Neighborhood Guide: South Broadway, Denver
Sometimes referred to as the Baker neighborhood or “SoBo,” South Broadway, Denver offers an eclectic mix of restaurants and independent businesses that attract a young, professional crowd. The neighborhood is a wonderfully quirky place to live and play with plenty of options for entertainment and places to get to know the locals. Thinking of moving to South Broadway, Denver? Check out our guide of what to know before you make the neighborhood home.
South Broadway's History
Although South Broadway is known as a hip and vibrant neighborhood, it started as something of a trade path. Tom Skerritt, who was known as the “Father of Englewood,” used to move the fruit from Englewood to Denver during the 1870s here. Soon horse-drawn trolleys shuttled people around Denver, and after a brief but failed attempt at cable cars, the first electrified trolley line came to Denver in 1889. And as a transportation hub, those trolley lines also ran through South Broadway and eventually became a city roadway. Known for its narrow width, the city called this street Broadway. Industry quickly followed suit and boomed along South Broadway with a Model T plant built in the area. Later, the Gates Rubber Company set up shop across 25 blocks in the South Broadway neighborhood and brought hundreds of jobs to the city.
What’s South Broadway Like Today?
Today, the trendy South Broadway neighborhood teems with taverns, shops along Antique Row, vintage clothing boutiques, art galleries, and ethnic restaurants. However, the neighborhood’s roots as a transportation corridor will also help shape its future. The historic Gates Rubber Plant complex will help shape the future of South Broadway and make room for a new 40-acre transit-oriented development. Aptly named Broadway Station, the plans will blend a mix-use development with housing, office space, retail, restaurants, parks, and open spaces. The development is also slated to created bridges to connect the east and west side of the existing tracks to reintegrate Denver's neighborhoods together.
South Broadway's Location
Broadway is a street that runs through Denver, named by city developer Henry C. Brown. The name was given to the street after New York City’s famous Broadway. This street serves as the dividing line between the east and west avenues of Denver, carrying only southbound traffic running straight through the city of Denver for nearly 20 miles. The street lies just over three miles from the I-25 all the way to 20th Avenue.
South Broadway, which has been nicknamed SoBo, bridges the gap between old Denver and the Denver of more modern times. This area has been defined as the stretch of Broadway that runs from south of Sixth Avenue to north of the I-25. Known for its eclectic blend of bars, restaurants, and boutique retail, South Broadway is the perfect location for young professionals, families, and everyone in-between.
Some of the best attractions in South Broadway include the Littleton Museum, which boasts 19th-century living history farms. The Denver Art Museum was founded in 1893 and hosts many unique exhibits, including global art collections from cultures worldwide. The Denver Museum of Nature and Science is another breathtaking museum in South Broadway. With 716,000 square feet and over one million objects in its collection, this nonprofit institution is a must-see.
Chatfield State Park is a recreation destination for anyone who loves the outdoors. Located along the Platte River, the park centers on the 1,423-acre surface area lake known as the Chatfield Reservoir.
Other outdoor attractions near South Broadway include the Denver Botanic Gardens, which hosts countless concerts in the summer. This 23-acre park includes themed gardens, a sunken amphitheater, and a conservatory.
A Great Place for Family
South Broadway, Denver is an eclectic and unique place to raise kids. Although the neighborhood isn’t renown for its family-friendliness, there are plenty of places for fun. The popular gastropub Punch Bowl Social Denver attracts hipsters and families alike to its table games, pool tables, a vintage arcade, bowling, and even a virtual reality area. Dubbed "the Mothership of Fun" by PBS Denver, Punch Bowl Social packs in 27,000 square feet of fun with craft beverages, food, and kid-friendly fare. Families with a love of indie films head to Mayan Theatre at the 85-year-old art deco building and a treat at Sweet Action Ice Cream in South Broadway. Public school options like Dora Moore, Grant Middle School, and South High School serve the general neighborhood with nearby private options.
A Convenient Location
South Broadway, Denver boasts an independent spirit with modern amenities locals love. Local shop for fresh produce and organic products at Natural Grocers and the nearby Safeway and Sprouts Farmers Markets also offer a variety of staples and specialty items. South Broadway, Denver is also the place to be for vintage finds and homewares. Fifty-Two '80s features vintage toys and novelties from the 80s. Over at T-Trove Asian Decor, shop for colorful glazed potteries, furnishings, accessories, and outdoor decor. Artists at heart shop at the nearby Meininger for creative supplies. Open since 1881, the shop is more than just an art supply store; it's a family-owned Denver staple.
