Sure, it may feel slightly contrived—a 103-acre “downtown district" dropped into Lakewood in 2004, 10 minutes west of Denver’s actual downtown—but it’s hard to argue with the convenience of the commercial, residential, and cultural mix offered by the Belmar  neighborhood (Kentucky to Alameda, Wadsworth to Pierce). Developed by Continuum Partners  (one of the groups orchestrating the current revitalization of Union Station ), Belmar has more than 80 primarily big-box shops and restaurants, including Whole Foods, Target, Lucky Strike Lanes, and a movie theater, and 4,000 free parking spots—not that you’d need them if you lived in Belmar. With a walk score of 80, the area is easily accessible to residents living just steps away in apartments, condos , and mostly new-construction homes .
BY THE NUMBERS (Figures are for 2012, from Fuller/Sotheby’s Micromarket Reports )
Median Price: $325,000
Average Price: $277,864
Average Price per Square Foot: $174
Average Days on the Market: 91 (a decrease of 62.1% from 2011)
Properties Sold: 24
IN THE 'HOOD
Shopping: Wild at Heart, An Artisan’s Boutique , won 5280’s readers’ choice award for the 2012 “Top of the Town” Women’s Clothing category. And a wide variety of boldface names—including Nordstrom Rack, Best Buy, Sur La Table, Dick’s Sporting Goods, and Yankee Candle—make Belmar a one-stop shopping destination.
Services: Enjoy discounted haircuts, coloring, and perms by students at Paul Mitchell’s school  in Belmar.
Dining: Stop by Wasabi Sushi Bar ’s freestanding circular building for lunch, or check out Wystone’s World Teas ' cheese pairings and, of course, teas (on a hot summer day, take the kiddies by for a frozen Boba drink in flavors like banana, mango, and wildberry).
Diversions: Twinkling lights and the jovial Baker St. Pub  next door make ice skating at the Rink at Belmar  a charming choice for a winter date night. Streets are often blocked off for seasonal farmers' markets and festivals.
Culture: The Block 7 Galleries , made up of seven storefronts and one main gallery, features Front Range design and fine art (from furniture and fabric to photography and graphic design).
Insider Tip: On your next visit to Belmar, look for the installations that are part of the Urban Anatomy  public art initiative.
—Images courtesy of Belmar
Follow copy chief Jessica Farmwald on Twitter at @JessicaKF .