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Your Guide to Moving to Denver

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Denver, Colorado, at a glance:

  • Denver’s population has grown by 21% since 2010, which means you’re not alone if you’re considering a new adventure in this city. The city has a population of almost 960,000.
  • The current cost of living in Denver is approximately 12% higher than the national average.
  • Top industries in Denver include aerospace, healthcare and wellness, energy, bioscience, and broadcast and communications.
  • Denver is a mountain lover’s dream come true. There are 58 peaks in the state of Colorado that stand above 14,000 feet.

Moving to Denver: The basics

What’s the population of Denver?

The Denver metro area has a population of more than 3.1 million residents, but the city itself 960,000 people Residents of Denver tend to be young, with a median age in Denver of 34. There’s an even gender split in the city, and the majority of Denver residents are single.

Denver has a diverse population, with many ethnicities calling the city home. Its population is about 55% white and 30% Hispanic. The rest of the population is predominantly African American and Asian.

What’s the cost of living in Denver?

While it isn’t as pricey as Los Angeles or New York City, the cost of living in Denver has gone up in recent years and is projected to keep doing so. The cost of living in the city is about 12% higher than the national average.

The median home price in the city is $350,400, and the median rent is $1,289/mo. The average salary in Denver is $53,543, and the state has an income tax of 4.63%.

Are you wondering how food prices compare in the city? Use MYMOVE’s cost of living calculator to look at what common food staples cost. When you’re in the grocery aisle in Denver, expect to pay $3.11 for a loaf of bread, $1.59 for a half-gallon of milk, and $1.56 for a dozen eggs. If you’re grabbing a bite to eat out, know that a steak will cost around $12.64, while a beer costs $9.04.

To get a better idea of the cost of living in Denver, compare it to other cities in the U.S. Here’s how Denver stacks up:

City Cost of Living Average Salary Median Home Price Median Rent
Denver +12% $53.543 $350,400 $1,289/mo.
Los Angeles +47% $47,242 $486,300 $1,435/mo.
Chicago +21% $50,755 $210,700 $995/mo.
New York City +141% $53,996 $376,900 $1,272/mo.

*Data sourced from the Council for Community and Economic Research’s Cost of Living Index

How’s the Denver job market?

Denver boasts a strong job market, with an unemployment rate of only about 7.8%, compared to the national average of 10.2% (as of July 2020).  Of course, that figure is higher than it has been in recent years due to the coronavirus pandemic. Colorado has seen a 39.2% job recovery rate since the beginning of the crisis, which is only slightly lower than the national recovery rate.

Major employers in the city include Denver International Airport, HealthONE Corporation, CenturyLink, and Kaiser Permanente, to name a few.

What do I need to know about Denver education?

Denver Public Schools (DPS) runs 207 schools in and around the city. There’s over a 70% graduation rate in the system, and 77% of students graduate on time. A few of the top-ranked public high schools in Colorado call Denver home, including D’Evelyn Junior/Senior High School, Denver School of the Arts, and KIPP Denver Collegiate High School.

DPS primarily runs on a location-based system, where parents must input their address into the School Finder to determine what neighborhood school their child feeds into. But the system also runs on an open enrollment basis, meaning that students can apply to other public schools apart from their assigned neighborhood school. If you’re a parent interested in understanding more about school enrollment, read this helpful school choice guide by The Denver Post.

Keep in mind that in an effort to keep the community safe and slow the spread of COVID-19, most students are attending school virtually through October 16.

Don’t want to go the public school route? There are over 100 private schools in Denver. If you’re looking for higher education, there are options in the city and the greater metro area, including the University of Colorado – Denver.

What are the safest areas in Denver?

According to NeighborhoodScout, the safest neighborhoods in Denver include:

  • Areas near Smith Road and Havana Street, to the east of the city. Nearby Neighborhoods include Stapleton, Northfield, and Montbello.
  • Areas near East Yale Avenue and South Colorado Boulevard, south of the city. Nearby neighborhoods include University Park, University Hills, and Wellshire.
  • Areas near East Bayaud Avenue and Leetsdale Drive, southeast of the city. Nearby neighborhoods include Cherry Creek and Hilltop.

Denver rates a 6 out of 100 on the NeighborhoodScout crime index, making it safer than 6% of other U.S. cities. But when you compare it with cities of a similar size, it’s right on par.

These numbers are just a high-level look at safety in Denver. If you want more information, check out the Denver Police Department’s interactive crime map to learn more about the neighborhood you’re interested in living in.

How do I get around Denver?

Denver is fairly spread out, but you can easily get around town using public transportation in the city. The light rail in Denver makes its way to many areas in the city, as well as to the outlying suburbs and the airport. It’s a great choice for commuting and helps eliminate the need to find parking downtown. You can also hop on one of the public buses in Denver. Fares for the light rail and buses depend on where you’re going and how much you plan on riding.

There are many bike paths that wind their way through the Denver area, so if you’re a rider, you might find that getting to work or going out with friends for dinner is easier by bike. Denver also offers public scooters that can be rented in the downtown area.

