The Best Neighborhoods in Denver for Families

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Malcolm-Wiley Floyd

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Jun 28, 2023

CEO and Co-Founder of Stairs Financial, a YC-backed startup that connects first-time home buyers with down payment assistance programs across the US. Malcolm-Wiley studied economics at Harvard and is a licensed mortgage broker.

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    If you’re shopping for a home in Denver to accommodate your growing family, there are so many factors to consider. Schools, playgrounds, maybe even walkability. Of course, no neighborhood is perfect for every family, but Denver is a broad city with plenty of family-friendly options. 

    Since there are so many choices, and every neighborhood has its perks, we’ve built a shortlist of the best neighborhoods in Denver for families to help you narrow things down.

    Beat the Denver housing market with down payment assistance

    Housing in Denver isn’t the least expensive on the market. However, down payment assistance programs for Colorado buyers can put purchasing a home in Denver within your reach.

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      Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only and should not be considered as legal or financial advice. Please consult an attorney, mortgage lender, or CPA for guidance on your specific situation.

      Best neighborhoods in Denver for families: The shortlist

      The 5 best neighborhoods for families in Denver: All the info

      All of the neighborhoods on our shortlist are in Denver proper, which is most convenient if you’re working in the city center. If you’d like to be a bit outside of town with a bit more seclusion, you may be more interested in one of Denver’s suburbs, which we’ll also talk about briefly.

      But first, here’s the info on our top five picks for best family neighborhoods in Denver.

      1. Berkeley

      Berkeley is a relatively small neighborhood in northwest Denver with two lakes close by. Nearby schools cover all grades through highschool, and easy access to highway 75 makes for a reasonable commute into town.

      Berkeley is also one of the most walkable neighborhoods around the outskirts of Denver, but quick access to highway 75 also makes it easy to get out of town, if you like to get outdoors.

      One drawback is home prices, which are relatively high for Denver, making this neighborhood out of reach for some families. 

      • Average home price: $760,354
      • Crime rate: Average 5.7 incidents per month
      • Walkability/bikeability score: 82
      • Notable features: Berkeley Lake Park and Rocky Mountain Lake Park

      2. Bear Valley

      Bear Valley is a small neighborhood right on the edge of the Denver city limits. It’s about as close to a suburb as you can get without actually living outside of the city. It’s closer to the mountains than to the center of town, and Bear Creek runs through the middle of the neighborhood.

      Schools in the neighborhood go all the way up to high school, and, despite being on the edge of Denver, there are plenty of businesses and services in the neighborhood. 

      Bear Valley gets the number two spot on our list for one very important reason: housing prices in this neighborhood are slightly below average for Denver, making it a more affordable option for a family buying their first home. 

      • Average home price: $540,424
      • Crime rate: Average 4.0 incidents per month
      • Walkability/bikeability score: 34
      • Notable features: Bear Valley Park and Bear Creek Greenbelt

      3. Hilltop

      Hilltop is close enough to the city center that you could commute downtown without getting on a major highway. However, the major highways aren’t far if you do need to go a little further for work or head to the Rockies on the weekends. There are also two parks in the neighborhood and Cherry Creek is just down the street.

      Hilltop has no neighborhood high school, but there are a few highschools in the bordering neighborhoods, and schools in Hilltop serve all the lower grades.   

      4. Virginia Village

      Virginia Village is a neighborhood which is mostly zoned residential, which is nice if you want quieter streets. However, there’s plenty of commerce on the neighborhood’s west side, so you don’t have to drive far for groceries. Schools that cover every grade are also nearby.

      Virginia Village is a bit far from downtown, but there’s easy access to highway 25 and highway 285. Highway 25 makes commuting into town pretty straightforward, and highway 285 tends to have lighter traffic if you’re heading into the mountains.   

      • Average home price: $628,110
      • Crime rate: Average 9.9 incidents per month
      • Walkability/bikeability score: 66
      • Notable features: Cherry Creek State Park

      5. South Park Hill

      South Park Hill has excellent proximity to the city center. City Park, one of the largest parks in Denver, is also very close. South Park Hill is both reasonably walkable and quite driveable. Almost everything you need, including schools, is accessible without getting on the highway.

      The easy access to all of the Denver attractions does make it a bit of a drive if you’re on your way out of town, but the day-to-day convenience is tough to beat.

      Best playgrounds in Denver

      Once you’re living in Denver with your family, you’ll of course want to know where to take the kids to play. The good news is that Denver has several amazing playgrounds, in addition to all the natural parks with lakes and trails.

