The Ultimate Guide About Moving to Denver
Colorado is a state where many Americans dream of moving. Increasingly, they are making this a reality. This state is home to a number of cities that have been ranked as some of the fastest-growing locations in the United States.
Denver ranks fifth on the list of the fastest-growing large cities in the country, outranking both Aurora and Colorado Springs.
If you’re moving to Denver, you’re probably excited about all of the cultural and outdoor recreation opportunities that you’ll get to enjoy while in town. There is more to the city than just good food and mountains to climb, though.
Let’s take a look at some of the things to know about moving to Denver so you can know what to expect when you relocate to the Mile High City.
Why Is Everyone Moving to Denver?
The population of Colorado has been growing rapidly, with more than 1.5 million more people now than there were 20 years ago. On an anecdotal level, if you ask many Americans where they could live if they could go anywhere, you’ll probably receive a fair share of “Colorado” responses.
There are a lot of reasons why Colorado has become a popular option in the last several decades. Some of the most obvious reasons include the fact that there are tons of outdoor activities, really cool cities, and a thriving food scene.
As the capital of Colorado, Denver has been a popular destination for many new Colorado residents. Some of the reasons that Colorado as a whole has been growing include:
- The state has been economically booming
- There are tons of outdoor activities to participate in no matter the season
- It’s a great place to stay healthy and active
- People value having a healthy work-life balance in Colorado
- The job growth is the most consistent and strongest that it’s been since the mid-90s
- There are tons of breweries and a great food scene
- Legal cannabis offers both occupational and recreational opportunities
- It’s a wonderful place to spend time in nature
- It neighbors other beautiful states like Wyoming and Utah
These are only some of the reasons that so many people have chosen to call Colorado their home.
(Are you moving during the summer? Check out these tips.)
Denver: The Basics
Denver is the capital of Colorado and it’s also the most populous city in the state. Located on the western edge of the High Plains in the South Platte River Valley, Denver is just slightly east of the Rocky Mountain’s Front Range.
There are roughly 735,538 people that live in Denver as of 2020, making it rank the 19th biggest city by population in the whole country. It’s also the biggest city by population in all of the Mountain states. Remarkably, 85% of the population of Colorado lives in the Denver metropolitan area.
Estimates for the population of the Denver metropolitan area come in just short of 3 million people, making it also the 19th most populous metropolitan area in the country. The name of this metropolitan area is the Denver-Aurora-Lakewood-CO Metropolitan Statistical Area.
This metropolitan area is the second most populous in the Mountain West. It comes in second only after Phoenix, Arizona.
Denver received the accolade of being deemed the best place to live in the U.S. in 2016 by U.S. News and World Report.
(Trying to decide between a number of family-friendly cities? Check out the top kid’s activities in Kansas City.)
Denver has four distinct seasons and lives within the semi-arid, continental climate zone. In this region, both subtropical and humid continental microclimates exist.
Most of the precipitation that falls and Denver occurs between the months of April and August. Because of its location at the foot of the Rocky Mountains on the High Plains, sudden changes in weather are quite common.
The average high in July, which is the warmest month, is 89°F. During the summer, there are sometimes severe, afternoon thunderstorms and high temperatures that can reach 90°F.
The coldest month of the year in Denver is December. The average daily high during this month is 46°F.
During the winter in Denver, you can expect some periods of milder weather and some periods of very low temperatures and snow.
All that being said, Denver is a place that has beautiful, sunny weather. In fact, there are 300 days of sunshine per year in the city.
Even though more than 50 inches of snowfall on Denver every year, the snow typically doesn’t stick around for very long because of the sun’s melting power. The snow also usually falls in big storms rather than trickling in small amounts over the winter.
There is little to complain about when it comes to Denver in the spring. While the summers are hot, you will be pleasantly surprised by how comfortable heat can be when the air is dry. This is particularly true if you’re moving to Denver from a more humid climate.
The Geography of Denver
Denver is known as the Mile High City because the official elevation is considered to be exactly one mile above sea level. The city ultimately exists at a range between 5,130 and 5,690 above sea level, with the State Capitol building lying just about one mile above sea level.
Located in the Colorado Front Range region, Denver is just east of the Southern Rocky Mountains and west of the High Plains.
The Culture of Denver
Denver is known to be a rich cultural center. You won’t have to worry about being bored here, as there is something for literally everyone to do to occupy their time.
Active, Outdoor Lifestyle
Denver is known as a very outdoor-oriented, active city because of its generally sunny weather and proximity to the mountains. It is common for residents to spend their weekends in the mountains. During the summer there are plenty of opportunities for kayaking, climbing, camping, and hiking, and during the winter skiing and snowboarding are popular.
