Boulder Neighborhood Guide: University Hill

University Hill in Boulder Colorado

It’s the neighborhood that borders CU to the west. Filled with big trees, Victorian homes, and hilly streets, University Hill boasts some of the most beautiful architecture to be found in Boulder. And let’s not forget the fraternities and sororities that also make their homes in this neighborhood. Situated just south of downtown Boulder, The Hill, as it’s commonly called, is an interesting mix of college students and families, combining the best (and worst) of late-night parties and early-rising babies for the past century.

  • History: University Hill is one of the older neighborhoods in town, benefitting from its close proximity to the university. In 1890, the first large-scale development began and by 1906, there was enough residential growth to necessitate the opening of the neighborhood’s first school, University Hill Elementary. The boom times of the 1920’s and the military presence of the Navy’s Japanese Language School brought many more people to the area and kept the neighborhood growing.
  • Housing: In this neighborhood, housing spans the spectrum from rundown student rentals to multi-million dollar single family homes. There remain many of the original Bungalow-style houses, which were popular in the 1920’s, and lots of large Victorians on sprawling lots. Rentals abound in this neighborhood but be prepared to fight the students for the opportunity to live this close to campus.

Colorado - Boulder: Fox Theatre

  • Restaurants and Shopping: The Hill presents an eclectic mix of commerce including the famous Boulder landmarks: the Fox Theatre, The Sink and Hapa Sushi. Not to mention the many independent bookstores, coffeehouses and clothing boutiques that are prerequisites for proper college towns. To keep the students happy and cheaply-fed, there is also no shortage of sandwich shops, burrito joints and budget-food options to be found.
  • Family & Fitness: With its centralized location, University Hill is close to all the major trails in town. There is Chautauqua to the south, Flagstaff to the west and Sanitas to the the north. Just beware the hilly roads; 9th street can be a long slow trek up. If you’re into running (who’s not in Boulder?), then check out the Hill-sponsored race series with a 2K and a kid’s 1K course.
  • Schools: Flatirons or University Hill Elementary, Manhattan Middle and Boulder High

The Hill in Boulder Colorado

  • Quirks: The infamous Jon Benet Ramsey house is located in this neighborhood. It’s still on the market, if you’re interested in houses with histories. On a brighter note, University Hill has one of the most active homeowner associations in town, the University Hill Neighborhood Association. And, according to the neighborhood’s Wikipedia page (yes, this neighborhood has it’s own Wikipedia page), this is where the CU students come to party. You’ve been warned.
  • Major street boundaries: 9th on the west, Broadway on the east, Baseline on the south and Marine on the north

The Hill may seem like a quiet sleepy neighborhood during the day when the students are in class, but come Saturday night and post-football game, this neighborhood comes to life. From burning couches during student riots to Greek system shenanigans, you never quite know what you’re going to see on the Hill.

Top photo credit: Evan Hunter via Flickr.

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Tara Calihman

Tara Calihman

Tara Calihman is a freelance writer who has lived in Boulder for ten years without getting either a dog or a Subaru. Her work has appeared in Bicycle Times, Women's Adventure Magazine and online at BlogHer and The Huffington Post. You can find her trying to be funny on twitter @tarable and can see more of her writing here.
Tara Calihman

Tara Calihman

Tara Calihman is a freelance writer who has lived in Boulder for ten years without getting either a dog or a Subaru. Her work has appeared in Bicycle Times, Women's Adventure Magazine and online at BlogHer and The Huffington Post. You can find her trying to be funny on twitter @tarable and can see more of her writing here.

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