This post was updated in October 2022 to reflect current trends.
- Denver at-a-glance
- What it’s like to live in Denver
- Economy and job outlook in Denver
- Real estate in Denver
- The top neighborhoods in Denver
- How to get around in Denver
- School and education snapshot
- Weather and climate in Denver
- 10 can’t miss things to do in Denver
Thinking about moving to Denver?
You, and an astounding 115,000 people between 2010 and 2020.
Denver’s combination of cosmopolitan living, proximity to world-class recreational opportunities, and a strong economy have made the Mile High City – so nicknamed for its altitude, 5,280 feet – a mecca for everyone from startup geeks to entrepreneurial stoners. Denver has a distinct “outdoorsy chic” vibe that is unique among United States cities.
You’ll find a strong independent art and music scene, and a quintessential cultural experience for locals is attending a show at Red Rocks Amphitheater. The city hosts many big-name musicals and touring shows at venues such as Ellie Caulkins Opera House and the Denver Performing Arts Center. The Denver Performing Arts Center is the second largest arts center in the U.S. after Lincoln Center in New York City. The Denver Museum of Art attracts high profile exhibits and the town also has a zoo, botanic gardens, an aquarium, several specialized museums and an amusement park, Elitch Gardens.
Denver also has a strong foodie presence and is home to the flagship restaurants of several well-known, award-winning chefs. The annual 5280 Top of the Town and Best New Restaurants issues are two of the most popular for the city’s largest regional magazine, which helps drive a vibrant food and dining culture in the town. Coloradans are lucky to have a bountiful agriculture scene; farm to table restaurants, local wineries and microbreweries abound and it shows in the creative menus and number of farmers markets around town.
Constant Exposure to Beautiful Landscapes
If you’ve got the money to live here, the lifestyle is outstanding. With a combination of big-city amenities and natural beauty, it’s no wonder why Denver draws close to 17 million visitors a year. Denver is the heart of what locals call the Front Range, which, geographically, is where the Rocky Mountains meet the Great Plains. The Front Range is dotted with the largest and most populous cities in Colorado, stretching from Fort Collins in the north, to Pueblo in the south. Denver is close to several ski resorts and national parks, and offers a fantastic mix of outdoor opportunities and cultural offerings.
Even though the first permanent structure in Denver was a saloon, you’re more likely to overhear millennials discussing “bagging a fourteener” (the slang term for climbing one of Colorado’s 53 mountain peaks over 14,000 feet) than which nightclub they went to over the weekend. There are a few clubs downtown that offer Top 40 tunes and bottle service, but if you want flash, take it to L.A. or New York.
Some of the more interesting and time-tested venues include Dazzle, which attracts some of the biggest jazz names in the biz, and El Chapultepec, Denver’s oldest blues and jazz club that has stood on the same corner since 1933. One of the city’s best-kept secrets is Lannie’s Clocktower Cabaret, a live cabaret show housed in the iconic Clock Tower building on lower downtown’s 16th Street Mall. Just remember, golf balls go ten percent further in Denver – and so do cocktails – because of the altitude.
With professional teams in baseball, football, basketball, soccer, hockey, and lacrosse, sports fans can cheer to their heart’s content in the Mile High city. Sports Authority Field and Coors Field are home to the Broncos and Rockies respectively, and when Pepsi Center isn’t being used for a Nuggets, Avalanche or Mammoth game, it serves as a concert venue.
Denver Metro is a Rising Star for Its Job Growth
Colorado has one of the top economies in the United States, ranking sixth by a new study from Wallet Hub. Denver is enjoying a strong economy fueled, in part, by startups, energy development, technology and marijuana legalization. And its diversified economy is one of its strengths. It is headquarters to several large companies including DaVita, Oracle, IBM, Lockheed Martin, Chipotle, Coors Brewing Company, Frontier Airlines, Quark, and Newmont Mining.
In the era of flexible workplaces, Denver has lured plenty of tech talent from coastal hubs, adding 14,477 tech workers from 2015 to 2020, which was a 6.6 percent increase.
- Unemployment rate: 3.1 percent (as of May 2022)
- Average weekly wages for all industries: $1,275 (as of August 2022)
Living Costs Surging With Influx of Population
It’s not cheap to live here. You’ll need a decent salary to live comfortably in Denver as the cost of living is a whopping 14 percent higher than the national average. Households in Denver do make more than the national average. The 2020 median household income in Denver is $72,661 compared with $64,994 as the median annual income across all states.
According to City-Data.com, Denver’s population has increased nearly 20 percent between 2010 and 2020, and transplants continue to pour into Colorado in record numbers. Median rent for an 841 sq. ft. one-bedroom apartment in the city reached a staggering $1,994 in July 2022, and the median listing price for homes is fast approaching $600,000. In August 2022, the average home sold for $585K, which is trending up over 11 percent year-over-year. These are the best neighborhoods for buying a home:
- City Park
- Washington Park
- Capitol Hill and Uptown
- Golden Triangle
Top Neighborhoods for Beautiful Views and Incredible Architecture
Every area in Denver has something different to offer, from a neighborhood with a fast-paced lifestyle to a more relaxed vibe for families. The one thing you’re guaranteed no matter the neighborhood? Amazing views! You’ll enjoy 140 miles of panoramic mountain vistas, including 200 visible peaks in just the metro area alone. These are some of the trendiest neighborhoods in Denver.
Capitol Hill: Capitol Hill is one of Denver’s oldest neighborhoods with art, culture, and Victoria era mansions turned into apartments, condos and townhomes. Affordable, conveniently located and beautiful architecture, families and young professionals can’t go wrong with this neighborhood.
Lower Highland (LoHi): Cutting edge shops, restaurants, unique businesses and more await you in the newest and hottest neighborhood in Denver. LoHi is super convenient to downtown with amazing views of the skyline, but it will cost you a pretty penny to live here. It’s lively yet quiet, which is the perfect compromise living away from downtown.
River North Art District (RiNo): If “hipster” is more your vibe, RiNo has you covered with restaurants, coffee shops, and apartments situated in old warehouses and factories. This vibrant neighborhood is a hotspot for the drinking scene which makes it perfect for students and nightlife lovers.
Sunnyside: This neighborhood used to be a magnet for high crime but thanks to the popular areas exploding nearby, it’s enjoying a revival. It offers plenty of spacious single-family homes, large yards, and family-friendly green spaces.