It was an awesome bonus when I was visiting Denver and a friend let me borrow a bicycle to check out some of the city’s top neighborhoods via two wheels.
What are the best Denver neighborhoods to visit, and what will you see there? Read on to learn about Capitol Hill, Speer, Baker, Five Points, Washington Park, and more, and to see pics from my multiple visits to the city.
The Best Denver Neighborhoods To Visit
Denver has a lot of nice and/or vibrant areas, but some of them are more residential and don’t necessarily have a lot of businesses or attractions that would interest tourists.
With that in mind, I’m focusing on places that you may want to see when you’re a visitor in Denver.
Here are some of the best Denver neighborhoods to visit, presented in no particular order.
1. LoDo (Lower Downtown)
LoDo is also labeled as “Union Station” on some neighborhood maps. Imagine historic brick buildings, trendy boutiques, and thriving nightlife.
It’s home to Union Station, where you can catch an Amtrak train or the tram to the airport. It’s a good spot to grab a coffee or just people-watch.
A little more classy than dive bars, breweries are big business in Denver. I’m not a huge beer person but had occasion to stop into LoDo’s Wynkoop Brewery.
2. RiNo (River North)
If art and creativity are your thing, RiNo is where it’s at. The area has graffiti-covered walls, galleries, and hipster vibes galore.
For lunch, Zeppelin Station is an awesome food hall with several restaurants offering fast-but-sophisticated dishes. I loved the carnitas plate at Purisima.
3. Capitol Hill
One of Denver’s most-visited neighborhoods, Capitol Hill is named after the state capitol building, which famously has “One Mile Above Sea Level” engraved on its steps.
Usually big cities like Denver don’t serve as the state capital, so it’s a little unusual. You almost forget that it’s a capital because there’s so much other stuff going on.
This neighborhood is as eclectic as it gets. You’ve got beautiful historic homes and a mix of bars and cafes. It’s artsy and LGBTQ+ friendly (try the western-themed bar Charlie’s.)
One historic site worth considering is the Molly Brown House Museum, the 1889 mansion of Titanic survivor “Unsinkable Molly Brown.”
One of the things that struck me about Denver was the abundance of local book stores. Book stores may be dying everywhere else, but somehow they’re going strong here.
Capitol Hill Books has been around forever.
4. Washington Park
If you’re outdoorsy, Washington Park is your spot. It’s a huge park with lakes, bike trails, paddle boats, and even a replica of George Washington’s Mount Vernon gardens.
Wash Park is more than 100 years old and is a popular spot for picnics and soaking in the sun. I did quite a bit of biking and walking around here, since the park is so big.
The neighborhood around it is equally charming, with bungalow-style homes and a chill atmosphere. You’ll find a good number of coffee shops, bakeries, and ice cream stories.
Devil’s Food Bakery and the Italian restaurant called Wash Park Grille are worth visiting if you get a chance.
5. Baker / Speer
I’m grouping Baker and Speer together because they have a similar vibe and border each other along Broadway, a vibrant street with businesses ranging from The Wizard’s Chest game store to Denver Biscuit Company breakfast restaurant to Voodoo Doughnut.
If there’s one thing Denver has plenty of, it’s dive bars. There seem to be a lot of hipster types in the city.
Why is this? Some locals theorize it’s because Denver is the largest city in the entire West between St. Louis and California, so that’s where all the cool people in the surrounding area want to move.
In any case, some of these bars can be found here along Broadway, from Hi-Dive to Skylark Lounge.
6. Cherry Creek
Ready to shop till you drop? Cherry Creek is Denver’s upscale shopping haven, with 16 blocks of walkable shops and dining.
This area is known for its high-end boutiques, art galleries, and fancy dining spots. It’s posh, and you might spot some luxury cars cruising around.
You’ll find a mall with national chains like Nordstrom, Urban Outfitters, and The North Face, plus local boutiques such as Garbarini for women’s clothing, the recycled home furnishings store Revamp Goods, and the Show of Hands gift shop.
7. City Park
I really enjoyed the City Park neighborhood, home to the Denver Museum of Nature & Science, where kids and adults can learn about the wonders of the world and the mysteries of the universe.
City Park (the park itself) is 330 acres and features lakes, sports fields, a boathouse and pavilion, the Denver Zoo, and much more.
It’s an awesome place to spend an afternoon, especially on a day when the sun is shining.
City Park has free jazz concerts in the pavilion on Sunday evenings in the summer! The City Park Jazz Series makes our list of the best free things to do in Denver.
8. Highland / West Highland
Imagine tree-lined streets, charming bungalows, and local boutiques. That’s Highland for you. You’ll find a blend of old-school charm and modern cool, with great views of the city as well.
The eastern part of Highland, directly across the bridge from Downtown, has modern architecture, lively breweries, and innovative restaurants.
I stayed in West Highland on my last visit to Denver, and I had one major problem with the neighborhood: It was too difficult where to figure out to eat, because there were just too many options along W 32nd Ave.!
Consider trying Sushi Hai, Rooted Craft American Kitchen, Little India restaurant, Sara’s Ramen Enclave, Cupbop (Korean BBQ in a cup), or the self-explanatory Tacos Tequila Whiskey.
This was an interesting mural full of rock legends at Fire on the Mountain in West Highland.
9. Five Points
Technically speaking, RiNo is part of Five Points, but the Five Points neighborhood extends all the way to North Capitol Hill, so it deserves its own entry.
If you’re into history and jazz music, Five Points is a must-see. It’s Denver’s Harlem Renaissance district, with jazz clubs, soul food, and a growing hipster scene.
One of the city’s more historic neighborhoods, Five Points is home to the Black American West Museum, and to Coors Field, the ballpark of the Rockies baseball team.
The neighborhood also a ton of breweries, tap rooms, and wineries. Take your pick between Woods Boss Brewing Company, Jagged Mountain Craft Brewery, Stem Ciders, or Great Divide Brewing Co.
Rounding out our list of the top Denver neighborhoods to visit is one whose name says it all.
The Sunnyside ‘hood is all about a sunny disposition and a welcoming community. Think cozy coffee shops, local markets, and a real neighborly feel.
It’s not a particularly touristy area, but if you have a rental car, it may be worth swinging through here to see the Mile High Comics Mega Store, the Crooked Stave Taproom, or Bacon Social House restaurant.
Want to explore further? This site has a colorful map of all the city’s neighborhoods.
More Photos From My Bike Ride Through Denver Neighborhoods
With my second-hand two-wheeler in tow, I set off to cruise through some of Denver’s streets to check out these neighborhoods.
It’s always worth keeping your eyes open for some good street art. I call this one “Psychedelic fish swimming through a forest of electrical current.”
There was some sort of military gathering near a statue outside the capitol.
Churches are always the grandest architectural finds.
Every city seems to have at least one great old theater with ornate designs and the pretentious spelling of the word “theatre.” Here, it’s the Mayan Theatre.
T-Trove Asian Decor in Baker is the place to go for all your giant pot needs. I passed this place at least three times and its huge colorful pots kept calling to me.
Every time I see a big camping vehicle, I get sentimental about my cross-country road trip. I need a new travel vehicle very soon. This camper would be a fun road trip ride.
These kids freak me out a little. It’s an interesting statue.
I like Denver a lot and I could see myself living there. It’s a bikable city with comfortable neighborhoods, lots of dive bars and thrift stores, plenty of museums, and proximity to everything the Rocky Mountains have to offer.
And if you’re up for an epic road trip, check out our article detailing the best driving routes from Denver to Seattle!
What are you favorite neighborhoods in Denver to visit? Leave a comment and let us know!