Thinking about making the move to Aurora, Colorado? Does the idea of hiking, skiing and biking year-round appeal to you? Are you a little bit country, a little bit rock-y mount? Then ponder no more. Aurora awaits you. Read Guide >
The city of Aurora is predominantly suburban and is made up of dozens of neighborhoods. The cost of living in this city is fairly high, as is the case with most of Colorado. Here we have broken down some of the more popular areas of this massive city.
Foxfield: One of the largest areas in Aurora, Foxfield is made up of new, luxury apartments as well as larger single-family homes. Foxfield is a great place for those who are looking to settle or for families looking for a quiet area to rent in. Living in this part of town costs a pretty penny as rents can range between $775-$1800. However, the benefits of living in Foxfield may outweigh the cost. It’s proximity to walking trails, bike paths, golf courses, as well as being located in a great school district (Cherry Creek) make it a prime Aurora location. Additionally, this well-to-do suburb is only 20 miles from the heart of Denver. $$-$$$
City Center: Called City Center because it is, essentially, the town center of Aurora, this part of town is filled with both young professionals and families alike. A happening part of town, this is the place to live for the person who likes to keep their finger on the pulse of a city. 20-somethings, young professionals, and small families tend to inhabit this “urban” area where apartments, high-rises and luxury living is abundant. Boutiques, restaurants, movie theaters and sports clubs are all within reach at this end of town. With close proximity to downtown Denver and the campus of Colorado University, it’s easy to see why this end of town is the heart of Aurora. $-$$$
Aurora Hills: This residential area has a little something for everyone. Great schools, close hospitals, churches, golf courses and parks; Aurora Hills is true suburbia. The homes here are typically a bit older (built in the 1960s) and reasonably priced, especially by Colorado standards. But don’t let the large front yards and split-level houses fool you, this neighborhood also has townhomes and apartments for those looking for a smaller place to call home. Aurora Hills is also home to a solid amount of restaurants and bars that serve up some of the finest food in town. Just beware the rocky mountain oysters (unless you’re into that kind of thing). $-$$$
Mission Viejo: Modeled after the town of Mission Viejo in California, this area was made to be family-friendly and a welcomed break from the look of everyday “Colorado” housing. Featuring bike paths, greenbelts, Spanish named streets, and walls and street lights that incorporate Spanish design, Mission Viejo is an eclectic part of town. Featuring more homes for rent than apartments, rates around here are fairly reasonable for Colorado ($1200 for a 4 bedroom/2 bath). Homes in this neighborhood are a bit older (built in 1970s) but well maintained, as Mission Viejo has a very active HOA (homeowner’s association). Part Spain, part California, with a view of nature and that laid-back Colorado feel – make moving here your mission. $$-$$$$
Good news: Because it gets very cold in Colorado, most newer apartments feature fireplaces, which will help save on heating costs (and Colorado has been known to be cold about 7 months out of the year) and may help ignite a romantic spark or two. Also, many of the apartments and updated homes in the area feature hardwood floors, which add a more upscale, updated look to any dwelling. Bad news: If you are a dog-lover, most apartments allow man’s best friend to move in (with a small deposit) but there are breed restrictions. If you are a sucker for pit bulls, Rottweiler’s and any other breed of dog that may or may not be prone to guarding junk yards, you may want to consider down-sizing your taste.
Aurora is known for its fantastic school districts, primarily the top-notch districts of Cherry Creek and Douglas County. This is good news for those who are relocating with children in tow. If you’re moving to further your own education, Aurora is just minutes away from over eight colleges and universities, including The University of Colorado Denver.
Getting from place to place in Aurora can be done fairly easily. The city uses the 9-mile light rail system, a bus line, three main highways (Interstate 70, Interstate 225, E-470 beltway) and is minutes away from the Denver International Airport. The city also features many bike paths for those who wish to “go green.”
Settled by a shady businessman who left bad debts and skipped town, Aurora, which means “dawn,” was once named Fletcher, which means… “Fletcher.” Residents, and soon-to-be residents, should be thankful for this much more ethereal and non-scandal related name. This city that had once been considered the “little sister of Denver” has made a name for itself and has quickly become an ever-growing suburban town filled with families and young professionals. Nicknamed the “gateway to the Rockies,” Aurora is much more than a place on a map – it’s a great place to relocate, get in touch with nature and have one of those infamous rocky mountain beers.
Real estate tycoon Donald Fletcher founded the town with his name in 1891. Two years later, Fletcher left during the Silver Crash of 1983. Fletcher left the town with tons of water debt. In 1907, resident changed the town’s name to Aurora and the state officially recognized it as a city (with 2,000 residents) in 1929. Most of the original part of Aurora was south of Colfax Avenue, a major thoroughfare (old U.S. 40) that runs east-west through Denver to its western suburbs. In its infancy, Aurora was known for its ties to the armed serviced. The Fitzsimons Army Hospital and base (at Peoria and Colfax) avoided closured during the Depression. President Franklin Roosevelt visited the hospital, and impressed with the facility, he helped appropriate funds for the hospital. In 1942, the Army Air Corps built Buckley Field. Five years later it became Buckley Naval Air Station and again in 1960 was renamed Buckley Air National Guard Base. By this time Aurora had grown to 50,000 residents, much of it thanks to the military presence which includes Lowry Field, an Army air base that abutted the city in Denver. Aurora now is the third largest city in the state with nearly 300,000 residents, more than half the size of Denver. Instead of a mere suburb, Aurora encompasses 144 square miles, stretching from its western tip next to Denver and north of I-70, east beyond E-470 and south to Arapahoe Road and its southern neighbors, Centennial and Parker.
