November 20, 2023
If you’ve never heard of Athmar Park, you’re not alone. This under-the-radar, gem of a neighborhood rides the banks of the Platte River and buttresses a strip of South Federal Boulevard with some of the city’s best Chinese and Vietnamese restaurants—and used to offer smoking-hot home deals.
The deals are largely gone, but the neighborhood remains a good value compared to other Denver addresses.
Tucked in between Alameda Avenue and West Mississippi Avenue north to south and South Santa Fe Drive and Federal Boulevard east to west, Athmar Park sits on a parcel of land that once grew wheat and celery. The older homes in the neighborhood from the late 19th and early 20th centuries were part of the agrarian community that would eventually be annexed by the City of Denver. In the 1930s, Spanish-style stucco homes with tile roofs sprung up. The area grew in earnest after World War II offering young families tidy brick homes in the Athmar Park subdivision with its easy access to downtown Denver and pretty-as-a-painting Huston Lake Park.
Oldtimers still remember the 1965 flood that ravaged Denver when the South Platte River breached its banks and flooded low-lying areas of the city. The neighborhood suffered massive losses from waters reaching as high as basketball hoops.
Today, young families continue to wheel babies around the .6-mile trail that rims the lake admiring the pelicans, and neighbors living near the park can hear the sounds of picnics, softball games and folks playing horseshoe from their porches. There’s an active neighborhood association that produces a bilingual newsletter and sponsors yoga in the park, a neighborhood bike ride, a run club, neighborhood cleanup and park story time.
In recent years, Athmar Park has seen home price values increase as more people get wise to this friendly enclave. The Alameda Square shopping center, Denver’s first shopping mall development, now houses a Costco Business Center, the Pacific Ocean Marketplace, Asian restaurants and Vietnamese bakery. Mexican food is another neighborhood staple with nearby restaurants on Federal Boulevard and Alameda Avenue. And, if you’re up for a good, messy crawfish boil there’s The Asian Cajun and The Crawling Crab. (We love Saigon Bowl in the Far East shopping center, where you can also find gifts, Asian foods and produce, a bakery and other services.)
With easy access to Sixth Avenue and I-25 as well as the South Platte River Trail for bikers, the neighborhood is a quick commute downtown or into the hills.
Athmar Park Highlights
Location: 15 minutes southwest of downtown Denver
Housing stock: Bungalows, Tudors and post-WWII ranches
Rankings (niche.com): A’s for Diversity, Nightlife and Outdoor Activities; B’s for Commute, Good for Families, Health & Fitness, Jobs and Weather
Public schools: Denver Public Schools
Public high school: South High School, Denver Center for International Studies, KIPP Denver Collegiate High School
Nearest hospital: Porter Adventist Hospital
Nearby park: Huston Lake Park, Clifford Aspgren Park and Vanderbilt Lake Park
Fun fact: Denver’s first McDonald’s was in Athmar Park at 2120 W. Alameda Avenue.