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Neighborhood Guide: Highland, Denver

By: Angelina Bader
May 30, 2019

The Denver Highland neighborhood is a delightful melding of the old and the new. Walk through adorable hundred-year old houses on your way to an inventive meal in a shipping container. Or perhaps grab some ravioli at Denver’s former mob hangout, followed by one of the city’s best sustainably-sourced deconstructed lattes at a café down the block. With lovely architecture, fascinating history, and a hip, cheery vibe, the Highlands will catch your fancy and beg you to make it your new home in Denver.

Highland History

Originally established as its own city in the late 1800’s, the Highlands was a retreat for the city’s elite - high above the bustle of downtown - get it? The beautiful Victorian homes sprinkled on almost every street reflect this time period.

The city was eventually absorbed into neighboring Denver as a suburb. Over the 20th century, it became known as “North Denver,” and was home to much of the city’s Italian population and later mostly Hispanic people. With the construction of several pedestrian bridges spanning the South Platte River around 2000, the Highland became accessible from downtown. That’s when the neighborhood went from sleepy to booming in popularity.

Types of Homes

Highlands home are some of the prettiest in the city. Colorfully-painted craftsman bungalows, Queen Anne mansions, and Victorians make walking around with a Little Man Ice Cream cone in hand to admire the views a perfect afternoon activity. These are also interspersed with large, ultra-modern new-builds and plenty of apartment buildings.

Lay of the Land

The specific area that people are referring to when they talk about “the Highlands” is a bit nebulous. It definitely includes the space east of Federal, south of 38th, west of the South Platte River, and north of Speer. However, many people also include the neighborhood directly west, calling it, well, “West Highlands.” An even smaller group includes the neighborhoods north of there, Berkley and Sunnnyside, calling them “North Highlands.”

These areas make up the northern and westernmost parts of Denver and share the characteristics of fabulous old Victorians and craftsman bungalows, imposing turn-of-the-century brick schools, awesome food, and easy access to I-70 - one of the best thoroughfares to get into the Rockies.

Three pedestrian bridges cross the South Platte River (passing by the summer place-to-be, Confluence Park) and drop you into LoDo. Within a short walk or easy bike ride, you can go from your quiet, peaceful neighborhood to a thumping downtown club and back, no problem!

Local Hot Spots

In the span of less than a couple decades, the Highland has firmly established itself as one of the hottest food and drink areas in the city. Are you feeling specialty cocktails and to-die-for fusion tacos in an old mortiarium? Snag a balcony seat overlooking downtown at Linger. Want inventive nibbles and something to sip on for an incredible happy hour? Go to super-trendy Root Down. For ice cream, spend a hot summer night waiting in a long line at Little Man Ice Cream. Don’t worry though, time passes quickly as you admire its 30-foot tall milk pail, while listening to live jazz. Sip (or gulp - who’s judging?) a saison on the magical hops-strewn patio at the locals’ darling, Denver Beer Company. Or if you just can’t make up your mind, eat at one of the 7 “food points” or 2 bars in Avanti Food & Beverage - a modern restaurant concept in with giant rooftop patio.

Highland is Calling

With its charming houses, endless array of epicurean delights, fantastic walkability, and more, it’s hard to see why anyone would turn down a chance to move to the Highlands. Perhaps life on the hill is the life for you.

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