The skyline of Denver, Colorado. There are skyscrapers and other buildings. There are a few wispy clouds in the sky and green grass in the foreground.

20 Things To Know About Living in Denver

Denver Colorado

by Matt Lyons Posted on March 29, 2024

What is living in Denver like? For starters, Denver’s located just east of the Rocky Mountains in Colorado. So picturesque views and year-round outdoor recreation? They’re unparalleled. Then you have the sports teams. And not just any teams — champions. The job market is diverse, the culture is fantastic, and the available attractions are always expanding. And that’s merely a glimpse. Considering a move? Check out everything that living in Denver has to offer you.

Planning a move to Denver? Start by getting a quote from PODS.

Denver at a Glance

  • Also the capital city of Colorado, Denver lies on the western edge of the Great Plains and east of the Rocky Mountains' Front Range.
  • Denver has been dubbed the “Mile High City” because of its high altitude — exactly a mile above sea level.
  • You can see 200 named mountain peaks from Denver, and over 30 soar above 13,000 feet.
  • Denver has a land area of around 153 square miles.
  • The population in Denver is estimated to be around 713,000.
  • The median age of Metro Denver is 37 years old.

Q: Is Denver, Colorado, a good place to live?
A: With plenty of jobs available, gorgeous natural scenery, and various attractions for family-friendly fun, Denver is a great place to live.

1. Cost of Living in Denver, Colorado

With an above-average cost of living index of 127.6, the cost of living in Denver is nearly 28 percent higher than the national average and 6 percent higher than the state average. Factors like housing and transportation, in particular, are what contribute to the city’s higher cost of living.

Q: How much do you need to live in Denver?
To maintain a living wage, according to MIT’s Living Wage Calculator, a family of four with one working adult should make around $96,000 before taxes. For a single adult, the required annual income before taxes should be closer to $53,000. For a retiree, the estimated monthly retirement income to comfortably live off in Denver is approximately $3,750.

2. Pros and Cons of Living in Denver

Pro: It’s Easy To Stay Fit and Active All Year

Is Denver a good place to live? If you’re into being healthy, that’s a resounding yes. One of the best perks of living in Denver is access to the incredible outdoors, and the variety of outdoor recreation available throughout the year is unmatched. Whether it’s hiking, rock climbing, skiing, or something else that gets your blood pumping, chances are you won’t have to go too far to do it!

Pro: Dog Owners Take Pride in Their Dog-Friendly City

Denver has been ranked one of the nation’s most dog-friendly cities. It seems like everyone is always out walking a dog. And along with plenty of dog parks, many local restaurants are also dog-friendly as they include outdoor patios where dogs are welcome.

Pro: There’s Plenty of Fun Aside From the Outdoor Adventures 

The city isn’t just bustling with outdoor exercise activities throughout the year. Denver is home to quite the lively culture as well. Visit music festivals, explore restaurants with fabulous views, and try out the best tasting drinks at a brewery or distillery — for starters.

Con: The Lack of Precipitation Creates Problems Down the Line 

One of the worst things about living in Denver? The dry Denver climate. Throughout the year, there’s not much precipitation (even with Denver getting its fair share of snow every once in a while). And the droughts can lead to damaging wildfires that lead to poor air quality.

Con: Outdoor Adventures Can Become Too Crowded for Comfort

Colorado’s known for its beauty. And Denver’s no exception. It draws in so many tourists each year that some of the hotspots can become rather crowded. The trails and parks, in particular, can get packed quickly.

Con: Risks Are Always Associated With Higher Altitudes

Because of Denver’s elevation above sea level, you may notice certain things like dryer hair, hands, and — here’s the big one — that you’re short of breath. You’ll have to breathe harder to get the same amount of oxygen, and you’ll also be closer to the sun, which means it’s important to take it slow until you get used to the altitude and wear sunscreen!

Q: Are people in Denver friendly?
Yes, most of the areas around Denver are described as close-knit and friendly!

A Tudor-style home in the Washington Park neighborhood of Denver, Colorado.

3. The Denver Housing Market

With an average home value of around $563,400, trying to find an affordable home may be difficult when navigating Denver’s housing market, depending on where you’re coming from. Thanks to the diverse landscape of the city, it’s easy to fall in love with the various homes available, though, even if they are a little above budget. 

Mid-century modern builds are common throughout the city, but you’ll also encounter a fair share of storied Colonial Revival styles. Craftsman Bungalow and Tudor-style homes are among the most common options in Denver. Craftsman Bungalow-style homes feature classic symmetry followed by a two-story design, while Tudor-style homes are asymmetrical and known best for their unique multi-paned windows.  

Q: Is Denver an affordable city?
While the cost of living in Denver is high, other popular locations with similar amenities and weather have even higher costs of living. Los Angeles, for example, has a cost of living score of 161.7.

4. The Denver Rental Market 

With an average monthly rent of around $1,975 for a one-bedroom apartment, choosing to rent in Denver’s rental market may help you save up some money while on the search for a home to buy. The average size for a one-bedroom apartment is 842 square feet, while two- and three-bedroom apartments will offer a bit more space. Depending on how much space you’re looking for or what amenities you may need, the cost of rent will vary overall, though. 

5. Best Places To Live in Denver

Denver is full of desirable neighborhoods that add to the city’s special charm. These are a few of our favorite Denver neighborhoods.

