We all wish for houses in safe, fun neighborhoods with great schools—just like we all wish eating raw cookie dough with a spoon would give us six-pack abs. Unfortunately, buying in an affordable area means sacrificing something. Here, the pros and cons of living in four of Denver’s least expensive ’hoods.

Indian Creek

Average sales price: $282,729

Schools: For the 2016-’17 school year, DPS gave the area’s only school, Rocky Mountain Prep Creekside Elementary, high marks.

Crime: Indian Creek isn’t just comparatively safe; it has one of the lowest crime rates of any neighborhood in the city.

Fun: There’s not much—or, really, anything—in the way of nightlife. (But Comrade Brewing Company’s delicious beers reside just south of the border.)

Miscellaneous: A cyclist’s paradise, Indian Creek offers quick access to the Cherry Creek Trail as well as a number of bike shops, including Alchemy Bicycles.

Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge
Bison ranges through Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge. Courtesy of iStock


Average sales price: $285,448

Schools: Maxwell Elementary met DPS’ expectations; Marie L. Greenwood Elementary, McGlone Elementary, and John H. Amesse Elementary did not.

Crime: Montbello’s rates hover near the city’s average, but they’ve been falling: Crime dipped by eight percent from 2016 to 2017.

Fun: Pick up a hobby and splurge on the HBO cable package. This place is a fun desert—though it is just south of the Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge.

Miscellaneous: Montbello could appeal to expanding families because the properties are, on average, about 2,000 square feet—800 square feet larger than homes in most of Denver’s other “affordable” ‘hoods.

Garfield Lake Park
Garfield Lake Park in Denver’s Mar Lee neighborhood. Photo by Steve Simon

Mar Lee

Average sales price: $291,033

Schools: Force Elementary, Charles M. Schenck Community School, and Denison Montessori met DPS expectations; Johnson Elementary received lower marks.

Crime: The overall rate remains close to or lower than average for all types of offenses, though crime did tick up four percent last year.

Fun: Garfield Lake Park—with its tennis courts, 0.6-mile running trail, new bike path for kids, outdoor pool, and playground—is one of the city’s most pleasant green spaces.

Miscellaneous: Mar Lee won’t rival Congress Park for quaintness; 1950s-style single-story homes fill the neighborhood, and strip malls line busy Sheridan Boulevard.

Overland Golf Course
Courtesy of Overland Golf Course

Ruby Hill

Average sales price: $308,958

Schools: Godsman Elementary and Scmitt Elementary received high marks, as did Strive Prep-Ruby Hill and Strive Prep-Federal (both are just outside the area).

Crime: Violent crimes dropped a startling 42 percent from 2016 to 2017. The overall rate, however, remained around average for Denver.

Fun: Rip tee shots at nearby Overland Golf Course and attend 50 free concerts a year at Ruby Hill Park’s Levitt Pavilion, a new outdoor music venue.

Miscellaneous: The houses here cost less than those in nearby Harvey Park and Platt Park, but that’s likely because more have siding rather than brick exteriors.

Shane Monaghan
Shane Monaghan
Shane Monaghan is the former digital editor of 5280.com and teaches journalism at Regis Jesuit High School.