Adams County Courthouse in Brighton, CO.  Photo By Bpvideo

Brighton, Colorado is a beautiful, thriving city located just 20 miles northeast of downtown Denver.  Home to over 20 community and neighborhood parks and sports complexes, several trail systems, and being located just on the edge of the eastern Colorado plains, Brighton attracts everyone from families craving a small-town feel, to those hoping to experience a home with large acreage.  And this all comes with the amenities that would make the big cities green with envy!  Keep reading to learn more about the diverse area with incredibly rich history that is Brighton, Colorado.

History of Brighton

Brighton was originally founded in 1871 as a stage and railroad depot and farming community.  At the time, the area was called Hughes Station, until Daniel Carmichael founded the city in 1881 and named the area after his wife’s birthplace (Brighton Beach, New York.)

Before the Court even recognized Brighton as an official city, the city already had an operating school, irrigation ditches, and a stop on the Boulder County Railroad.  But once the City of Brighton was officially recognized in 1887, things really started to move quickly.

By 1902, Adams County was formed from a part of the original Arapahoe County and Brighton was voted to be the county seat by 1904.  At the time, David Carmichael’s home was used as the first Courthouse and his basement was the area’s jail.

1904 was a big year for Brighton, as the first annual Fair was also held this year on the same land where the City Hall sits today.

Through tough years, such as the scare of Scarlet Fever in 1913 or when 500 head of cattle died due to heavy snows in 1920, Brighton has thrived and has now become a diverse, growing area, even being named one of the “100 Best Communities for Young People” in 2011.

Demographics of Brighton

Brighton has consistently been a growing area, with at least double digit population growth every decade since 1900.  But what’s even more wonderful is that much of this population growth is due to young individuals and families coming to the area wanting to be a part of Brighton’s success.

While the majority of households in the area are Caucasian, 38.22% of the population is Hispanic or Latino, making Hispanic culture incredibly important to the area, as well.

Just over 40% of the homes in the area include children under the age of 18 and over 50% of the population is aged 25-64 years old.  With that in mind, the makeup of many of Brighton’s neighborhoods typically lend themselves towards young families and people of working age

Neighborhoods of Brighton

While there are over 35 neighborhoods in Brighton Colorado, all being wonderful places to live, we’ve focused on a few of our favorites.

Brighton Crossings – One of the newer developments within Brighton, Colorado is Brighton Crossings.  This neighborhood includes pretty much everything you could dream of for a new home.  Spectacular parks and trail systems, a retail center nearby (including a King Soopers Marketplace grocery store), and a brand new rec center are all down the street.  Plus, this area includes homes fitting a wide variety of budgets and styles.  Everything important is close to home in Brighton Crossings.

Indigo Trails – Located conveniently near the Prairie Center retail village and I-76, this planned community offers easy access to shopping and entertainment in homes ideally situated for families in all stages of life.  Every home built in Indigo Trails is energy-efficient, including everything from spray-foam insulation, to weather-sensing irrigation, to low VOC carpets, paints, and finishes.  So not only will you be living in the perfect home for you and your family, but you’ll also be saving money on utilities!

Outlook Pointe – Outlook Pointe is known for its convenient location and plentiful mountain views.  If you decide that Outlook Pointe is the right place to plant your roots, then you’ll also love the developer’s high level of flexibility.  You can build your dream home from the ground up, complete with all of your favorite colors and finishes, or they offer a quick move-in option for those in more of a time crunch.

Turnberry at Potomac Farms – Located towards the edge of Commerce City, Turnberry at Potomac Farms prides itself on providing great views, open space, and close schools.  Set a little bit apart from downtown Brighton, this community offers easy access to city living, being very close to Hwy 85 and I-76, but remains a quiet, growing community that is perfect for young families hoping to move into their forever home.

Real Estate Conditions in Brighton

89% of Brighton includes home owners, meaning that most residents are committed to staying in the Brighton area.  Just like much of the Denver area, homes are snagged up quickly here, but Brighton does offer a little bit more flexibility towards the buyer’s side than some nearby communities.

While trends indicate median home prices decreasing by 3%, the average price per square foot has also recently increased by $13.  Rent is very affordable compared to surrounding areas, dropping 1% in recent years.

Over 85% of homes in Brighton are single-family homes, with the large majority being built since 1990.  This means that many homes have a newer feel, but you’re still able to put your stamp to create your dream home within a relatively affordable budget.

State Parks in Brighton

There are several state parks within a short driving distance of Brighton, Colorado.  Below are two of our favorites that are under an hour outside of town.

Barr Lake State Park is just outside of Brighton city limits and is the ideal place for bird-watching, wildlife viewing, or just for taking a relaxing walk on the many trails surrounding the lake.  The park area includes a wheel-chair accessible trail, biking trails, horseback riding, canoeing, on-site archery, snowshoeing, volleyball courts, among many other amenities offered for the outdoor adventurist, as well as those looking to just relax with a moment of fresh air.

St. Vrain State Park is about a 30 minute drive outside of Brighton and hosts year-round camping, fishing, and the state’s largest rookery of Blue Heron.  Some of the camping sites even include on-site electric, water, and sewer hookups if you want to get a taste of the great outdoors, while enjoying some of the amenities of the indoors.

Things to Do in Brighton

Brighton, Colorado is host to everything from a 15-acre corn maze, to theatrical plays, concerts, and historical museums.  Anything you could be interested in doing is within city limits.

The beauty of being so close to everything is that you can spend your free time doing anything you can imagine.  Some things to enjoy in Brighton include:

  • Brighton Oasis Family Aquatic Park features a climbing wall, two water slides, a lazy river, a wave generator, a tot leisure pool, a water basketball play area, and a full concession stand.  Plus, you can even bring your own food from home if you’d prefer a homemade snack.
  • Just outside of Brighton is a 300-acre Wild Animal Sanctuary.  This safe haven for over 290 animals includes leopards, lions, bears, wolves, bobcats, lynx, tigers, coyotes, and coati mundi.  Your visit to this Sanctuary is sure to be an adventure you’ll never forget.
  • Riverdale Golf Course is home to two golf courses, The Dunes and The Knolls.  The Dunes is a Scottish-style links course, while The Knolls is a traditional park-style golf course.  While both feature gorgeous scenery and plenty of hazards to keep every golfer on their toes, they are also both critically acclaimed on a national scale.
  • The Brighton Armory host plays, concerts, and art events year-round.  Originally built in 1921, this space has now transformed into a vibrant cultural center in the heart of downtown.
  • The Adams County Historical Museum makes history fun for all ages.  While it started out as a one-building museum, it is now a thriving complex, featuring everything from a working Blacksmith Shop, to an actual jail cell from the old Adams County Jail, to a 1920s railroad caboose, a Japanese garden, and everything in between.

The Bottom Line

Brighton, Colorado is on the fast track towards becoming the most desired place to live near Denver, Colorado.  Being a short 30-minute commute to downtown Denver, a 20-minute drive to Denver International Airport, and hosting all of the amenities of a thriving metropolis while still having the small-town feel, there is no doubt that Brighton is a place we would all love to call home.