Are you considering moving to Denver? Get ready because there’s so much to love about the Mile High City! Named the second-best place to live in America and one of the best places to retire, Denver offers affordability, great job opportunities, and an excellent quality of life. What is Denver known for? It has active, outdoor-loving residents who participate in a range of activities like skiing, hiking, kayaking, and camping on a regular basis. You’ll find nationally and globally recognized cultural attractions, an exciting music scene, craft breweries, and more to keep you busy.
Denver has a rich history too, dating back to the Pike’s Peak Gold Rush of 1858 when Kansas Territory land speculators staked a claim on a bluff and named the townsite Denver City for Kansas Territorial Governor Denver. Three years later, the Colorado Territory was created and Denver became the acting capital within a decade. Denver began to grow and prosper once residents raised money to connect the city to the transcontinental railroad 100 miles away. Luxurious hotels and beautiful mansions were built and a middle class also began to thrive. Soon, Denver’s population grew thanks to immigrants from China, Germany, and Italy plus Hispanic migrants and African Americans from the South.
Denver became a home rule city in 1902 and the city’s economy diversified over the next century to include a nuclear weapon facility, an automotive industry, and distribution. Its agricultural industry has also earned it the nickname the Queen City of the West.
If you’re ready to get started with your relocation, here’s what you’ll love about living in Denver, Colorado.
Denver Population & Demographics
Curious about your neighbors while living in Denver? The City and County of Denver, the largest city in Colorado, is located on the western edge of the High Plains at the foothills of the Rocky Mountains’ Front Range. Denver has a population of 720,000 and the Front Range is home to 85% of people in Colorado. The 10-county Denver metropolitan area is home to 2.93 million people but the 12-city combined statistical area has a population of 3.57 million. Denver is the largest city in the 18-county Front Range Urban Corridor with 4.98 million people.
Denver is a diverse city. The racial and ethnic composition of Denverites is:
- 52.2% non-Hispanic White
- Hispanic of any race: 31.8% (24.9% Mexican-American)
- Black or African American: 10.2%
- Asian: 3.4% (including 0.8% Vietnamese, 0.5% Indian, and 0.3% each Filipino, Japanese, and Korean)
- Native American: 1.4%
Following Mexican, major ancestry groups in Denver’s populus include German (14.6%), Irish (9.7%), and English (8.9%).
Denver has been ranked the best city in America for singles. The city is unique as there are 102 males for every 100 females: a skewed ratio in which single men outnumber single women. The median age in Denver is 34.6.
Denver has had its share of famous residents. During the 60s and 70s, Denver played a huge role in the folk music scene with artists like John Denver, Judy Collins, and Bob Dylan living in the city.
Denver Climate – What Is the Denver Weather Like?
The Mile High City has a semi-arid, continental climate marked by four seasons. You’ll experience sudden weather changes thanks to the city’s location along the Rocky Mountains.
Summers have an average high of 89 degrees and range from warm to very hot with frequent thunderstorms. During December, the average high is 46 degrees. Winters bring lots of snow and low temperatures but periods of warm weather. Nighttime temperatures in the winter can be -10 degrees.
You’ll experience frequent snow in Denver from late fall to early spring. Denver gets more than 53” of snow per year on average, far above the national average! With its powdery snow and mountain setting, the Denver area (and Colorado as a whole!) is known for its many excellent ski resorts.
Denver has been ranked the 18th coldest major city in the U.S. between December and February by the Weather Channel. However, keep in mind the official temperature is taken at the Denver airport. The downtown area and Denver suburbs are usually warmer.
You can learn more about the Denver climate in this complete guide.
Denver Transportation – Airport, Highways & Public Transit
Getting around Denver is easy thanks to the street grid in most of the city with street blocks marked in hundreds from the median streets: Ellsworth Ave (runs east-west) and Broadway Ave (runs north-south). For example, Colfax Avenue is 15 blocks or 1500 north of the median. Avenues south of Ellsworth are named and avenues north of the median are usually numbered.
Denver is also served primarily by interstates I-70, running from Utah to Maryland, and I-25, running from New Mexico to Wyoming.
