The historic Park Hill neighborhood five miles east of downtown Denver (roughly Colfax Avenue to Smith Road, Colorado Boulevard to Quebec Street) is one of the city’s oldest and most storied residential areas, with around 27,000 people living in a little less than five square miles. Decades of incremental development have resulted in a wide variety of architectural styles, and the neighborhood’s early and active embrace of racial integration helped to make Park Hill the vibrant and culturally diverse community it is today. Many families enjoy walking to the small, locally owned stores and restaurants situated in pockets along 23rd Avenue, the southern Colfax border boasts some of the city’s best Ethiopian dining options, and the family-friendly, service-oriented community contains more than 30 places of worship. Although Park Hill is close enough to participate in all downtown Denver has to offer, the Greater Park Hill Community organization helps ensure that residents have a more intimate sense of belonging and access to neighborhood fun and resources—whether through their annual 4th of July parade, the monthly newspaper, or an emergency food pantry.

BY THE NUMBERS (Figures are for 2012, from Fuller/Sotheby’s Micromarket Reports; Colfax to 26th Avenue, Colorado to Quebec)

Median Price: $399,500
Average Price: $458,039
Average Price per Square Foot: $292
Average Days on the Market: 58 (a decrease of 31% from 2011)
Properties Sold: 229


Shopping: The showrooms within the 10,000-square-foot Mod Livin’ at 5327 E. Colfax are filled with mid-century new and vintage furniture and accessories from boldface names like Kartell and Eames. At the nonprofit Bike Depot, you can feel good about the money you spend on your two-wheeling habit—the shop has new bikes and accessories as well as a service menu, or you can visit during Fix Your Bike hours when volunteer mechanics are on hand to help you with your DIY cycling projects. One thing Park Hill conspicuously lacks is a large grocery store—but you can find the essentials, plus Italian imports and killer deli sandwiches, at Spinelli’s Market.

Services: Little b’s and its “parent” salon, Bang, have graced 5280‘s Top of the Town list for hair care (kids and adults) multiple times. A plethora of pet-care-related storefronts speak to Park Hill’s love for four-legged friends (see Barkly Manor, Ciji’s Natural Pet Supplies, Oona’s Dog Groom & Spa, Park Hill Animal Hospital, Park Hill Veterinary Medical Center, and The Beauty Bark).

Dining: Tables (#20 on our Best Restaurant list for 2011) is the kind of casual, friendly spot with delightful seasonal cuisine that every neighborhood craves. For an adventure, try Queen of Sheba’s authentic Ethiopian eats. (Hint: If you’re impatient, go for takeout.) Cake Crumbs, Cherry Tomato, and the Cork House are other local favorites.

Diversions: Entertainment in Park Hill is family-oriented, with regular events like the Park Hill Family Bike Rides and Viva Streets. Parents can enroll their kids in a variety of classes nearby, such as fencing, music, gymnastics, and dance. For visitors, the annual summer Park Hill Garden Walk and fall Park Hill Home Tour & Street Fair are great opportunities to explore the area.

Culture: The nonprofit Art Garage, a reclaimed gas station, hosts everything from art workshops and summer camps to private special events and a weekly summer “gas” (green art sale) market with music and food vendors.

Insider Tip: The decades-old, three-story Park Hill Book Co-Op near 23rd and Dexter provides members with discounts and used book credits.

—Images courtesy of Stevie Crecelius (parade) & Erin Vanderberg (Art Garage)

Follow copy chief Jessica Farmwald on Twitter at @JessicaKF.