Everything About Arvada, Colorado


The city of Arvada, located in Jefferson County, Colorado, has a rich history dating back to the 1850s. The area was originally home to the Arapaho people before European settlers arrived in the mid-1800s. In 1851, Lewis Ralston and his family built a cabin along Ralston Creek, becoming the first permanent white settlers in the area.

The city of Arvada was officially founded in 1870 by Benjamin F. Wadsworth. The name “Arvada” came from the first settler Hiram Arvada Haskin’s daughter.

In the late 19th century, Arvada became an agricultural community known for its production of wheat, barley, corn and potatoes. The town grew steadily in the early 20th century. In 1904, the Denver and Interurban Railroad opened a trolley line connecting Arvada to Denver, boosting the town’s economy and population. Arvada was incorporated as a city in 1904.

During the post-World War II era, Arvada experienced significant suburban growth as Denver expanded westward. Large housing developments were constructed to accommodate this population boom. Arvada has continued to grow in recent decades, with its population nearly tripling since the 1970s. Though it maintains much of its small-town charm, Arvada has developed into a thriving commuter suburb.


Arvada is located in central Jefferson County, Colorado, roughly 7 miles northwest of downtown Denver. According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 32.8 square miles.

Arvada is situated at the base of the Rocky Mountains, near Clear Creek which runs through the center of the city. To the north are the cities of Wheat Ridge and Westminster. To the south is the city of Lakewood. Arvada’s elevation ranges from approximately 5,100 to 5,500 feet above sea level.

The terrain is generally flat near Clear Creek, with gentle hills and ridges to the north, east and south. Ralston Reservoir is a man-made lake located on the western edge of Arvada. The land uses are mainly suburban residential, commercial and light industrial. There are also some pockets of parkland and open space.


Arvada sits atop sedimentary bedrock formed during the Cretaceous period around 65 million years ago. The most common rock types include sandstone, shale and mudstone. Small outcrops of these sedimentary layers can be seen along Clear Creek.

During the Pleistocene epoch, around 12,000 years ago, glaciation from the Rocky Mountains filled the Clear Creek valley with debris, creating terraces along the valley walls. Meltwater from the glaciers also deposited mixtures of gravel, sand and clay across the area, which eventually formed the relatively flat topography of modern-day Arvada.

Today, the primary geologic hazard in Arvada is expansive clay soils which can damage building foundations. Erosion along creek banks is another issue requiring mitigation in some areas. Understanding the local geology helps inform construction methods and land use planning. Overall, Arvada’s geology provides a stable setting for development.


Arvada contains a variety of neighborhoods, each with its own distinct character:

  • Olde Town Arvada: This historic downtown district features late 19th and early 20th century buildings housing restaurants, shops, breweries and other businesses. Community events are often held here.
  • Ralston Valley: A suburban area of newer homes located south of SH-72 with access to parks, trails and Standley Lake.
  • West Woods: A neighborhood of mid-century homes near Oberon Middle School. Lewis-Palmer Park and Keith Seim Park provide recreation.
  • Lake Arbor: A master-planned community surrounding man-made Lake Arbor, with a mix of housing, a golf course, marina and shopping.
  • Westbury: A neighborhood developed in the 1960s and 1970s near Faither Lake. Mostly residential but close to retail on Wadsworth Blvd.
  • Goldstrike: A newer residential community along SH-93 south of 64th Ave with single-family homes. Part of the Ralston Creek corridor.
  • Miller’s Hill: One of Arvada’s older subdivisions located northwest of the Olde Town district. Homes date to the 1950s.
  • Reno Park: Centered around Reno Park east of Olde Town. Includes historic homes, apartments and Arvada’s library branch.

Each neighborhood contributes to Arvada’s diversity of housing options and amenities. The city’s growth over time can be seen in the progression of architectural styles.


Arvada has a semi-arid climate, typical of the Front Range region of Colorado. Winters are generally mild with periodic cold snaps. Summers are hot and dry with low humidity.

The city experiences more than 300 days of sunshine per year. Daytime temperatures range from the mid-30s °F in January to around 90 °F in July. Overnight lows average 15-20 °F in the winter and 50-60 °F in the summer. The hottest months are generally July and August.

