Neighborhood Watch: Cheesman Park

April 25 2013, 11:02 AM

The Cheesman Park neighborhood—which includes the 80-acre namesake green space and surrounding blocks—features high-rise condos, rental apartments, and historic mansions, without much in between. A handful of retail spots fall within the neighborhood's boundaries, but the real attraction is its proximity to both downtown (less than two miles west) and Cherry Creek (two miles southeast) and access to the park. As the eastern boundary of Denver's hipster haven, Capitol Hill, the area has some of the same urban sensibilities—residents love the walkability (walk score: 84), and it's notoriously LGBTQ-friendly (the annual PrideFest parade kicks off at the park each June). But Cheesman feels more like a grown-up neighborhood than a nightlife hot spot, with young nine-to-fivers, couples with dogs, and families outnumbering students and service industry professionals, especially the farther south you get from Colfax Avenue.

Rumors abound about the park itself (some true, like number 8 from our Tall Tales feature: "There are bodies buried in Cheesman Park"), but we've always found it to be a peaceful place to take an early morning  jog or spend a sunny weekend day. Unlike some other Denver parks, there's almost always plenty of room to spread out with a comfortable amount of space between your picnic blanket and your neighbor's. Plus, just about anything goes at Cheesman—we've seen people practicing tai chi, slacklining, and playing croquet alongside those enjoying more traditional pastimes like pick-up volleyball games and Frisbee.

BY THE NUMBERS (Figures are for the first quarter of 2013, from Fuller/Sotheby’s Micromarket Reports; York to Downing, Colfax to Eighth)

Median Price: $234,500
Average Price: $376,959
Average Price per Square Foot: $229
Average Days on the Market: 78 (a decrease of 20.4% from 2012)
Properties Sold: 32

IN THE 'HOOD

Shopping: Although it's technically just past the western border of Cheesman, the King Soopers at Downing and 9th Avenue (affectionately dubbed "Queen Soopers" by Cap Hill residents) serves the neighborhood. Hugo's Colorado Beer & Spirits is our go-to spot to stock our home bar and fridge, with a well-edited selection of local (and the best of the rest) spirits, wine, and brews, plus mix-your-own sixers.

Services: Bound By Design has a loyal following from Denver's pierced and inked set.

Dining: Wyman's No. 5 is loved by locals and Chicago transplants alike for its deep-dish pies, microbrews, and laid-back vibe. Next door, Liks Ice Cream scoops unique, hand-crafted flavors like Jack Daniels Chocolate Chip, Ancho Chile, and Peach Cobbler. Venture up to Colfax to snag one of Torta Grill's phenomenal—and cheap—sandwiches. Toward the other end of the park, Skoops Ice Cream & More is a lunchtime staple; be sure to snag something from the pastry case for your picnic basket.

Culture: Abend Gallery Fine Art houses a variety of media from nationally and internationally recognized artists; new exhibitions open regularly.

Diversions: The Denver Botanic Gardens call Cheesman home; go for the plant sales in the fall and spring, the concert series in the summer, and the Blossoms of Light exhibit in the winter.

Insider Tip: You can rent the park's neoclassical pavilion from the City of Denver for a special event—or take engagement or family photos with mountain and city views as a backdrop for free.

—Image Courtesy of Erin Shelly (Botanic Gardens Blossoms of Light)

Follow copy chief Jessica Farmwald on Twitter at @JessicaKF.