WalletHub recently compared the 100 biggest cities in the United States to determine which ones were the best and worst for living an active lifestyle. Denver came in 8th place, following:
- Honolulu, HI
- Portland, OR
- San Diego, CA
- San Francisco, CA
- Chicago, IL
- Seattle, WA
- Austin, TX
The CDC also tracks health-related data through its 500 Cities project. In this project, it looks at the cities in the United States that have the highest and lowest levels of physical activity.
While Boulder comes in first, with 89.1% of all adults in the city getting some kind of physical exercise outside of school or work, Denver isn’t far behind with 83.9% of adults being physically active.
According to another list looking at America’s fittest cities, Denver ranks fourth after Arlington, VA, Minneapolis, MN, and Seattle, WA.
There are more than 200 parks in Denver, ranging from tiny, mini-parks to huge hundred-acre parks. There are additionally 29 recreation centers that allow residents to both relax and recreate.
If you’re moving to Colorado from a less progressive state, you also might be somewhat surprised by the cannabis culture in the state. Colorado legalized cannabis for medicinal use way back in 2000 and legalized the use of the plant for recreational purposes in 2012.
The Cost of Living in Denver
Like any of the most appealing cities in the U.S., it costs a bit more to live in Denver when compared to the U.S. average. According to one cost of living index, if the US average scores at 100, Denver scores at 128.7. This makes living in Denver a bit more expensive than the average cost of living in the state of Colorado, which ranks at 121.1.
The Housing Market
There is no getting around the fact that housing is in high demand in Denver. This has led to increasing property values of existing homes. When you look at home for sale in Denver, you will find that the prices are decidedly above the national index.
The cost of a midrange home in Denver has pretty much doubled in the last 10 years. It is expected that the population will continue to grow in the future, so many people feel that purchasing property in Denver is a reasonable and solid long-term investment.
There are a number of different neighborhoods in Denver that vary quite a bit and how affordable they are. This means that many new residents can still find something that works for their finances and interests.
Some of the more affordable neighborhoods include:
- East Colfax
Some of the more midrange neighborhoods are:
- Northeast Park Hill
- North Park Hill
For people who are looking for higher-end homes in Denver, areas like Stapleton, Lowry Field, and South Park Hill will likely have what they’re looking for.
It is quite a bit more expensive to live closer to the downtown area, but some who work in the central business district find that the cost is worth it. There are a number of lower-cost suburbs that offer larger lots for people who are more interested in having some space than being close to the urban action.
The Economy in Denver
Denver is home to a booming job market and a strong economy. The unemployment rate in Denver is lower than the average for the country. For many people, job opportunities in a variety of businesses and industries are easier to come by and in other locations. You can find companies of all sizes, from multinational organizations and startups to small family-owned companies.
Let’s take a look at some of the largest job sectors in Denver.
You will find the densest concentration of private Aerospace employees in all of the United States in Colorado. The aerospace economy in Colorado is actually only second to that of California. Some of the aerospace firms that call Denver their home include:
- The Boeing Company
- Lockheed Martin
- Ball Aerospace and Technologies Corp
- Northrop Grumman
- Harris Corporation
- United Launch Alliance
- Sierra Nevada Corporation
The Denver branch of Lockheed Martin is responsible for having built Nasa’s InSight spacecraft that went to Mars. This is only one of the incredible achievements of Denver’s aerospace sector.
One of the busiest transport hubs in all of the United States is Denver International Airport. The Central and Western hub of United Airlines is based here, and 42% of the airport’s traffic is represented by United Airlines.
One of the most advanced and largest college aviation programs in the nation is the Aviation and Aerospace Science Department at Metropolitan State University of Denver.
If you’ve always wanted to work on Wall Street but aren’t much of an east-coaster, consider learning more about Denver’s 17th street. Sometimes referred to as the “Wall Street of the Rockies,” this area of Denver is home to the largest financial center between Los Angeles and Chicago.
Some of the leading financial service companies that have their headquarters in Denver include:
- Bank of Denver
- Janus Capital Group
- Summit Investment Management
- Western Union
- Fortis Private Bank
Out of all of the finance employees in Colorado, about 80% of them work in Denver.
Crowds and Traffic in Denver
When you are moving to one of the fastest-growing cities in the country, one thing you’ll want to consider is the traffic and congestion of the area. According to the Denver News Channel, traffic in Denver is considered to be so bad that it is on the list of the twenty-one worst American cities to drive in. On a list of one of the worst American gridlocked locations, it ranked at number 25.
One survey from the Denver Business Journal found that drivers in Denver spent an average of 36 hours in traffic jams during 2020. This makes Denver comparable to other cities of roughly the same size such as Nashville, Pittsburgh, and Raleigh. It is expected that the traffic in Denver will continue to get worse.
The Food Scene in Denver
When you move to Denver, you’ll get so spoiled by the local food scene that you probably won’t ever want to live anywhere else. With tons of farm-to-table restaurants that produce innovative and fresh dishes, there is something really special about Denver eats.