It’s easy to get around Denver on bike with over 850 miles of bike paths, including paved and off-road paths. Denver is one of the top 10 bike-friendly cities in America and it’s only going to get better with more on-street bike lanes planned.
Denver also offers a good public transportation system.
- Regional Transportation District (RTD) operates 1,000 buses in eight counties in the Denver and Boulder metro areas.
- FasTracks is a light rail, commuter rail, and bus project serving Denver and its suburbs
- Flatiron Flyer is an express bus connecting Denver and Boulder
- Bustang is a bus operated by the Colorado Department of Transportation to connect Denver with several cities like Colorado Springs and Grand Junction
- Amtrak is a national rail system serving Denver
Denver International Airport (DEN) is the main airport for Greater Denver. It’s the 5th busiest airport in America and covers 53 square miles. It was recently ranked the 28th best airport in the world and the second-best in the U.S. after the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport. You’ll love being able to fly out of Denver easily for domestic and international destinations!
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Denver Schools & Higher Education
Do you have kids or plan to start a family? The quality of the public schools is probably a big concern as you consider relocating to Denver. While living in Denver, CO, you’ll be served by Denver Public Schools (DPS). The school system serves 92,000 students in 44 high schools, 34 middle schools, 92 elementary schools, 18 K-8 schools, and 19 charter schools.
Note that you may fall under other school districts if you live outside the city limits but have a Denver address. In some neighborhoods, you can also choose to have your children attend a neighboring county or city’s schools.
Several of the state’s top schools are located in the city including:
- D’Evelyn Junior/Senior High School which is part of Jeffco Public Schools in Lakewood, CO near the Bear Valley, Denver neighborhood. It’s a National Blue Ribbon School and the best school in Colorado.
- Denver School of the Arts in the DPS district is a secondary arts magnet school for grades 6 to 12.
- DSST: Stapleton High School. DSST, formerly the Denver School of Science and Technology, is a public charterSTEM school that partners with DPS. There are two highly DSST high schools in Denver.
Denver also offers plenty of opportunities for higher education. The Auraria Campus near downtown is the site of the Community College of Denver, Metropolitan State University of Denver, and the University of Colorado Denver. The University of Denver is a private school founded in 1864. There are also prominent Jewish and Roman Catholic institutions.
Things to Do in Denver
Denver is absolutely packed with fun attractions, family-friendly activities, and adventure. Known for its craft beer, skiing, and culture, your opportunities for fun are seemingly limitless. Denver is particularly notable for its amazing music scene with an active metal, classical, folk, and jazz scene. Here’s a look at some of the best things to do in Denver with kids, for a date night, on the weekend, or on a hot summer day.
Top Attractions in Denver
- Denver Botanic Gardens is one of the best things to do in Denver on a sunny day. Explore 23 acres of themed gardens, a conservatory, and a sunken amphitheater which hosts summer concerts.
- Colorado State Capitol offers public tours of the Capitol building. Over 300,000 people visit the building every year.
- Elitch Gardens, the only downtown theme park in the U.S., boasts a water park on one side and thrill rides on the other.
- Denver Zoo is an 80-acre zoo founded in 1896. It’s the Denver metro area’s top paid attraction and features over 550 species and 3,500 animals.
- Downtown Aquarium is one of the most-visited tourist attractions in Denver! See over 500 species in this massive complex with floor-to-ceiling aquarium views.
- Lakeside Amusement Park is a family-friendly amusement park on the lake that was originally opened as an amusement resort in 1908.
- Empower Field at Mile High is Denver’s football stadium and home to the Denver Broncos.
Denver Performing Arts
- Red Rocks Park and Amphitheatre, technically outside Denver proper, is an iconic entertainment venue with an amazing natural setting. The amphitheater is built into the sandstone rock outcroppings with walls higher than Niagara Falls.
- Ogden Theatre is one of Denver’s best concert venues! Located in the Capitol Hill neighborhood, it hosts 150 concerts per year.
- Denver Performing Arts Complex is home to 10 performance spaces over 4 blocks including the iconic Ellie Caulkins Opera House.
