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Neighborhood Guide: LoDo, Denver

By: Brianna Austin
April 27, 2021

Lower Downtown, Denver, more commonly referred to as LoDo, is the bustling downtown area full of bars, restaurants, galleries and more. From Union Station, the city's transportation hub that doubles as a culinary and cultural destination, to Coors Field, home of the Colorado Rockies, LoDo is full of activity.

Living in LoDo, Denver

If you’re trying to decide where to move in Denver, the Lower Downtown neighborhood (AKA LoDo) is an ideal choice if you love having something to do at all hours of the day and night. Here you’ll find cute coffee shops and excellent steakhouses, as well as plenty of live music and comedy. To learn more, keep reading this guide to moving to LoDo.

High Rises and High End

LoDo is a concentrated, all-hours party zone filled with high rise apartments and renovated warehouse lofts. Many of these options feature pools, rooftop lounges, and balconies with views of Coors Field or Confluence Park. Although generally high-end and more expensive than some other parts of the city, you can still find affordable options within the neighborhood.

An Ideal Location

LoDo is Denver’s oldest neighborhood and has remained the center of activity ever since its earliest days. The 16th Street Mall is an outdoor mall full of shops, restaurants, and cinemas that runs through the Central Business District. The mall begins in LoDo and extends east for many blocks. Take the free “Mall Ride” from Union Station all the way to Civic Center Park or stop anywhere along the way for a bite to eat or some street entertainment.

On the northwest border of LoDo, you’ll find the scenic South Platte River. Here you can stroll on miles of trails, play frisbee among the sculptures of Commons Park, or even kayak through the rapids of Confluence Park.

Pleasant pedestrian bridges cross the Platte and I-70 to connect LoDo to the charming Highlands neighborhood. Here you can get a meal in a restored Victorian home or eat ice cream at the 30-foot tall milk pail that is Little Man Ice Cream.

A Sports Fan's Paradise

LoDo truly has something fun for everyone. Sports nuts will rejoice on game days as the streets come alive with fans on their way to see the Rockies at Coors Field (baseball). A bit further down the road lies the Pepsi Center - home of the Colorado Avalanche (hockey) and the Colorado Mammoth (lacrosse). A short walk further down the South Platte Trail will take you to the Mile High Stadium, the home field of the Denver Broncos (football).

Denver’s main transportation hub, Union Station, is one of LoDo’s main attractions. Built into beautiful historic buildings or daring, modern architecture, you can find sports, live entertainment, great dining, shopping, and excellent parks. Just about anything a city lover could ever ask for is in these compact, exciting few blocks.

LoDo also brims with opportunities for shopaholics and foodies. Cute boutiques, excellent steakhouses, peaceful coffee shops, and endless healthy vegetarian and gluten-free-friendly restaurants dot these streets. The highest concentration is found in Larimer Square, a magical block lit up by sparkling lights year-round.

Live music, live comedy, and live trivia abound. And, of course, never forget about Denver’s beer. One of its proudest local industries, Denver residents love microbreweries. LoDo is home to the famous multi-story Wynkoop Brewery, owned by former Denver mayor John Hickenlooper.

Things to Keep in Mind

If you are just about sold on making the move to LoDo, make sure that these last few LoDo-specific elements fit your lifestyle.

Parking and traffic: This is a busy part of town and driving at certain times of the day can be a real drag. Parking availability varies by building, and searching for street parking will drive you crazy. That’s probably why so many people who enjoy a car-free life move to the area. You can get anywhere in the city easily by one of the many forms of public transportation leaving Union Station all day or by the matrix of bike trails and lanes that spider out from the area.

Pets: Denverites are passionate about their pups, and despite the inevitability of apartment-living in LoDo, many folks still love having dogs.Walks at Commons Park and even on sidewalks downtown allow pet-owners to keep their animals active, although it can be a lot of work when there aren’t many big spaces in which to let them run around.

Hustle & Bustle: If you love peace and quiet, LoDo might not be for you. You can absolutely find apartments that are quiet as a church. However, the moment you step outside, though, you’ll be met with all the hubbub and excitement of a big city.

Things to Do in LoDo, Denver

LoDo is filled with exciting things to do and places to go. If you happen to be moving to this neighborhood, then you will be pleased with the never-ending supply of activities to do in this area. We have compiled a list of some of the absolute best things to do in LoDo to help get you started in your new neighborhood.

Catch a Rockies Game at Coors Field

Coors Field is an iconic, 50,000 seat baseball stadium that is the home of the Colorado Rockies. Attending a Rockies game at this stadium is the quintessential LoDo experience. Some people would say that you can’t really call yourself a true LoDo resident until you have gone to a game. If you love baseball or sporting events, then you will have a blast watching a great game, eating hot dogs, and drinking some cold beer. To score cheap tickets, try grabbing seats in the Rock Pile.

