Moving to Denver? Our Essential Guide to the Mile-High City

Moving to Denver? Our Essential Guide to the Mile-High City

by Team NextBurb 8 July 2021

Moving Guides By City

Thinking about moving to Denver?

Located at the foot of the Rocky Mountains, this growing city is home to tech companies and nature-lovers alike.

Check out our guide to discover the ins and outs of the Mile-High City.

Denver is home to tech companies and nature-lovers alike

Quick facts about Denver

  • With a rumored 300 days of sun each year, Denver’s weather brings pleasantly warm summers and winters with plenty of snow, making outdoor activities like skiing, hiking, and camping accessible all year round, whether it’s on a day-trip or a weekend trek into the mountains.
  • Denver is one of the fastest-growing cities in the United States, which means both great job opportunities and a higher cost of living than other major cities. Big companies in tech, aerospace, and agriculture industries are located in the area, and the population has exploded in the last decade.
  • Along with outdoor activities, Denver has plenty to offer for entertainment, including professional sports and concerts at venues like Red Rocks Park and Amphitheater, and award-winning food and drinks from local restaurants and breweries. It’s also an epicenter for the cannabis industry, providing plenty of dispensaries around the city.

Living in Denver

Population & History

Denver’s metro area population has grown steadily over the past decade to nearly 2,900,000.

While this means great things for the city’s economy, the population growth is also responsible for skyrocketing housing prices and increased traffic throughout the city.

Fortunately, the city’s laid-back vibe has a lot to give, whether it’s in outdoor activities or culinary revolutions in the food, drink, and cannabis industries. Since it was founded in 1858 as a gold mining town, Denver has been a center for exploration and celebration of nature’s beauty.

Weather in Denver

Denver has some extreme weather–and that’s not an overstatement.

Temperatures are known to fluctuate as much as twenty degrees in the space of a few hours throughout spring, fall, and winter months.

Colorado gets more snow months out of the year than any other major U.S. city, while also receiving an average of 300 days of sun a year.

Despite the rapid weather changes, summers in Denver are sunny and mild, with averaging temperatures in the 80’s.

Winter temperatures average at about 20℉–cold, but perfect for snow and skiing. Plan to dress in lots of layers to be prepared for whatever kind of weather comes your way.

Cost of Living in Denver

Due to population increase and a competitive real estate market, Denver’s median home price is $463,000, driving the overall cost of living to 12% higher than the national average.

Typical expenses like food, gas, and rent also come in higher than national rates but aren’t as steep as real estate prices.

Surprisingly, you might save on utilities if you move to Denver: the monthly estimate for electricity, heating, and water is $30 lower than the average for the United States.

While it isn’t the cheapest place to live in the United States, it’s not as expensive as cities like San Francisco and New York City, and with the surrounding mountains and vibrant urban energy, many consider the slightly higher costs to be worth it.

Working in Denver

Denver’s most prominent industries include aerospace, tech, and defense, as well as homeland security.

Ball Aerospace Technologies and defense company Lockheed Martin have locations in Boulder just 30 minutes northwest of Denver.

IBM and AT&T are also located in Denver, along with hundreds of startups in the tech, finance, and bioscience industries.

Denver’s job market is predicted to grow by 45% over the next ten years, which is promising compared to the expected growth rate of 33.5% for the entire United States.

Working from home in Denver

If you’re able to work remotely, Denver is a great place to consider, with opportunities for outdoor entertainment and adventure on weekends and holidays.

The city offers dozens of coworking options, from traditional office spaces like WeWork to hip creative spots, including Craft Coworking (with cider on tap for members) and Alchemy Creative Workspace.

If you want fast, reliable internet speeds while working from home, Xfinity has the most flexible plans for the Denver area, starting at $29.99/month.

Century Link offers plans starting at $49.99/month.

Transportation & Commute

Denver International Airport is one of the country’s busiest airports because of its central location, but this works in favor of Denver residents.

Take a 30-minute car ride from downtown, and you can hop on one of 215 non-stop flights to destinations all across the world.

Traffic in Denver is not easy to navigate: one study estimated that the average commuter lost 83 hours to rush hour traffic in 2019.

That’s not as bad as traffic in other major cities like Washington D.C., which cost commuting residents 155 hours out of their year, but it’s estimated to get worse as the metro area continues to grow.

The Regional Transportation District (RTC) provides reliable light rail and bus service within Denver and has some lines out into the suburbs, with plans to expand over the next few years.

Between public transportation and biking (we’ll get to that in a minute), you can cut down on your carbon footprint and use your commute to get some exercise and time outdoors.

5 Things That Make Mile-High City a Great Place to Live

  1. Great food and great beer (and for anyone interested, cannabis products galore)

    Denver’s traction as a hip up-and-coming city has cemented its reputation as a great place to eat and drink.

    You can find elevated takes on traditional pub food at the famous Euclid Hall Bar & Kitchen or Cherry Cricket Burger.

    Order quirky tacos at Dos Santos or The Pig & The Sprout. For vegetarian and vegan fare, check out renowned spots like City O’ City and Watercourse Foods.

    The city also offers excellent options for farm-to-table food and BBQ-fusion dishes. There’s something for everyone.

    Ever since Adolph Coors founded a brewery in his name in Colorado back in 1873, the state has been known for its beer.

    Today, more beer is brewed in Denver than in any other city in the United States. Check out legendary Odell Brewing Company, Oasis Brewery (suitably located in a church), or, if you want to drink accompanied by food and Grateful Dead tunes, visit the Grateful Gnome.

