Monday, November 14, 2016

Denver's Highlands Neighborhood still a Hot Spot

RE-PRINT:  Views on the Village, 2013

Six years ago, I managed to re-connect with an old friend from Illinois, and when we made plans to have dinner he told me he was near 34th Avenue and Lowell - a neighborhood I was just learning about as "the Highlands." North of North High School and near downtown over the I-25 and Speer overpass, Highland Denver was attracting a lot of young Denver-ites, as well as people with young kids and even retirees looking to downsize.  Restaurants started generating a buzz, townhomes started heading in to the 300-500K range, and a new development in the Denver urban corridor was on the move.  A few years later, I connected with another old friend, and it turned out he and his wife and kids were also living in Highland, owning both sides of a duplex.

Now, Highland has clearly arrived.

With numerous great restaurants, coffee shops, speciality shops, and art galleries, Highland and its sister known as Lo-Hi are appealing to many Denver residents looking for renovated old houses, lofts, town homes, and more in an urban residential area that is friendly, walkable, and hip.  The buzz on the Highlands - or Highland (I'm still not sure) - is kicking up with a great profile in the Denver Post focusing on the history of the renovation and building boom.  Denver's lifestyle magazine 5280 was on the story with the rise of the Highlands a couple years ago in this profile, and these days a quick Google search will turn up many great tidbits and recommendations.  With two of Denver's best new restaurants - Justin Cucci's Root Down and Linger - the Highlands has great eats in a fine location.  Linger, located in the building of the old Olinger Morturary is literally just across from pedestrian bridge into LoDo, and it sits almost poetically above Little Man Ice Cream, which is quite seriously the best ice cream in Denver.

Other great points of interest in the Highlands are Bang and the Common Grounds coffee  shop,  * which are right next to each other and worth an afternoon coffee and some board games followed by a quick stroll over for dinner.  And while you're in the neighborhood, stroll over to Mondo Vino which is a fantastic liquor store with unique choices and an informed and helpful staff.  In fact, my first time in I was just browsing and interested in a nice chardonnay but not planning on buying.  They insisted I just "take the bottle" and remember to come back and "buy two later."  It was a great touch.  I'm also appreciative to Mondo Vino who, I found out later, donates the wine for a charity tasting I attend every year.

There is so much going on the Highlands, and if you haven't been, it's worth the visit.  Check out Happy Hour at Linger, and then grab some desert at Little Man.  You won't be disappointed ... and you may just look to move there.

* Common Grounds closed due to the greed of its landlord

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