Living in Denver


Denver’s journey from a Wild West mining town to the vibrant metropolis it is today is nothing short of remarkable. Founded during the gold rush of the mid-1800s, the city has undergone a profound transformation. Once teeming with gunslinging gamblers, it now hosts a community of easygoing, forward-thinking individuals who are passionate about fitness and the great outdoors. Denver’s residents have become pioneers in various fields, advocating for civil rights and contributing to progressive drug laws, making it a city known for pushing boundaries.

The Denver Lifestyle

The city earned the moniker of the “Mile High City” due to its elevation of 5,280 feet (officially reported as 5,279 feet). Located right at the base of Rocky Mountains, Denver serves as a gateway to a wide range of outdoor activities, although it’s most renowned for its dedicated skiing and snowboarding enthusiasts. Contrary to a common misconception, Denver isn’t a mountain town. It takes at least an hour to drive to the Rockies. However, within a 30-minute drive of downtown, you’ll discover fantastic recreational spots like Red Rocks Park and Cherry Creek State Park.

The music scene in Denver is teeming with local talent, including renowned acts such as The Fray and Big Head Todd and the Monsters. The city also takes pride in its nearly 100 breweries, annually hosting the Great American Beer Festival, where beer enthusiasts can savor over 4,000 brews from 800 breweries across the nation.

Cost of Living

While Denver’s popularity and population have been on the rise, it still maintains a lower cost of living compared to many cities of its size, such as Washington, D.C., Seattle, and Boston. A full-time worker in the Denver metro area would require roughly $13.87 per hour or around $28,851 per year before taxes to comfortably cover the cost of living in Denver, according to MIT’s Living Wage Calculator.

The city’s highly educated workforce and a significant number of dual-income households contribute to household incomes exceeding the national average. Additionally, Colorado’s flat income tax rate of 4.5% keeps taxes relatively low. Prices for essentials in the area, such as food, childcare, healthcare, and transportation, fall within the national average.

Denver’s Housing Market

As Denver’s population swells, the demand for housing has skyrocketed, significantly increasing property values. In the past decade, the median sale price in the metro area has more than doubled, reaching around $400,000 for an average home. This figure compares to a median gross rent of approximately $1,400. Denver’s many neighborhoods offer options for various budgets, from more affordable areas like East Colfax, Montbello, and Windsor to mid-range neighborhoods like Montclair, North Park Hill, and Northeast Park Hill.

Those seeking premium properties can explore opulent homes in South Park Hill, Lowry Field, and Stapleton, while proximity to downtown comes at a premium. For families valuing space and tranquility, the suburbs, including Aurora, offer cost-effective alternatives with spacious properties.

Safety and Healthcare

Denver places great emphasis on the safety and health of its residents. With lower rates of violent crime compared to similar-sized cities, Denver achieves a U.S. News & World Report index of 7.2 out of 10. The city also boasts a robust healthcare system, with the Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of Colorado covering over 25% of medically insured residents. Top-rated UC Health, located in Aurora, is a leading medical center, nationally recognized in seven specialty areas. Furthermore, life in Denver consistently ranks amongst the healthiest lifestyles in the United States, thanks to its abundance of fresh air and sunshine.

Employment Opportunities in Denver

Denver’s job market has experienced significant growth, with unemployment rates near historic lows in the metro area. The city’s major employers encompass government agencies at the city, county, and state levels, as well as Denver’s international airport, public schools, and the University of Colorado System. Healthcare organizations, including Centura Health, Healthone, and SCL Health System, also play a vital role. Telecommunication giants like Comcast, CenturyLink, and Dish Network, along with financial institutions like Wells Fargo, contribute to Denver’s economy and employment opportunities.

The city is also the proud headquarters of Fortune 500 company Davita Healthcare Partners and numerous other businesses, such as Ball Corporation, Dish Network, and Level 3. The legalization of marijuana in 2012 has led to the growth of a new industry, and Denver’s thriving startup ecosystem has attracted a lot of young professionals and tech-focused investors.

