While officially a young city, Wheat Ridge has a rich history. It served as a popular rest stop for travelers during the Gold Rush of the late 1850s and grew into an agricultural community known as the “Carnation City” in the mid 1900s. Today, the city hosts an annual Carnation Festival with fireworks, live bands, a carnival, beer garden, performances by the Zoppé Family Circus, and more.
Wheat Ridge offers a “sleepy” alternative to other Denver suburbs since it’s one of the few to experience slow population growth. While population might be slow to grow, the city has seen a resurgence in community development efforts in recent years. The City Council has promoted urban agriculture, allowing a few local farms, community gardens, farmers’ markets and produce stands to still thrive here.
Those community development efforts also extend to retail as the city has established two shopping districts—Ridge at 38 (38th Avenue between Wadsworth & Sheridan) and Shop 44th (44th Avenue between Ward and Harlan), both of which promote a nostalgic main street experience with mom-and-pop-type shops, restaurants and services.
This continued investment in agriculture and small business give Wheat Ridge a unique “down home” feeling while still being just minutes away from Downtown Denver.