Denver, a.k.a. the Mile High City, very well might have the most beautiful backdrop for a city. At the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, the capital of the Centennial State is nothing short of mesmerizing with its beautiful weather and breathtaking views.
The capital city of Colorado has seen a rise in the number of people moving to the city for its exploding job market. In fact, in the last decade, more than 100,000 people have migrated to the city. Other than the job market, Denver also has a number of beautiful landscapes, a few ski resorts, and a magnificent affinity towards outdoor sports. Denver also gets around 300 days of sun a year, meaning you might not be as cold all the time.
But if you’re moving to Denver, there are a lot of factors that you need to consider, and we’re going to be doing just that in this guide. Read on!
Business News Daily has stated the state of Colorado as one of the best places to start a new business. The taxation and regulation for news businesses is relatively manageable and lower than the rest of the country.
Consequently, the city capital city of Denver enjoys the same benefits, that added with the increasing number of people moving into the state, the opportunities are plenty and favorable to entrepreneurs.
The Next Big City
The city of Denver is home to the headquarters of a lot of big-name companies. The city also has a promising future for new businesses. All of these factors mean that the city is quickly transforming into a big city.
Even with the snowy Rocky Mountains as a backdrop, the city of Denver receives almost 300 days of sun. This means that as a resident of this city, you probably don’t have to worry about bad weather.
In fact, Denver beats the national average of sunny days by almost 100 days. One benefit of the high amount of sunlight is the lack of humidity all year round, except the monsoons and the peak of winters.
The Great Outdoors
Denver is the city of dreams for everyone who loves the outdoors and hates monotony. The city not only has its own beaches (despite being landlocked), but it also has a few desert landscapes and even snowy mountain peaks. In fact, Denver is a day-long drive away from over 55 mountains that peak at over 14,000 feet!
So, the people of the outdoors can rest assured that you’ll find some activity to do. Whether it be hiking, rafting, snowboarding, biking, camping, or just backpacking through the multiple trails in multiple terrains, Denver has something for you.
Low Cost Of Living
Even though Denver is known for its hot housing market, the overall cost of living still lags behind a majority of the major cities in the USA. Make no mistake, housing will cut out a big chunk of your bank balance. However, other than that, all other operational costs like utilities, gas, entertainment, and groceries are easily manageable.
Extensive Food Culture
Regardless of whether you like the city or not, if you like deviating from the normal, you’ll love the food in this city.
Dishes like green chilli sauce, the Rocky Mountain Oysters, and the evergreen Mexican favourites like tacos, nachos, and burritos are served with a new twist that is specific to the city, and loved by many. Also, being the beer capital of the USA, Denver does do justice to the hype in all aspects.
If you’re traveling within the city, you might not find traffic to be a problem. However, while getting in or out of Denver, you might find yourself stuck in the same spot. This is due to the exponential increase in the population in the last decade, and the failure of public transit to catch up with it.
Being A Mile-High City
Denver is called the Mile-High City because it is exactly 5,280 feet above the sea level, meaning it is literally a mile higher than the majority of the people on the planet. However, the elevation of this city means you’ll take a while to get acclimatized to the thinner air in Denver. Also, you’ll have to wear sunscreen in peak winter as well.
In essence, Denver is still a small city. With the exponential increase in the number of people moving to live here, the overall infrastructure of the city is struggling to catch up. At the very core, roads, electricity grids, sewage, and water are all the parts of operation that are struggling to catch up.
The ‘small town turning into a big city’ has taken a toll on the overall living standards in the most basic forms as well. For example, the traffic is bad, the public transit is desperately trying to catch up, and you might find the streets to be crowded even when you are walking or riding a bike.
The sudden increase in population has also resulted in an aggressive housing market, along with the same competition in almost all areas of operation.
Weather In Denver
Located at the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, Denver happens to have mountains to the west, and plains to the east, as neighbors. Due to the influence of geography, Denver experiences a semi-arid climate. One positive that Denver enjoys in terms of the climate is that you get to experience all four seasons here.
