Moving is a big decision for any family—one that carries even more significance when it’s to a new city. Denver, Colorado, has long been a top destination for relocation thanks to its booming economy and outdoor lifestyle. But like any city, it also has its downsides that you should consider before moving.
If you’re on the fence about relocating, here are some of the pros and cons of moving to Denver.
The Pros Of Moving To Denver
Let’s start with the positives. These are some of the top reasons people choose to move to Denver:
Denver Fantastic Neighbourhoods
One of the biggest draws to Denver is the diverse selection of unique neighborhoods. With 78 distinct neighborhoods, there’s something for everyone. Each Denver neighborhood offers its own personality and amenities, so you can find the perfect fit for your lifestyle. Plus, you can move around within the city as your needs and preferences change over time.
Lower Downtown (LoDo), for example, boasts trendy restaurants and a vibrant nightlife scene for young professionals. On the other hand, the River North Art District (RiNo) is filled with hip bars, breweries, and street art for the artsy crowd. And if you’re looking for a quiet suburban feel, the suburbs of Stapleton or Wash Park are great options.
Denver suburbs are full of parks with walking/cycling trails and community events, making it easy to get involved and meet new people. The kids will also be in good hands with excellent schools and plenty of activities to keep them busy.
Finally, young professionals might gravitate towards Denver’s City Park. It’s close to downtown, yet it offers a peaceful escape with its large park and plenty of coffee shops.
Distance From Denver To Rocky Mountain National Park
The Rocky Mountain National Park is a giant outdoor playground for adventure seekers. With over 265,807 acres of mountainous terrain and 300 miles of hiking trails, it’s no surprise that it’s one of the most visited national parks in the country. You’ll find meadows, alpine lakes, and wildlife like elk and bighorn sheep.
And the best part? It’s just a short drive away from Denver, making it easy to in nature. In fact, it should take you around 1.5 hours to complete the Denver to Rocky Mountain National Park drive, depending on where you’re located in the city. Camping is also an option, so you can spend a weekend exploring all the park has to offer.
In addition to Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado is home to numerous national forests and parks. These include The Great Sand Dunes National Park and the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park. You’ll find all the equipment and gear you need in the city for outdoor activities—hiking, rock climbing, skiing, and fishing are just a few examples.
Denver Thriving Economy
Denver’s economy is booming, making it a top destination for businesses and job seekers alike. In fact, Forbes ranked Denver as the fourth best city for businesses and careers in the country (2019.) The thriving job market offers opportunities across industries, particularly in technology, healthcare, aerospace, and energy.
The unemployment rate also remains low at just 2.7%, and the cost of living is lower than in other cities like San Francisco or New York City. The Denver economy continues to grow, thanks partly to its educated workforce, diverse selection of industries, and pro-business environment.
It’s also worth noting that the burgeoning cannabis industry plays a significant role in Denver’s economy. With legal recreational marijuana, the city has seen an influx of cannabis-related businesses and jobs. If this industry interests you, Denver could be the perfect place to pursue career opportunities.
The GDP in Denver in 2020 is estimated to be $382.5 billion, illustrating the city’s thriving economy and potential for growth. Big companies like Comcast, DISH Network, and Amazon have set up offices in Denver, making it a hub for business and job opportunities.
So if you’re looking to jumpstart your career or grow your business, Denver could be a better fit for you than other Colorado cities. With its thriving economy and abundance of job opportunities, the city presents plenty of potential for success.
Denver’s Professional Sports Teams
Sports fans rejoice! Denver is home to a plethora of professional sports teams, all of which boast dedicated fan bases and a history of success. Perhaps the most popular team is the Denver Broncos, who play at Empower Field at Mile High. The football team has won three Super Bowls, including two back-to-back wins in 1998 and 1999. More recently, the team clinched the Super Bowl 50 title in 2016.
The Denver Nuggets, part of the NBA, is a close second in popularity. The organization has seen legends like Carmelo Anthony and Allen Iverson play for the team, with current stars like Nikola Jokic leading the way. Denver is also home to the Colorado Rockies baseball team and Colorado Avalanche hockey team, both of which have brought home championships in their respective leagues.
Sports play a big role in Denver culture, and attending games is a common pastime for locals. If you’re a sports fan, you’ll feel right at home cheering on one (or all) of Denver’s professional teams. You can also proudly display your team spirit with jerseys and gear available at retail stores throughout the city.
Ball Arena and Empower Field are where most of the Denver professional sports teams play their home games. Both are located in downtown Denver and offer a great atmosphere for watching games. The city also has the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame, where you can learn about the history of Denver’s sports teams and notable athletes.
