2021 rank: 29
Rounding out this year’s list is Highland, which was originally known as Northside. In recent years, an influx of new residents and popular eateries, bars, and retailers has propelled downtown’s neighbor into one of the hottest expanses in the city. Though the powers that be consider it one big neighborhood, locals separate the eminently walkable area into three distinct sections: Highland, LoHi (Lower Highland), and Platte Street. Each has a slightly different feel, but wherever you go, expect to find a blend of young families, new homeowners, and long-timers taking up residence in classic Denver Squares and more recent apartment and townhome additions.
Demographics—Get to Know Your Neighbors
Highland skews young with a median age of 32.9 years old. It’s an educated community, with 73 percent of the adult (25 and older) population holding bachelor’s degrees or higher. When it comes to housing, renters are commonplace, accounting for 61 percent of all filled units. Non-family households are also more likely, comprising 72 percent of the area’s homes. The average household income is $96,554.
How we got these numbers: We utilized the city’s official list of 78 neighborhoods (only 73 had enough data to be included), and ranked them using four variables: home prices, crime dataschool rankings, and an X factor score that accounts for things like access to open space, proximity to public transportation, and restaurant and shopping options. For more on our methodology, return to the main page.
Eat & Drink
If we had to bet, we’d guess that Highland has one of the highest numbers of food and beverage offerings per capita of any neighborhood in Denver. The area is home to celebrated local restaurants like Spuntino and Cart-Diver; one of the city’s first food halls, Avanti Food & Beverage; and trendy additions such as Daughter Thai Kitchen & Bar and Señor Bear.
That doesn’t mean you can’t find history here. Lechuga’s Italian Restaurant has been around since 1961, and My Brother’s Bar (add a burger to your beer order) is the city’s oldest bar—it’s been operating since 1873.
Imbibers can stroll almost anywhere in the ’hood and find plenty of venues to enjoy craft brews (Denver Beer Co.) or craft cocktails (Lady Jane, Room for Milly) or locally made spirits (Mythology Distillery, the Family Jones Spirit House) or coffee (Queensberry Coffee, Pinwheel Coffee).
Catch a Show
The small but mighty Navajo Street Art District is no more as creative venues have been priced out of the trendy area. But the Bug Theatre—built in 1912 as a movie house—is still standing as a community gathering spot for oft-humorous theatrical performances, among other creative endeavors.
In other exciting news: In April 2022, the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver took over the historic Holiday Theater as a secondary location that will host a variety of community-focused events.
Highland is not just one of Denver’s most historic neighborhoods—it used to be its own city, incorporated in 1875. Its residents were so devoted to planting gardens and trees that the district was nicknamed the Garden City of the Plains. It was annexed to Denver in 1896.