Education Hub

Denver places a strong emphasis on education, drawing a highly educated population with 41% of metro area residents holding at least a bachelor’s degree. The city boasts a comprehensive school system comprising 157 public schools and 220 private schools, with 23 high schools recognized among the best by U.S. News & World Report. For higher education, Denver offers nine colleges and universities, including the University of Denver, University of Colorado Denver, Regis University, Metropolitan State University of Denver, and Johnson & Wales University.

The suburbs also house esteemed institutions such as the Colorado School of Mines in Golden, Colorado Christian University in Lakewood, Arapahoe Community College in Littleton, and Rocky Mountain College of Art & Design in Lakewood.

Distinctive Climate

Denver experiences distinct seasons with relatively mild summers and dramatic winters. Snowfall can occur early or late in the year, with average snowfall reaching 55 inches. However, residents embrace the snow, as it heralds the start of winter sports, including skiing and hockey. Summers are warm with average highs in the 80s and cool, crisp nights due to low humidity. The dry air provides comfortable summer weather, making Denver an ideal place for those who prefer to avoid muggy conditions. The city enjoys a wealth of sunny days, adding to its appeal.

Getting Around Denver

While Denver promotes an eco-friendly lifestyle, many residents still rely on cars for transportation. Highways can become congested during rush hours, especially when commuting to and from commercial areas like the Denver Tech Center and Broomfield. Walkable neighborhoods exist, but Denver’s vast metro area generally requires other means of transportation. Biking is a popular alternative, with miles of paved trails for cyclists.

The city also offers scooter and bike-share services. The RTD light rail, an above-ground tramway, is a favorite for commuters, with routes connecting to Boulder and Denver International Airport. Additionally, there are bus services and transportation options like Amtrak and Greyhound for traveling to nearby areas. This makes life in Denver all the more accessible and convenient.

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Q : What is it like moving to Denver? 

A : Moving to Denver can be an exciting and rewarding experience. Living in Denver Colorado, amidst it’s beautiful surroundings, friendly community, and abundance of recreational opportunities make it a popular destination for newcomers.

Q : What is the average salary in Colorado?

A : The median household income in Colorado was around $52,451, which is slightly above the national average. However, it’s important to note that the average living wage Colorado can differ significantly between industries.

Q : Is Denver a good place to live?

A : Living in Denver CO is often considered an excellent choice, and it consistently ranks high in various quality of life metrics. Its vibrant cultural scene, proximity to outdoor activities, and a thriving job market make it an attractive option for those contemplating about “Is Denver Colorado a good place to live.”

Q : What are the pros and cons of living in Denver?

A : The Pros: Denver offers a healthy lifestyle, a vibrant cultural scene, a strong job market, and access to outdoor activities in the Rockies. It enjoys 300 days of sunshine, making it an attractive place for sun lovers.

The Cons: Rapid population growth has led to higher housing costs and traffic congestion. Winters can be cold and snowy, and like any city, there are areas with higher crime rates.

Q : What’s it like living in Denver?

A : What is it like to live in Denver, Colorado? Well, Denver provides a high quality of life. You can enjoy 300 days of sunshine each year, making it perfect for outdoor activities such as hiking and skiing. The city’s youthful population, thriving nightlife, and diverse food scene contribute to its dynamic and inviting atmosphere. Denver is also known for its music culture, boasting renowned acts like The Fray and a booming craft beer industry with nearly 100 breweries.

Q : What is it like living in downtown Denver? 

A : Living in downtown Denver offers a dynamic urban experience with easy access to cultural attractions, dining, and entertainment. You’ll find a mix of historic and modern architecture, proximity to major employers, and public transportation options. Keep in mind that the cost of living can be higher in downtown Denver compared to some surrounding neighborhoods.

Chris is a Midwest Transplant that has lived in South Florida since 1999. While he likes to remain active and is an avid sports enthusiast, he's become our go-to provider of reviews of any establishment serving food and booze!