Denver is changing fast. I know because I’m a Denver local who travels the world to write this blog. I leave for long stretches a few times a year, so I really get a chance to witness the differences each time I return. And boy is there a lot of change happening in almost all of the best Denver neighborhoods!
If you’re trying to figure out which neighborhoods in Denver are right for you, read on because I’m going to quickly give you an overview of the 15 best areas in Denver to live in 2021. I will break down the pros and cons of moving to each neighborhood, and will give you handy maps to visualize it all. This post will tell you which neighborhoods offer what, so you can figure out which is best for you.
Note this article is geared towards looking for a place to live in Denver. If you’re visiting Denver as a tourist, check out my article on where to stay in Denver. It breaks down all the best Denver areas, hotels, and more. And don’t miss my mega guide to what to do in Denver – it’s packed with all the best activities in the Mile High City.
Table of Contents
- 15 Best Neighborhoods in Denver
- FAQs About Denver’s Neighborhoods
15 Best Neighborhoods in Denver
Uptown (“North Capitol Hill”)
Best For: Young professionals, people without cars
Technically known as North Capitol Hill, Uptown is my personal pick for the best neighborhood in Denver. I’m a little biased, since I bought a townhome there.
When I lived in Uptown, I was working as a corporate lawyer downtown, and I absolutely loved being able to walk to work. I really think Uptown is the perfect Denver neighborhood, especially for young professionals or anyone working downtown. It’s near to much of the best stuff to do in Denver, offers many great restaurants and bars, all while still maintaining a good community feel. The tree lined streets are super green, and the sidewalks wide and walkable!
Pros of Uptown Neighborhood
- Great location in the center of the city
- Highly walkable
- Solid dining and bar scene, but still quiet at night
- Relatively reasonable housing prices for a downtown neighborhood
Cons of Uptown Neighborhood
- Public transit connections not the best (nearest light rail is 15 minute walk)
👉 What are the best things to do in Denver? I wrote an epic post you should check out: 58 Best Things to Do in Denver (By a Local!). It’s packed with fun activities, stuff to do, and adventures around town.
RiNo (River North Art District)
Best For: Students, nightlife lovers, East Coast transplants
No neighborhood in the Mile High City has changed more over the last decade than the River North Art District, referred to by the shorthand “RiNo.” This former industrial area, part of the historic Five Points neighborhood, has recently seen massive development of hip bars, busy nightclubs, trendy restaurants, and boutique shops along Larimer Street.
It’s definitely the hottest area for nightlife in Denver which, depending upon your perspective, may be a pro or a con. RiNo features large streets, art galleries, lots of converted warehouse buildings, and some of the best street art in the Mountain West.
Pros of RiNo Neighborhood
- Probably the trendiest neighborhood in Denver Colorado
- Best nightlife options in town
- Excellent dining and drinking scene
- Amazing street art
Cons of RiNo Neighborhood
- It’s very loud – on a weekend, RiNo absolutely floods with partiers
- Highway and rail track barriers make it harder to walk to nearby areas (you can walk to LoDo, but it’s a long walk)
Best for: Dog owners, young professionals
Both City Park West and City Park East are great neighborhoods to choose if you have a dog, or need to live in the city but like to spend a lot of time outside. You’ll be just steps away from two of Denver’s largest parks: Cheesman Park and City Park. There’s also a good offering of restaurants (try Olive & Finch) and bars (The Thin Man is great), plus many more just south along Colfax Avenue.
Pros of City Park Neighborhood
- Lots of nearby green and open space
- Reasonably close to downtown, but considerably more affordable
Cons of City Park Neighborhood
- The stretch bordering Colfax has elevate crime issues
- St. Joseph’s hospital complex means ambulance sounds are common
🎓 Pro Tip: Check out Denver Public School’s boundary maps to visualize the city’s elementary, middle, and high school districts. They also have a nifty school finder that lets you quickly find schools by entering an address.
Best for: Families, dog owners, students
Can’t decide between living in Denver or the suburbs? This area might be a good compromise! Located in the southern half of the city, Washington Park is a relatively quiet residential neighborhood with lots of single family homes and townhomes on offer, a Whole Foods Market, and the spectacular coffee shop Wash Perk (popular with students at nearby Denver University).
It is relatively quiet and peaceful, but close enough to bars and restaurants along the nearby stretches of South Broadway in Baker or South Pearl in Platt Park. The big attraction, of course, is the proximity to the excellent Washington Park, where you’ll find miles of biking trails, volleyball nets, two lakes, tennis and basketball courts, and loads of green space.
Pros of Washington Park Neighborhood
- Gorgeous leafy streets
- Proximity to Washington Park
- Quiet, safe neighborhood
Cons of Washington Park Neighborhood
- Distance – getting most anywhere will require a car or bike
- Not as many bars, restaurants, or shopping (though options are nearby)
👉 Love Day Trips? Denver is perfect for day-long excursions – read my post on the 14 Best Day Trips from Denver (not all of them are to the mountains!).