      Denver Premium Outlets, Thornton

      Denver Premium Outlets might be in a shopping mall, but it has a huge playground complete with rubber turf, massive climbing towers, and a dinosaur area. The park is open to the public, even those who are not visiting the stores. (Though the nearby mall can be convenient if you need to get some shopping done while the kids play.)

      Arvada Volunteer Firefighters Park, Arvada

      This firefighter-themed playground in northwest Denver has all sorts of slides, spinners, and a play fire truck. The park is surrounded by lots of wide open green space, and there are two lakes within minutes. There’s enough to get a whole day’s worth of entertainment and exercise.

      Westlands Park, Greenwood Village

      Westlands Park is one of the older playgrounds in Denver, but it’s been updated several times. It now sports three separate play areas with everything from playhouses to a slide built into a hillside. There’s also a pond with a splash area nearby, and the park is relatively centrally located in Denver.

      Centennial Center Park, Centennial

      Centennial Center Park has the largest sprayground in town, a huge playground with creative climbing areas, and even an event stage. Cherry Creek State Park is also just across the street, which offers wide open spaces and a lake.

      Paco Sanchez Park, Villa Park

      Paco Sanchez Park has literal hills of rubber, a 30-foot covered climbing tower, a concrete hill slide, and all sorts of other play areas. The park grounds have a creek running through, with several walking trails. There’s also a skatepark nearby for the kids who are too cool for playgrounds.

      Best Denver suburbs for families

      Living in Denver can be convenient, but being in town isn’t for everyone. If you’re looking for something a bit quieter, Denver has many suburbs. These are some of the best Denver suburbs for families.

      Littleton

      Littleton is one of the southernmost suburbs in Denver with three lakes in the neighborhood and Chatfield State Park just a few minutes away. There are several schools in the neighborhood, including three high schools. If you do need to make the trip into town, highway 85 runs along the west side of the neighborhood.

      Lakewood

      Lakewood is west of Denver, nestled next to the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. Despite being at the very edge of Denver, there are a surprising number of businesses in the area, which could enable you to find work that requires very little commute.

      There are several schools in the area, including one high school. It’s a great neighborhood if you plan on making regular trips into the mountains outside of town.

      Commerce City

      Commerce City is a large collection of suburbs in northeast Denver. The main attraction is Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge. It’s a large outdoors area with two lakes and miles of hiking trails. All the schools your family needs are in the neighborhood, and two nearby highways make getting into town relatively easy.

      Fort Logan

      Fort Logan is a suburb that borders the Denver city limits, which makes it relatively convenient if you need to commute into the city center. The neighborhood is also bordered by Marston Lake and Centennial Park. With all the schools in the area, Fort Logan can be a great neighborhood for the entire family. 

      Centennial

      Centennial is a large suburb on the south side of Denver. There’s a large, wide open park in the neighborhood, and Highway 25 runs along the west side of the suburb, for those who need to commute into town. 

      There are several schools in the area, but the nearest highschool is in the bordering neighborhood to the north. Even so, it’s still a nice part of Denver to raise a family.

      The bottom line: Is Denver a good place to raise a family?

      Denver formally ranks in the middle of the pack among American cities. One of the biggest reasons Denver doesn’t rank higher is housing costs. If Denver housing costs are prohibitive for you, there are also several good neighborhoods for families in Colorado Springs, which are a bit more affordable.

      However, Denver can be a great place to raise a family, especially if you move to a part of town that offers what you want.

      The city center is quite walkable and there’s plenty of public transit. There are many good schools and more wide open spaces than you’d find in most large cities. Since Denver is a sizable metro area, there are also many education and career opportunities for you and your family.

      For families that like to be outdoors, there’s plenty of skiing, mountain biking, and other outdoor activities in the Rocky Mountains to the west. Though, if you’d like to take easy advantage of Colorado’s natural beauty, it’s wise to look for a home in the suburbs to the south or west of downtown.

      Buying a home in Denver? How to get down payment assistance

      Although Denver is a great city, buying a house in the area can be pricey. This makes for relatively high down payment requirements. However, there are down payment assistance (DPA) programs available to help you cover some or all of your upfront costs. 

      You could qualify for thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars in assistance. The trouble is that information about DPA programs is disparate and difficult to find, which can leave you feeling like there’s no assistance for you.

      Stairs Financial solves this problem by bring all the information together in one place. Stairs connects you to qualified lenders who work with all the down payment assistance programs you might qualify for, then lets you compare your options side-by-side.

      Learn more.

      Find up to $15,000 towards a home 🏠

      Compare local down payment assistance and find a mortgage, fast.

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