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Living in Denver: 17 Things to Know Before Moving to Denver

April 21, 2022

Thinking of moving to Denver? You’re not alone. Whether it’s the strong job market or affordable cost of living, it’s easy to see why people are flocking here.

Moving to Denver, Colorado

Before moving to Denver, there are a few things you need to know. Remember these 15 key things to make living in Denver an easier transition and more enjoyable.

1. What’s it Like Living in Denver?

As more and more people move to Denver, the city is growing rapidly. Job opportunities are becoming more and more abundant, with the city emerging as a premier tech hub. As the rise of remote work continues, Denver could see even more growth as remote employees seek out the affordable cost of living.

Living in Denver means you’ll be surrounded by outdoor opportunities, so the city is especially great for those who love to get active. If you are big on winter sports, Denver is the place for you! Plenty of ski resorts are just a short drive from Denver.

Take a stroll through Downtown Denver and you’ll see plenty of local eateries and craft breweries. Downtown is the vibrant and trendy hub of the city and has become one of the more popular areas to live.

2. Cost of Living in Denver

If you are moving to Denver from a big city like San Francisco or Los Angeles, Denver’s cost of living will seem very affordable. However, due to Denver’s rapid growth, the cost of living has gone up as well.

Currently, rent prices in Denver stand at $1,838 for a one-bedroom apartment and $2,466 for a two-bedroom. Rents took a bit of a hit during the e pandemic, but are quickling rising.

Learn more about average rent prices in Denver.

According to Payscale, Denver has a cost of living about 12% higher than the national average and housing is 34% higher. The cost of real estate is the largest factor driving this number up. In fact, groceries and utilities are below the national average.

Here’s an idea of how much things cost when moving to Dallas, as reported by Payscale:

  • Energy bill: $156.76
  • Loaf of bread: $3.26
  • Doctor’s visit: $116.58
  • $2.75 for a gallon of gas

If you're unsure about Denver's cost of living prices, check out Colorado Springs' cost of living.

3. Who's Moving to Denver?

Denver is attracting renters from Dallas, Atlanta, and New York. Similarly, renters who are currently living in Denver and are searching for apartments are looking to stay in Denver in Colorado Springs and Boulder. They're also considering Kansas City.

For more information, read our Renter Migration Report.

4. The Sun is Out All the Time

If you enjoy having all four seasons, moving to Denver will be perfect for you. You might think of Colorado and immediately imagine snow-capped mountains and ski resorts. While Colorado definitely offers that, you won’t necessarily find this type of winter wonderland climate in Denver.

Denver sees over 300 sunny days a year, which is more than San Diego and Miami. While snow will fall during the winter, it hardly sticks on the ground for very long.

5. The Altitude Will Affect You

So why do they call it the Mile High City anyways? Well, Denver is approximately one mile above sea level, creating a dry, desert-like climate. The thin air takes some getting used to, but shouldn’t scare you away from moving to Denver. Just don’t be surprised if you become extra winded on your early morning jog.

Drink lots of water and be proactive when it comes to applying sunscreen. The closer proximity to the sun makes it easier to get sunburnt.

6. Outdoor Recreation is Top-Notch

Denver residents love the outdoors and take advantage of everything the centennial state has to offer. World-renowned ski resorts, white-water rafting, backcountry skiing, mountain biking… the state truly has it all. It’s no wonder why Denver is one of the top 10 healthiest cities in the US.

If you want to fit in right away, buy a bike and hit the mountains. Living in Denver will put you within prime distance of incredible outdoor recreation opportunities.

Nearby Getaways:

When we say that Denverites are in a prime location to amazing outdoor recreation spots, we aren’t kidding around. Here are some must-see spots, all within a two-hour drive:

  • Rocky Mountain National Park: Hiking, horseback riding, camping, lakes, and waterfalls… it’s a haven for outdoor enthusiasts.
  • Mount Evans: Summit Mount Evans for some of the most gorgeous views you’ll find across Colorado.
  • Idaho Springs: For whitewater rafting through Clear Creek on a hot summer’s day.

7. Denver’s Job Market is Booming

The job market is thriving, and employees are loving it. Based on results from Apartment List’s annual satisfaction survey, Denver ranked the 4th highest for job satisfaction out of 103 large U.S. cities. with 67% of respondents reporting being satisfied or very satisfied with the Denver job market.

A few industries drive the economy

According to Denver’s economic development corporation, there are nine job industries that contribute to the thriving economy. It’s a diverse group of industries that offer a variety of different jobs.