Annual precipitation averages around 18 inches, concentrated in the spring and summer. Late spring is the wettest period, while winter is the driest. Snowfall occurs occasionally from October to April and averages 55 inches per year. March and April are the snowiest months.

Severe storms can bring heavy rain, hail and tornadoes between April and July. The area also sees periodic droughts. Overall, Arvada’s climate provides four distinct and mild seasons for residents to enjoy.


According to the 2020 census, Arvada has a population of 126,954 residents, making it the 7th most populous city in Colorado.

Arvada’s population is predominantly white, at around 86% of residents. Hispanic or Latino residents make up about 13% of the population. Other race groups each comprise less than 5%.

Around 24% of households have children under 18. Seniors aged 65+ make up 15% of residents. The median age is 39.7 years old.

The median household income is $76,576, slightly higher than the national median. About 7% of residents live below the poverty line.

Over 97% of Arvada residents have a high school degree, while 48% have a bachelor’s degree or higher. The city has a mix of blue collar and white collar workers across industries.

Arvada’s population has grown rapidly since its incorporation, reflecting Colorado’s overall population boom. The city has maintained a relatively homogeneous demographic profile but is becoming more diverse.


Arvada has a diverse economic base including industries such as:

  • Healthcare – Major employers include Lutheran Medical Center and St. Anthony Hospital.
  • Retail – Stores and restaurants located in Olde Town, along Wadsworth Blvd and at Walmart.
  • Manufacturing – Companies like Hunter Douglas, Etkin Johnson Group and GS Metal Fabrication.
  • Technology – Firms including DigitalGlobe, ViaWest and Amnet Voice Services.
  • Government – Jefferson County offices and facilities.
  • Education – Three high schools, charter schools and Red Rocks Community College.
  • Agriculture – Remnant farming and ranching activity.
  • Energy – Mineral extraction companies like Crestone Peak Resources.

The largest employment sectors are education, healthcare, retail and manufacturing. Unemployment is low at around 2.5%.

Major companies are drawn to Arvada’s favorable tax policies, business incentives and proximity to Denver. Tourism centered around Olde Town also supports the local economy. Overall, Arvada provides a stable environment for businesses.


Arvada has a vibrant arts and culture scene:

  • The Arvada Center for the Arts and Humanities is home to theater performances, concerts, galleries and classes.
  • The Olde Town district hosts events like the Olde Town Art Fair, Harvest Fest, holiday celebrations and a summer concert series.
  • Local museums include the Arvada Flour Mill and Historical Park.
  • The city has over 20 public art sculptures from its Art in Public Places program.
  • Two drive-in movie theaters, the 88 and the 66, offer a retro movie-going experience.
  • Area parks regularly hold outdoor festivals and events during warmer months.
  • Restaurants in Olde Town, Ralston Road and elsewhere provide diverse cuisines.
  • A dozen breweries and tap houses can be found across Arvada, part of Colorado’s craft beer culture.
  • Majestic View Nature Center educates visitors on local prairie ecology.

Arvada’s long history can be seen in historic areas like Olde Town, while newer developments reflect Arvada’s growth. The city provides cultural attractions and activities for residents of all ages and interests.

Colleges and universities

Arvada is home to Aims Community College and Red Rocks Community College, which provide associate’s degrees, certificates and career training programs. Nearby options include:

  • University of Colorado Denver – Public university located 15 minutes away in downtown Denver offering bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral programs.
  • University of Denver – Private university with 125 academic programs, an arboretum
  • and research facilities, located 10 miles southeast in Denver.
  • Metropolitan State University of Denver – Public university with a diverse student body and a variety of undergraduate and graduate degree options, based in Denver.
  • Regis University – Private Jesuit university with campus in northwest Denver, providing undergraduate and graduate programs including business, education and healthcare.
  • Colorado School of Mines – Public university focused on engineering and applied science disciplines situated in Golden, about a 20 minute drive from Arvada.
  • Front Range Community College – Offers associate’s degrees and certificates with several campuses in the Denver metro area.
  • Arvada residents can take advantage of these highly ranked colleges and universities located just a short commute away. The city’s location provides accessible higher education opportunities in the Denver region.


