Lower Downtown, affectionately known as LoDo, is Denver’s oldest neighborhood and original settlement. It’s neighbored by Five Points, the Central Business District, Highland, Jefferson Park, and Auraria; and is bordered by 20th Street, Lawrence Street, and the South Platte River. Founded in 1858, Lower Downtown has a wealth of architectural gems, from turn of the century brick buildings to modern high-rise offices. The neighborhood currently has a population of 9,704, with a total of 6,488 households and a median resident age of 33.84.
Given Lower Downtown’s long history and growth, you can find homes, both for rent and to buy, in a wide range of designs to fit your lifestyle. Due to the central location of the neighborhood, homes pepper LoDo’s retail and entertainment districts. Common housing styles include lofts, townhouses, and condos.
Cost of Living
The cost of living in Lower Downtown is 27% higher than Denver’s average, with housing costs 114% higher than the national average.
Lower Downtown is perhaps the most pedestrian-friendly neighborhood in Denver. The neighborhood’s central location, along with Denver’s flat landscape, make both walking and biking an easy means of getting around. However, you’ll likely need a car to accomplish any errands outside of this neighborhood.
Public transportation in Lower Downtown:
For inner-city travel, the Regional Transportation District has buses, a light-rail system, and an airport rail operating throughout the day. For information on schedules and fare, you can visit the the RTD website.
- Bright Horizons Montessori Childcare Center
- Denver Great Kids Head Start
- Polaris at Ebert Elementary School for Gifted Students
- Emily Griffith High School
Colleges and Universities
- The University of Colorado Denver: including CU’s Business School, Architecture and Planning School, ESL School, and their Arts and Media School
- Turing School of Software and Design
- Denver School of Nursing
- Berkana Institute of Message
- Cook Street School of Culinary Arts
- Auraria Higher Education Center
White collar positions make up more than 68% of Lower Downtown’s jobs, while the remaining 31.2% is comprised of blue-collar positions. The neighborhood has an average household income of $96,127 and a median income of $56,624.
Banks and Financial Institutions in Lower Downtown
- Alpine Bank
- Colorado Housing and Finance Authority
- Ent Federal Credit Union
- First Bank
- Great Western Bank
- IMA Financial Group, inc.
- UMB Bank
Museums and Art Galleries
Museum of Contemporary Art is a non-collecting museum, with exhibits that change three to four times per year. They offer a general admission discount for seniors, students, and military personnel.
David Cook Galleries display a wide range of art, some going back to the 19th century, as well as Native American artwork and artifacts.
Upstairs Circus, whose motto is “eat, drink, and be merry”, is a workshop and bar that allows patrons to work on crafts while sipping cocktails.
Comedy Works Downtown is an intimate comedy club, featuring established acts and new comers alike.
Elitch Gardens Theme and Water Park sits near the South Platte River and spans 70 acres, with a diverse array of rides to please each member of the family. Open June through October.
Downtown Aquarium houses over 500 species of animals, with nine exhibits, a restaurant and lounge, and a 4-D theater.
Denver Center for the Performing Arts is a large performance complex where visitors can see plays, musicals, and Broadway productions.
Boettcher Concert Hall at the Denver Performing Arts Complex hosts the Colorado Symphony Orchestra. In addition to classical music concerts, Boettcher holds ballet performances.
Shops and Local Businesses
Tattered Cover Book Store is an independent book shop that is situated next to the Oxford Hotel, just across the street from the historic Union Station. It has a small cafe offering specialty coffee drinks and tea.
Rocket Fizz Denver is a candy lover’s dream store. It houses both newer and retro candies, which can be bought in bulk. In addition to sweet confections, the store sells its own line of quirky sodas.
Rockmount Ranch Wear is a rustic shop offering classic western apparel, including snap-button shirts and cowboy attire.
EVOO Marketplace is a niche shop dedicated to extra virgin olive oil, flavor infused olive oils, and specialty vinegars.
Luxe Salon is an upscale hair salon that has been open since 1998. It is located on Wazee Street, not far from the Oxford Hotel.
The Parlour hair salon in Lower Downtown opened in 1996 and is one of three in Denver. It sits across the street from Union Station.
Bars and Restaurants
Lower Downtown offers much in the way of food choices. On most blocks you’re likely to find at least one restaurant or coffee shop of some form. While it would be difficult to list every restaurant in the neighborhood, here a few highlights.
Coffee and tea:
Casual lunch or dinner:
Ethnic and international cuisine:
- ChoLon Modern Asian Bistro
- Machete Tequila & Tacos
- Fogo de Chão
- Illegal Pete’s
- Blue Sushi Sake Grill
- bd’s Mongolian Grill
- Mangiamo Pronto!
- Osteria Marco
- Rhein Haus
- Bistro Vendome
- Jax Fish House & Oyster Bar
- Euclid Hall Bar & Kitchen
- Tom’s Urban
- Mercantile Dining & Provision
- Vesta Dipping Grill
- McCormick & Schmick’s Seafood & Steaks
Commons Park runs along the South Platte River, which is the namesake of a 17.8 mile-long trail that runs through it. It is adjacent to Confluence Park, which marks the location where Cherry Creek spills into the South Platte River.
Speer Boulevard Park is just across the Platte River, southwest of Lower Downtown, but is easily accessible from the neighborhood.
Skyline Park is technically outside of Lower Downtown, as it sits one street over from Lawrence Street on Arapahoe Street. The park covers three blocks and has seasonal events, including ice skating and film showings.
Railyard Dog Park is fairly small, but fully fenced in, and provides water fountains to help your furry friend stay hydrated.
Fitness and Recreation Clubs
- Downtown Denver YMCA
- Denver Athletic Club
- Colorado Athletic Club at Union Station
- The Colorado Rockies Baseball Club
Pros and cons of living in LoDo
Some perks of living in Lower Downtown:
- Central location
- Many options for dining and entertainment
- Utility bills are lower than the national average
- Unemployment is lower than both the Denver and national average
- The neighborhood is highly walk-able, allowing you to leave your car behind on many occasions
Some downsides to living in Lower Downtown:
- Cost of living is higher than some of Denver’s other neighborhoods
- Housing costs are higher than the national average
Feel free to contact me with any questions or comments, and don’t hesitate to check out our blog for more Denver neighborhood info.