Ready to make Denver your new home? Named the Mile High City – due to being one mile above sea level – this Southwestern gem has a lot in store for you. The city boasts a strong job market and a diverse cultural landscape that has been attracting newcomers in droves. In fact, Denver was featured among the top five U.S. cities for inbound growth in 2020, right behind Tallahassee, FL. This was no exceptional year for Denver, as the city’s population grew 19.2% between 2010 and 2020.
Before taking the plunge and moving here, consider what makes Denver a great place to live. Here’s what to expect when you’re about to make this city your new home:
1. Consider the neighborhood and type of preferred housing
Before finding your ideal home in Denver, consider which of the city’s neighborhoods is best for you. If you’d like to be close to downtown, you can go for Cherry Creek – a walkable and bikeable neighborhood. South Park Hill, Washington Park West and Platt Park are other desirable neighborhoods. Here’s what you need to know if you’re looking to buy a home or intending to rent:
- House living
If you’re looking to plant roots in Denver and buy a home, keep in mind that a local house would cost you around $580,680, according to the Zillow home value index. However, you get a good bang for your buck, as Denver homes are pretty sizeable at around 1,330 square feet on average. Construction in the last decade has tended to lean toward smaller, albeit still spacious homes.
A home in Denver also tends to come with a large lot. According to a recent StorageCafe study, the average lot size can reach over 6,000 square feet – one of the most generous lot sizes in the country.
- Apartment living
If you’re looking to rent, you’d be in good company. Fifty percent of Denver households are rentals. An apartment here would cost you about $1,880 per month. If you decide to rent a two-bedroom apartment, you’d get about 511 square feet of personal space, which is more than the average American apartment offers. Denver shines brightly when it comes to the type of community amenities rental complexes offer, whether we’re talking about access to common outdoor space, gyms, pools or golf courses.
Denver also spells good news for electric vehicle owners. If you’re bringing your EV to Denver, you’re likely to find an apartment building that’s outfitted with EV chargers. In fact, 8.6% of the complexes offer this capability, the third largest concentration of apartment buildings with this feature in the nation.
2. Denver boasts a diverse and thriving job market
Finding a job shouldn’t be too difficult in Denver. Some of the largest employers in the area include Lockheed Martin Corp., Xcel Energy, United Airlines and Kroger Co. The energy and mining industries are strong here, and Denver is home to companies such as Smith International, Rio Tinto Group and Chevron Corporation. The fast-food restaurant industry also claims roots in this Colorado city, with Quiznos, Chipotle Mexican Grill and Qdoba Mexican Grill all having started out in Denver.
Moreover, Denver boasts a strong tech sector. Close to 12% of its workforce operates in this field. According to a StorageCafe report on digital economy readiness, Denver was ninth among the top 20 most technologically prepared U.S. metros. If you’re about to start your new tech job locally and are unsure how to transition to remote work locally, you should consider setting up your work-from-home desk in your Denver apartment.
Denver is also a place where artists shine brightly, as the metro area ranked 10th nationally on the list of best places for bohemian workers. Close to 3% of the workforce is employed in an artistically-inclined job.
3. New Mexican cuisine put Denver on the map
New Mexican cuisine and chiles made Denver famous. The city is known for its green and red chile sauce, the Southwestern omelet, breakfast burrito and tamales. Rainbow trout, Rocky Mountain oysters and the Denver sandwich are also local cuisine staples.
As Denver’s cultural makeup includes a large number of Mexican Americans, the city participates in several Mexican celebrations. Cinco de Mayo in May, El Grito de la Independencia in September and Dia De Los Muertos in November are but a few.
4. Take advantage of a diverse palette of outdoor activities
Denver’s proximity to the Rocky Mountains, in addition to its wonderful geography, makes it a prime location for outdoor activities. Here’s what you can do for fun while enjoying nature in the Denver area:
- Cross-country skiing
Denver’s rolling hills are a perfect setting for cross-country skiing. Depending on snowfall, you can practice this sport many places in the Denver area. Head out to the Breckenridge Nordic Center or to the Snow Mountain Ranch Nordic Center for an enchanting weekend getaway “on the slopes.” Denver’s access to various skiing options earned it the first spot on Travel + Leisure magazine’s America’s favorite cities for a ski trip list.
Denver has many parks, both in the urban areas and beyond. It boasts about 200 of them, including the large City Park and many smaller parks scattered throughout the city. From Confluence Park, you can hike along the well-traveled Cherry Creek trail. Get ready to say hello to city hiking soon!
Denver’s infrastructure encourages bike enthusiasts, and a plan to add additional 125 miles of bike lanes by 2023 is in the works. Besides the bike and scooter share program, free passes and reduced rates are available to help need-based groups pedal and scoot around town. Thanks to its current offerings, Denver is one of the most bike-friendly cities in America.
You don’t have to leave the city to go fishing. The South Platte River offers you an urban fishing experience in the heart of Denver. If you’d like to make a getaway out of it, you can head to Chatfield and Cherry Creek state parks.
Whether for a weekend getaway or a full vacation, Denver offers many camping choices. Cherry Creek and Chatfield state parks are ideal camping sites open year-round. Bring your RV or trailer or rent one to spend some time in nature.
5. Think about storage after you move
Last but not least, think about your storage needs after you move into your new Denver home. The good news is that a little over 90% of single family homes in the Mile High City benefit from a good mix of home storage spaces, and about 75% of homes have a basement. This means you are likely to find a home with ample storage for your belongings. However, that may not always be the case and you could still end up with a cluttered home. You can still turn to self storage to keep seasonal and bulky items, furniture, appliances and decorations away from home so that you can make room for the things that matter to you and that you use on a daily basis. A 5’x10′ unit would suffice if you’re storing miscellaneous items that are smaller. Moreover, a 10’x10’ unit can accommodate even larger items and is the most common storage unit size. Renting a self storage unit in Denver costs $129/month on average.