For Those Considering Buying a House in Parker
Located about 23 miles southeast of Denver, Parker is known as a rural, yet upscale town, that takes pride in its quiet, family-friendly neighborhood streets. Its agricultural roots as a farming town is evident today with its abundance of sprawling horse properties, golf courses and public open spaces.
Many Parker residents commute to the nearby Denver Tech Center or downtown area for work, so homes here serve as a retreat from the hustle and bustle of their urban work lives where they can relax and enjoy pleasant views, spacious homes with room to grow and easy access to many convenient amenities and services.
In 2013, Time Magazine ranked Parker as the No. 12 Best Place to Live, applauding the town’s outstanding performing arts center, local water park and housing affordability. The town is also commonly praised for its charming “Western-Victorian” downtown district, good education system and wide variety of shopping, dining and recreational pursuits. Read on to find out if Parker is a good match for you.
Suburb Stats for Parker, Colorado
Founded in the late 1800s following the Western Gold Rush and eventually officially incorporated in 1981, Parker has grown from a tiny village to a vibrant town offering many housing options within its 21-square-mile radius, from multi-family housing complexes to cozy subdivisions to exclusive private estates. The city celebrates its agricultural history by naming neighborhoods after the farms and ranches that formerly occupied the spaces, for example the Bradbury Ranch and Clarke Farms subdivisions.
And, although most of Parker’s original farms has been developed into subdivisions, those who dream of a country lifestyle will have no problem finding properties here with ample acreage to make their wishes come true, whether it’s gardening, beekeeping or raising horses and chickens.
Home to approximately 50,677 people Parker is the second-most populous city in Douglas County, and the population is estimated to swell to over 61,000 by the year 2022. The average age of Parker residents is 34 years old, and 65 percent are married, which indicate a population of young professionals and families. The median household income here is about $102,000.
Average House Prices
The current median value of Parker homes has risen solidly over the last few years as the Denver metro area experiences a serious growth spurt. The average price of a home is now about $451,000, compared to just $285,500 in 2012. This is slightly higher than the national median home prices which is $427,900. This is likely due to Parker’s proximity to two major metropolitan areas: Denver is about 23 miles north, and Colorado Springs is just 50 miles to the south. Another contributing factor is that many of the homes in Parker are fairly new, with much of the housing development occurring in the1990s and early 2000s.
Average Housing Density
Most of Parker households are organized into neighborhoods and subdivisions surrounding Parker Road, the city’s main thoroughfare, although it is quite spread out with approximately 2,340 people per square mile (as compared to Denver’s population density of 4,460.) Most houses are detached, single-family, owner-occupied homes. About 20 percent of the market is made up of rental units.
Raising a Family in Parker
Parker is an especially popular place to live for families with children thanks to its many family friendly amenities like fast-casual restaurants, community events, parks and schools. About 13,000 families occupy Parker’s 18,000 households, a rate that is higher than the average across the state, and almost one third of residents are 18 years old and younger.
The key factor for families raising children in Parker is school selection, and Parker aims to please with a variety of Douglas County Public Schools to choose from—many of which are conveniently located right in town.
Childcare and Early Learning in Parker
The Douglas County school system offers 72 preschool facilities to care for and educate children ages three to five years old, 24 of which are actually located within the city limits.
School Districts in Parker
Parker residents are served by the Douglas County School District RE-1. The Douglas County Public School system is the third-largest school district in the state serving 67,000 students enrolled in preschool through twelfth grade and boasts a 90 percent graduation rate. A selection of alternative schooling options like charter, magnet and home-school programs are also available.
The city itself is host to 12 elementary schools, three middle schools, three high schools, as well as a handful of charter, magnet and private schools, giving Parker families an array of options to choose from for their children’s education, all within a short drive from their homes.
Vacation and Summer Camps for Parker’s Kids
The City of Parker offers an innovative day camp program for kids from 5 to 13 years old that features a schedule of sports, crafts, field trips and games to enrich the long summer days for families and to provide an alternative method of childcare for working parents. The program is held at the recently renovated Parker Fieldhouse sports complex and recreation center. Before and after school care programs are also facilitated at the center, with complimentary transportation offered to and from many of the local school buildings.
Senior Activities in Parker
Douglas County estimates that its senior population of residents 60 years old and older will increase to almost 25 percent by the year 2020. In anticipation of this population shift, the city of Parker has taken the initiative to create the “Active Aging Adult” recreation program to offer specialty group fitness classes, personal training and health assessments, team sports and other enriching activities for seniors. The city also hosts entertaining events like its annual “Senior Stroll” to celebrate National Senior Health and Fitness Day.
Medical Centers in Parker
The Parker Adventist Hospital is conveniently located in North Parker near the intersection of E-470 and Parker Road. This state-of-the-art facility features a full range of medical services and includes a branch of the award-winning Colorado Children’s Hospital. Parker is also home to the Rocky Vista Health Center, a primary care and internal medicine facility, located on-campus at the Rocky Vista University College of Osteopathic Medicine.
What Type of Lifestyle Suits Parker?