- Oriental Theater is a historic and intimate music venue dating to the 1920s. It features everything from comedy shows and live music to film.
- City Park is one of the top family-friendly attractions in Denver! This huge park offers a range of amenities from a museum and zoo to a golf course and hiking paths.
- Sloan’s Lake Park is the second-largest park in Denver. It boasts a large boat-friendly lake with fishing and lots of trails.
- Civic Center Park is one of the most picturesque parks in Denver with a Greek amphitheater, fountains, statues, and regular events throughout the year.
- Washington Park features ponds for fishing and boating with open green space. It’s a popular spot for joggers!
- 16th Street Mall features 50,000 flowers and 200 trees with a mile-long path of dozens of outdoor cafes and shops.
- Cherry Creek Shopping Center is a major shopping mall just outside downtown Denver along the banks of Cherry Creek with 160+ shops.
- Larimer Square is a historic district known for its bars, restaurants, and many independent shops and boutiques.
- Mile High Flea Market is an open-air market with vendors selling everything from clothing and antiques to foot.
- Denver Art Museum is a striking museum designed by architect Daniel Libeskind. It’s one of the largest art museums between Chicago and the West Coast.
- Molly Brown House Museum displays art, Victorian-era furnishings, and items belonging to the “unsinkable” Titanic survivor Molly Brown in her 1889 mansion.
- Denver Museum of Nature & Science is a premier natural history museum and a Denver landmark. Along with the popular fossil exhibits, DMNS features IMAX shows and a planetarium.
- History Colorado Center offers hands-on exhibits covering the history of Colorado.
Map of Things to Do in Denver
What Is the Cost of Living in Denver?
How much do you need to earn to live in Denver? Is Denver an expensive city? The best place to start is the Denver cost of living index: 110.8%. That means Denver is just 10% more expensive than the U.S. average – a steal for a major U.S. city with a great economy, nightlife, and attractions!
Utilities are affordable with an average monthly utility bill of $109.21 in Denver. Groceries are slightly below the U.S. average while transportation and healthcare are close to average. The biggest factor increasing the Denver cost of living? Housing. The median home price in Denver of $480,000 is almost twice the national average. Renters also face fairly steep rent in the Denver area.
Denver Typical Living Expenses
What will you pay for normal expenses while living in Denver? Here’s a look at common costs with some information from Numbeo.
- Meal for two (mid-range, 3-course): $66.35
- Milk (regular, one gallon): $3.27
- Eggs (grade A, dozen): $2.35
- Apples (1 pound): $1.70
- Monthly RTD bus pass: $114 local/$200 regional and airport
Don’t forget to consider the taxes you’ll pay while living in Denver! The largest taxes you will face include:
- Denver property tax rate: 0.50% effective property tax rate. Residential property is assessed at 7.15% of the actual value with a property tax of 74.195 mills.
- Denver sales tax rate: 4.31% combined sales tax in Denver
- Colorado income tax rate: 4.63% flat income tax rate
Denver Real Estate & Housing Market
Denver has long enjoyed a hot and competitive real estate market, but the Denver housing market is showing signs it’s running out of steam. The problem? Limited supply and high prices. In November 2020, Denver had just 1,750 homes for sale representing just a 2-week inventory!
You’ll find a range of home styles in Denver including historic Victorians built in the 19th century, particularly in neighborhoods like the Highlands, plus the bungalow and the Denver Square or Foursquare. In urban neighborhoods, you’ll find affordable and luxury apartments, condos, and lofts.
The average home price in Denver is $480,000 with a median of 16 days on the market. You can start exploring Denver, CO homes for sale to see what you can get with your budget.
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Planning to rent after moving to Denver? The average rent in Denver is $1,608 according to RentJungle, down 8% from 2019 to 2020. Here are some examples of Denver average rents by neighborhood:
- Golden Circle: $2,344
- Cherry Creek: $2,244
- Lodo: $1,955
- Five Points: $1,827
- Central West Denver (CWD): $1,706
- Central Park/Stapleton: $1,693
- Washington Park: $1,631
- Capitol Hill: $1,474
Top Neighborhoods in Denver, CO
The city is home to 78 official neighborhoods which range from historic districts and suburban-style planned developments to skyscrapers and lofts. Where are the best places to live in Denver? Whether you’re looking for a safe neighborhood in Denver to raise kids, an exciting urban center packed with action, or an LGBT-friendly community with regular events, you’ll find a residential neighborhood you’ll love.
