On the Rise: Denver’s Best Places to Live

A look at the best neighborhoods to live in around Denver.

Bright lights, big city modern home in the highlands, $2.1m. Photo courtesy of Compass

If you haven’t seen the multitude of cranes and construction all over town, you’re probably spending too much time at your mountain cabin. Then again, that doesn’t sound all that bad…

Over the next few pages, you’ll find all there is to know about Denver’s expanding housing market, including some of the best neighborhoods where you can live, work, and play. Plus, we’ve got helpful tips for buyers and sellers from experts in the field, and insights on what’s trending right now in homes. We also give you the lay of the land when it comes to new real estate developments in all the bustling building hot spots.

So, if you’re looking to move, move your parents into state, or purchase a second home, you’ve come to the right place. After all, Denver’s growth isn’t stopping anytime soon. That’s why we love it.

Homes for $500,000 to $800,000

Capitol Hill, Denver
AVERAGE SQUARE FOOTAGE: 1,023
VINTAGE OF NEIGHBORHOOD: Capitol Hill was called for by Governor Alexander Hunt in 1867 after Denver was named the official territorial capital. The neighborhood was home to the richest people in the territory. Many of these early Coloradans lived on Millionaire’s row, built of Second Empire houses along 14th St. As the area became commercially developed, the super-rich fled to the outskirts of the city. Luckily many of the historic buildings were preserved, and now lend the grace of a bygone age to Capitol Hill.
AMENITIES: Located in Downtown Denver, Capitol Hill is close to everything the city has to offer. The neighborhood is home to the historic Molly Brown House. Civic Center Park hosts live music and food trucks every Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday from May through October. There is an incredible amount of dining and entertainment options. As the most densely populated Denver neighborhood, this area has an exciting and diverse character, blending history with modernity.

CITY PARK: 1632 Vine St., Denver, $780,000. Photo courtesy of Zillow

City Park, Denver
AVERAGE SQUARE FOOTAGE: 2,117
VINTAGE OF NEIGHBORHOOD: City Park is one of the oldest neighborhoods in Denver. The community is only about a mile wide; much of this space is a massive park, modeled after Central Park in New York City. The park was developed in 1886 and could be reach by trolley from Denver. A small neighborhood of Denver square style homes developed around the park.
AMENITIES: The 320-acre City Park is home to the Denver Zoo, the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, 15 athletic fields, 14 tennis courts, three lakes (which offer paddle boat rentals), five formal gardens, 40 different species of trees, and a golf course. All of this is accessible to residents by bicycle, as City Park is one of the most bikeable neighborhoods in Denver. Events hosted in the park include the City Park Jazz Festival. The local restaurant Tacos Tequila Whiskey is an essential stop. A former food truck turned formal establishment; it is now said to serve some of the best Mexican food in the nation.

Congress Park, Denver
AVERAGE SQUARE FOOTAGE: 2,099
VINTAGE OF NEIGHBORHOOD: Congress Park was first planned in the late 1880s. Neighborhood development happened alongside tramway lines. In the early 20th century, the neighborhood was a mixture of wealthy single-family homes and apartments. Heading southwest through the neighborhood, the architectural style moves through the centuries: from Victorian, to Craftsman Denver Squares, to ‘20s bungalows.
AMENITIES: Located just three miles from Downtown Denver, Congress Park contains a charming array of shops and restaurants. Head to the corner of 12th Avenue and Madison Street to get to the center of town. TAG Burger Bar offers locally sourced burgers. 12th Avenue Market is the local corner shop.

LITTLETON: 6088 S Lakeview St., Littleton, $699,000. Photo courtesy of Zillow

Littleton, Arapahoe County
AVERAGE SQUARE FOOTAGE: 1,951
VINTAGE OF NEIGHBORHOOD: Littleton began as a Gold Rush settlement in 1859. As the area’s population grew, development on a series of irrigation projects made the area ideal for farmers. The population of the area grew steadily and was incorporated in 1890. Just after WWII, Littleton was an economic center for munitions and aerospace, which resulted in a housing boom from the 1950s through the ‘70s.
AMENITIES: Historic Downtown Littleton is the local retail and dining center. Hudson Gardens hosts a variety of events, from Christmas light display in the winter to outdoor concerts in the summer. Chatfield Reservoir and the southern end of the Platte River Trail offer excellent recreational activities. Breckenridge Brewery is the beautiful farmhouse-style epicenter of craft beer for the community.

Lone Tree
AVERAGE SQUARE FOOTAGE: 2,160
VINTAGE OF NEIGHBORHOOD: Lone Tree is just 25 years old. What started as a typical suburban neighborhood has been transformed by substantial growth. Lone Tree exemplifies what is called the “edge city” phenomenon: urban development around suburban freeway interchanges. The area now combines the feel of suburbia with the excitement of the city.
AMENITIES: The Park Meadows Mall provides a commercial center, and a lot of great shopping. An extensive park system gives residents plenty of opportunity for outdoor recreation. The city has recently opened three new light rail stations to improve access to transportation. The Lone Tree Arts Center draws headline performers and international touring artists.