Best for: singles, young people, affordability
Capitol Hill is one of Denver’s oldest neighborhoods, and a lot of the buildings here are late Victorian Era mansions that have since been converted to apartments, condos, or townhomes. The streets are very green, and it’s a highly livable neighborhood that is quite literally in the center of Denver Colorado.
Capitol Hill does have its drawbacks, especially when it comes to parking. If you’re getting a place in Capitol Hill, try to find somewhere with reserved parking. Fighting for a spot on the street is something that everyone I know who lives in Capitol Hill complains about constantly.
Pros of Capitol Hill Neighborhood
- Generally the most affordable rent among central Denver neighborhoods
- Houses offer gorgeous architecture, with great curb appeal
- Loads of restaurants, coffee shops, bars, and shops
- Many nearby attractions, including the iconic Colorado Capitol building and the Denver Art Museum
Cons of Capitol Hill Neighborhood
- Many buildings are 100+ years old, are carry the problems that comes with
- The area, especially around Colfax, tends to rate higher on crime indexes
- As in much of the city, there is a high number of individuals affected by housing insecurity
- Parking on street is a nightmare
Lower Downtown (“LoDo”)
Best for: Big city-style high rise living
Lower Downtown, or LoDo, was the first Denver neighborhood I lived in after law school. I was coming off of a few years living on the East Coast, and chose it because this is definitely the most big-city-style neighborhood in Denver. This historic neighborhood puts you right in the middle of the city’s action.
It features many of Denver Colorado’s main attractions, including Union Station, Larimer Square, Coors Field, and the fantastic urban micro district Dairy Block. In fact, about half of the top entries on my list of things to do in Denver are in or near LoDo. You’ll find plenty of modern apartment and condo buildings. Just be prepared to pay a premium for this prime location near Union Station!
Pros of LoDo Neighborhood
- Location, location, location!
- The most vibrant part of the city on any given night
- Many high rise apartments offer amazing views of the Rocky Mountains
Cons of LoDo Neighborhood
- Rent or housing prices are relatively expensive
- You won’t find proper houses here, its entirely condos and apartments
👉 Need a Hotel in Denver? I visited dozens of them and ranked them in my guide to the best hotels in the Denver area. Bookmark it!
Best for: art and museums, combination of central location and relatively affordable rent
Golden Triangle is the Denver creative district bounded by Colfax Avenue to the north, Broadway to the east, and Speer Boulevard along the west. It’s a small area, but is home to some of Denver’s best museums and cultural institutions like the Kirkland Museum of Fine Art, the Denver Public Library, and the Denver Mint. You’re also steps from the golden dome at the Colorado Capitol Building. You’ll find a mix of large condo buildings along Speer Boulevard, eclectic townhomes, commercial space, and hotels. Be sure to check out the bar at the The Art Hotel Denver, one of my picks for the best downtown hotels in Denver, Colorado.
Pros of Golden Triangle Neighborhood
- Lots of museums and attractions
- Central location walking distance to downtown, but slightly more affordable rent
Cons of Golden Triangle Neighborhood
- Still not a ton of restaurants or bars (though that’s changing)
- Can feel a little empty at night
👉 Visiting Denver and Wondering Where to Stay? I wrote a whole post on the best Denver areas for tourists! It’s geared towards shorter visits, but if you or friends want to play tourist for a weekend, it’s a must-read.
Lower Highland (“LoHi”)
Best for: anyone who can afford it!
Lower Highland (or “LoHi”) technically isn’t an official neighborhood, though its called one by Denver Colorado locals, so you may find some confusion around terms here. Whatever you call it, this is undoubtedly one of the most expensive Denver neighborhoods – and for good reason. LoHi is situated just across the I-95 footbridge from LoDo, but offers a more traditional neighborhood feel with lots of single family units, green and leafy streets, and some of the best restaurants and dining options in Denver. Don’t miss the rooftop at Linger or ice cream at Little Man!
Pros of LoHi Neighborhood
- Beautiful streets and homes
- Lively, but still quiet at night
- Lots of high end restaurants
- Walkable to downtown Denver
- Views of Denver’s skyline
Cons of LoHi Neighborhood
- Price – average rent or home prices are very high!
👉 Want to Learn More About Denver? Check out my mega Denver travel guide. It’s packed with local knowledge!
Best for: families, pet owners
Berkeley is great Highland neighborhood in Denver for finding traditional single family homes along quiet, safe, and relatively walkable streets. It offers a vibrant hub of high end dining and boutiques along the iconic Tennyson Street.
Berkeley is also home to Berkeley Lake Park and Rocky Mountain Lake Park, which makes it a great place to live in Denver if you enjoy the outdoors or have a dog. Plus, it’s close to I-70, giving you easy access for day trips from Denver to the Rocky Mountains on weekends.
Pros of Berkeley Neighborhood
- Spacious homes, many with yards
- Lots of restaurants, coffee shops, art galleries, and culture
- Great parks with walking trails, playgrounds, and outdoor space
Cons of Berkeley Neighborhood
- A little far from downtown
Best for: balance of price, space, and location
Rounding out the Highland neighborhoods Denver features on this list, Sunnyside is a great neighborhood where several of my friends live. There are lots of spacious single family homes, and many offer expansive yards and friendly front porches. The streets are wide, clean, and covered in greenery. Along 38th Avenue you’ll a few solid restaurants and local businesses. Plus, you’re just over the bridge from RiNo, LoDo, and all that downtown offers.
