Upbeat, offbeat Capitol Hill embraces diversity
You might think Denver’s Capitol Hill neighborhood is all about politicians and legislation, lobbyists and fundraisers. It all definitely happens in and around the State Capitol Building. But take a walking tour around the area and you’ll see funky restaurants, second-hand shops, students, street people, small-business owners, dogwalkers, bicycle riders and alternative lifestyles…all in one of the most densely populated areas in town. Like diversity? Visit Capitol Hill.
With street boundaries from Broadway to Downing and 7th to 20th avenues, this is a mixed-usage neighborhood that runs the gamut. You’ll find the namesake Colorado State Capitol Building and the governor’s mansion, and a number of Victorian homes that function as single-family residences for a lucky few and divided into apartments for most. Businesses are locally owned and tend toward off-the-beaten-path products and services, with a sprinkling of law and public relations firms. Here, commerce and residential living function literally side by side.
Entertainment options include restaurants that focus on healthy menus and fresh products. Using “artist powered, fan driven” as a most accurate catch phrase, the Fillmore Auditorium hosts standing-room live music, from national tours to obscure niche bands. Famous/infamous Colfax Avenue is a combination of bustling energy and a never-ending study in street culture.
Cheesman Park is a nice oasis from urban streets with gorgeous mountain views, walking/running trails and open space. It functions as a starting point for the annual PrideFest parade, honoring gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender communities. The park began as a cemetery in 1859 and has its share of ghost stories. In fact, the entire Capitol Hill neighborhood is full of history and color.
Founded in 1971 as a small block party to celebrate the area, signature Capitol Hill People’s Fair annually takes over Civic Center Park during the first weekend in June. Crafts are all hand-made, live music runs the gamut and food from local eateries does too, while a slew of booths advocate civic and charitable causes. The event, like the neighborhood and its residents, is geared toward progressive, alternative lifestyles and outlooks...but anyone is welcomed and around 250,000 attend during its two-day run.
Capitol Hill has almost 19,000 people, representing 3 percent of Denver's total population. Most residents are young singles and students, but encompass all ages. Incomes range from nonexistent to comfortable. Demographics aside, most area residents are known for being eclectic and/or committed to a cause. Ask these extremely diverse folks what they like most about living here and nearly everyone’s first response is that Capitol Hill offers the feeling of a true neighborhood.
HelloDenver tip: Capitol Hill is a vibrant area and while it’s always a treat to the senses, crime happens here. As in any urban area, pay attention to your surroundings at all times.
Posted on February 27, 2012 by Lisa Perry