Denver’s Weather: All Four Seasons
Denver is known for its sunny and dry climate, with an average of 300 days of annual sunshine. But don’t be fooled—the city experiences all four seasons, just like most other parts of the country. In the winter, Denver can see snowfall and chilly temperatures. The city sees roughly 57 inches of snow each year. Thankfully, it usually melts quickly because of the sunshine.
The city’s location in the Rocky Mountains means residents can enjoy winter activities for seven months out of twelve. The temperature rarely drops below zero, making it a milder winter compared to cities like Minneapolis or Boston.
In the spring and summer, Denver experiences warm and pleasant weather. The city sees comfortable temperatures in the 70s and 80s, perfect for outdoor activities like hiking or biking. Fall brings cooler Denver weather and stunning foliage, with average temperatures in the 50s and 60s.
Overall, Denver’s climate is fairly moderate. It is considered semi-arid, meaning the city receives less precipitation than other areas with similar climates. However, Denver does experience all four seasons, so pack a jacket for those chilly winter months.
Denver’s Outdoor Adventures
Denver is a mecca for outdoor enthusiasts, offering access to some of the most beautiful nature in the country.
The city is just a short drive from numerous national parks and forests, including Rocky Mountain National Park, Arapaho National Forest, and Roosevelt National Forest. Visit these attractions to immerse yourself in the stunning Rocky Mountains and take part in activities like camping, hiking, fishing, and rock climbing.
Denver is also known for its skiing and snowboarding opportunities. The city boasts numerous ski resorts within a short drive, from luxury resorts like Vail and Aspen to more affordable options like Echo Mountain.
Your Denver outdoor activities don’t have to end when the snow melts—the summer brings opportunities for whitewater rafting, kayaking, and stand-up paddleboarding on nearby rivers and lakes.
The city also boasts over 250 parks within its boundaries, with a bike-friendly infrastructure, with designated bike lanes on many streets and plentiful bike racks throughout the downtown area. Rent a bike or bring your own to explore Denver’s scenic trails and parks. The city also has numerous golf courses and even urban fishing spots where you can reel in some trout.
Lower Taxes Denver
One of the benefits of living in Denver is the lower tax rates. Colorado’s state income tax rate is a flat 4.5%, which is lower than many other states. As for sales tax, Denver has a combined state and local rate of 8.81%, depending on your purchases. Items like food and medication are tax-exempt, while other products like cigarettes and alcohol have additional taxes.
Denver taxes for properties are also relatively low, with an average effective rate of 0.54%. Colorado currently ranks 3rd for the lowest property taxes in the country. Denver is among the lowest in Colorado, so homeowners can expect to pay lower property taxes compared to other major cities in the country.
Distance From Denver Intl Airport
Finally, another pro of living in Denver is the proximity to Denver International Airport (DEN). DEN is the largest airport in the country, offering over 1,600 daily flights to more than 215 domestic and international destinations. More than 25 airlines operate out of DEN, making it easy to travel domestically or internationally from Denver.
The airport is just a 25-minute drive from downtown Denver, making it convenient for residents and visitors. Additionally, the city offers numerous transportation options to and from the airport. Choose between shuttles, public buses, rental cars, and even an underground train. Note that you might hear Denver International Airport referred to as “DIA” or “DEN.” The latter replaced the former in 2015, but both acronyms are commonly used.
If you choose to move to Denver, DEN is where you might start your adventure.
The Cons Of Moving To Denver
Overall, Denver has a lot to offer for those looking for a change of scenery. The city boasts a moderate climate, abundant outdoor activities, low taxes, and convenient access to air travel. However, like any major city, there are also some drawbacks to consider.
Cost Of Living In Denver
The main drawback is the high cost of living Denver residents face. We know we just said that taxes are low. But that’s not necessarily reflective of Denver’s overall cost of living. The city has a higher cost of living than the national average and is among the top 10 most expensive metro areas to live in the country.
Renting tends to be especially pricey, with a median rent of $2,550 per month, up 45.7% from the previous year. The median home value in Denver is currently $585,000, which isn’t cheap either. Additionally, Denver’s groceries, utilities, and transportation are higher than the national average.
In other words, if you’re moving to Denver from a more affordable city or state, be prepared for some sticker shock regarding housing and general living expenses. While lower taxes somewhat offset this, it’s still something to consider before making the big move.
High Altitude Adjustment
Something that surprises many newcomers to Denver is the high altitude. The city sits 5,280 feet above sea level, hence its nickname, “The Mile High City.” While living at a higher elevation has some benefits, like increased vitamin D intake from stronger sunlight, it can also lead to physical discomfort for some people.
