Denver City Layout

Which Way Is North?

Getting your bearings in most cities can be a challenge. In Denver, and anywhere along the Front Range for that matter, finding North, South, East, and West is as easy as finding the mountains. The Rocky Mountains are to the West.

If you are ever lost or confused, just take a minute to look around. Find the mountains; that is west. You can take it from there.

(For the super directionally challenged, if you are looking West, North is to the right, and South is to the left. East is behind you.)

Denver City Streets

Like most cities, Denver has a network of streets crisscrossing its downtown area. Unlike, most cities, those streets are not always laid out on a North-South and East-West axis.

denver-street-layout-graphicMany of Denver’s downtown streets are laid out diagonally, more on a Northeast to Southwest and Northwest to Southeast type grid. The reason for this unusual layout?

Early on in Denver’s history, the streets were actually laid out so that if you looked down the street (to the Southwest) you would see Pikes Peak. The name streets are laid out in this direction. They are crossed at the standard 90 degrees by the numbered streets. This arrangement was abandoned later, but not before Denver ended up with a “weird” layout for almost all of its downtown streets. It also makes for some interesting intersection where the “normal” North-South/East-West streets meet their diagonal counterparts.

Numbered Streets

The numbered streets in Downtown Denver run from lower numbers to the south toward higher numbers to the north.  Thus, 14th Street is south of 15th Street.

The crossing streets are named streets. These streets do not progress according to any external order. (They are not alphabetical, for example).

Denver Landmark Locations

A handful of Denver Landmarks and Attractions make for useful directional landmarks.

The Pepsi Center, home of the Colorado Avalanche and Denver Nuggets, is in the Southwest corner of downtown, while Coors Field, home of the Colorado Rockies, occupies the Northwest corner.

The Denver City and County Building and the Colorado State Capitol building flank Civic Center Park on the eastern edge of downtown.