.
A visit to this neighborhood is best done on foot, as the area is very pedestrian friendly. You really get a feel for the essence of Denver here — people from all different walks of life can cross paths and connect with each other. Capitol Hill is also a cultural hub for art and music-lovers. This is obvious as you walk around and see the museums and renowned music venues. Make sure to adventure out on foot and explore some of these spots on your next visit to Capitol Hill:
LISTEN: Ogden Theatre
If you’re craving some live music, be sure to get tickets to an Ogden Theatre show. With a good mix of local and national acts, there’s sure to be something to spark your interest. This historic, former movie theater was opened in 1919 and still retains some of its original charm. From its traditional marquee sign to its beautiful molding, this building speaks to Denver’s history and is even listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
SOCIALIZE: Civic Center Park
When in Capitol Hill, a visit to one of Denver’s most popular green spaces, Civic Center Park, is essential. This central gathering space is known for hosting summer festivals as well as a plethora of trendy food trucks that gather every Tuesday and Thursday from May through October. The historic park encompasses 12 acres and serves as an urban oasis for Denverites. This park even hosts occasional events including fitness classes and scavenger hunts. The fantastic architectural backdrop is an added bonus to getting outside and exploring this beautiful space.
VISIT: Colorado State Capitol
No visit to Capitol Hill neighborhood is complete without a stop at the Colorado State Capitol building. At the gorgeous gold-domed Capitol, people can make their way up the “mile-high” marker for a beautiful view. The dome was made from 200 ounces of gold that Colorado gold miners donated for its gilding, back in 1908. The building itself was designed by Elijah E. Myers and was in construction from 1886 to 1901. Today, visitors can gaze upon the golden dome and even take a free tour, offered Monday through Friday, from 10:00am-3:00pm.
In Capitol Hill, the Molly Brown House Museum allows visitors to get a sense of the history of the “unsinkable Molly Brown” who spent 40 years in this home. History buffs will love the captivating tour, which delves into the story of Margaret “Molly” Brown — her passionate activism and philanthropy over the years. It also details the interesting restoration process of her home. For those who appreciate great architecture, the Molly Brown House Museum is an inspiring visit. Located only about a block or two from the Capitol Building, this house is certainly worth a stop along your journey through Capitol Hill.
With so much to do in this neighborhood, you could easily make a day or weekend of exploring the area. As a resident, you’ll find there is always something new to discover. In addition to these must-see spots, the Capitol Hill neighborhood is also full of great restaurants and bars to refuel along the way. This is a don’t-miss neighborhood if you’re visiting Denver.
The exciting city of Denver has many unique neighborhoods, each with its own style and character. The Highlands neighborhood is a very hip, up-and-coming neighborhood with a lively history and century-old buildings. A hub for many immigrant families, this neighborhood was the location of Denver’s original Little Italy
The Highlands neighborhood overlooks downtown, located about 2.5 miles northwest of it. The Highlands includes two distinct neighborhoods, Highland and West Highland. Together, as a region, they are called North Denver. This neighborhood is the largest in Denver, and encompasses three different commercial districts: Highlands Square, Tennyson Street, and Lower Highland (or LoHi).
The Highlands’ history goes back to the 1800s when many Denver residents crowded the downtown area. In 1864 the Cherry Creek flood destroyed many areas of Denver and caused an influx of residents to move to the Highlands. The rich history of immigrants, particularly of Italian and Hispanic heritage, is still evident in the many family-owned restaurants serving traditional cultural cuisines.
Today in the Highlands, you’ll find a family-friendly community full of small, hip, locally-owned shops. With a lively buzz on nights and weekends, the neighborhood is entertaining though still with a somewhat quiet and residential feel. The Highlands is very walker and cyclist-friendly, with the pedestrian Highlands Bridge and several bike trails in the area. Highlands square is a bustling area that includes boutique shopping and delicious food. Here are a few places to check out in the Highlands neighborhood:
EAT: Root Down
When exploring the Highlands, planning to brunch at Root Down is a must. This trendy restaurant is known for its hospitality and ethically-sourced, unique cuisine. Their aim is to connect the surrounding community to a dining experience in the same way that great ingredients are connected to food. Can’t make it in for brunch? Make a reservation for dinner. You won’t be disappointed — many of their dishes include seasonal vegetables from their two onsite gardens.
SIP: Williams and Graham
When first approaching William and Graham in the LoHi neighborhood of Denver, the “Williams and Graham Booksellers” sign may throw you off. This is precisely what this up-scale speakeasy wants. Enter through the bookstore facade, pass through a clever bookcase entrance, and you’ll be pleasantly surprised to find the speakeasy’s elegant bar and lounge area, full of leather and vintage touches to add to the 1920s feel. Visit for happy hour and taste one of their expertly crafted cocktails. Their popular Blackberry Sage Smash is a perfect way to unwind after a long day at the office.
