21 Living in Denver Pros and Cons

You will find Denver at the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. It is a destination where there are notable firsts and iconic events that make it a historically intriguing place to live. Just 100 miles away, Katharine Lee Bates made it to the summit of Pikes Peak and wrote the song America the Beautiful. When you get to the city, you will discover that its natural beauty is only one of its many advantages.

Many of the benefits that you can experience when moving West apply to a decision to come to Denver, Colorado. You will see big blue skies above you throughout most of the year. It is a city that is filled with numerous galleries, sporting events, and cultural opportunities to explore. Artists, authors, and most other professions find that the city inspires them in ways that they never thought possible.

More than 100,000 people have made their way to Denver since 2010 because they have evaluated the pros and cons, and then found them to be in their favor. Now it is your turn to think about this choice. Who you want to move this city after reviewing these key points?

List of the Pros of Living in Denver

1. Denver is a city that is relatively young.
You could say that Denver is a haven for Millennials. Two-thirds of the population is under the age of 44. That desirability creates some issues with affordable housing, since appreciation is outpacing income growth, but it is also a land of opportunities. If you don’t mind the prices, which average about $1,500 for an apartment per month, then you will have access to some stunning views. There are about 200 visible peaks from the city in total, with over 140 miles of mountainous landscapes to enjoy.

That means living in Denver is an experience. It is relaxed, yet still fast-paced, and there are numerous neighborhoods available that can match your personality.

2. Denver is also becoming a significant city.
Now is the time to get into Denver to take advantage of the appreciation that is happening right now. You’ll still need to find a place where you can spend within your means, but with the median home price at $420,000 (which is double that of the national average), you have a chance to get in on the ground floor still with this opportunity.

This pace of growth has not stopped in the housing market since 2013. Even when there was an 8% rate of growth in 2017 in the city, that was the first year in several that didn’t experience double-digit growth. It is highly competitive to live there, so make sure to allot about 30% of your income to your housing costs.

3. Denver has an economy that is booming.
There are higher paying jobs that you can find in the city because numerous top companies are placing their offices or headquarters there. That means you’ll have more competition for the best-paying positions, but it is an effort that is worth making. Although the average income is about $57,000 per year (which is about the national average), you can find lots of opportunities in aerospace, technology, and agriculture that will help you counter the issues with the high cost of living.

4. Denver gives you access to legal recreational marijuana use.
Colorado was one of the first states to legalize marijuana use for recreational purposes. The industry is an opportunity to get involved in a new career field if you want. Revenues from cannabis sales are higher than what some small nations generate in a single year. If you enjoy using the product, then you will experience fewer barriers to access here because it is the most mature market in the United States.

5. Denver gives you plenty of time to explore the outdoors.
You will find over 300 days of sunshine waiting for you if you decide to move to Denver. Although the summers can be hot in the city, the humidity levels are typically lower because of its placement in the high-altitude location. It’s an issue then a little air conditioning can easily fix. If you don’t want to pay a higher utility bill, then take advantage of nature’s natural cooling effect by taking a day trip into the mountains. You’ll feel cooler in about 30 minutes of driving time once you begin the climb.

6. Denver has every significant professional sports league in the United States.
If you love to go to a sporting event, then you are going to appreciate everything that Denver has to offer. The big four professional sports in the United States: baseball, football, hockey, and basketball are all here. You also have the Colorado Rapids in the city representing Major League Soccer. There are two professional lacrosse teams placed there as well.

If you love winter sports, then the professionals are active in Aspen every year as well. That’s about a four-hour drive on a good day from the city.

7. Denver offers amazing night skies.
Although there are times that a weather inversion will create a haze over the city, the night skies in Denver are simply spectacular. The sky is typically clear on the average day, so you always get a front -row seat to one of nature’s best shows. The city is technically in a desert climate, so the higher elevation and low humidity levels resulted in an incredible view. If you have access to a balcony or porch, then make sure that you take advantage of this benefit the first night you move to the city. It will change your life.

8. Denver offers an ease of living that other cities can’t touch.
It is easier to live in Denver because of the climate as well. The weeds in your yard don’t grow as fast because of the desert-like conditions. There are fewer issues with blowing leaves, termites, cleaning out your gutters, or fighting off mold because of these conditions as well. There are some trees, mostly evergreens, but even these don’t require you to spend a lot of time caring for them. There is the issue with the heavy snows and shoveling to consider, but it usually makes for a trade that is reasonably fair.

9. Denver offers a lower cost of living.
If you can get outside of the issues with high rent and real estate pricing, then the cost of living in the city is fairly reasonable compared to other metro markets. You can expect to spend about $700 on your common expenses after moving to Denver. That is half the cost of what you would pay when living in San Francisco or Seattle. It even beats Washington, DC by over $300 per month.

10. Denver has an international airport which you can access for travel.
Most people who use the airport in Denver will tell you that its location is not convenient. It is a fair complaint. You must go to the east side of the city to reach the facility. Because there are only two major interstate highways that take you through the neighborhoods, the traffic issue comes into play for you once again. You must budget another hour of travel time at minimum to ensure that you can reach your flight on time.

Denver offers the fifth-busiest airport in the world based on aircraft movements for specific reason. The central location of the city in the United States makes it useful hub for almost any travel experience. You can go anywhere from New York City to Las Vegas to Tokyo on a nonstop flight from the airport.

