Categories
Landing Relocation

Pros and Cons of Living in Denver, Colorado

With thousands of out-of-staters flocking to furnished apartments in Denver each year, there must be something worthwhile waiting for them in the Mile High City. But what exactly is it that makes Denver the fifth fastest-growing big city in the U.S. and a prominent hot spot for young professionals?

If you’re thinking about moving to Denver, you’ll need to know the essential pros and cons of living in Denver.

Pro: Proximity to the Mountains

Colorado is home to nearly 60 mountains known as “fourteeners.” These peaks reach above 14,000 feet, according to the official U.S. Geological Survey. Some say there are only 52, while others claim there are as many as 74—the particulars don’t matter when you have that many incredible mountains within state lines.

Here are just three of the 58 fourteeners within driving distance of Denver:

  • Mount Elbert – This is the tallest mountain in Denver. It’s an incredible spot for hiking because you can take a relatively short trail to the summit—though with 4,500 feet of elevation over only 4.5 miles, “short” only refers to physical distance, not necessarily the duration of your round-trip. 
  • Mount Evans – At over 14,260 feet, this scenic beauty is home to the United States’ highest paved road. Once summer hits and the snow melts enough for the Mount Evans Scenic Byway to be driveable, you’ll be floored at the incomparable views.
  • Longs Peak (Rocky Mountain National Park) – The entire length of the Rockies boasts stunning views and scenic vistas, yet Longs Peak is still the center of attention. Unfortunately, there is no way up to the summit—unless you’re a highly-skilled mountain climber—but the surrounding trails will not disappoint with the views they provide.

Colorado is also home to some of the best ski towns in the U.S., including Aspen, which encompasses four distinct mountain peaks and a quaint, small-town shopping and dining district, and the world-famous Vail with over 5,000 skiable acres.  

Con: High Altitude

The Mile High City is quite literally one mile above sea level. You might notice dry skin and hair at this elevation, and perhaps more frequent nosebleeds or mild headaches. It can make exercising more difficult because you’ll be breathing harder and faster to receive the same amount of oxygen. 

The good news? If you’re planning on becoming a Colorado resident rather than a tourist, you’ll quickly adjust to the slight decrease in available oxygen. 

The Pro within the Con: Extra Sunny

The higher the elevation, the closer you are to the sun. There is less atmosphere above you to block out the sun and its UV rays at that height. 

The sun feels extra hot in Denver, which can be both good and bad, considering the city experiences nearly 300 days of sunshine annually. The sunshine persists even as the temperature drops, with the snowfall beginning as early as September or October.

Pro: Booming Economy & Expanding Job Market

According to Forbes, Denver is the fourth-best city in the United States for business and careers. Out of 200 major cities, it ranked 32nd in job growth and 18th in education. Major companies have moved their corporate headquarters to Denver or the surrounding area, bringing thousands of new jobs to the city. Some of those tech giants include:

  • Lockheed Martin
  • Google
  • IBM

In Denver, the tech industry is booming—especially software and mobile development. With over 4,000 tech companies based in Colorado and so many high-paying jobs in Denver, it’s no surprise that the state ranks 11th overall for household median income.

Con: High Cost of Living, Low Availability

You won’t see an increase in job opportunities and population growth without simultaneously experiencing a surge in housing prices and decreased available property.

Denver’s cost of living sits 12% above the national average, but housing costs account for most of this, coming in at 34% above average. The median home price is about $450,000, while monthly rent hovers around $1,400 for a one-bedroom apartment, though this can vary a lot, especially among up and coming neighborhoods in Denver

While finding affordable relocation housing can be challenging if you don’t know where to look, it is doable. However, when it comes to Denver, you’ll get far more than what you pay for: an outstanding city with vibrant culture and incredible career opportunities. 

Pro: An Active & Adventurous City

If hiking and skiing still aren’t enough for you, Denver is known far and wide for its extreme sports and daring attitude. According to a survey conducted by YouGov, 43% of Denverites proudly call themselves “adventurous,” which is more than any other state.

This statistic makes sense when you consider all of the fun things to do in Denver:

  • Extreme water sports – Jet skiing and water skiing, white water rafting, and tubing.
  • High-flying adventures – Hang gliding, paragliding, ziplining, and skydiving.
  • Summer mountain sports – Rock climbing, mountain biking, and backpacking.

But extreme sports aren’t for everyone, even when they’re right in your backyard. However, Denver is still an active city in an everyday way, too.

The city is known for its cyclist-friendly infrastructure and attitude, ranking fourth in the nation on a Walk Score study. Denver provides safe and easy alternatives to navigate the city with almost 300 miles of paved biking paths and an impressive bike-sharing network.

With such incredible vista views—including the Rocky Mountain range right in your backyard—it’s no surprise that locals are so keen to enjoy an outdoor activity.

Con: Landlocked

Incredible hiking trails? Check. A cycling-friendly city? Check. Unparalleled skiing? Double, triple, maybe even quadruple check. 