LoDo – Historic & Trendy Neighborhood in Downtown
LoDo is an unofficial neighborhood known for its art galleries, clubs, bars, and restaurants. It’s sometimes called Lower Downtown and it’s the spot for nightlife in Denver. The apartments around the ballpark tend to have a young party crowd on the weekends. It’s also close to the fun of Larimer Square! Lodo is one of the most expensive neighborhoods in Denver with average rent of $1,955.
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Central Park – Best Neighborhood in Denver for Families
Central Park is one of the newest neighborhoods in Denver and it was built on the site of the Stapleton International Airport. The airport was named for a former Denver mayor who was a KKK member, thus the neighborhood changed its name to Central Park in 2020. Don’t let that turn you away; this huge 4,700-acre development is home to 30,000 people with its own public schools and excellent parks. You’ll find a mix of housing options and new construction with a median price of $570,000. If you’re planning to relocate here then check out Central Park, Denver homes for sale.
The Highlands – Great Neighborhood in Denver for Young Professionals
The Highlands has a little bit of everything with a mostly suburban feel but sections of dining and nightlife. Located on a hillside overlooking Denver, the Highlands has become popular with young professionals thanks to its renovated bungalows, unique vibe, and trendy destinations. Be sure to check out the craft beer scene and Sloan’s Lake Park plus the iconic milk can outside Little Man Ice Cream!
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Cherry Creek – Affluent Denver Neighborhood
Cherry Creek is definitely a ritzy area with a good mix of homes and apartments, including some of the most beautiful and luxurious homes in Denver. It’s also home to the Cherry Creek Mall and one of the top destinations for luxury shopping. You’ll enjoy many events throughout the year like the Cherry Creek North Food & Wine festival in August and the Cherry Creek Arts Festival in July. Click here to see Cherry Creek, Denver homes for sale with a median home price of $955,000.
Cheesman Park – LGBT-Friendly Denver Neighborhood
It’s easy to see the draw of Cheesman Park, a residential neighborhood in Denver home to the Denver Botanic Gardens. Enjoy plenty of open space for outdoor recreation, plenty of jogging trails, and regular LGBT events. Cheesman Park also boasts plenty of bars, coffeehouses, and restaurants to enjoy.
Denver Sports – Is Denver a Good City for Sports?
Sports fans can rejoice about moving to Denver, Colorado! Denver has been ranked the 10th Best Sports City in America! When it comes to football and hockey, Denver ranked 6th. It loses points in baseball, soccer, and basketball.
Denver is one of just 10 cities with five major sports teams:
- Denver Broncos (NFL) playing at Empower Field at Mile High
- Denver Nuggets (NBA) playing at Ball Arena
- Colorado Rockies (MLB) playing at Coors Field
- Colorado Avalanche (NHL) playing at Ball Arena
- Colorado Rapids (MLS) playing at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park
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Denver Restaurants – Best Places to Eat in Denver
Denver cuisine has more to offer than omelets and Rocky Mountain oysters. Denver is also known for its Buffalo burgers, steak, rainbow trout, and lamb with everything from casual eateries and fine steakhouses to exotic cuisine. Here are some of the top-rated Denver restaurants you’ll absolutely love.
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This eclectic restaurant is a definite must-try while living in Denver! Once a mortuary, Linger is now a hip restaurant with a rooftop lounge and small plates with international cuisine.
Linger, 2030 W 30th Ave, Denver, CO 80211 (303) 993-3120
There are plenty of unique Denver restaurants you’ll love to discover and Denver Biscuit Company is one of them! This sandwich and biscuit-based breakfast restaurant has been featured on Food Network, Unique Eats, and CNN.
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One thing Denver is known for is its steak houses. One of the best is Shanahan’s, known for its leather-accented interior, patio and bar great for socializing, and amazing seafood and steaks.
