The Santa Fe Arts District was one of the first neighborhoods we got to know in Denver, long before we even considered it as a place that we’d put down roots. We’d travel down from Boulder after work, for the “First Friday Art Walk,” during which the various art galleries along Santa Fe open their doors and the normally-quiet street comes alive with street performers, food trucks, live music and pop-up shops. Fast forward a few years, and when we made the move down to Denver, the neighborhood was an easy choice, with its close proximity to Downtown, relative affordability, and artistic vibe. We thought we’d stay in our rental for a couple years before moving to a different neighborhood when it came to buy, but instead fell in love with a house only a block away, and the rest is history.
When we first moved to this neighborhood, coming from quiet Boulder, we were aware of a certain grittiness, characteristic of many older neighborhoods close to a city center. It wasn’t exactly the “bad part of town”, but we knew it was far from a gated community as well. However, we fell in love with this ‘hood, and that love remains as the community grows and changes. While some of the housing is undergoing a revamp, and the real estate prices have skyrocketed in recent years (as they have all over Denver), I wouldn’t quite use that dirty word “gentrification” to characterize the change. After all, the culture that makes the neighborhood unique seems to only be getting stronger, and we have yet to be permeated with a bunch of hipster spots or chain restaurants. Local coffee shops and cheap Mexican restaurants still prevail, and the art continues to be the central binding presence throughout.
Anthony took these photos last fall of some of the various murals, old buildings, and galleries throughout the neighborhood, and we wanted to share them with you. If you ever get a chance to visit during the First Friday of any month, we’d love to give you a taste of the energy and artistic vibes that inspire us.