  • Aerospace
  • Aviation
  • Beverage Production
  • Bioscience
  • Broadcasting & Telecommunications
  • Energy and Financial Services
  • Healthcare & Wellness
  • IT-Software

8. Denver Neighborhoods are Unique and Diverse

Denver neighborhoods each have their own characteristics that make them unique. If you’re moving to Denver, it’s best to go visit and walk around the different neighborhoods. They all have their own look and feel, and all offer different things. Below are a few of Denver’s popular neighborhoods.

River North Arts District (RiNo)

River North Arts District (RiNo): RiNo is the heart of Denver’s arts and culture scene. Old warehouses have now been converted into galleries, restaurants, breweries, and music venues.

Lower Downtown (LoDo)

Lower Downtown (LoDo): If you want to live in the center of it all, LoDo is the spot for you. You’ll be in the middle of all of Downtown Denver’s nightlife, sports games, and shopping.

Capital Hill (Cap Hill)

Capitol Hill: Cap Hill is Denver’s most densely populated area, and about 1.5 miles south of the center of Downtown. This area is a combo of modern and historic charm, and tons of great restaurants and coffee shops.

9. Denver is a City for Beer Lovers

Denver natives take their beer seriously. In fact, the whole state of Colorado takes beer seriously. Beer giants like Coors Brewing Company and New Belgium Brewing call Colorado their home. However, the microbrewery movement has been ever-present in Denver. There will pretty much be a different brewery for you to check out on every corner. If you love beer, you’ll enjoy living in Denver.

Ready to go for a tasting or two? Here are some of the best Denver berries to check out.

  • Denver Beer Co.
  • Oasis Brewery
  • Grateful Gnome
  • Bruz Beers
  • Odell Brewing
  • Great Divide
  • Epic Brewing Company
  • Ratio Beerworks
  • River North Brewery

As most already know, marijuana is legal for recreational use in the state of Colorado. In fact, in 2012, Colorado and Washington became the first two states to legalize its recreational use. Depending on where you’re from, this might cause a bit of culture shock, so just be prepared.

11. Denver is a Massive Sports City

Sports lovers, Denver is for you. Whether it’s football, basketball, baseball or hockey, there’s something for everyone. Home of the Broncos, Rockies, Nuggets, and Avalanche, Denver residents rally around their professional teams. The stadiums are all conveniently nestled in downtown Denver as well.

12. Families Thrive in Denver

Of the top 50 cities in the United States, Denver ranked the 10th best city for families. The score was largely based on high rankings in rent affordability and education. Moving to Denver and renting an apartment right downtown probably isn’t the optimal place to raise a family due to the hustle and bustle. Neighborhoods on the outskirts of downtown, within commuting distance, might be a better fit.

13. Denverites Love Their City

From Apartment List’s renter confidence survey, renters rated Denver high for almost every category. Recreational activities and social life scored the highest. The only thing renters in Denver dislike is the affordability of the city. Denver has invested heavily in the importance of multifamily construction, which hopefully will stunt the rent growth.

14. Parks are Plentiful in the City

Take a summer day to soak up the sun in one of Denver’s pristine parks. In City Park, you’ll find The Denver Zoo and the Museum of Nature and Science. Washington Park is another great option to go for a walk or a picnic. This park has tons of open green space, and even paddle boats to take out on the lake.

15. Getting Around Denver is Simple

Although most residents own a car in Denver and will lament about the traffic from time to time, getting around the city is relatively easy without your own four wheels. Walking and biking around Denver is also popular and relatively easy, as well as using the Regional Transport District buses. On weekends, locals love to gather in green spaces or head outside the city for a hike.

16. Denver Attracts Young Professionals and Families

Millennials love living in Denver for its cultural amenities, growing food scene, craft brew around every corner, and plenty of green space. With a booming job market and trendy neighborhoods, Denver is ideal for young, hip professionals and families who want the best of city living without the intense hustle and bustle of New York, Chicago, and San Francisco. Of course, some people moving to Denver may not want a young, hip crowd, but for everyone else, the city is waiting.

17. Denver is Welcoming to College Students, Too

There are plenty of opportunities to pursue higher education in Denver at area colleges and universities. A few options include the University of Denver, MSU Denver, University of Colorado, Denver, and the Denver College of Nursing.

