May 24, 2023
The Highlands, Potter Highlands, Highlands Park, Scottish Highlands, Upper Highlands, Lower Highlands, East Highland and West Highlands. These are all names associated with the neighborhoods the city recognizes as Highland and West Highland, which represent some of Denver’s earliest suburbs.
This month we’re highlighting West Highland, the enclave between Federal and Sheridan Boulevards to the east and west and 38th and 29th Avenues north to south.
Originally West Highland was part of the town of Highland, a region of the growing metropolis in the hills overlooking the confluence of the South Platte River and Cherry Creek. As subdivisions were platted and developed, Highland became a destination for people who wanted to live in grand homes with access to clean air and artesian well water above the dirty and vice-ridden towns of Denver and Auraria below. As the 19th century gave way to the 20th, the area became known more for its embrace of the growing middle class than its dazzling Victorians, and the architecture began to reflect residents’ more modest pocketbooks: smaller lots and homes and the rise of the Craftsman movement with its sturdy bungalows.
Today, West Highland is one of Denver’s most desired locations. Encompassing a small retail strip on West 29th Avenue east of Sheridan, and Highland Square, the vibrant business district at 32nd and Lowell that hosts a farmer’s market on Sunday mornings in season, West Highland serves up great eats at stalwarts like Pizza Alley, Three Dogs Tavern, Trattoria Stella and Mead St. Provisions. And it doesn’t stop there! Additional restaurants Pizzeria Locale, Fire on the Mountain, El Camino Community Tavern, Himchuli and Tacos Tequila and Whiskey. For dessert? There’s “the magic of moo” from Sweet Cow Ice Cream.
Like everything in this burg, West Highland continues to change. As of May, a new wellness marketplace stands sentry on Federal Boulevard in the former dual-language alternative school Escuela Tlatelolco. The facility offers event space, retail shops, fitness classes, childcare and Nest, a café and bar dishing up wellness staples like smoothies, kombucha, broth and vegan and gluten-free goodies. It also houses a myriad of psychotherapists, physical therapists, acupuncturists, massage therapists, coaches, chiropractors and salons. You can even get your teeth whitened.
There are all the attributes of a great city neighborhood: walkability, window-shopping and great eats with easy access to transit and both major interstate highways. It’s also minutes away from the city center, which, pre-pandemic was a big plus. And, at 5,426-feet elevation, a view from your West Highlands second story can get you a glimpse of city lights and maybe the spires of the Front Range.
West Highland Highlights
Location: Ten minutes northwest of downtown Denver between Federal and Sheridan Boulevards and 29thst and 38th Avenues.
Rankings: Niche.com ranks thousands of neighborhoods based on key statistics from the U.S. Census and expert insights. They rank the West Highland neighborhood .
Housing stock: Housing from the late 1800s through 21st century, mostly single-family.
Public schools: Denver Public Schools
Public high school: North High School
Nearest hospital: SCL Health Lutheran Medical Center
Nearby parks: Highland Park and Pferdesteller Park
Fun fact: Packard’s Hill, which encompasses all or parts of three early West Highlands’ subdivisions, dates back to the 1880s and is Denver’s 53rd historic district. It sits roughly between Lowell Boulevard and Perry Street and 33rd and 35th Avenues.