Find a South Broadway Denver Apartment
South Broadway is home to apartment buildings, some single family options, and mix-uses spaces. Once a hotel in the early 1900s, the building at 101 South Broadway will incorporate new retail and plans for 102 affordable housing units on the upper floors and a new building next door. South Broadway is also welcoming a variety of development projects that will include new housing and apartment options throughout the neighborhood. You can check our guide here to find a South Broadway apartment.
South Broadway's Demographics
Over 15,500 people call the one-mile radius surrounding South Broadway home. The majority of Montrose residents fall within the 30-39-year-old age bracket, with the population median age at 36 years old.
There is an even split between family and non-family households in South Broadway, meaning this area of Denver is welcoming to individuals, young professionals, and families alike. However, the majority of residents in South Broadway are married couples.
South Broadway is one of the more walkable neighborhoods of Denver, with a walk score of 73. Such high walkability makes it an attractive option for young professionals and seniors looking to retire near the action. You'll also see college students scattered around who attend one of the 11 colleges and universities in the Denver region.
In addition to its walkability and close proximity to Denver, South Broadway also offers a light rail that connects you to the downtown area of Denver. Although the area has such an excellent walk score and public transportation options, owning a vehicle is still the preferred method of transportation in South Broadway because of the overall density of Denver.
The average rent for a one-bedroom apartment in Denver is $1,748, and the average for a two-bedroom apartment is $2,418. However, you should expect to pay slightly less for a South Broadway apartment. The average rent for a one-bedroom apartment in South Broadway is $1,500, and the average for a two-bedroom apartment is $2,300.
South Broadway's Transporation
As a whole, Denver is a very walkable city where locals embrace the outdoors. South Broadway is no different, and locals walk from the core of downtown to South Broadway if you're looking for a leisurely day of window shopping and bar hopping. There's also a light rail connecting downtown to the South Broadway area, as well as the RTD public bus for budget-minded locals. Uber and Lyft are also options after a night of bar hopping in South Broadway to get home safely.
Is South Broadway Safe?
Denver has been diligently working to revitalize this particular area of the city. Major revitalization projects in the surrounding areas, including the former Gates Rubber Plant just south of South Broadway, have helped improve the area’s appearance and overall safety.
Where blocks of retail centers once stood vacant, today, South Broadway is filled with life and vibrance in a welcoming community. Now that this area has seen so much improvement, it’s not unusual to see individuals walking their dogs alone at night, indicating the neighborhood streets are safe and residents don’t have to worry about their security.
South Broadway's Major Employers
The city of Denver, including all of its unique neighborhoods, has been named one of the “Best Places for Business and Careers” by Forbes Magazine. The area’s leading employers include the U.S. government, the State of Colorado, the University of Colorado education systems, and Centura Health.
As expansion and development continue, the hospitality industry will continue to grow. Nearly 17 million people visit Denver annually. Other emerging sectors in employment in the Denver area include recreational marijuana, which continues to create more jobs and lure more people to this popular city.
Denver saw a dip in employment during the pandemic. However, growth and development are still relatively strong. Compared to similar-sized cities, Denver has a healthier job market with an index score of 7.6 out of 10. The city also has an unemployment rate of 7.5, which is 0.6% lower than the current national average. As conditions continue to ease, the job market is expected to gain speed.
Things to Do in South Broadway
Join a Festival
Like the rest of Denver, South Broadway is home to anticipated festivals that draws a crowd. As Denver's premier indie festival, the Underground Music Showcase features 400 local and national music acts across 20 venues. The festival was founded in 2000 and is now one of Denver's most popular annual music festivals. For four days, locals and visitors enjoy live music, craft beer, and street vendors.
Shop for Unique Finds
South Broadway has a whole 1100-1800 blocks dedicated to antiques. At Antique Row, you can find a variety of things from garden supplies to custom furniture. If you aren't in the mood for shopping, you can stop for some tea at a local tea room. What makes this area so special is you truly feel like you've been teleported back in time! Many of the shops on Antique Row are located in vintage buildings, which adds more charm to the whole experience.
Watch Independent Films
Mayan Theatre is another historic landmark in Denver. In fact, it's one of the three remaining theatres in the US that has a Mayan Revival style. This theatre isn't your typical mall movie theatre. At Mayan Theatre, you'll be exposed to new and upcoming films. They showcase independent and foreign-language films. So if you're interested in supporting smaller production companies and actors, this place is for you!
Is South Broadway Right for You?
South Broadway is an eclectic Denver neighborhood known for its love for international restaurants and hip live music venues. Young professionals will feel right at home in South Broadway, as well as families who are looking to settle into an urban lifestyle without compromising green space and safety.
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