Good neighborhoods in Denver?
October 11, 2011 10:45 AM   Subscribe

Denver: good neighborhoods for a solo lady renter?

I start a job in Aurora on November 1st, and am not terribly familiar with neighborhoods in Denver. Help? More details:

* I'm 32, female, and will be living alone & renting. Safety is a concern.

* I don't want to live in the suburbs, but if there are any artsy neighborhoods with some pubs and coffeeshops somewhat near the Aurora area (or easily accessible by highway), that would probably be ideal. I'd like to be able to walk to fun things like galleries, independent movie theaters, decent restaurants, a park, etc.

* I have no idea what kind of commute time to expect (I'll be driving)--a half an hour? Anything over 45 minutes sounds absurd to me.

* I am not having kids, so school systems are of no concern to me.

* I'd like to keep rent relatively low if possible, but I don't entirely know what's reasonable. $600 is fine--I could go up to $900, but I'd rather stay on the low end of that so that I can pay off my student loans more quickly. The square footage can be small; I care more about location than the aesthetics of my apartment.

Is this possible? Thank you very much in advance!
posted by sugarbomb to Home & Garden (13 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Aurora actually has lots of nice areas now. If you are looking to spend more, head to Parker or something along arapahoe and Parker avenue.
posted by denverco at 11:42 AM on October 11, 2011

i used to live in englewood (with my boyfriend, but), which was a perfectly safe and lovely neighborhood (the big intersection was broadway and belleview). it was about 10 minutes to denver proper.

to attest to its safeness, a couple stories: said boyfriend was a network monkey for a school district, and had to work pretty late one night (i believe he came home at 3am). he was pretty tired once he got home, and in his rush to get to bed, went from his car to the house. two hours later, around 5am, the cops knocked on the door and asked if the white car in the driveway was his, to which he replied in the affirmative. the cops told him he left his drivers side door completely open. we went out to check, and there wasn't a thing missing.

we also had an incident where a pretty strong gust of wind blew our front door wide open while we were asleep (the front door had latching issues, and bf had forgotten to lock the deadbolt). we woke up around 10, walked into the living room, and shut the door. both of our laptops were on the couch, as we left them. we were more surprised that the cat was still in the house.

i don't know if we were just lucky, but we had a pretty nosy neighbor who knew most of the goings on of the neighborhood, and most of the stories she had were pretty boring, all told. mostly who was remodeling what and who moved in/out. i did look at the sex offender map thingy a couple times, there weren't many in the 'hood, and it didn't bug me so much for whatever reason.

we left in 2007, so i am not sure what it's like now, but i liked the part of englewood we lived in, and it wasn't a really far drive to anywhere. we both worked in castle rock, and the drive took about 1/2 an hour on 25 (worse when snowing, obviously). i believe the mortgage on his house was around $7something, so you might be able to get rent in that range. keep in mind, the further into denver from the suburbs that you go, as with any city, the more expensive it is.
posted by koroshiya at 12:10 PM on October 11, 2011

If you would like to be able to walk to pubs and coffee shops than you'll want to live in Capitol Hill or City Park in Denver. Aurora and Englewood won't give you anything artsy and probably not walkable. Aurora is a big place. If you give us an idea of where you will be working that would help with suggestions and inform commute times.
posted by fieldtrip at 12:41 PM on October 11, 2011

Best answer: Artsy, galleries, pubs, indie cinema and coffee shops? You just described my neighborhood. I live in Baker, which is Central Denver.

I used to work at the border of Denver and Aurora and it took me about 20 minutes to get to work. A straight shot down Sixth. Obviously your commute depends a great deal on exactly where you'll be working.

Cap Hill, while it has a lot of those items on your list isn't a place I would want to live. There's a lot of great places, but there's a lot of rough too.

There are some great places in Congress Park and if you don't mind some unusual spaces you can find some good deals in older buildings/homes.

Seriously though, if you can stomach the commute, check out Baker. The awesome just doesn't stop. There are four new establishments set to open this year yet. PunchBowl (a diner/bowling alley), Crimson Canary (an Italian restaurant), and two bars.

Feel free to Me/e-mail me for more details or info or if you want to swing by to check out the hood.
posted by FlamingBore at 12:52 PM on October 11, 2011 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I live in the Uptown neighborhood, which is also sometimes called City Park West. I lived here as a single female for about 10 years before my partner moved in with me. I wouldn't want to live anywhere else. Definitely a walking neighboorhood with great coffee shops, pubs, restaurants, shops, Tattered Cover bookstore, farmers market on Sundays in the summer, and City Park is really wonderful. In the summertime there's a free concert series at City Park called Jazz in the Park and you won't want to miss this. The Denver Film Center just moved in and is a great source for independent films.