RiNo (River North Arts District), Denver
AVERAGE SQUARE FOOTAGE: 1,148
VINTAGE OF NEIGHBORHOOD: RiNo is a former industrial center, filled with factories, foundries, and pattern shops. In the late ‘80s and ‘90s, industry began to move out of the city. This is when a community of artists moved into the area, seeking affordable living spaces. In 2004, community leaders and the City of Denver got together to clean up the district. Now, RiNo is the center of the Denver arts scene.
AMENITIES: RiNo’s former warehouses host some of Denver’s trendiest attractions. If you’re looking for something off the beaten path, then check out the Friday Night Bazaar at the Central Market or the EXDO Event Center roller-skating party. The district has galleries, but the abundance of street art gives you access to local artwork outside of the studios. Try an evening of mural hunting. This area boasts the coolest wineries, breweries, markets, concert venues, and restaurants in Denver.

SLOANS LAKE: 4071 W 16th Ave. Bldg A, Denver, $599,000. Photo courtesy of Zillow

Sloan’s Lake, Denver
AVERAGE SQUARE FOOTAGE: 1,592
VINTAGE OF NEIGHBORHOOD: In 1861, Thomas M. Sloan dug a well to irrigate his West Denver farmland. Overnight the well flooded 200 acres. This is the local legend about the mysterious origins of what is now Sloan Lake. The area’s history is tremendously storied. Sloan’s Lake was once home to the first amusement park west of the Mississippi, Manhattan Beach. The park was officially shut down in 1914. Sloan’s Lake’s peculiar history has led to a fascinating and unique community.
AMENITIES: Today Sloan’s Lake is home to the famous Dragon Boat Festival. Go for a stroll down West 29th Avenue to visit some of the area’s best breweries, bars, restaurants, and shops. Historic 25th Avenue has the most renowned establishments in the neighborhood, including the Edgewater Inn, which has been serving handmade pizzas made by the Di Pietro family for 60 years.

Homes for $800,000 and higher

Bonnie Brae, Denver
AVERAGE SQUARE FOOTAGE: 2,258
VINTAGE OF NEIGHBORHOOD: George W. Olinger, a successful land developer in the 1920s, accumulated property in an area he named Bonnie Brae (pleasant hill, in Gaelic). His vision was to create the feel of a Scottish village. He hired noted architect Saco DeBoar, who veered from the traditional grid system of city streets. Instead, DeBoar designed the community to enhance the land’s natural topography.
AMENITIES: Bonnie Brae’s meandering streets wind around an oval shaped park at the center of the community. The neighborhood has a quiet feel, with idyllic homes built in the 1930s and ‘40s. The area is close enough to Denver to enjoy the city while still living in a peaceful small town. The locally renowned Bonnie Brae Ice Cream offers Denver’s best waffle cones. Main Street is a hub of shops and restaurants full of local tastes and flavors.

Bow Mar
AVERAGE SQUARE FOOTAGE: 2,960
VINTAGE OF NEIGHBORHOOD: King Soopers founder Lloyd King bought a square mile of property southwest of Denver with the dream of creating a luxury, self-governing neighborhood. The community was incorporated in 1958. Today’s Bow Mar community maintains the independent spirit its founder envisioned.
AMENITIES: Just 12 miles from Denver, the friendly community of Bow Mar has its own private lake, on which residents ice skate, boat, fish, or lounge. Most of the homes are built in Frank Lloyd Wright’s prairie-style, not exceeding one story. The neighborhood offers family-oriented recreational and social clubs.

CASTLE PINES: 1127 Northwood Ct., $2,995,000. Photo courtesy of Zillow

Castle Pines Village
AVERAGE SQUARE FOOTAGE: 4,214
VINTAGE OF NEIGHBORHOOD: Castle Pines Village was the vision of Jack A. Vickers, who bought the land in 1970 to complete his signature golf course famous for its rolling hills and wooded areas. The success of the golf course generated the idea of a luxury community surrounding the course. Castle Pines Village was born in 1981.
AMENITIES: Residents of this gated community have stunning views of the Rocky Mountains and access to an expansive Ponderosa Pine forest. The Country Club at Castle Pines offers fine-dining options and the Outlets at Castle Rock are just a quick drive from the village.

Cherry Hills Village
AVERAGE SQUARE FOOTAGE: 3,858
VINTAGE OF NEIGHBORHOOD: The area contained only a few homes known as “The Circle” until 1938, when developers became interested in the area. In 1945, the neighborhood was incorporated as a town. Residents fought to maintain the rural character of the neighborhood and the town became a home rule city in 1966.
AMENITIES: It is said that Arnold Palmer iced tea originated at the Cherry Hills Country Club, which is the community center. The High Line Canal, John Meade Park, and Quincy Farm are nearby outdoor attractions. Local dining and retail can be found on Englewood’s South Broadway.

