While it has a name that some find hard to properly pronounce, Niwot has been emerging as a below-the-radar hip mini-version of Boulder. Located along Colorado Highway 119/Diagonal Highway about 10 miles from Boulder and 7 miles from Longmont, Niwot is a mix of old farm town charm, and a community anchor for several significant residential neighborhoods. One can own a multi-million dollar mansion in Somerset, or a funky old bungalow in old town, and still have the same ZIP code.
History: Niwot gets its name from the Southern Arapahoe tribe’s Chief Niwot, who was also known as Left Hand. Chief Niwot was the tribal leader of his people who lived along the Front Range and often wintered in Boulder Valley, site of the future town of Boulder. Chief Niwot welcomed the prospectors of the Colorado gold rush, and both groups lived in harmony until the infamous Sand Creek Massacre in Eastern Colorado. The town was created in 1875 as a stop along the Colorado Central railroad which runs northeast from Boulder. The original business district built up on both sides of the tracks – those on the west having been razed for construction of the Diagonal Highway, while those on the east remain and house Niwot’s eclectic shops, stores and restaurants.
Housing: The new (in 1965) IBM plant at Highways 119 and 52 helped spur the growth of much of the Gunbarrel neighborhood, as well as the Niwot area. Subdivisions outside of Old Town Niwot started popping up in the 1970s with Morton Heights being among the first. In the 1990s Somerset Estates was being developed, and boasted some of the most significant homes in Boulder County, hosting several Parade of Homes events. With a population of about 4,000 residents, Niwot has maintained healthy and steady growth with well-planned and well-designed neighborhoods such as Johnson Farm, Legend Ridge, and Waterford. In the past 12 months 61 single-family homes have been sold ranging in price from $201,000 to $2.425M, with a Median Sold Price of $680,000.
Restaurants & Shopping: 10 years ago Niwot was a bit lacking in amenities, and most residents found themselves driving to either Longmont or Boulder for groceries and good restaurants. However, that is no longer the case and Niwot has become a culinary destination. Colterra Restaurant in historic old town Niwot follows a “fresh, local, lively” ethic to bring food to your table from local farmers. Niwot Tavern has a great vibe and superb food; while Bootstrap Brewing has recently opened a tap room with some of Boulder County’s better beers. And be sure to make it to the Niwot Market to shop for fresh, locally sourced organic food.
Family & Fitness: Diamond Fitness provides residents with personal training, Pilates, Gyrotonic mat classes and Thai yoga massage. Itsera Martial Arts and Family Fitness is a locally owned family fitness center and martial arts school. Families get to enjoy walking, running or bicycling the miles of paved and gravel multi-use trails that snake around and through Niwot. From the cultural perspective families can take in an evening at Jazz on 2nd Avenue, attend the Chili cook-off and Taste of Niwot, or stroll through the tree sculpture park that showcases the talents of local sculptor Eddie Running Wolf.
Schools: Niwot sits in the St. Vrain School District, and has two public schools within the community – Niwot Elementary and Niwot High School. Middle School students attend Sunset Middle School in Longmont. Two well-respected private schools are nearby – Shepherd Valley Waldorf School and Alexander Dawson School.
Quirks: Quaint little Niwot is home to an exotic automobile dealership. Yes, you can stroll down the street in Old Town Niwot and pick up a nice Aston Martin DB9 or a Porsche Carrera 4S at Gunbarrel Import Motors.
Main Boundaries: Old Town Niwot is roughly bounded by Highway 119 on the Northwest, Niwot Road on the South and North 83rd Street on the east. The “neighborhood” of Niwot is essentially Mineral Road to the South, 95th Street to the East, and the Diagonal Highway to the Northwest.
If you’re looking for more home for the money, give Niwot a look. It’s now got the local amenities you need, and Boulder is always just down the road.