Parker is a youthful, energetic town with an abundance of modern community amenities like shops, restaurants, recreation centers, parks and open spaces and arts and cultural offerings. It has also preserved its historic Main Street for residents and visitors to enjoy the city’s roots as a pioneer town founded in the late 1800s. Most activities in Parker are not just family friendly, but family focused, emphasizing entertainment and relaxation for residents of all ages.
Parker is a city that values sports and recreation, especially of the outdoor variety, and many recreational facilities are provided by the city including sports centers, parks and trails to be enjoyed by both two and four-legged residents year-round.
Restaurants and Dining in Parker
Although the majority of restaurants in Parker are of the casual, chain variety, the city does offer a handful of notable dining spots with a sense of history and character like the Parker Garage (located in the former site of the iconic Warhorse Inn) and Rory’s Diner, a local favorite.
A recent influx of farm-to-table restaurants like the Elev. 5900 Kitchen and the 20 Mile Tap House give a nod to Parker’s agricultural heritage. A selection of ethnic eateries can also be found along Parker Road, like the popular Opa Grill (Greek/Mediterranean), Jozi’s Kitchen & Shebeen (South African) and the Dancing Noodle (Thai).
Coloradoans love their suds, and Parker residents head to Elk Mountain Brewing or the Tailgate Tavern to get their frothy fill. For those who prefer tasting grapes, Parker has several wine bars, and even its own wine tasting room, the Purgatory Cellars Winery, located right in the heart of town.
Shopping Precincts in Parker
Parker can be a fun place to shop if you know where to look. Cute boutiques, shops and galleries can be found in the historic district on Main Street, as well as more and more big box and national chains entering the market to serve the growing population of Parker up and down Parker Road which is widely known as a top-notch retail destination, or to the Southlands Shopping Center in neighboring Aurora. A citywide “Shop Parker” initiative encourages residents to buy local to help support community events and facilities.
Recreation Centers in Parker
The Parker Recreation Center features a modern fitness center and indoor pool, while the Parker Fieldhouse provides a plethora of unique sporting activities and equipment including a climbing wall, batting cages, indoor golf, skating rink and indoor and outdoor sports courts. Another adored amenity is the H2O’Brien pool boasting two water slides, a splash and play structure and lap pool to help residents of all ages cool off during the hot summer months.
Outdoors Activities in Parker: Farming, Wildlife & Adventure
With 250 acres of parks and 900 acres of open space, Parker offers much in the way of outdoor activities and nature discovery. The city maintains 35 miles of both paved and natural trails, a five-acre dog park and disc golf course, and even a one-of-a-kind “ice trail” for ice skating in the winter.
Parker also has a reputation as a horse-lover’s paradise with outstanding equestrian amenities like the six-mile Parker Equestrian Trail, the 160-acre Salisbury Equestrian Park and Sports Complex and the Colorado Horse Park, a state-of-the-art horse show facility.
Other recreational facilities and programs include a skateboard park and a creative “Flat 14er” program which encourages residents to partake in outdoor exercise.
The Arts & Cultural Centers in Parker
Admired by all ages, Parker’s PACE center is a cultural gathering place offering an art gallery, dance studio, theater, classrooms and event space. A full schedule of live entertainment is offered year-round including musicals, lecture series, concerts and plays. Additionally, the Parker Schoolhouse, built in 1918, now also serves as a community space with an intimate theater for small performances.
Fitness, Wellness and Beauty in Parker
There are numerous fitness centers, personal trainers, recreational facilities, jogging paths and parks in Parker for residents to use to stay healthy and fit—a priority in many Colorado communities. Although it is not necessarily known as a spa destination, Parker does offer a small selection of day spas and hair and nail salons for resident convenience.
Community Events in Parker
Many residents will say their favorite thing about living in Parker is its community events. The city organizes and maintains a full schedule of fun and entertaining seasonal events designed to bring neighbors together. Summertime brings movie nights in the park, food and wine festivals, outdoor concerts, fun runs and farmer’s markets. The holidays are celebrated with carriage rides, holiday light tours and shopping specials.
Commuting From Parker
Parker is located east of Interstate 25 and south of the 470 toll road with easy access to downtown Denver, the Denver International Airport and the Denver Tech Center. It takes about 30 minutes to drive to Denver, about 40 minutes to get to the airport and just 20 minutes to commute to DTC for work. Although the majority of residents commute by car, some opt to drive to the nearby RTD Park-n-Ride, located just a few miles from downtown Parker, to access the Denver metro area’s extensive public transit system.
Drive Time Into the Center of Denver
It is approximately a 30-minute drive from downtown Denver to Parker by car via Interstate 25.
Other Transportation Options Within Parker
There are a variety of public bus routes for transportation within Parker, and to the closest light rail stations in Lone Tree and Aurora. Uber, Lyft and taxis are also readily available for convenience. The closest RTD access point is located just three miles from downtown Parker at the corner of Lincoln Avenue and Jordan Road. This is just the beginning of all there is to see, do and enjoy in Parker, a town that is surely underrated by many who fail to see past the town’s sprawling pastures and intersections.
This is just the beginning of all there is to see, do and enjoy in Parker, a town that is surely underrated by many who fail to see past the town's sprawling pastures and intersections.