Denver Country Club
AVERAGE SQUARE FOOTAGE: 4,867
VINTAGE OF NEIGHBORHOOD: Established in 1909, this exclusive area is home to some of Denver’s most affluent homeowners. Turnof- the-century mansions can be found among the newer modern homes, showcasing centuries of the upscale lifestyle.
AMENITIES: Denver Country Club is the luxurious center of the community. A renowned golf course is the main draw, but don’t miss the club’s social events calendar. Its proximity to Downtown Denver, Cherry Creek North, Cherry Creek Mall, and being centrally located to historic homes make this a special neighborhood.

GREENWOOD VILLAGE: 5700 E Prentice Pl., Greenwood Village, $1,425,000. Photo courtesy of Zillow

Greenwood Village
AVERAGE SQUARE FOOTAGE: 2,527
VINTAGE OF NEIGHBORHOOD: In 1850, the discovery of gold in what is now Englewood brought a rush of settlers to the area. Rufus Clark was one of these settlers. His successful potato farm earned him the name “potato king.” Clark persuaded English investors to finance the burgeoning development, which grew into an idyllic agrarian community. In the 1930s and ‘40s, Denver residents would come south to Greenwood Village to visit their country homes. Farmers worried that the flock of city dwellers would change the pastoral village; nevertheless the village voted to be incorporated into Denver by a slim margin in the 1950s.
AMENITIES: Today Greenwood Village is a mixture of the suburban and urban. The best of both worlds. With more than 40 miles of trails, residents will be able to enjoy the neighborhood’s beautiful parks. The Denver Technological Center provides an urban center with The Curtis Center for the Arts housing the area’s concerts and exhibits. Las Brisas spices things up with a menu that ranges from Spanish to South American.

Hilltop, Denver
AVERAGE SQUARE FOOTAGE: 2,506
VINTAGE OF NEIGHBORHOOD: Prehistoric camel bones were found in 1893 when the Hilltop area officially became a part of Denver. The community gained popularity in the 1930s. Most houses were independently designed, resulting in an eclectic mixture of 22 distinct architectural styles. Perhaps the most iconic resident of Hilltop was the eccentric George Cranmer, who was the Denver Parks Director in the early 20th century. Cranmer was instrumental in the construction of Red Rocks Amphitheater and Winter Park Ski Resort.
AMENITIES: Hilltop has beautiful views of the Rocky Mountains, an extensive parks system, and is near the Cherry Creek Mall. The Denver Police Department reports Hilltop as one of the safest neighborhoods in Denver.

Observatory Park, Denver
AVERAGE SQUARE FOOTAGE: 1,719
VINTAGE OF NEIGHBORHOOD: Observatory Park is a historic neighborhood, featuring some of Denver’s most spectacular architecture. The University of Denver moved to Observatory Park in 1880 and has remained the cultural center of the community ever since. The Chamberlin Observatory is home to a telescope with a 20-inch refractor lens that was shown at the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair.
AMENITIES: Today Observatory Park is a thriving area with a tremendous amount of dining and retail options. The proximity to DU lends residents access to Magness Arena and the Coors Fitness Center, with two Olympic-size pools and two ice rinks. The neighborhood is a unique mixture of classic and modern.

WASHINGTON PARK: 310 S Race St., Denver, $1,135,000. Photo courtesy of Zillow

Washington Park, Denver
AVERAGE SQUARE FOOTAGE: 1,380
VINTAGE OF NEIGHBORHOOD: In 1889, Reinhard Schuetze built Washingto,n Park to mirror the grand Victorian style. Smith Lake, located within the park, is thought to have been a buffalo wallow prior to 1867, when the completion of Smith’s Ditch brought water to the reservoir. In the 1890s, Smith Lake was used for ice production. The neighborhood surrounding the park held the pedigree of high society. Today Washington Park remains one of the classiest neighborhoods in Denver.
AMENITIES: With two scenic lakes, a large meadow, and the beautiful Smith Lake Boat House built by eccentric architect Jules J.B. Benedict, Washington Park is the centerpiece of the area. Brick bungalows with well-tended gardens adorn the neighborhood with an old-fashioned charm.

Willow Springs, Morrison
AVERAGE SQUARE FOOTAGE: 4,646
VINTAGE OF NEIGHBORHOOD: The Willow Springs area was bordered by two major routes for Gold Rush miners in the 1860s. This is the start of what was primarily a ranching community, until the Willow Springs property opened a country club that was popular with Denver residents. The most recent iteration of this property is the Red Rocks Country Club, which is still a centerpiece of the community.
AMENITIES: Willow Springs has its own mountain park with 15 miles of private trails winding through red rock formations. This space is available for hiking, mountain biking, cross-country skiing, and snowshoeing. The community is located near the world-famous Red Rocks Amphitheater and the charming town of Morrison. Morrison has a variety of quirky shops and restaurants. Willow Springs is within driving distance of Denver.