By Donna Fowler
If you’re looking for a home in an area with panache, one that has the distinction of being named one of the hippest neighborhoods in the country, then you need to explore the lower Highlands neighborhood, a.k.a. LoHi.
The funky neighborhood snagged the No. 17 spot on Forbes Magazine’s 2017 list of Best Hipster Neighborhoods for its rooftop bars, LoHi Music Festival, streets fairs and Navajo Street Art District as well as having the third highest number of coffee shops per capita. Sunset magazine chimes in, deeming it one of Denver’s coolest neighborhoods.
LoHi sits on a hill between I-25 and Federal Boulevard, with Speer Boulevard/29th Avenue to the south and 38th Avenue to the north. It overlooks Riverfront Park and Commons Park across I-25 and is connected to lower downtown Denver, or LoDo, by the bicycle/pedestrian Highland Bridge.
LoHi infuses it inner-city charm with a cosmopolitan buzz. Bradford Real Estate owner and managing broker Brad Lewis knows all about the neighborhood’s allure. He has lived there for more than 17 years and moved his 24-year-old company there in 1999.
“There’s an energy you get from the combination of long-time residents and new folks just moving in,” Brad says. “Everyone’s enthusiasm for urban living is contagious. At the same time, getting to the mountains is convenient, so it’s hard to beat.”
The neighborhood architecture ranges from old, beautiful two-story brick homes to modern lofts with incredible views of the downtown skyline that are more affordable than those in LoDo.
Brad doesn’t just live and work in the neighborhood, he hangs out there because of the incredible restaurants, bars, coffee houses and local boutique shops that he can easily walk to. The shopping, eateries and nightlife of LoDo and downtown Denver are within walking distance as well due to the aforementioned Highland Bridge.
His favorite restaurant, hands down, is Spuntino, 2639 W. 32nd Ave., which is owned by a husband and wife whose travels, passions and experiences inspire the seasonal Italian cuisine and drinks they offer. “I am always amazed at what comes out of this small open kitchen,” says Brad. “My wife and I enjoy sitting at the bar for dinner. The ambiance is always nice.”
Other favorites are Bar Dough, 2227 W 32nd Ave., an Italian kitchen with a different take on traditional cuisine, and The Bindery, which combines a fine dining experience with a market and bakery at 1817 Central St.
An ice-cream aficionado, Brad recommends Little Man Ice Cream, 2620 16th St. You can’t miss this local favorite, which does business from inside a 28-foot-tall, 14,000-lb. cream can. Their ice cream, vegan ice cream and sorbets are handmade with some of the finest, locally sourced ingredients possible. “Best to not go there too often,” he admits.
Brad also enjoys good wine as well as a tasty cup of joe. He finds the level of service and the selection of wine at Cask and Craft, 3744 Tejon St., exceptional and recommends the recently opened Pinwheel Coffee, 3659 Navajo St., which is run by students of Denver Montessori Junior/ Senior High School. “They offer great craft coffee ─ and you’re helping teach these kids’ about running a business.”
There’s a lot more to do in LoHi than just eat and imbibe, though. Brad says you should definitely check out The Bug Theater, 3651 Navajo St., and the galleries along the Navajo Arts District. “It makes for a great evening out!”
There are also community family events for residents and neighborhood visitors such as the LoHi Music Festival, the Independence Day Parade and ─ just missed it ─ October’s Highland Haunt.
“Whether you’re looking for a home, a new place to enjoy dinner out, or just some weekend, family fun, you really should make a point of visiting LoHi,” Brad says.