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?
f you’re thinking about moving to Denver, you’ll need to know the essential pros and cons of living in Denver, including:
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—but 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 highest paved road in the U.S. 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 sun!
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 and 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 giants include Comcast, Charles Schwab, Dish Network, United Healthcare, and Western Union. Fortune 500 companies in Denver include Liberty Media, Arrow Electronics, and Newmont Goldcorp.
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.
Additionally, the University of Colorado Denver, University of Denver, and MSU Denver employ large swaths of the population, along with recreational and educational institutions such as the Denver Art Museum and the Denver Botanic Gardens. As you can see, Denver has something for everyone!
Con: High cost of living and 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 and 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.
The city has something for everyone to enjoy. From arts and entertainment to sports, food, and most recently, beer, Denver is a lovely place to enjoy, day in and day out. Moving to Denver? Here are some ideas for things to do:
- Visit Rocky Mountain National Park
- Enjoy a downtown Denver food tour
- Check out one of Denver’s many craft breweries
- Visit the Molly Brown House Museum
- Take the family to a ballgame at Coors Field
- Visit the Denver Botanic Gardens
- Stroll Larimer Square at night
- Enjoy the Children’s Museum of Denver
With such incredible vista views—including the Rocky Mountains right in your backyard—it’s no surprise that locals are so keen to enjoy an outdoor activity.
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.
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 and 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 10 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 public transportation, though Denver does offer The Regional Transportation District (RTD) bus system, the RTD rail system, and the RTD light rail. 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?
Pro: Great neighborhoods
If you’re considering moving to Denver, Colorado, start your search for a furnished apartment for rent in one of these beautiful Denver neighborhoods:
- Gateway Park is an exciting new development right near the heart of downtown Denver. Featuring an expansive surrounding area ripe for business and residential development, Gateway Park is full of unique housing options and an exciting retail area.
- Foxfield is a town located just outside of Denver but is still part of the Denver-Aurora metropolitan area. If you’re looking for a quiet place to unwind after dealing with the hustle and bustle of Denver, Foxfield is your new home.
- The Central Business District is one of the most lively areas in the city and serves as Denver’s metropolis. Complete with towering skyscrapers, exciting restaurants, exceptional retail options, and a number of business headquarters, the Central Business District is the epitome of Denver.
- Capitol Hill is a wonderful neighborhood if you’re looking to enter into the unique history of Denver’s past. This lovely residential district features old mansions and beautiful homes. It’s also a great neighborhood to consider if you’re settling down to raise a family.
- Highland overlooks Denver’s bustling downtown, offering a glimpse of city living while being a residential neighborhood at heart. Take advantage of the beautiful sights and sounds, visit old restaurants, party at fun cocktail bars, and enjoy some urban living located just across from Coors Field.
- Glendale is one of Denver’s premier suburban neighborhoods and is one of the best places to live in the city (and in Colorado!). Sitting alongside Cherry Creek, this neighborhood offers prime real estate with fantastic schools, beautiful developments, and charming homes—along with a friendly main street.
- Congress Park is part of Denver’s historic district and offers urban living at its very finest. With tons of restaurants, bars, cafes, shops, and parks within walking distance, Congress Park is a great place to be if you want to be close to the action.
- Northeast Denver is a quieter, more laid-back area of the city, with tree-lined streets, friendly neighbors, and more diversity, as the community is a mix of historic and more up-and-coming neighborhoods.
- Ruby Hill is less than five miles south of Downtown Denver and offers Denverites the perfect mix of urban and suburban vibes, as well as plenty of bars, restaurants, and parks to enjoy.
- Southeast Denver is a perfect mix of old and new, with historic architecture and charming neighborhoods, each with their own unique character.
- Washington Park is a more residential, family-friendly neighborhood with sports facilities, playgrounds, green space, and golf courses that Denverites love. This area is filled with environmentally conscious and community-minded residents who enjoy the neighborhood’s peaceful vibe and many small, independently owned businesses.
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. Browse Landing’s available apartments in Denver today!