The Mile High City has grown in leaps and bounds since its inception in 1858 as a mining settlement, but many of its notable structures, landmarks, and houses have been lovingly preserved and restored over the years and stand proud in the neighborhoods they call home. These ten communities are not only the most historic neighborhoods in Denver, but they’re also some of our city’s most popular places to live, work, eat, and play.
We’re aware that these uncertain times are limiting many aspects of life as we all practice social and physical distancing. While we’re continuing to feature destinations that make our state wonderful, we don’t expect or encourage you to go check them out immediately. We believe that supporting local attractions is important now more than ever and we hope our articles inspire your future adventures! And on that note, please nominate your favorite local business that could use some love right now:
1. Curtis Park/Five Points
Following the establishment of the horse-drawn streetcar line in 1871, the Curtis Park/Five Points area expanded rapidly and continues to be a happening area of town with a whole lot of diversity. You'll find historic hotels, music venues, and dive bars alongside modest brick houses and elegant Victorian-style structures in this hip neighborhood.
2. Capitol Hill
Many of Denver's oldest buildings, dating from the late 1800s, can be found in the eclectic Capitol Hill neighborhood, where old and new have established a perfect marriage. Explore some of the city's most historic institutions, as well as its popular bars, eateries, coffee shops, and more in Cap Hill.
3. East 7th Avenue
Denver’s largest Historic District runs from Logan Street to Colorado Boulevard and spans just two blocks wide, from East 6th to East 8th Avenues for most of its length. This central Denver neighborhood grew out of the heart of the city and contains homes mostly built from the 1890s through 1930 in a variety of architectural styles, including Colonial Revival, Neoclassical, and Mediterranean Revival.
4. Cheesman Park
With city plats dating back to 1868, Cheesman Park is one of our city's oldest neighborhoods, which was annexed but the City of Denver in 1883, and is home to three notable residential historic districts, Wyman's, Morgan's Addition, and Humboldt Island. You'll find beautiful homes and mansions dating back to the 19th century in a wide range of architectural styles, as well as many popular Mile High haunts like the Denver Botanic Gardens and the namesake Cheesman Park.
Nestled between Cherry Creek and Washington Park is a fashionable, upscale neighborhood brimming with tree-lined streets and massive historic mansions. The neighborhood gets its name from what most know as the Phipps Mansion, seen here. Lawrence C. Phipps (1862-1958) was responsible for developing most of the area, and he lovingly called his home "Belcaro," meaning "beautiful beloved" in Italian.
6. Washington Park
The Wash Park neighborhood sprung from an old buffalo wallow in the 1860s, which would later become its namesake park's Smith Lake. Most of the area's historic Victorian-style homes and traditional bungalows were built in the early 1900s, and today this lovely neighborhood with quaint, tree-lined streets is one of Denver's most desirable places to live.
7. City Park
Designed in 1882 by Henry Merryweather, the 330-acre City Park makes up the majority of the neighborhood and contains some of the city's most notable landmarks, including the Denver Zoo, the Museum of Nature and Science, Ferril Lake, and the Prismatic Fountain, dating back to 1908.
8. Country Club Historic District
The Country Club Historic District was designated as a Landmark District in 1990, though the neighborhood was officially established in 1909 and most of its homes date back to the early 20th century. This unique L-shaped community west of Cherry Creek includes nearly 400 residences in a variety of architectural styles, such as Denver Square and 20th century eclectic revival styles.
First developed in the 1870s, Denver's Baker neighborhood has been and continues to be one of the city's most diverse and dynamic neighborhoods, tucked away in the heart of town. With access to shops and eateries on Broadway, as well as perfectly preserved historic homes in styles like Queen Anne and Denver Square, Baker is a uniquely vibrant urban community and a grand place to call home.
The term "Highlands" actually encompasses many Mile High communities, including several historic districts like Potter Highlands, Ghost, and Wolff. William Larimer, Jr. plotted and founded the townsite in 1858, and it has since grown into one of the most elegantly charming areas of Denver.