The summer season in this part of Colorado is known to be hot and lasts for 3 to 3.5 months on an average. During this time, the average daily temperature is 80°F. The hottest month in Denver is July, wherein the temperatures may swing around 62°F on the lower end and 88°F on the higher end.
The winters in the Mile High City are known to be windy, cold, and sometimes harsh. The winter season lasts from November to March and sees an average daily temperature of 53°F. The coldest month in Denver is December, during which the temperatures tend to fall between 23°F and 46°F. From November to February, it also sees snowfall, with the majority of it happening in January.
When it comes to precipitation, the city of Denver receives a good amount of rain and snow. The monsoons in Denver last from April to mid-September with an 18% chance of rain on any given day. However, you might experience rainfall from mid-February to late November.
Even in extreme conditions, the temperatures in Denver rarely fall below 6°F or rise above 96°F. One thing to note about the climate in Denver is that it is on the drier end of things for the majority of the year. This means you need a lot of moisturizer and sunscreen. On the other hand, you don’t have to worry about everything being damp, moldy and/or rusty!
Denver has seen an exponential increase in the number of people moving here. While that is indicative of great job opportunities, it also means that the overall cost of living in this city has taken a hit.
While the costs of healthcare, housing, and food are higher than the national average, other operational costs somewhat bring the overall expense. Make no mistake, Denver is still slightly expensive to live in, but it is manageable.
According to NeighborhoodScout, the average purchase price of houses in Denver has appreciated almost 127% in two decades. Because of the exponential growth in population and consequent prices, buying a house in Denver is somewhat of a challenge.
The median cost in the city of Denver for a single-family home is around $438,300, which is higher than some of the much bigger places like NYC, where the average cost for a home with a similar home would be around $403,900, or even Washington DC, where it the cost would be $417,700.
Renting A House In Denver
According to NeighborhoodScout, about 51% of all residents in Denver are renters. Even with the high number of renters, the actual cost of rent in the city is higher than the national average.
The rent for a standard two-bedroom apartment in Denver is around $1,347, which is $172 higher than the national average of $1,175. If you decide to go for a smaller living space, you’ll save some money on that end. However, the ratio of the median costs in Denver to the national median does not change a lot.
Taxes In Denver
The tax rates in Denver are higher than the national average. One of the bigger reasons for this is the exponential increase in population, leading to expenses made by the city to keep up with the population.
When talking numbers, you will see that the sales tax rate for the city of Denver is 4.81%, which is then combined with the state sales tax of 2.9%. This brings the total tax rate in the city of Denver to 8.81%, which is higher than the national average that lands at6.35%.
Utilities And Other Expenses In Denver
According to Numbeo, the cost of utilities like electricity, heating, water, and garbage disposal for a typical single-family home is around $130, while a decent internet connection would cost around $64.31. Food and groceries, on the other hand, are about 2% less expensive than the national average, according to PayScale. A proper three-course meal for two, in a mid-level restaurant in Denver, will cost about$66.35.
Crime Rate In Denver
The crime rate of any area is calculated by measuring the number of crimes committed, per 1000 residents, and putting the received data on a scale. On the given scale, the total crime rate in Colorado’s capital city is 45.38, according to Neighborhood Scout. In the same report, it is seen that Denver has a higher number of violent and property crimes in comparison to the national average.
In Denver, Colorado, the rate of violent crimes is 7.52, compared to the national average of violent crimes, which is just 4. Denver has been observed to have almost double the amount of violent crimes than the rest of the country. This brings the chance of becoming a victim of violent crimes in Denver to 1 in 133.
Property crimes in the city also see a similar trend where the rate of property crimes in Denver lands at about 37.85, which is almost double the national average of 21. These numbers bring the chances of becoming a victim of property crimes in Denver to about 1 in 26.
Economy And Employment Opportunities In Denver
As of 2019, the city of Denver contributed a hefty$202.46 billion in the form of its GDP to the economy of the US. Two of the biggest industries in the city are hospitality, which has been booming since the city started seeing an influx of people either moving here for work, or visiting as tourists; and the sale of recreational marijuana, which is both the most sold commodity and the highest taxed commodity of the city at 15%.