This is also an awesome place for anyone that has dietary concerns or specifications of any kind. It doesn’t matter whether you’re vegan, paleo, gluten-free, or something else entirely. You won’t have to worry about starving when your friends are feasting every time you visit a restaurant.
The Brewery Scene in Denver
If you love beer, you’ll never get tired of trying new things if you’re living in Denver. You can find a wide selection of brewpubs, taverns, and microbreweries in this capital city, with many people traveling from far and wide just to taste the brews here.
One great way to explore the local beer culture in Denver is by exploring the Denver Beer Trail. You can also take tours of many of the 100 breweries that are located in the city.
The Art and Museum Culture in Denver
You won’t get bored of the art and museum scene in Denver any time soon, either. With a number of nationally recognized museums, this is a wonderful place to explore the rich world of artistic achievement. Some of the museums you’ll find in Denver include:
- The Denver Art Museum
- The Denver Museum of Nature and Science
- The History Colorado Center
- The Molly Brown House
There are also a number of art districts around Denver. This includes both the River North Art District (RiNo) and Denver’s Art District on Santa Fe.
You can also find active folk, jazz, pop, metal, jam, and classical music scenes in the Mile High City. Denver during the 1960s and 1970s was a Petri dish of important folk acts, with well-known artists including John Denver, Judy Collins, and Bob Dylan living in Denver at various times.
Sports in Denver
If you’re a sports fan, you won’t be left wanting when you move to Denver. There are six professional sports teams in the city that will certainly help you get your fix. The professional sports teams in Denver include:
- Colorado Rockies Major League Baseball team
- Denver Broncos NFL team
- Denver Nuggets NBA team
- Colorado Avalanche NHL team
- Colorado Rapids Major Leage Soccer team
- Colorado Mammoth National Lacrosse League team
You can also enjoy the Denver Barbarians, a local rugby team. There are also a number of sports attractions and tours that you’ll enjoy as a sports fan. These include Coors Field, the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame, the Ball Arena, and the National Ballpark Museum.
Denver Is a Dog-Friendly City
When you have a furry friend, it makes sense to incorporate how dog-friendly a place is before moving. After all, you want to be able to bring your beloved pets along with you when you explore your new stomping grounds.
What makes Denver a great city for dog owners? For one, there are tons of hiking trails and dog parks where your pooch can get exercise and fresh air. On top of that, there are plenty of dog-friendly patios where you can enjoy a brew and your dog can peacefully people watch.
Believe it or not, there are actually more dogs than children in the city of Denver. It is estimated that there are about 140,000 children living in Denver across 99,000 households and roughly 158,000 dogs.
Nearby Cities and Attractions
When you move to Denver, there are tons of nearby cities and attractions that you can visit if you ever want to get out of town.
Located next to other awesome mountain states including Utah and Wyoming, living in Colorado is an outdoor lover’s dream. You can explore one of the countless national and state parks in the Rocky Mountain region, and check out endless campgrounds where you can fish, hike, camp, and more.
It’s also easy to travel internationally when you live in Denver. This is all thanks to the Denver International Airport.
Additionally, you can easily get to Vail, Aspen, or Beaver Creek if you’re looking for a Colorado-bound adventure.
Moving to Denver Tips
If you’re moving to the Mile High City, you might find yourself googling things like “moving to Denver advice.” Here are some more specific tips to help you make the right decisions in your move.
First, let’s take about Denver’s neighborhoods and the cost of rent. The most affordable neighborhoods will probably cost you between $1,400 and $1,800 a month in rent. Mid-range neighborhoods like Five Points, Washington Park, and Baker will likely cost between $2,200 and $2,400.
The priciest rents in Denver in the nicest neighborhoods can cost you upwards of $2,900 a month.
You’ll also want to consider where you’ll be working in relation to where you move. You can expect relatively long commutes in the city, with the average travel time in Denver coming in at about 24.7 minutes each way.
Here are a few more things it’s worth knowing:
- Denver is a fairly walkable city
- The public transportation is decent
- Denver is a very bike-friendly city
- Some neighborhoods have higher crime rates than others
Before moving anywhere, a good idea is to take some time to de-stress. Check out these fourteen ways to de-stress before a move.
Are You Moving to Denver From Kansas City?
One of the most stressful things you can do is move, and when you move long-distance it really kicks the cortisol up to the next level. If you’re considering moving to Denver from Kansas City, you’re most likely going to want to enlist professional help. That way, you can focus on the aspects of relocating that are most important and let pros take care of moving your belongings to your new home.
At Moving Proz, our company is built around a strong work ethic, attention to detail, and affordable pricing. We are here to help make moving as seamless and stress-free as possible. If it’s time for you to make a move, contact us for a free quote.