2020 rank: 45
Tree-lined blocks shade pricey 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). It fell off our list last year due to a drop in home prices, but it’s back on the growth track. 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 bikers, the 2.4-mile East Harvard Gulch Trail, which cuts through the spacious Robert H. McWilliams Park (known to locals 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 34.9 years old. It’s an educated community, with 68 percent of the adult (25 and older) population holding a bachelor’s degree or higher. Forty-eight percent of neighborhood commuters report the trip takes 15 to 30 minutes. When it comes to housing, renters reign, with 48 percent of all units renter-occupied. Singles comprise the majority (57 percent) of neighborhood households. The average household income is $73,412.
How we got these numbers: We utilized the city’s official list of 78 neighborhoods (only 74 had enough data to be included), and ranked them using four variables: home prices, crime data, school 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 rooftop patio appeal to everyone. Asbury Provisions brings craft cocktails, 25 taps, and elevated bar food to the neighborhood. Yum Yum Spice is a go-to for Szechuan-style hotpots. For an affordable breakfast, look no further than Pete’s University Park Cafe.
In non-COVID times, the Denver Astronomical Society hosts public nights at the observatory on Tuesdays and Thursdays ($4 for adults, $3 for children) during which you can get an up-close look at the moon and stars through the venue’s famed 28-foot-long Alvan Clark-Saegmuller refracting telescope. Reservations are recommended.
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 multi-disciplinary events, from modern dance to musicals to an Afro-Latin-jazz orchestra. (As of press time, events were postponed through May 31, 2021.)