Drink at WynKoop Brewery

The WynKoop Brewery is the perfect LoDo spot to have a drink. At this brewery, you can find many award-winning beers. Whether something crispy and refreshing, or dark and hoppy, you’ll find a beer that suits your tastes. This brewery also has great food selections with local sources of meat and vegetables. This is a great place to go out with friends, and a local favorite among LoDo residents.

Check out the Museum of Contemporary Art

Founded in 1996, the Museum of Contemporary Art has become a staple of the LoDo community. If contemporary art is your thing, there’s tons to check out here. If you look at this kind of art with a confused, blank stare… it’s still an interesting way to spend a Saturday with some friends.

Stroll Through Commons Park

Commons Park is a lovely park bordering the South Platte River. Here you’ll find quaint trails for walking and biking and beautiful views of the city skyline. You’ll find a huge mix of Denver locals enjoying outdoors here. Whether it be a lunchtime walk on a Wednesday or Sunday reading in the grass, it’s a great place to spend some time. In the warmer months of the year, the park will get busy with locals soaking up the sun.

Feast at Fogo de Chao Brazilian Steakhouse

Fogo de Chao Brazilian Steakhouse is a must if you have a craving for meat. If you haven’t eaten at a Brazillian steakhouse before, it’s a unique experience. Waiters come around with delicious cuts of meat on skewers and shave off pieces for your plate. The highlight is obviously the steak cuts, but the chicken, lamb, and pork are also mouthwatering. The full meat experience and buffet will run you $53, so it’s more of a spot for a special occasion. If you end up dining here, come with an empty stomach and wear some loose-fitting pants.

Where to Eat and Drink in LoDo

LoDo is one of the most exciting neighborhoods in Denver. There are many tasty restaurants and vibrant nightclubs in this area, and there’s a ton to do in the area. If you are looking for some awesome spots to dine in LoDo, you will not be disappointed. The neighborhood is bursting with options. If you are new to the area, we compiled a list of some spots to check out first.

Jax Fish House & Oyster Bar

Jax Fish House & Oyster Bar is a favorite amongst seafood enthusiasts in the city. You’ll find the seafood staples here, crafted to perfection. Local favorites include the peel and eat shrimp, and their oysters (of course). The restaurants is super popular and also pretty small. Not the ideal combination, so be sure to call and make a reservation if you don’t want to risk a long wait.

Freshcraft

Freshcraft is one of Denver’s premier craft breweries. They typically have around 25 different craft beers on tap. If beer isn’t your thing, they still have cocktails and wine to order. If you're a beer enthusiast like many Denver locals, you’ll love this spot. Come for the craft brew, stay for the delicious bar bites. Pretzel bites, fried pickles, and wings make the perfect pairing with your beer. Stop by, grab an IPA, and enjoy the LoDo community.

Rio Grande Mexican

Rio Grande Mexican is a fun Mexican restaurant located right in the heart of Lodo. The menu features classic Mexican dishes. but the margaritas are the real show stopper here. The margarita menu has something for everyone. Whether you like yours frozen or on ice, classic or mango, the choices are endless. We’d recommend trying out the classic if you like to keep it traditional. If you want to get a bit experimental, give the manberry a go. They have a spacious outdoor patio as well. A margarita and chips outside on a sunny Denver day? Sign me up!

Rhein Haus Denver

The Rhein Haus is a German restaurant with an interesting ambience. Inside of the restaurants feels almost like a ski lodge, with a German theme. Rhein Haus serves awesome traditional German food. We’d recommend giving the currywurst, schnitzel, and bratwurst a try. The restaurant also has bocce ball courts, which is always a great time. You’ll find LoDo locals here enjoying a beer and bratwurst while cheering on the Nuggets. Join your new neighbors for a lively evening filled with great eats.

Jackson’s

Jackson’s is a great sports bar and grill in the LoDo area. It’s .always filled on game days, making it a lively spot to go to watch a Bronco’s or Rockies game. The bar is located right across the street from Coors Field, home of the Colorado Rockies. If you want to grab a few beers before heading into the stadium, make sure to stop by. Jackson’s also has an awesome rooftop deck if you want to take in the views of downtown Denver. If you want to get to know the LoDo community, there might not be a better place.

These are a few of the places we’d recommend checking out first in LoDo. What are you favorite spots? Let us know by tweeting us @ApartmentList.

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AUTHOR
Brianna Austin is a travel/adventure writer and librarian. She has a Bachelor of Spanish degree from Lee University and a Master of Library and Information Science degree from Valdosta State University. Read More
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