2021 rank: 15
Tree-lined blocks shade new builds and mid-century brick Tudors and bungalows—almost exclusively single-family—in this well-established neighborhood just east of the University of Denver (DU). Those homes became quite a bit pricier over the past year: University Park saw the fourth-highest rise in average sale prices, with many dwellings now topping $900,000. The neighborhood gathering place is Observatory Park, site of DU’s Chamberlin Observatory, a Romanesque structure that’s listed on the National Register of Historic Places. University Park’s wide streets and grassy lawns make it a pleasant place to walk, and there’s easy access to I-25 and, for cyclists, the 2.4-mile East Harvard Gulch Trail, which cuts through the spacious Robert H. McWilliams Park (known to residents as Dinosaur Park because of a purple dino in the playground).
Demographics—Get to Know Your Neighbors
The median age of University Park residents is 37.3 years old. It’s an educated community, with 68 percent of the adult (25 and older) population holding bachelor’s degrees or higher. When it comes to housing, renters have a slight edge, occupying 56 percent of all filled units. Non-family households are in the majority (61 percent), and the average household income is $62,402.
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
Your best dining options sit across South University Boulevard in the University neighborhood. The Pioneer may have started as a hangout for college students, but its stellar tacos and a rooftop patio appeal to everyone. Asbury Provisions brings craft cocktails, 25 rotating taps, and elevated bar food to the ’hood. Yum Yum Spice is a go-to for Szechuan-style hot pots, and Jerusalem Restaurant is a Middle Eastern stalwart. For an affordable breakfast, head to Pete’s University Park Cafe.
In non-pandemic times, the Denver Astronomical Society hosts public nights at the observatory on Tuesday and Thursday nights ($4 for adults, $3 for students) during which you can get an up-close look at the moon and stars through the venue’s famed 26-foot-long Alvan Clark-Saegmuller refracting telescope. For now, stargazers will have to settle for monthly open houses on the observatory’s south lawn ($2 donation), weather permitting.
Across the neighborhood’s boundaries, on the DU campus, sits the Newman Center for the Performing Arts. The striking venue hosts a packed calendar of multidisciplinary events, from modern dance to opera.