A 25-block area surrounding Union Station, and encompassing Wynkoop Street southeast to Market Street and 20th Street southwest to Speer Boulevard, this delightful and busy historic district was until recently a somewhat seedy neighborhood of deteriorating Victorian houses and redbrick warehouses. A major restoration effort has brought it back to life. Today it is home to chic shops, art galleries, nightclubs, and restaurants. Listed as both a city and a county historic district, it boasts numerous National Historic Landmarks; skyscrapers are prohibited by law. Coors Field, the 50,000-seat home of the Rockies baseball team, opened here in 1995.
Central Business District
This extends along 16th, 17th, and 18th streets between Lawrence Street and Broadway. The ban on skyscrapers certainly does not apply here. In this area you’ll find the Brown Palace Hotel, the Westin Hotel at Tabor Center, and other upscale lodgings; numerous restaurants and bars; plus the popular 16th Street Mall.
Two miles south of downtown and centered on Broadway and 1st Avenue, Baker is the funky heart of south Denver. It is home to some great nightlife and shopping, a few excellent restaurants, and plenty of tattoo parlors and used bookstores.
Far East Center
Denver’s Asian community is concentrated along this strip of Federal Boulevard, between West Alameda and West Mississippi avenues. It burgeoned in the aftermath of the Vietnam War to accommodate throngs of Southeast Asian refugees, especially Thai and Vietnamese. Look for authentic restaurants, bakeries, groceries, gift shops, and clothing stores. The Far East Center Building at Federal and Alameda is built in Japanese pagoda style.
The “five points” actually meet at 23rd Street and Broadway, but the cultural and commercial hub of Denver’s black community, from 23rd to 38th streets, northeast of downtown, covers a much larger area and incorporates four historic districts. Restaurants serve soul food, barbecued ribs, and Caribbean cuisine, while jazz and blues musicians and contemporary dance troupes perform in theaters and nightclubs. The Black American West Museum and Heritage Center is also in this area.
Perched northwest of downtown from 32nd to 38th avenues between Federal and Zuni streets, the historic, increasingly chic Highlands neighborhood is the most densely populated neighborhood in the city outside of Capitol Hill. Mexican and Italian eateries brush elbows with stylish boutiques and galleries. In the neighboring West Highlands neighborhood, the eclectic retail district centered on 32nd Avenue and Lowell Boulevard is one of the most vibrant in the city.
La Alma Lincoln Park/Auraria
Latino culture, art, food, and entertainment predominate along this strip of Santa Fe Drive, between West Colfax and West 6th avenues. It’s notable for its southwestern character and architecture. This neighborhood is well worth a visit for its numerous restaurants, art galleries, and crafts shops. Denver’s annual Cinco de Mayo celebration takes place here.
Short for “River North,” this warehouse district northeast of downtown and south of I-70 is one of the hottest addresses in Denver, thanks to the artists, tech startups, markets, and other businesses that have taken up residence in said warehouses. The brick warehouses are interspersed with contemporary new commercial and residential developments.
Denver’s oldest residential neighborhood, from Broadway east to York Street (City Park) and 23rd Avenue south to Colfax Avenue, is best known today for two things: It’s bisected by 17th Avenue, home to many of the city’s finest restaurants, and several of its classic Victorian and Queen Anne–style homes have been converted to captivating bed-and-breakfasts.
A grand Victorian neighborhood centered on the lush park of its namesake, “Wash Park” is one of Denver’s trendiest and most popular neighborhoods. Bounded by Broadway east to University Boulevard, and Alameda Avenue south to Evans Avenue, it features a good deal of dining and recreational opportunities, but little in the way of lodging. It is a great place, however, for architecture and history buffs to drive or walk past the grand rows of houses.
One of Denver’s most diverse and oldest neighborhoods lies just southeast of downtown. Capitol Hill centers on the gold-domed Capitol Building, encompassing Broadway east to York, and Colfax Avenue south to 6th Avenue. The north edge is improving after years of neglect and criminal activity, and now features such attractions as the Fillmore Auditorium and a lively restaurant-and-bar scene. There are several commercial and retail districts in the area, nestled amid Victorian houses and modern lofts and apartments. Also here are the Molly Brown House Museum (see chapter 6) and several lodging options, ranging from B&Bs to luxury hotels (see “Where to Stay,” below). You’ll notice that there are no old wooden buildings here. After a disastrous fire in 1863, the government forbade the construction of wooden structures, a ban that stood until after World War II.
Home of the Cherry Creek Shopping Center and Denver Country Club, this area extends north from East 1st Avenue to East 8th Avenue, and from Downing Street east to Steele Street. You’ll find huge, ostentatious stone mansions here, especially around Circle Drive (southwest of 6th and University), where many of Denver’s wealthiest families have lived for generations.
Denver surrounds Glendale, an incorporated city. The center of a lively entertainment district that is home to a slew of topless clubs, Glendale straddles Cherry Creek on South Colorado Boulevard south of East Alameda Avenue.
At the southern end of the metropolitan area is the Denver Tech Center, along I-25 between Belleview Avenue and Arapahoe Road. In this district, about a 25-minute drive from downtown, you will find the headquarters of several international and national companies, high-tech businesses, and a handful of upscale hotels heavily oriented toward business travelers.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.