Shanahan’s Steakhouse, 5085 S Syracuse St, Denver, CO 80237 (303) 770-7300
Denver Crime – Is Denver a Safe City?
Like most major cities, Denver does have some issues with crime. However, one of the benefits of moving to Denver is its overall safety. According to one recent study by a real estate firm, Denver is the safest city in America out of the 50 largest cities based on not only violent crime and property crime but natural disasters, transportation deaths, and drinking water violations.
How does the Denver crime rate compare with other cities? The violent crime rate in Denver is 165.7 per 100,000 residents. Memphis, the city with the highest violent crime rate, comes in at 1,142.5 violent crimes. San Jose, the third-safest city on the list, had twice as many violent crimes. A separate study by WalletHub ranked Denver as one of the safest U.S. cities among the 180 most populated cities.
While most Denver neighborhoods are safe, it’s important to remember that crime rates vary by area. The most dangerous areas of Denver include:
- Civic Center (50.88 violent crimes/1,000 residents)
- CBD (36.31)
- DIA (30.06)
- Sun Valley (23.64)
- Union Station (22.13)
- Five Points (16.39)
Looking for the safest neighborhoods in Denver? The following neighborhoods have the lowest violent crime in the city.
- Wellshire (0.3 violent crimes/1,000 residents)
- Country Club (0.31)
- West Highland (0.76)
- Indian Creek (1.14)
- Hilltop (1.3)
- Bear Valley (1.3)
You can see in-depth information on crime in Denver and search by neighborhood through the Denver Police Department.
Denver is ranked as a global city with a gross metropolitan product of $157.6 billion. This makes it the 18th largest metro economy in America, largely thanks to its geographic location and connection to major transportation systems. Denver’s economy is diverse and based on distribution, mining (particularly gold), energy (including oil), government (particularly defense and space), conventions, and telecommunications. Denver was recently ranked as the Best Place for Business and Careers by Forbes.
Major companies headquartered in Denver include the Newmont Mining Corporation, RE/MAX, and Frontier Airlines.
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Jobs in Denver, CO
The average salary in Denver is $70,000 with an average hourly rate of $20.45 according to Payscale.
- Senior software engineer: $113k
- Operations manager: $68k
- Mechanical engineer: $72k
- Registered nurse: $31/hour
- Office manager: $20/hour
Where is the best place to work in Denver? Glassdoor ranked Denver employers based on employee feedback. Top employers in Denver include:
- Southwest Airlines which offers excellent benefits and flexibility
- Keller Williams, ranked as a great place to begin a real estate career
- Viasat which is noted for its opportunities, laid-back work environment, and excellent campus
- Slack which employees say offers a great work-life balance with excellent benefits and leadership
Healthcare in Denver
Colorado is known for its excellent healthcare with three state hospitals among the top 1% of the nation. Porter Adventist Hospital in Denver is in the top 2% of hospitals nationwide. UCHealth University of Colorado Hospital is another top hospital in Denver nationally ranked in all nine adult specialties and high performing in six specialties. This teaching hospital is affiliated with the University of Colorado School of Medicine and it has two inpatient pavilions. It also has an addiction and rehabilitation center and one of the largest neonatal intensive care units in metro Detroit.
Denver Utilities & Transferring a Driver’s License to Colorado
Once you’re ready for moving to Denver, you’ll want to plan for two of the first tasks after choosing a home: setting up utilities in Denver and transferring your driver’s license.
Xcel Energy is the main provider of natural gas and electricity in Denver. Click here to set up electricity and gas service. Water is provided by Denver Water. Start water service by calling 303-893-2444.
To transfer an out-of-state driver’s license to Colorado, schedule an appointment here with the Division of Motor Vehicles. Bring two forms of proof of Colorado address, Social Security number, and birth certificate. You’ll need to pay a fee, take an eye test, and complete a written test.
Are you ready to start enjoying everything the Mile High City has to offer? Wasatch Moving Company is here to make moving to Denver an easy, stress-free experience with a team of trained, background checked movers. Give us a call or fill out the Request a Quote form to get started today!