The People - Who Lives Here?
Aurora is probably the most diverse suburb of Denver, proving that it is more than just a bedroom community. Though nearly 60 percent white, Aurora is almost 20 percent Hispanic and more than 13 percent African-American. Aurora does tend to be three parts: urban/poor; middle class and upper middle class. Much of its black population lives in the corridor east of Yosemite at the western boundary with Denver and in the poorer neighborhoods near Colfax. That same corridor stretching east past Interstate 225 is also heavily Hispanic. The farther south and southeast you go the more upscale the neighborhoods become, stretching to golf course communities such as Saddlerock, Murphy Creek and the senior residential area Heritage Eagle Bend.
Social Scene - Bars, clubs, restaurants
Chain restaurants and bars are the norm especially in the higher traffic areas around the Aurora Towne Center (formerly the Aurora Mall) and south of I-225 on Parker Road. There are several small, locally-owned independent restaurants and taverns along Colfax, Alameda, Peoria and Havana streets. Minus a true downtown area, Aurora relies on pockets of shopping centers that have sports bars, cafes and other restaurants that draw a local crowd.
The Value - Rental prices vs. quality of living
The spite of foreclosures and lackluster home sales has dropped the average home price to $183,000 in November, according to Yahoo.com. The median rental price is $617, nearly $150 more than the U.S. average. Still, the cost of living in Aurora is fairly low because of the access to many amenities and availability of homes and rental properties.
Transportation & Traffic
The Regional Transportation District’s southeast light rail stops at Nine Mile station at Parker Road and I-225, RTD’s most-used light-rail facility, mainly for its ease of access. Light rail, through a large expansion project called FasTracks, is expected to increase service all the way to I-70 along I-225. It will allow riders to reach Denver International Airport and various points between Aurora and downtown Denver. Major highways like I-225, I-70 and I-25 are three of the extensive ways Aurorans traverse the city, while Alameda, Colfax, Sixth Avenue and Iliff are four major arteries that go east and west.
Rental Advice & Tips
The massive size of Aurora makes it impossible to traverse in a single day looking at apartments, condos or townhomes. Use a broker who knows the area well. Get to know the area via the Web, but be aware the city has a definite seamy side from I-70 south to Sixth Avenue and east past I-225.
Entertainment & Recreation - Things to do
Aurora has five regulation public courses, par-3 Centre Hills and executive course, Springhill. All offer various challenges and the older courses – Meadow Hills, Fitzsimons and Aurora Hills – are cheaper and easy to walk. The city also one of the state’s best July Fourth celebrations that can be seen from various parts of the city. Movie theaters abound in every part of the city. It’s also a 10-15-minute drive to downtown Denver for other entertainment and cultural options. The Aurora Fox Theatre offers plays, musical and other productions in the heart of Old Aurora. The Aurora History Museum is located behind the new city government building on Alameda Avenue east of I-225.
Recommended Neighborhoods & Areas
Some of the coolest areas are the Southlands mall, where you can park your car and walk from store to store. There are several large stores, like JC Penney, and interesting restaurants and boutiques along the way. The Aurora Marketplace across from the Aurora Towne Center has a similar feel as will the new Buckingham Square space when it is completed. Also nearby are the Lowry, Stapleton and Northfield shopping centers.
The Essentials - Groceries, gyms, banks
Grocery stores, banks, fitness centers, dry cleaners, laundromats and other businesses, especially the big-box retailers (Target, Wal-Mart, Home Depot, Lowes, Best Buy, etc.), are easy to find scattered in just about every neighborhood.
The largest employers for Aurorans are the airlines and peripheral jobs at the airport, along with many of the warehousing and trucking firms along I-70. Military and city government accounts for a lot of jobs as well. The new University of Colorado Hospital and the planned Veterans Hospital in the old Fitzsimons location has brought thousands of jobs to Aurora.
Residents are served by the Aurora and Cherry Creek School districts. Cherry Creek has a better reputation and stretches into some of Denver’s higher-end areas. Aurora’s school district has more of an urban reputation, some of it deserved and some not.
Aurora still has some new construction; its biggest project perhaps is at the old Buckingham Square, where new shops, stores, restaurants and apartments are being built for a pedestrian-style community. Also new, are the Southland area and the still-growing townhomes and residential community at Murphy Creek Golf Course.
urora, like Denver and the entire Front Range, gets 300 days a year of sunshine. Winter snows and rain storms can be heavy particularly in the eastern areas where this is little in its path.