Denver is the perfect spot for college students if you enjoy access to skiing, hiking, mountain biking, and outdoor pursuits in the morning, followed by a beer crawl in the evening. You can earn a top-notch education while enjoying the best of what the city has to offer. With such a booming job market, you'll also have your pick from aerospace to IT.

Finding your Denver Apartment

Convinced that moving to Denver is the right decision for you? Here’s a guide on how to find an apartment in Denver. Also, be sure to look into finding affordable Denver movers to cut down on those pricey moving costs.

Apartment List can also help you discover the perfect neighborhood and place to live so you can start living your Mile High dreams. Start searching today!

What to Know Before Moving to Denver in 2022

What's the weather in Denver?

Denver delivers on all four seasons, from winter wonderland to 300 days of sunshine a year and warm weather. The snow melts quickly in the Fall, making it ideal for bike roads through the city or day trips. Beyond the water, you'll need to adjust to the thin air and live one mile above sea level.

What's the timezone in Denver?

Denver is on Mountain Daylight Time. If it's 8:20 pm in New York City, it will be 6.20 pm in Denver.

What to do in Denver?

Denver takes the microbrews seriously, from Denver Beer Co. to the Great Divide breweries. Recreational marijuana is also legal throughout Colorado, with dispensaries peppered throughout Denver and beyond. You'll also find plenty of parks like City Park and Washington Park to enjoy the 300 days of sunshine. For sports, root for the Broncos, Rockies, Nuggets, or Avalanche and join the cheers.

What county is Denver in?

Six counties, including Adams, Arapahoe, Broomfield, Denver, Douglas, and Jefferson, make up Denver. Denver is part of the "Front Range Urban Corridor," which is the easternmost section of the Southern Rocky Mountains extending 300-miles.

What are the benefits of moving to Denver?

One of the biggest benefits of moving to Denver is its growing job market. You'll have plenty of career opportunities while enjoying the great outdoors. You can bike to work and then hit the microbreweries before taking in live music. On weekends, take a day trip to go mountain biking or snow skiing on snowy winter days.

What are the pros and cons of living in Denver?

Denver comes with major wins, to city living, like a booming job marketing and active, outdoorsy lifestyle. The majority of the population is under 44-years-old, making the city a welcoming place for new ideas and energy. However, some cons, like the rising cost of living, expensive housing, and high altitude, can sometimes make you feel winded.

What's the best neighborhood to move to in Denver?

Denver neighborhoods each have their own unique vibe, look, and feel. The densely populated Capitol Hill (Cap Hill) blends modern and historic charm, restaurants, and coffee shops. The River North Arts District (RiNo) is filled with warehouses turned galleries, restaurants, breweries, and music venues. In bustling LoDo, you'll find all endless nightlife, sports, and shopping.

What's it like living in Denver?

Denver's population and the job market is booming, with the city transforming into a premier tech hub. When locals aren't working remotely or in Downtown Denver, you'll have plenty of opportunities to get outside to enjoy skiing, biking, hiking, and more. After a long day of work or play, hit one of the dozens of microbreweries and eateries worthy of a foodie.

What are the taxes in Denver?

The minimum combined sales tax rate for Denver is currently 8.81%. This figure represents the total state, county, and city sales tax rates. Although you will spend more on sales tax in Denver than in other cities around Colorado, the overall tax burden is considered somewhere in the middle when compared to the rest of the country.

What jobs are popular in Denver?

Denver is highly ranked for job satisfaction, with 67% of respondents reporting being satisfied or very satisfied with the local job market. The diverse range of industries keeps career-climbers busy. Choose from jobs in aerospace, aviation, beverage, production, bioscience, broadcasting & telecommunications, energy and financial services, healthcare & wellness, and IT software.

What universities are in Denver?

The city is home to the University of Denver, MSU Denver, University of Colorado, Denver, and the Denver College of Nursing. College students can earn a world-class education while enjoying outdoor fun, microbreweries, and future job opportunities. Denver isn't just a great place to attend college; it's the kind of city you can settle into for the long haul.

What are things to do in Denver?

Denver offers something for everyone from outdoor fun to microbreweries and a thriving sports scene. Take a bike ride through the city and stop at your favorite coffee shops or breweries, spend the afternoon at the Denver Botanic Gardens, see a museum, or take in a game at Coors Field. For a glimpse of history, stop for a bite or brewery at the landmark Denver Union Station.

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Justin is a Content Manager and contributing author at Apartment List, helping people navigate the world of renting. Justin previously spent his time earning his BBA in Marketing from Boise State University. Read More
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