Bear Creek – Lakewood, CO

Parks, trails and the winding Bear Creek sets the Bear Creek neighborhood of Lakewood apart from other Denver locales. Biking, hiking and fishing attract outdoors enthusiasts to this neighborhood located only a 25-minute drive from the center of Denver. Locals looking for a short commute to the city from an area full of recreation activities love the self-contained neighborhood of Bear Creek. This area southeast of Denver features shopping, restaurants, bars and other activities for residents who prefer not leave the neighborhood for entertainment and dining. With golf courses and Bear Creek Lake nearby, locals enjoy Bear Creek’s opportunities for exercise, relaxation and socialization.

Schools in Bear Creek

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Restaurants & Nightlife

Most restaurants and bars in Bear Creek are west of South Wadsworth Boulevard, so locals can travel to the same area for their dining and drinking needs. Though Bear Creek lacks music venues and clubs, it features an array of specialized restaurants and pubs that help make the neighborhood livelier. With areas such as downtown Denver and Belmar just a short jaunt away, Bear Creek residents can find nightlife within a few miles of the neighborhood. The self-proclaimed first Indian restaurant in Lakewood, Namaste Restaurant provides a buffet of Indian staples such as saag paneer and chicken tikka masala. With great service and tender meat, especially the lamb, locals enjoy tasting the vegetarian plates and the excellent naan. Make sure you try the authentic chai tea. For a simple and inexpensive meal, head to Peking Tokyo Express in the same shopping area for crab cheese wontons. Locals call these appetizers the best wontons in Lakewood. For your main meal, get the Szechuan Beef for a unique, flavorful spin on the Chinese staple. For American fare, head north of Bear Creek to Piggin' Out Bar-B-Que on Morrison Road. Try the smoky pulled pork sandwich with the restaurant's homemade BBQ sauce or the ribs to see the meat fall off the bone. Taste the peach cobbler for dessert to wash down the BBQ with something sweet and fresh. Top off your food with beer at The Rusty Bucket, also located off South Wadsworth Boulevard. Staff especially favor Pittsburgh Steelers fans, though anyone can try the affordable pitchers of beer and listen to tunes on the jukebox while catching a football game. Go to the Greenfields Pool & Sports Bar to play some billiards and eat pizza. As one of the only live music venues in the area, make sure you stop by on Fridays and Saturdays for live music. For more live music opportunities, head up to Denver or to the Morrison Holiday Bar in Morrison. Downtown Denver provides the best opportunities for clubbing, although you can find some nightclubs in the southern areas, such as Proof NiteClub in southeast Denver.

History & Culture

The Bear Creek neighborhood developed along with the city of Lakewood. Incorporated in 1969, Lakewood gained visitors after the establishment of the Remington Arms Company ammunition factory in the 1940s. Wealthy residents in the Denver area chose Lakewood as an ideal area to settle, and Lakewood has continued to grow rapidly since its incorporation. Culturally, Lakewood has retained a small-town feel with an emphasis on recreation. Bear Creek residents travel to the Lakewood Heritage Center for a taste of history. With 30,000 artifacts and ten historical structures, visitors to Lakewood can learn all about the city’s development during the last 200 years. Visit the Laboratory of Art and Ideas in Belmar for contemporary art viewing and educational programs, and check out the Lakewood Cultural Center for events and festivals year-round.

Transportation

As a primarily residential area, most locals in Bear Creek travel by car. Though the area gives chances for walking in Bear Creek Greenbelt and along hiking trails, residents find it easier to travel to shopping areas by car. The city of Lakewood strongly supports biking as an ideal alternative to car travel. Denver’s public transit, RTD Denver, provides minimal transportation in Bear Creek along South Estes Street up to West Yale Avenue. Call a local Denver cab company for taxi options or use the Uber ridesharing service, which serves the entire Denver area. Drive up to Denver easily via Highway 391 up to Highway 6, or travel to Morrison to access Highway 470. Parking should be plentiful in Bear Creek’s neighborhoods and around the nature areas, though you may hit congestion in the shopping plazas. With plenty of bike lanes throughout Bear Creek and bike trails near the creek itself, locals find bicycling a great option in the area for both exercise and easy transportation. Still, be careful riding along the main roads of South Wadsworth Boulevard and West Yale Avenue.

Cost

Like Denver, the city of Lakewood has a slightly higher cost of living than the national average. An average one-bedroom apartment in Bear Creek costs about $950, and a bus ride into Denver by RTD Denver costs about $5 for regional fare. Frequent commuters tend to utilize a monthly pass for about $176 per month. A typical beer at a Bear Creek pub costs about $4. When you head out to drive, keep in mind that the average gas price in the Bear Creek area costs about 6 percent less than the national average.

Shopping

The major shopping plazas are outside Bear Creek. As one of the biggest shopping centers in Lakewood, Belmar houses stores like Chico’s, Gamestop, Massage Envy and more. Residents can find high-end retailers like New York & Company at Belmar for designer clothes and accessories. Another option for shopping, Colorado Mills in Denver West, houses Gap, Puma and more clothing stores. The closest boutiques and specialty stores to Bear Creek include Carrie B’s Boutique, a small store dedicated to fashionable women’s clothing. For a larger boutique, head east to Washington Park and visit Birds & Belles Boutique. Find unique and eclectic new and used clothing at this well-regarded consignment shop. Many Bear Creek locals do their major grocery shopping at King Soopers and Safeway, both located on West Jewell Avenue north of the neighborhood. For a natural option, head to Natural Grocers off South Wadsworth Boulevard. Pick up some vitamins and supplements for your overall health or some natural meats. The nearest farmers market, Belmar Fresh Market, provides a small amount of produce booths for those looking for fresh, natural produce. Travel farther to other farmers markets, like the Southwest Plaza Farmers Market and Old South Pearl Street Farmers Market, for a bigger variety of organic food and specialty items.

Parks

As the largest recreational area in the Bear Creek neighborhood, the Bear Creek Greenbelt gives locals opportunities to fish, bike, walk and jog in an open, natural area along the creek. This free park offers shelters for rent, and you may bring your dog with a leash. Visit a stone house hearkening from the Gold Rush area that the country listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Bring your children south of the Bear Creek Greenbelt to the free Lakewood Sister City Park, which features horseshoe pits, basketball courts and a picnic shelter. Take advantage of the bike and walking paths for exercise, although you can use the Bear Creek Trail for an even more strenuous workout. The two parks within the neighborhood of Bear Creek do not host festivals or events, but Bear Creek Lake Park just outside the area puts on many celebrations. Visit the large park for children’s nature programs and the Winter Solstice Celebration in December. Take naturalist-guided hikes for a new perspective on the wildlife and plants surrounding the Bear Creek area. Remember to check the events calendar for associated fees with Bear Creek Lake Park events.
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