Lakewood is the 5th largest city in Colorado, and is part of Jefferson County. Lakewood flanks Denver’s west side running south to north for approx. 10 miles along the foothills of the Rockies. Lakewood does not have a distinct downtown or historic district, so I tend to think of Lakewood more or less as a group of commercial developments surrounded by smaller distinct neighborhoods within “West Denver”.
The beauty of Lakewood is its proximity to the Foothills (beginning of the Rocky Mountains) as well as downtown Denver. In some cases you are situated exactly 15 minutes from both. Like a lot of Denver, Lakewood also has some older established single family neighborhoods with large lots and trees, easy access to multiple river and creek trails for riding bikes, hiking and soaking in Denver’s natural surroundings.
For all these reasons, Lakewood is a very popular place to live, and therefore home prices per square foot tend to be higher and competition for homes is strong, especially in the highly sought after neighborhoods such as Applewood or Green Mountain.
Although Lakewood does not have a unique downtown community, they do have a Heritage Park, which serves as a space for live concerts, events (such as Cider Days, Sounds Exciting Concert Series, and the Lakewood Lights Festival). BelMar shopping district serves as a hub for retail and restaurants as well as “Lifestyle Center” style housing options. Lakewood is also home to the Federal Center with 6,000 federal employees and St Anthony’s Hospital, so there are major employers and job opportunities. Along the Union Corridor on Union St you will see high rise buildings for banks and other professional sectors.
Other parts of Lakewood are undergoing major changes, such as along the Light Rail and West Colfax. “40 West Arts” is slowly attracting artists and Art Studios and community/cultural events. This part of town is just south of Sloans Lake, and a huge new multi use development that is breathing new life and excitement into the area with breweries, bowling, movie theaters, and trendy restaurants. Because this area is still in transition, and has such a great location for convenience to downtown, there are still some very affordable housing options that could eventually become new hotspots in Denver.
Overall Lakewood is a fantastic area to live if you’re looking for quick access to Denver’s outdoor opportunities (Trails in the Foothills, skiing in the resort towns, as well as multi-use trails along creek and river tributaries), while still being conveniently located to downtown Denver. You might not have a unique “downtown Lakewood” but there are plenty of nearby neighborhoods that will serve as your go-to destinations for restaurants and entertainment such as Golden, Edgewater and Littleton.