11. Denver offers lots of fun weekend getaways to consider.
Although the traffic in Denver makes it seem like the city doesn’t take a relaxed attitude to life, the opposite really is the truth. People in the city like to find ways to have fun. There are plenty of weekend getaways that you will find one living here that are intensely entertaining and beautiful. Some of the world’s top outdoor destinations are within a day’s drive of your home. You can visit Vail, Winter Park, Crested Butte, Grand Junction, the Arapahoe Basin, Breckenridge, Beaver Creek, or push a little further to make it to Arches and Canyonlands in Utah all on a single day of driving.

12. Denver has great beer.
Denver has long been one of the best cities in the United States for brewing beer. The concentration of breweries and microbreweries is one of the best in the country. Some of today’s top brands come from this region, including Falling Rock, Blue Moon, Breckenridge Brewer, and Renegade Brewing. When you add in the coffee that is almost as good as Seattle’s, you will find that this combination makes for a fun and exciting experience.

List of the Cons of Living in Denver

1. Denver is a city that is too expensive for some households.
Although the cost of living is relatively low in Denver, those figures sometimes exclude how much you must pay for rent or your mortgage when living in the city. There are several neighborhoods where the median wage in the city isn’t enough to meet the debt-to-income ratio for rental properties or a new mortgage. Unless you’re able to get yourself into one of the high-wage positions that are available (and these opportunities are growing), you might find that a long commute is in your future when you decide to move to this city.

2. Denver is called the mile-high city for a reason.
Denver is called the mile-high city because it sits at 5,280 feet above sea level. When you decide to move here, then there must be some time planned in your schedule to acclimate to the thinner air.

Even at this altitude, it is possible for some people to experience an illness that is directly attributed to their position above sea level. It can be several weeks before your body is ready to feel normal again. Make sure that you drink plenty of water, moderate during physical activities, and wear plenty of sunscreen – even in winter. A sunburn can happen in February in Denver.

3. Denver traffic is terrible every day of the week.
You will not receive any breaks from the traffic when you move to Denver because of the nature of the city. The main thoroughfares are always packed during the week because of commuters. Then you have all of the traffic that is headed into the mountains which peaks during the weekends. Don’t forget about the fact that all of those travelers need to come back into the city on Sunday as well. On a Friday evening, it is not unusual for a 90-minute drive to turn into six hours.

4. Denver can have some interesting weather in the winter.
If you can get through the heat of the summer in Denver, then you will enjoy a period during the fall season when the weather feels perfect. There are years when that feeling lasts for exactly one month. Snow can come early in the city, sometimes flying as soon as September. You can find thunderstorms that will drop golf ball size hail on your vehicles every so often. When you do get into the winter snows, expect the measurement to be in feet instead of inches during the deepest part of the season.

5. Denver requires you to travel if you want to go hiking.
Although there are urban trails in Denver that are beginning to develop, you will discover that the best hiking opportunities tend to be at least two hours away. Some of them can be more than five hours away. Because everyone surges toward the mountains during the weekend, you will find that even out-of-the-way nature trails can sometimes be packed full of visitors. That means you need to get out there before 8 AM on most days if you want to have any quiet time to yourself.

6. Denver offers a landscape that is rather bland from an urban perspective.
There is a reason why all of the weekend traffic goes to the mountains. Although Denver offers a world-class zoo, professional sports to watch, and some incredible museums to tour, the actual landscape of the city is rather bland. An artistic culture is developing in the city that is working to change this disadvantage, but the work is moving slowly. Part of the reason for this lack of development is the fact that the cost of living is so high.

7. Denver does not have a significant inventory of homes or apartments.
It is not unusual for real estate developers to advertise new construction homes as being starter opportunities even though the price of the property is listed at $325,000 or higher. That is not a starting price for the average family trying to get into their first home. You will discover that the housing stock for the places that are affordable are either not in a neighborhood where you want to be, or the structure is too small to support your family. That’s why most people who want to get out of the rental market will eventually move north.

8. Denver does not offer a supportive public transit infrastructure.
If you move to Denver, then be prepared to own a vehicle. Although there is light rail available in the city, and the bus system is fairly extensive, the infrastructure for these items are not well developed. Even accessing the public transport can feel inconvenient if you live anywhere but the center of the city. When you add in the fact that only one east-west thoroughfare goes into the mountains from the city, the traffic can feel a lot like a bad day in Los Angeles. It’s pretty to live here, and there are plenty of activities, but it can be a challenge to go out and about if you’re in a rush.

9. Denver offers a lack of variety for outdoor enthusiasts.
If you love skiing, then you are going to love Denver. You can hop onto an Amtrak train and get up to a ski resort in no time at all. For those who love hiking or cycling, the mountain trails are amazing. When you prefer to hang out somewhere like a beach, then you will find very few options are available to you in the city. You are nowhere near the ocean, a lake with a warm beach, or water activities of any sort – unless you count the public swimming pools.

If you prefer the ocean to the mountains, then Denver is a city that you may not appreciate after living there for some time.

The pros and cons of living in Denver make it evident that the city is not for everyone. Although there are excellent job opportunities here, it can be a challenge to afford the cost of living for some households. You may find that the job offer you receive does not pay for the home that you want. If you can manage the costs of living, then you will find that this city is an amazing place to call home.

Blog Post Author Credentials
Louise Gaille is the author of this post. She received her B.A. in Economics from the University of Washington. In addition to being a seasoned writer, Louise has almost a decade of experience in Banking and Finance. If you have any suggestions on how to make this post better, then go here to contact our team.