For those of you going into the office who prefer to travel by car, know that the average commute time in Denver is about 28 minutes.

What’s the weather like in Denver?

Denver is a big draw for nature lovers and people who enjoy spending time in the great outdoors. The city sees about 17 inches of rainfall and 54 inches of snowfall annually.

Temperatures in the summer months range from the 50s to the upper 90s, while winter weather ranges from the upper teens to the high 40s. Spring and fall are mild, with temperatures ranging from the 30s to the 70s.

If you’re someone who loves experiencing the best of every season, you’ll love living in Denver!

What are Denver’s best neighborhoods?

If you’re thinking about moving to Denver and want to explore the best areas, check out the best neighborhoods in Denver, according to local publication 5280.

South Park Hill

With an average home sale price of $804,250 in 2019, South Park Hill is one of the pricier areas of Denver. But it boasts great schools, improved safety, and the feel of a suburb close to the attractions of the city. This neighborhood, with a population of 9,491, is a great option for families.

Washington Park

The average sale price in Washington Park was $1,119,585 in 2019, and the neighborhood has a population of 7,400 residents. It’s home to one of the biggest and most beautiful green spaces in the city, with its own lake and boat rentals. It also features a low crime rate, great schools, and plenty of shopping and dining options.

Congress Park

The neighborhood of Congress Park has a population of 11,559 and an average home sale price of $680,522. It’s home to the famous Twist & Shout record store and Tattered Cover Book Store, along with plenty of other local businesses. Other nearby hotspots include the Sie Film Center and the Denver Botanic Gardens. It has only a small green space, but is located between two neighborhoods with larger parks.

West Highland

The average home sale price for a West Highland home in 2019 was $661,257, making it the most affordable neighborhood in 5280’s top five. 8,999 residents live in the area. It has well-ranked schools, a busy shopping area, and two biking corridors. It’s also close to Sloan’s Lake Park for those who want to enjoy the city’s largest lake.

Cherry Creek

Known for being the shopping capital of the city, Cherry Creek is home to 7,140 residents. The average sale price was $1,165,333 in 2019. There’s a gorgeous bike trail along a creek, tons of highly-rated restaurants, and plenty of boutique hotels. Note that parking in the area is nearly impossible.

Living in Denver: The fun part

For the sports fan:

Denver is a big sports city that features several professional teams. Empower Field at Mile High is home to the football team, the Denver Broncos. Pepsi Center is the place to catch the Nuggets play basketball or the Avalanche play hockey. Head to Coors Field to see the Rockies play baseball, or to Dick’s Sporting Goods Park to see Colorado Rapids play Major League Soccer.

If college sports are more your speed, drive to Boulder to see the University of Colorado Buffaloes play football and basketball.

For the culture seeker:

Denver is home to 66 unique museums and 62 music venues. The big Museum of Nature and Science is a fun, family-friendly place to see rotating exhibits, as well as animal dioramas, dinosaur history, and an interactive health exhibit. You can also take the kiddos to the Denver Zoo, home to animals of all kinds, both those native to Colorado and elsewhere.

For you art lovers, there are a variety of works to see at the Denver Art Museum. History buffs will love the History Colorado Center, as well as the Molly Brown House and the Mexican Cultural Center. You can also enjoy concerts at nearby Red Rocks Amphitheatre and at the Bluebird or Ogden theaters.

This is just a mere taste of all of the arts and culture Denver has to offer. Click here to find out more.

For the foodie:

If there’s something you’ve got to try in Denver, it’s Rocky Mountain oysters (hint: the dish doesn’t contain seafood). There’s also the Denver steak and the Denver omelet, which contains ham, bell peppers, onions, and cheese.

Denver is well known for its craft beer scene, and you can try local brews at one of 98 breweries in the area.

There’s also a lot of authentic Mexican food to be found due to the city’s Latino and Hispanic population. Breakfast burritos are a definite Denver must-try!

For the traveler:

World travelers are in luck — Denver International Airport (DEN) flies to 28 destinations in 14 different countries.

If you’re looking for your next “staycation,” head west into the mountains for skiing and other outdoor activities in Vail, Aspen, and Breckenridge. You can also enjoy boating and water skiing at Standley Lake, or you head into Boulder or Fort Collins for a college town experience.

For the outdoor explorer:

You can’t walk around town without seeing Denver residents biking, hiking, or skiing (when there’s snow on the ground). The city also has 84 hiking trails and a whopping 314 city parks. You can adventure into the mountains to hike one of Colorado’s 58 “14ers” (14,000-feet mountains).

What you probably didn’t know about Denver:

If you’re interested in moving to the area, check out our city page on Denver!

The bottom line:

Denver is a diverse city, and this guide is merely a slice of what you’re going to find when you move there. Living in Denver is adventurous, friendly, fun, and educational. There’s always something going on, from the annual Pride Parade to the National Western Stock Show. You’re never going to be bored.

To discover more of what Denver has to offer, check out Denver.org. To catch up on the latest city news, check out The Denver Post or the independent publication, Westword.


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