Pros of Sunnyside Neighborhood
- Lots of gorgeous homes with yards on offers
- Average prices less expensive than LoHi or Berkeley, but still close to it all
Cons of Sunnyside Neighborhood
- Not quite as walkable as other central neighborhoods
Best for: young professionals, dog owners, outdoor types
Sloan’s Lake is a large lake offering gorgeous views of downtown Denver to the east and the Rocky Mountains to the west. My mom used to live near Sloan’s Lake, and really liked it because it’s safe, offers many different styles of housing options, and is near some solid breweries, restaurants, and grocery stores. It’s also close to several major Denver thoroughfares, making it easy to get around or out of town. You’ll find a mix of Tudor’s, contemporary remodels, duplexes, and townhomes.
Pros of Sloan’s Lake Neighborhood
- Great running and biking trails in Sloan’s Lake Park
- Close to downtown Denver
Cons of Sloan’s Lake Neighborhood
- Price – this is a desirable Denver area
Baker (“South Broadway”)
Best for: young professionals
I lived in the Baker neighborhood for a year, and I really loved this Mile High City neighborhood. It is close to the food and nightlife action on South Broadway, offers a great community, and has decent transit connections. The population is a mix of smaller families and young professionals, and the housing tends to consist of charming smaller single family homes. It’s a very livable neighborhood that I would gladly move back to.
Pros of Baker Neighborhood
- South Broadway offers lots to do, but it’s still quiet
- Light rail station
Cons of Baker Neighborhood
- Housing can be expensive considering the lack of space
Best for: luxury living
Cherry Creek is definitely one of the more unique neighborhoods in Denver. It’s home to some of the most expensive homes in town, fancy shopping boutiques, the large Cherry Creek mall, and some of Denver’s higher rated public schools. It is very expensive to live and far from everything, but the community who lives there absolutely loves it.
Pros of Cherry Creek Neighborhood
- High end and luxury housing options
- The Cherry Creek shopping area is very walkable, with lots of boutiques, shops, restaurants, etc
Cons of Cherry Creek Neighborhood
- Location – a car is mandatory
- Price – get ready to pony up to live here!
Central Park (“Stapleton”)
Best for: families, dog owners, suburban style living
Central Park, formerly known as Stapleton, is one of the more “suburban” neighborhoods in town. It’s not my thing, but my friends who live there have a very different opinion. They love the large houses, suburban style living, and the plentiful outdoor space. There’s also a decent smattering of shopping, restaurants, etc. Plus, you’re not that far from the exquisite Stanley Marketplace.
Pros of Central Park Neighborhood
- Safe, with well rated schools
- Large homes with lots of space to spread out
- Easy access to parks and green space
Cons of Central Park Neighborhood
- Location – you’ll need a car because you’re far from the city center
Curtis Park makes up a large part of the historic Denver Five Points neighborhood. Curtis Park is also officially the oldest neighborhood in Denver. Along with the adjoining Whittier neighborhood, the area became synonymous with jazz, at one point being known as the “Harlem of the West.” To this day it plays host to the excellent Five Points Jazz Festival.
Pros of Curtis Park
- Central location close to RiNo and downtown Denver
- Great light rail connections
Cons of Curtis Park
- Rising real estate prices and gentrification may burden local residents and small businesses
Best for: families
Park Hill is one of Denver’s oldest neighborhoods, and also one of it’s largest. Expanding over the area just west of City Park, from I-70 down to Colfax, Park Hill offers a lot of single family homes along tree lined streets, giving it an almost suburban feel. Many of the schools also score high on the Colorado Department of Education’s District and School Performance Framework results.
Pros of Park Hill Neighborhood
- Large homes with yards and space
- Several well rated school districts
- Tree lined streets
Cons of Park Hill Neighborhood
- A bit far from the city center
👉 Want to Tour My Townhome in Uptown? Check out the listing here. It’s an awesome little place in the #1 Denver neighborhood on this list. Oh, and please feel free to share with anyone you know house hunting!
FAQs About Denver’s Neighborhoods
Is Denver expensive to live?
Denver ranks 43rd in the USA for cost of living, according to the Numbeo index, making Denver a relatively expensive place to live. Still, Denver is relatively affordable to live when compared to major coastal cities like New York or San Francisco, though housing prices are increasing rapidly.
What is the nicest neighborhood in Denver?
Higher end nice neighborhoods in Denver include Highland, Cherry Creek, and Lower Downtown. All offer some of the most expensive real estate in Denver.
What is the most expensive neighborhood in Denver?
The Denver suburb Cherry Hills Village is one of the most expensive in the United States according to Bloomberg’s 2020 report.
That’s it for this list of the best neighborhoods Denver Colorado has to offer … according to this local anyway! Scroll down and leave a comment letting me know which is your favorite.