Denver has the benefits of the mountains and trails, but beyond that, it lacks the variety that some people are looking for—namely, beaches. There are a few sandy areas and waterfront spots, but they’re more like “beaches” than beaches. However, what the city lacks in seaside destinations, it makes up for in its gorgeous mountains and green spaces. Plus, water features like Sloan’s Lake help former beach bums transition happily into lake-loving Denverites. 

Pro: Sports Teams Galore

Football, basketball, hockey, baseball, and more—no matter your sport of choice, they have it. Denver is home to eight professional sports teams, which is impressive for a city of its size. They even have two pro Lacrosse teams and two Rugby clubs in the league.

Denver is among very few U.S. cities to have all four major league sports right in its city limits. It’s one of only two cities in the country that houses each of the teams downtown. 

If you’re not a fan of the city’s major teams, like The Broncos—which, quite frankly, goes against everything Denverites stand for—then you’ll still be able to find a sport to enjoy on those crisp Colorado evenings.

Con: Traffic & Limited Public Transportation

There are a few main reasons for Denver’s traffic troubles, and they’re all interconnected:

  • Denver is a major metropolitan area – All big cities have rush hour traffic ranging from “Not Great” to “Very Bad.” Denver falls somewhere on that scale, though the debate is still ongoing about exactly where.
  • There has not been enough infrastructure expansion to meet the recent surge in population – The roads and highways of the Denver metro area weren’t built to accommodate half a million additional people that have moved to the area over the past ten years.
  • Denver hosts one, often two, major events across its stadiums each night – Although amazing if you’re looking for sports games or concerts to enjoy in the evenings, the city’s constant events may be less desirable when you want to make it home after a long day at the office.
  • There is a lack of adequate public transportation – This leads to an increase in automotive traffic when there aren’t enough other viable options.

The Pro within the Con: Abundant Parking

The mass amount of parking in downtown Denver encourages (almost) everyone to drive (almost) everywhere—why take the bus or carpool when you know you’ll find parking right outside the door?

Bonus Pro: Moving to Denver is Easy with Landing

Every city has its perks and flaws, just like there are pros and cons of living in Denver. As you embrace the pros, you can either ignore the cons or find ways around them. 

Landing can place you in one of Denver’s best fully furnished apartments in a matter of days. You can effortlessly navigate Denver’s housing market while living in a hassle-free, low commitment Landing space in your chosen neighborhood. You’ll be ready to enjoy everything the city has to offer a new Denver resident on day one. 

Bike ride? Sports game? Weekend trip to Vail? 

Or better yet, enjoy a night in at your luxurious apartment with 24/7 concierge service. Don’t worry, the mountains aren’t going anywhere, and you can always catch the Broncos game on TV. 

With no long-term leases and an easy relocation process, you can change your mind about Denver at any time—but with this pro-heavy list of living in Denver pros and cons, we doubt you will. 

Sources: 

Denver7. Denver named 5th fastest-growing big city in US; Loveland, Greeley among fastest-growing overall. https://www.thedenverchannel.com/news/our-colorado/denver-named-5th-fastest-growing-big-city-in-us-loveland-greeley-among-fastest-growing-overall

Daily News. 10 things you might not know about Denver, CO. https://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/10-not-denver-colorado-article-1.317101

Forbes. The Best Places for Business and Careers. https://www.forbes.com/best-places-for-business/list/

DQYDJ. Average Income by State plus Median, Top 1%, and All Income Percentiles in 2019. https://dqydj.com/average-income-by-state-median-top-percentiles/

PayScale. Cost of Living in Denver, CO. https://www.payscale.com/cost-of-living-calculator/Colorado-Denver

Colorado Real Estate Journal. Where are Denver apartment rents headed in 2020? https://crej.com/news/where-are-denver-apartment-rents-headed-in-2020/

Walk Score. Minneapolis Tops San Francisco, Portland as Most Bikeable City of 2015. http://blog.walkscore.com/2015/05/minneapolis-tops-san-francisco-portland-as-most-bikeable-city-of-2015/

Colorado.com. Colorado Mountains: 6 Famous Peaks. https://www.colorado.com/articles/colorado-mountains-6-famous-peaks

YouGov. Boston, Washington DC most likely to say their cities are “intelligent.” https://today.yougov.com/topics/lifestyle/articles-reports/2018/12/10/boston-DC-intelligent-denver-adventure-citybus

VISIT DENVER. Denver Sports Teams. https://www.denver.org/sports-commission/denver-teams/

Built In. US Tech Hubs. https://builtin.com/tech-hubs/colorado

125 Downtowns. Cities With All 4 Major Sports. http://www.125downtowns.info/front-page/home/sports/cities-with-all-4-major-sports

Macrotrends. Denver Metro Area Population 1950-2020. https://www.macrotrends.net/cities/22972/denver/population