There is so much happening in Downtown Denver that you could write a book on the opportunities of living in the Urban Downtown area.
The Denver Post interviewed Chris and Jennifer Livingston who are part of a new wave in downtown dwellers. Downtowners in Denver have increased 142 percent since 2000. Trendy businesses are relocating to the downtown, posh boutique hotels are springing up and the city center is becoming a playground for “Millennials”, people born between 1981 and 2000, according to the Brookings Institution.
And the Livingstons report that they have found their dream home and no need for a car.
“We love it,” said Jennifer Livingston, 33, who moved here from Los Angeles, selling off her car and renting with her husband a two-bedroom Riverfront Park loft. “We wanted to live in a city that had an easier way of life, quality life and affordability,” Livingston said. “We are nature people and love the mountains. We wanted to be in a vibrant community. … We love walking to Highland and being on the green space.”
Research shows that Millennials are looking for great transit, walkability to Chic Clubs, award winning restaurants and even a miniature golf course, which is now part of the downtown scene. The classiest bowling is at Lucky Strike which overlooks the downtown with a full bar and eatery, and women in evening attire who don vintage bowling shoes while sipping a dirty martini. The three story Pavilions is for all shopping and movie going and a popular late night haunt right on the 16th Street Walking Mall with its Rapid Transit. Denver was once a sleepy city that shut down at night, downtown Denver’s streets now come alive after 5 o’clock.
More than 17,500 people call downtown Denver home — a number expected to grow by nearly 18 percent over the next five years. Three-quarters of the downtown population is white, nearly 60% has a college degree, and the average age is 33 with an average annual household income of $76,000. And the best thing is that one-fourth of these city lovers don’t own a car. That is how great downtown public transportation is.
More than $630 million in downtown projects were built last year. Of the 26 projects under construction, 15 are residential. When completed, downtown Denver will have more than 2,800 additional residential living spaces.
Townhouses and Hi Rises boast fully equipped bicycle maintenance shops for the residents and fleets of bikes to borrow, not rent. Many are LEED-built residences with energy-saving touches like solar panels, and they’re all located near transit routes. With over 300 days of sunshine in Denver if you are devoted to energy conservation look no further.
Downtown is also the home of the University of Colorado Auraria Campus and combined with two other colleges, houses over 30,000 students. With the creative and extensive renovation and new availability of lofts, this area is rapidly attracting people who are excited about living in the dynamic heart of the city.
And, you will want to love sports to live in the Downtown. I mean really love sports much like Boston does. It is like heroine to Denverites. Denver has now become the largest sports mecca in the west with the addition of three huge stadiums within the last seven years. In 1995, downtown Denver unveiled a new 50,000-seat stadium, Coors Field, for the Colorado Rockies, Denver’s Major League Baseball team. Denver added the Pepsi Center to the Denver skyline in 1999 and this magnificent stadium hosts the Denver Nuggets of the NBA and the 2001 winner of the Stanley Cup, the NHL’s Colorado Avalanche. To add to any sports fan’s appetite, Denver has also added Invesco Field in 2001 for the NFL’s Denver Broncos to replace the old iconic Mile High Stadium. Picture opening with Bruce Springsteen.
Most people choose downtown for the lifestyle, the electric energy and it’s close proximity to work. And Denver Public Schools will locate its very first downtown school this year.
Denver’s top five walkable neighborhoods are in Downtown Denver. Your home here can be a re-envisioned office building that has been converted to a loft-style condo, or a gleaming high-rise offering spectacular vistas of downtown and the majestic Rockies.
Over the past two decades lower downtown, LoDo, has been not only restored and renovated into one of the liveliest areas in the city but has one of the largest concentrations of Victorian and turn of the century architecture in the entire country. LoDo has 90…count em…90 brewpubs, sports bars, restaurants and coffee nooks. This is mecca for the artist where there are a plethora of art galleries, ad agencies and graphics design studios. In fall Oktoberfest is a signature event in LoDo.
Nearby Larimer Square was the first historic neighborhood in America to be revitalized in 1969. The glittering lights lining an entire block of posh stores and comfortable restaurants are charming and elegant, surrounding a vibrant nightlife. There are over 200 fashion lines from around the world in Larimer. Top chefs drool to locate here. Larimer hosts the Denver Chalk Art Festival with breathtaking art that washes away once you take your historic photo and the late day rain that rolls in like clockwork over the mountains erases the one of a kind works of art.
A mile-long pedestrian mall cuts through the heart of downtown Denver and is surrounded by a series of parks and plazas that soften the towering skyscrapers and provide vantage points from which to see and appreciate the ultra modern architecture.
Behind Union Station and along the river, Riverfront is on the other side of the tracks and booming with trendy housing and access to the 40-mile bike path that follows the Platte River. Elitch Gardens Theme Park is the only downtown amusement park in the entire country. The Denver Children’s Museum, the Downtown Aquarium and the Museum of Contemporary Art, which was designed to look quite extraterrestrial by London architect, David Adjaye, is all within biking distance.
This area is the home to My Brother’s Bar which the only bar left in Denver that was the premier hangout for Beat Generation icons like Jack Kerouac.
The streets between Coors Field and the concert destination of the Pepsi Center boasts the most popular nightlife in Denver and it has the best dining the city has to offer offering New York City entertainment as well.
But eating out is a lifestyle in the Downtown Denver, an art form, a religious rite that you may never recover from.
Acorn created a citywide, mouthwatering uproar when they opened this “gritty-chic” eatery dedicated to small artistic plates in the urban marketplace called The Source. “The gourmet glitterati have been going gaga for the contemporary creations using shishito pepper and grilled pork belly”. The Acorn is making national news.
And the Humboldt has a tag line of “Farm, Fish, Wine” focused on seasonality and local produce surrounding the daily catch. Don’t miss their Nantucket oysters. The Curtis Club is where a “mountain lodge meets metro lounge” in the once upon a time “punk-rock dive”. Chef Eric Johnson’s farm-sourced contemporary cuisine includes eclectic snacks like sweetbread corn dogs and deviled quail eggs. And you will want to be part of their “Never-Ending Table of Happiness”. “I built the kind of place my friends and I like to hang out in over cocktails and good food,” owner Bagus says. But Fat Sully’s New York Pizza, The Denver Biscuit Company, La Bibliotheca and Root Down are in the headlines for culinary masterpieces on a daily basis. In short, you could dine out every night in Downtown Denver and not repeat any one dinner menu.
The truth? Downtown is just the best, brightest and most lively place to live if you are looking to be an Urban Dweller in Denver. So sell your car, shed those unwanted pounds and get healthy and happy in the Downtown.