The most common issue with high altitude is altitude sickness, which can cause symptoms like light-headedness, nausea, and fatigue. Some people adjust pretty quickly, but others may take several weeks or even months to acclimate to the elevation. People with pre-existing respiratory conditions may also have a harder time adjusting.
Talk to your doctor before moving if you’re concerned about how your body will handle the altitude. You might be able to mitigate altitude sickness with medication or other rest. In more severe cases, you may need an oxygen mask or IV therapy. When all else fails, moving to a lower elevation is the only solution.
Denver’s Competitive Housing Market
If you’re moving to town, you’ve probably been warned about the competitive Denver housing market. With a booming economy and influx of new residents, Denver has become a hot spot for prospective homebuyers. In fact, it is now the second most competitive housing market in the country, with seven out of ten homes receiving offers over the asking price.
To make matters worse, Denver’s housing supply is low, and new construction isn’t keeping up with demand. This can lead to bidding wars and sky-high prices for even fairly average homes. It’s essential to enter the market prepared and work with a knowledgeable real estate agent who can guide you through the process and help you make the best offer.
In addition to being prepared and working with a good real estate agent, it’s also worth exploring some of Denver’s more affordable neighborhoods. These may not be as popular or trendy, but they can offer better deals for those on a budget. The worst case scenario is overpaying for a home in a highly-desirable neighborhood, only to find that it doesn’t suit your needs or lifestyle.
Denver Area Traffic & Congestion
Every big city sees its fair share of traffic and congestion, but Denver’s 17 million yearly visitors and increasing population is putting strain on its transportation system. In fact, the city now ranks as the15th-worst for traffic in the entire country, according to the 2021 Global Traffic Scorecard. The study went on to claim that Denver residents lose, on average, 40 hours a year to traffic delays.
This situation can be a particularly frustrating issue for commuters, who may have long drives to work or deal with congested highways like I-25 and I-70. It’s best to consider your commute before purchasing a home in Denver, as it could significantly impact your daily life. Look into public transportation options, carpooling with coworkers, or even telecommuting if possible.
While traffic and congestion can be a nuisance in Denver, there are also ways to mitigate it. Staying informed about construction projects and alternative routes can help you avoid delays, and carpool lanes can reduce travel time during rush hour.
Denver Has Limited Public Transport
Unfortunately, Denver’s public transportation options are limited compared to other major cities. The city has an extensive bus system and a light rail system with twelve lines connecting downtown Denver to the surrounding areas. However, it can still be difficult (or even impossible) to reach certain places without a car.
The Regional Transportation District (RTD) does not reach many suburbs, and the bus system can be slow and unreliable. Cancellations and delays are not uncommon, and the RTD has even had to cut bus routes due to budget constraints in recent years.
In other words, you must be strategically located to fully benefit from The Denver public transport system. Move too far from the light rail or bus routes, and you may struggle to get around without a car.
Winters In Denver
Although Denver enjoys mild temperatures and low humidity during the summer, winters can be long and unpredictable. The city sees an average of 56 inches of snow yearly, with occasional blizzards and sub-zero temperatures. Many agree that Denver winters aren’t as bad as Canadian winters, for example, but they last just as long.
Roughly half the year is spent preparing for, enduring, and recovering from snowy weather. November through April brings frosty temperatures. That means stocking up on winter gear and snow removal equipment, dealing with hazardous driving conditions, and braving the cold to shovel sidewalks and clear off cars. Denver residents must also be prepared for power outages during severe weather events.
Denver may not be your best bet if you loathe cold weather. However, there are plenty of outdoor activities to enjoy during the winter months, so you can choose to see the glass half full and embrace the snow. Plus, who can resist the beauty of a fresh snowfall?
Denver’s population has been steadily increasing for years, and it shows no signs of slowing down. Nearly three million people call the Denver metro area home, and it is projected to grow by another 600,000 before 2030. This influx of residents means a higher demand for housing, leading to rising rental and property prices.
It also brings an increase in traffic and congestion and a potential strain on public resources like schools and healthcare facilities. Denver’s population growth can be a double-edged sword; while it brings new job opportunities and vibrant, diverse culture, it can also make the city feel crowded and overwhelming at times.
Ultimately, whether or not an increasing population is a pro or con for you depends on your preferences. Some may enjoy the bustle of a thriving city, while others may prefer a slower pace of life. Just know the further away from the city center you go, the lower the population density tends to be.