Other than these two, industries like healthcare, finance, aerospace, agriculture, and tech are some of the biggest employers, and consequent contributors to the high GDP of the city. On average, the residents of Denver, where the average salary is $61,540, earn more than the residents of other cities by almost $10,000.
According to a report by Denver Business Journal, the average salary of a resident of Denver is $80,000 per year, while the minimum required income to live comfortably in this city is around $110,000. This means there is a big gap in the amount of money earned and the amount of money required to live comfortably, making this city generally a little expensive to live in.
Education In Denver
The city of Denver has a lot of educational institutes, which means that you can select a school for your children with relative ease, regardless of what part of the city you live in. There are 157 public schools, 220 private schools, and 9 colleges/universities.
The total number of students in Denver is 118,094, while the number of teachers in Denver is 6,125. This means that the student to teacher ratio is a strong 19:1. These numbers give credibility to the overall education sector in this city. However, there are a few schools that top the list of the best ones in the city of Denver. Here is the list for you to check out.
Stargate Charter School, Adams 12 Five Star Schools, CO
Peak To Peak Charter School, Boulder Valley School District, CO
Challenge School, Cherry Creek School District, CO
Littleton Academy, Littleton Public Schools, CO
Denver School Of The Arts, Denver Public Schools, CO
Campus Middle School, Cherry Creek School District, CO
West Middle School, Cherry Creek School District, CO
DSST: Byers Middle School, Denver Public Schools, CO
Kent Denver School, Englewood, CO
Colorado Academy, Denver, CO
Cherry Creek High School, Cherry Creek School District, CO
The public transportation in Denver is extensive and efficient inside the city. However, that is the extent of it. Meaning, if you want to get to one of the many off-road trails, peaks, or just some specific places outside the city’s limits, you might not have any sort of public transport available to you.
That being said, the public transportation infrastructure in Denver is designed in a way that will allow you to get around the city without a lot of trouble. It’s affordable, reasonably quick, albeit limited to its reach, efficient.
If you want to avoid the traffic, you can use the train that is run by the Regional Transport District, or RTD, and choose one of the fifty lines it runs through the metro area and some surrounding cities like Aurora, Littleton, Lakewood, Golden, and Arvada. If you are feeling adventurous, you can also choose the tourist trains that include Amtrak rides between Denver, Winter Park, and Glenwood Springs.
Another option is to take the bus. The RTD runs buses between Denver and neighboring metropolitan areas throughout the year. They run about 176 lines with over 9,000 stops. The buses are comfortable and inexpensive. However, you need to note that the easiest way to take any RTD-run service is to get a pass for the same as the drivers on these vehicles do not carry any change.
Greyhound has set up a network around Denver to take you to cities that are farther away. They have individual terminals on all central lines and run buses up to Fairplay, Buena Vista, Salida, Puebla, and Gunnison.
Given the central location of the city on the map of the USA, you’ll easily find flights going and coming from a majority of the locations at the Denver International Airport. The only thing to note is that the airport is about 25 miles outside the city, making the journey to the airport feel like a journey in itself.
Inside the city, especially Downtown and LoDo, you can choose to rent a scooter, ride a bike, avail a pedicab, or just walk. Speaking of walking, considering that Denver is relatively small and public transportation is fairly efficient, you might never need a car at all to get around in the city!
Places To Visit In Denver
The Mile High City is much more than its beautiful mountains, exhilarating ski-resorts, and unending landscapes. To experience what the city has to offer to its fullest, you might want to visit some of the tourist attractions. Check it out!
1. Meow Wolf: Convergence Station
The installations at the Meow Wolf are somewhat eccentric. Curated and created by over three hundred artists collaborating on 79 pieces, you’ll find something that catches your eye and leaves you gawking.
2. Denver Art Museum
The Denver Art Museum boasts of its collection of Native American art, classics like Claude Monet’s Waterloo Bridge, and murals on the Gio Ponti building. While you do that, you can assure that the children also have fun at the family-friendly activity centers scattered throughout the building.
3. The Beer Spa
A concept seen mostly in Eastern Europe has been brought to the states and modified to make it a much more intimate and comforting experience. The Beer Spa provides its visitors with literal beer baths that can be heated up to 170°F. These baths also have a massage chair that scans your body and then showers you with beer like a jacuzzi-bot.