DO: Sloan’s Lake Park
After you’ve filled your stomach with the best the Highlands has to offer, you may crave some outdoor adventuring. Luckily this neighborhood is home to the tranquil Sloan’s Lake Park, where you can catch stunning mountain views, take a relaxing walk around the lakeside path, or even try your hand at stand-up paddleboarding. With the largest lake in Denver and about 177 acres to explore, this park is worth a visit. Join the locals and tourists here on evenings to gaze at the sunset over the Rocky Mountains and Denver skyline. If you’re lucky enough to be in the area in mid-summer, don’t miss the Dragon Boat Festival held every year at the park!
The Highlands neighborhood is a great place for visitors and locals alike. There’s always something to do, and it’s a bit easier to relax here than it is in the center of downtown. Whether you’re in the mood for a delicious meal, craft cocktail, great shopping, or outdoor exploring, the Highlands neighborhood really does have it all.
Washington Park has become one of the most popular neighborhoods in Denver, named, of course, after its large public park. Often referred to by locals as Wash Park, this area can be found in South Central Denver. Though its tree-lined streets are just minutes from downtown, Wash Park is far enough outside to maintain a residential neighborhood vibe that’s a welcome escape from the busy city feel.
The area is split into two sections: East Wash Park and West Wash Park. In East Park, you’ll find a family-friendly atmosphere. In West Park, you’re likely to find a more hip feel, with a younger crowd and many popular bars and cafes. It’s considered a very safe neighborhood, with one of the lowest crime rates in Denver.
The history of Washington Park itself began in 1889 when Reinhard Schuetze planned out the vast park in a grand Victorian style. The park was formed around an older Denver irrigation project from 1865. That project was called the Big Ditch or Smith’s Ditch and was completed in 1867. This irrigation canal helped allow settlement and farming further away from the city’s rivers. Smith’s Ditch later became what is today known as Smith Lake, where Denverites can often be found fishing and boating. There are several hints at the park’s history that can be found within it, including a 1913 boathouse which was designed by Jules Jacques Benois Benedict, a 1911 bathhouse, as well as the Eugene Field Cottage.
Wash Park’s South Pearl Street has an interesting past as well. This street was home to Denver’s first trolley car route which was built in 1893. The area was full of successful shops along this street that suffered during the stock market crash and Great Depression, but managed a revival after WWII as well as in the 70’s. Today you can find unique shops, eateries, boutiques, as well music festivals and farmers’ markets on historic South Pearl Street.
If you happen to spend some time in the Wash Park neighborhood, here a few things that you should have on your list:
GET OUTSIDE: Washington Park
It goes without saying that the first thing you should do is spend time in the beautiful 161-acre park. This public urban park offers opportunities for exercise and exploration, including jogging, cycling, boating, fishing, volleyball, tennis, and even a visit to the flower gardens. The Mount Vernon Garden overlooks the lake and is a beautiful spot to relax and enjoy some stunning mountain views. Bike and boat rentals are available for use in the park if you don’t have your own equipment, and there are two playgrounds for children to enjoy. Locals compare this gem of a park to Central Park in NYC.
EAT: Lucile’s Creole Cafe
After you’ve gotten your exercise for the day at the park, it’s time to fuel up on some exceptional brunch. While there are several delicious brunch spots in the area, Lucile’s Creole Cafe has the unique taste of Louisiana-style foods. This popular spot is a family owned establishment named after the owner’s mother, Lucile. The original and first location before expanding, was a small Victorian house in Boulder. They are known for tasty dishes like their Shrimp and Grits and Rice Pudding Porridge, which comes complete with raspberry sauce, currants, and cream. When stopping in for breakfast or lunch, be sure to try their beignets, which are New Orleans style donuts served hot and fresh.
VISIT: Denver Folklore Center
Once you’re feeling well-fed, it’s time to explore some of the interesting shops in Wash Park. One particular shop with a rich history is the Denver Folklore Center. This shop has been open since 1962, and, over time, has become the hub of the folk and acoustic music scene in Denver. This unique music shop has attracted well-known artists such as Bob Dylan and Pete Seeger. Settled on historic South Pearl Street, the DFC is full of a variety of stringed instruments. If you’re looking for an original shop in Wash Park to explore, the Denver Folklore Center is a great stop to satisfy your musical curiosities.
As such a peaceful, family-friendly community, it’s easy to see why many Denver residents choose to call Wash Park home. This neighborhood is full of charm and is a great escape from the busy downtown. Whether you live in Wash Park or are just visiting, it’s a great neighborhood to spend a day relaxing and exploring.