    Better yet, attend the Great American Beer Festival, which happens in Denver every October and features beer from all across the country.

    And why not enjoy a snack after you eat it, as well? Colorado was one of the first states to legalize marijuana sales, and Denver’s cannabis companies have made the most of the past few years to create decadent, whimsical edibles available along with other cannabis products at dispensaries all over the city.
  2. Lots of sports, including professional rugby

    Denver is a great place to be a sports lover. Passionate fans pile in from all over the state to watch the Colorado Rockies play baseball or catch a football game with the Denver Broncos.

    In addition to NBA’s Denver Nuggets, the city even has professional hockey, lacrosse, and rugby teams that compete nationally.
  1. The great outdoors

    Denver’s location makes it the perfect hub for winter sports and outdoor summer activities.

    Dozens of trails can be accessed by a 30-minute drive from the city, including the challenging 9-mile Bergen Creek hike and the family-friendly Castle Rock loop south of Denver’s city center.

    You’ll find more than a dozen ski resorts under two hours away from Denver for skiing, snowboarding, and any other winter sports that suit your fancy. Most are located along the I-70 corridor that runs west from the city into the Rocky Mountains.

    If you’re a beginner, start at spots like Echo Mountain (located conveniently close to Denver) or Eldora Mountain Resort.

    Veteran skiers and snowboarders looking can find more thrills and advanced runs at Arapahoe Basin (nicknamed A-Basin) and Keystone Ski Resort.

    There are also more luxurious experiences with cozy lodging and dining at spots like the famed Vail Ski Resort and Beaver Creek Resort.
  1. Arts & Culture

    The Red Rocks Park and Amphitheatre is one of the most famous concert venues in the United States, and it’s only a 25-minute drive from downtown Denver.

    See headlining musicians on tour there or explore the park during the day. Denver also has a handful of fantastic art museums featuring contemporary and American artists, and the Denver Performing Arts Complex hosts symphonies, ballets, touring musicals and plays from all over the country.
  1. Biking
    Denver is one of the most bike-friendly cities in the country, with weather that allows many residents to bike to and from work almost year-round.

    The city boasts over 196 miles of designated bike lanes on its city streets and has over 85 miles of paved bike trails with plans to expand in the next few years.

    Bike culture isn’t limited to downtown, either–many Denver suburbs also have large biking crowds and plenty of designated bike lanes and trails. Whether you want to bike to commute or just take advantage of the beautiful Colorado weather on the weekends, Denver is a great place to do so!

Best neighborhoods in and around Denver

  • For relaxed city living: Located across the river and northwest of downtown, Highland is a beloved neighborhood of Denver with a mix of Victorian homes and modern architecture.

    Highland has a cultural district with local shops and an array of great restaurants and bars. It’s on the pricier side, with median home prices at $631K
  • For a hip neighborhood: Northeast of downtown, Five Points is a hip neighborhood with up-and-coming areas for the hipster Denver crowd. With a median home price of $532K, it’s close to downtown and has dozens of bars and a great urban feel.
  • For a busy urban experience, Uptown and its neighboring Capitol Hill are full of condos for young professionals and are some of Denver’s most densely populated parts.

    Expect plenty of restaurants and bars to fuel the nightlife scene and fast-paced urban vibe at the heart of the city. Median home prices in Capitol Hill are around $318K. You can visit historical sites and parks like the Colorado State Capitol nearby.

Best suburbs to live in Denver

  • An upscale experience: Castle Pines’s high home prices come hand-in-hand with a high-ranking school district and low crime rates, making it a desirable suburb for families. It’s 30 minutes south of the city and features luxury homes and condos with a median home price of $667K.
  • Affordable accessibility: Erie’s median home price of $553K makes it more affordable than other suburbs in the area, and its location east of Boulder and north of Denver provides some breathing room from the city. Erie is a quickly growing suburb with excellent access to trails and outdoor activities nearby.
  • For a home with a view: Louisville has a history as an old mining town, but today it’s a desirable suburb close to Boulder with views of the Rockies. Known for its good schools and green parks, Louisville is a great place for bikers and accessibility via public transit to downtown Denver.

    Median home prices in the Louisville area are $651K.

Buying a house in Denver

The real estate market in Denver is notoriously competitive.

Make sure that you’re pre-approved for a loan and find a real estate agent who knows the neighborhoods before beginning your search.

Many homes in Denver sell above market price and go quickly, but that comes with a benefit: you know you’ll be able to sell easily when you need to.

Crime in Denver

Denver’s crime rates are 45% higher than the national average, but residential neighborhoods throughout the city and especially towards the east side are considered to be especially safe. As in any large city, crime is present throughout most areas but can be avoided by following common sense and basic safety.

Check out crime rates in specific neighborhoods to learn more about crime trends for each area.

Are you considering Denver as your next home

Denver and its surrounding areas are full of growth, vibrant city life, and wonders of nature.

Whether you’re looking for hiking, winter sports, or access to nightlife and fun places to eat and drink, this attractive city provides neighborhoods, cuisine, and activities for anyone.

Check out neighborhoods across the city for historical buildings and cultural events, or drive just a few hours into the Rockies to immerse yourself in the beauty of the Colorado outdoors.

Here at Nextburb, we’re committed to providing you with the facts you need to know about any area you’re considering as a future home.

Discover the best places to live in the United States to find out more about neighborhoods to live in, school ratings, crime data, and real estate options.

We’ll provide you with recommendations based on your lifestyle and budget preferences to help you discover where you want to go.

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