4. Dairy Block
Dairy Block gets its name from the Windsor Farm Dairy Building which used to produce butter, cheese and other dairy products. However, this pedestrian-friendly alley now offers an array of spots for you to check out, including some of the hottest bars, cafes, and co-working spaces.
Best Places To Live In Denver
If you’re looking for a neighbourhood with a college-town vibe, you might fall in love with this neighbourhood. Located about 40 minutes away from Denver, you’ll find multiple housing options ranging from family homes to condos.
This neighbourhood is home to the University Of Boulder, which is known for its college-level sports. It’s also home to the Museum Of Contemporary Art and about an hour away from multiple physical activities like hiking, biking, and horseback riding. You might find this area to be the best for you as a single young professional, or somebody wanting to start a family.
Median Home Value: $700,000
Monthly Median Rent: $1,554
Annual Median Household Income: $69,520
What started out as a redevelopment project for the former Denver airport is now one of the more affluent neighborhoods in Denver. With the modern houses, you’ll find a lot of open spaces in the area, not more than a few blocks away from each other.
The 80-acre park in the neighbourhood of Stapleton is one of the best places for families with children as they can find all sorts of activities from athletic fields, an amphitheatre, and a boating lake. This neighborhood also houses a few well-known schools, making it a top pick for young families. However, this neighborhood does come with an equally impressive price tag.
Median Home Value: $588,520
Monthly Median Rent: $1,869
Annual Median Household Income: $136,293
3. South Park Hill
South Park Hill is a neighborhood with great parks, vast libraries, and top-quality schools, making it one of the best neighborhoods in the city for families to move into.
Along with the schools and parks, South Hill Park takes care of one’s social life as well, by giving them access to a bunch of great cafes, restaurants, and other nightlife venues, which happen to be very close to the Denver Zoo and the Denver Museum Of Nature & Science.
Median Home Value: $641,021
Monthly Median Rent: $1,290
Annual Median Household Income: $133,231
Located just outside of Downtown, Highland provides a very laid back yet involved lifestyle to its residents, giving them the choice to select their likes and dislikes. The Victorian-era houses are surrounded by cafes, restaurants and boutiques, making it easy for one to find entertainment without a lot of hassle.
Other than that, Highland is also home to the Highlands Street Fair, bringing food, art, and music right to your doorstep. However, if you don’t want to be with the crowd, you can visit Sloan’s Lake Park and enjoy the quiet and peace.
Median Home Value: $531,044
Monthly Median Rent: $1,656
Annual Median Household Income: $77,294
Denver is a city that is literally up amongst the clouds. The Mile High City has so much to offer to everyone who comes. Culture, history, natural beauty, and the opportunity of building a life that one can only dream of.
Even though the city does tug at your wallet a little harder than many other cities, you can rest assured that moving to Denver, and experiencing a city that is on its way to become the next big destination, would be totally worth it. You can use our Moving Cost Calculator to Calculate the Cost of your move to Denver.
What Is Denver Most Famous For?
Denver is most famous for the beautiful Rocky Mountains it has as a backdrop. However, there are many tourist attractions like Union Station, Denver Breweries, and LoDo. Denver is also known as the birthplace of the ever-famous cheeseburger.
Is Denver, Colorado Safe?
When talking numbers, it is seen that Denver has higher crime rates than the national average. However, there are parts of the city that are much safer and perfect for living.
Is It Expensive To Live In Denver?
Yes. The cost of living in this city is higher than the national average when it comes to housing and utilities. However, some parts of the operational costs of living in Denver are below the national average, making living here manageable.
Does Denver Have A Good Nightlife?
Yes! Denver is one of the hippest cities in the country. There are a lot of bars and pubs sprinkled throughout the city, where one can be assured of having a good time.
Alex Sherr is the founder of My Long Distance Movers, a blog that provides moving information and resources for people who are relocating. He has more than two decades of experience in the moving and relocation industry, and he is passionate about helping people relocate smoothly and efficiently. When he's not writing or blogging, Alex enjoys spending time with his wife and two young children.