I rarely head to Aurora but Uptown is on the east side of Denver so it's not too bad of a commute.

As far as safety, I've never had an issue and we usually leave our front door unlocked. There is a pretty sizeable homeless population and depending on your comfort level some people aren't so okay with that. The Uptown neighborhood is on the north side of Colfax, while the Capitol Hill neighborhood is on the south side of Colfax. I find this makes a huge difference and I feel like the north side is a little safer.

I love Denver! Come see how great it is!
posted by shornco at 12:59 PM on October 11, 2011

Response by poster: Thank you for your responses! I'll look into your advice thoroughly in the next few days.

For those who have asked: I'll be working at UC's Anschutz Medical Campus.

Keep 'em coming!
posted by sugarbomb at 1:57 PM on October 11, 2011

My GF works there and says it's about a 30-35 minute commute for her from my house here in Baker. Of course that will also depend on the time of day you have to be at work. She takes surface streets, not the expressway.
posted by FlamingBore at 2:31 PM on October 11, 2011

When I lived in Denver (mid 90's) a friend called Aurora "Saudi Aurora".

My building in south Denver didn't have a buzzer system...I had magazine sellers and a pimply kid who "wanted to know if I'd gotten my paper" bang on my door....also another unit was a coyote way station.
posted by brujita at 2:54 PM on October 11, 2011

I don't mean the canine.
posted by brujita at 2:54 PM on October 11, 2011

Clearly it's time for a meetup.

Try Glendale. Some parts are seedy (which means reasonable prices), some are gentrification central. Quite safe.
posted by freshwater at 6:41 PM on October 11, 2011


Seconding Baker, we bought a house there in June and are very happy with the area.
posted by craven_morhead at 8:44 AM on October 12, 2011

Response by poster: I'm in for a meetup--I love meeting new people!
posted by sugarbomb at 9:36 PM on October 12, 2011

Best answer: I'm late in responding but this might be helpful.
I work at the same campus as you are about to (congrats!) have lived in central Denver over 10 years, and always rented. It appears that we enjoy the same type of neighborhoods. Regarding city living, there is always a bit more crime or homeless population or pandhandlers than in the suburbs. However, you also get the galleries, restaurants and theaters. Personally, this is a completely acceptable tradeoff. So, housing is such a personal choice! I always lock my doors no matter where I am, and no what is going on-I'm a city girl. I would not enjoy other areas of the denver metro area that have more strip malls and big retail chain stores and subdivisions. Not for me. I'm a youngish 39 and feel that I can give you a good description of the neighborhoods below that might interest you.

Baker-Adore baker excellent walking in relation to the community, shops, etc. as you mentioned. About 30-35 mins from "our" work depending on what time you go in. (I work generally 8-4) Baker has somewhat scary alleys I think.

Cap Hill/Gov Park area-tons of young, 20s to 30s. Younger more party scene and worse parking the farther west you go. Great walking potential. Would say more party/wild than rough and this can vary street to street, building to building and neighbor to neighbor. 30 min commute. Cap Hill is loud and has terrible parking.

Congress Park-a little more expensive and sedate than Capitol Hill. Where the Cap Hillers go when they turn 30. Better parking, a bit further west, might be a good option for you. Great bookstore, Denver Film Society, restaurants, etc. Be wary of Colorado Blvd--it's one of the busiest streets in the state. 25-30 commute. Congress Park can be expensive.

Uptown-totally agree with shornco-one of my favorite neighborhoods in Denver. Wonderful walkability. Wonderful bars, restaurants, galleries. 25-30 commute. I can't think of anything bad to say about Updtown except that it is too small and can be difficult to find a place.

Park Hill-this area is nicer in the west closer to Colorado. Not as many apartment rentals but the ones there are more likely to be in your price range. This area is north of colfax and is up and coming. 20-25 minute commute. Too many children in the library & mostly expensive houses.

Hale or sometimes called South Park Hill- This is the area east of colorado and south of colfax. I lived in this area and loved it. Residential so quiet but close to everything. 10 minutes to downtown. walk to colfax. Ride bicycle to chery creek. Rent is reasonable. 15-20 mins. Just slightly out of reach of walking to a lot of places.

I currently live in five points/whittier and love it. Less expensive, more diversity across socio-economics and ethnicities. About 25 minutes commute. I love it, but it can be too rough a neighborhood for many people. (Although my experience has not been anything like that!)

Good luck to you at new place and new job!
And I'm up for a meet-up!
posted by Kitty Cornered at 7:26 PM on October 17, 2011 [2 favorites]

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