As part of the Denver metropolitan area, Arvada is served by Denver’s wide variety of media outlets including:

  • Newspapers – The Denver Post, Denver Daily News, and local papers like the Arvada Press.
  • Television – All major networks and cable channels, public broadcasting on Rocky Mountain PBS.
  • Radio – AM and FM stations ranging from news/talk to classic rock, jazz and Spanish language. Popular stations include KOA, KRFX and KWBL.
  • Magazines – Colorado and Denver-focused magazines like 5280, Colorado Parent and Mile High Sports.
  • Online – Websites like The Denver Gazette, Colorado Community Media, and neighborhood sites Arvada Press and Lakewood Sentinel.
  • Social Media – Active pages representing local businesses, events, news and organizations on platforms like Facebook, Nextdoor and LinkedIn.

Arvada also has a public access channel, Arvada TV that provides locally-focused programming. Residents can stay up-to-date on news and events in Arvada through this robust local media landscape.


Some key highways and thoroughfares in Arvada:

  • Interstate 70 – Major east-west interstate highway connecting Arvada to the mountains and eastern Plains.
  • Highway 93 – North-south state highway leading to Boulder and the southeast Denver suburbs.
  • Highway 72 – East-west highway linking Arvada to the western suburbs.
  • Wadsworth Blvd. – Major north-south arterial road running through central Arvada with retail and businesses.
  • Ralston Road – Crosstown thoroughfare stretching from Olde Town through eastern neighborhoods.
  • Kipling Street – North-south road on the western side of the city.
  • 64th Ave – Primary east-west arterial in southern Arvada.
  • Grandview Ave. – Diagonal avenue which provides an alternative to 70 and Wadsworth.
  • Sheridan Blvd. – Heavily traveled road lining the southern side of Arvada.

Arvada’s grid-style street layout facilitates travel across the city. Ongoing road projects aim to address population growth and improve transportation infrastructure.

Major Landmarks

Some of the most notable landmarks in Arvada include:

  • Red Rocks Amphitheatre – World-famous outdoor music venue carved into a rock formation southwest of the city.
  • Arvada Center for the Arts and Humanities – Vibrant cultural hub with theaters, galleries, classes and summer concerts.
  • Olde Town Square – Tree-lined historic district with shops, restaurants and community events.
  • St. Joan of Arc Catholic Church – Stone church built in 1925 representing Arvada’s faith community.
  • Water Tower – Iconic water tower painted with Arvada’s name, visible from Highway 93.
  • Majestic View Nature Center – Nature preserve with trails and views showcasing Colorado ecology.
  • Ralston Creek Trail – Popular multi-use trail system coursing through Arvada neighborhoods.
  • Apex Recreation Center – Massive facility with pools, fitness center, gymnasium and indoor track.
  • Lake Arbor – Shimmering 248-acre reservoir and golf course offering recreation.

From cultural sites to historic buildings to natural features, Arvada contains many distinctive landmarks for visitors to discover and enjoy.

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  • Upon leaving the airport, get on Peña Boulevard heading west. Take I-70 west towards the mountains for approximately 10 miles before taking exit 269 for Kipling Street. Turn left onto Kipling Street and continue north for 3 miles. Turn right onto 58th Avenue and continue east for 1⁄2 mile before turning left onto Harlan Street. The destination will be on your right after passing 52nd Avenue.
  • Start by getting on I-25 north from downtown and continue for approximately 10 miles. Take exit 215 onto 58th Avenue. Turn left off the exit and go west on 58th Avenue for around 4 miles before turning right onto Harlan Street. Drive north on Harlan Street by passing 52nd Avenue and look for #5460 on your right after about 1⁄2 mile.
  • Get on US-36 east heading towards Denver. Take this freeway for around 20 miles before merging onto I-25 south towards Denver. Drive approximately 5 miles before taking exit 215 for 58th Avenue. Turn right off the exit onto 58th Avenue heading west for 4 miles before turning right onto Harlan Street. Look for #5460 half a mile down Harlan Street on your right just after passing 52nd Avenue.