North Park Hill 

As one of the first neighborhoods ever created in Denver, North Park Hill has been around since the 1880s. Along with plenty of diversity, the historic roots of this neighborhood are emphasized in the Victorian and World War II brick bungalow-style homes. North Park is ideal for young professionals looking to get out and mingle, as there are several great local establishments to hang out with friends and other loved ones. Be sure to stop at Spinelli’s Market for all your Italian food items, and try some fantastic coffee at Cake Crumbs


Offering easy access to some of the best things to do in the city, the neighborhood of Hale is situated in a central location that makes it easy for residents to get where they need to go. This neighborhood is very walkable/bikeable, and retirees, in particular, enjoy that the Rose Medical Center is located right in the center of the neighborhood. Hale also provides plenty of outdoor recreation for residents to stay active, including the Henry S. Lindsley Park, which also has trails for walking, running, or biking. 

Congress Park

The Denver family-friendly neighborhood of Congress Park resides in another historic area of the city, which has been around since the 1880s and was originally referred to as Capital Heights. The area’s beautiful architectural design shows in many of the neighborhood’s homes, which are predominantly Queen Anne residences. Enjoy cultural experiences in Congress Park, and be sure to visit the Tattered Cover Book Store, which has something for every book lover. 

6. Public Transportation Throughout Denver 

Your public transit options in Denver come from the Regional Transportation District and include a light rail and bus system. Many residents of the city still require a car when getting around Denver, and there are lots of problems with Denver’s infrastructure overall. But in all fairness, the city’s roads and highways were not built to accommodate the surge of new residents each year. Most big cities will encounter issues with traffic, and it’s even more problematic when the infrastructure is lacking. 

7. Schools and Higher Education

Whether you plan on sending your kids to public or private school, there are plenty of top-ranked options all across the city. According to Niche, the top three school districts within Denver include the Cherry Creek School District, Littleton Public Schools, and the Jefferson County School District. If you’re looking for private institutions, some of the best options include the Colorado Academy, Kent Denver School, and St. Mary’s Academy. And higher education options in the area include the University of Colorado and Regis University. 

The Denver Nuggets celebrate their championship win in 2023 with their fans as confetti falls from the arena ceiling.

8. Mile High City Sports Teams

Sports enthusiasts residing in Denver have plenty of teams to cheer on in a variety of sports. The city’s pro teams include:

  • Colorado Rockies: MLB team that plays in the renowned Coors Field in downtown Denver
  • Denver Broncos: NFL team that plays at the Empower Field at Mile High 
  • Denver Nuggets: 2023 NBA Champions that play at Ball Arena in downtown Denver
  • Colorado Avalanche: 2022 NHL Stanley Cup champions that also plays at Ball Arena 
  • Colorado Rapids: MLS team based at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park

Aside from these top pro teams, local teams beloved by residents in Denver include the Denver Barbarians RFC and American Raptors. And you won’t have to search far to find die-hard CU Buffs fans!

9. Denver’s Year-Round Mild Weather 

Even though Denver is home to a four-season environment, the temperatures remain mild throughout the year and the city experiences nearly 300 days of sunshine. The warmest month in the city is July, with an average of 74 degrees Fahrenheit. The coldest month in the city is December, with an average of 30 degrees Fahrenheit. 

Winter storms are occasional; however, the snow doesn’t last long and tends to melt rapidly (you are a mile closer to the sun, after all). But on those days when you’re longing for that powdery snow, simply visit one of the nearby ski resorts, and you can ski and snowboard ‘til your heart’s content. 

10. Safety in Denver 

Unfortunately, Denver has one of the highest violent crime rates in the nation compared to every other community of all sizes. 96 percent of other communities in Colorado have a lower crime rate than Denver, and your chances of being a victim to either property or violent crime is one in 13. There is a crime rate of 74 per 1,000 residents overall in Denver, and the city is reported to have one of the highest rates of motor vehicle theft in the country. The upside? The majority of this crime occurs in certain places, just like any major city. There are plenty of safe areas; you just need to be aware of your surroundings and do your research before deciding where to put down your roots. 

11. Scrumptious Food Options Throughout the City

With a progressive dining landscape that’s constantly evolving, you’ll find plenty of great options when looking for a bite to eat. Along with local staples, one of the best things to do in Denver, Colorado, is try the variety of new hotspots. Here are a few favorites:

  • Lucina Eatery & Bar: Warm and scenic atmosphere serving up Latin American and Spanish foods, including black beans and rice, empanadas, and paella
  • Watercourse Foods: Best place for plant-based comfort food in Denver, along with incredible cocktail options
  • Sap Sua: Vietnamese restaurant serving up a unique menu of food options, such as the buttery shrimp cake topped with trout roe 

12. Denver’s Economy and Job Growth

The job market in Denver provides plenty of job opportunities, with top industry sectors including aerospace, healthcare, finance, and hospitality. The highly regarded universities serving the area also provide for great research opportunities, along with teaching roles and other positions. According to ZipRecruiter, a software engineer, nurse practitioner, box truck owner operator, and construction worker were some of the highest-paying jobs in the Denver area.

13. Multicultural Opportunities

Home to quite an extensive ethnic history, there are plenty of ways to explore the highlights of Denver’s past in the region. From museums and attractions to special events, Denver is proud to show off its diverse culture. 

  • Black American West Museum: This museum is dedicated to the African-American men and women who helped to develop parts of the American West 
  • Mizel Museum: This museum educates about Jewish culture through various art exhibits and educational practices 
  • Cinco De Mayo: One of the largest cultural events in the entire state, showing off live entertainment, great food/drink options, and special exhibits 

Lower Downtown (LoDo) in Denver, Colorado. Dozens of locals and visitors are dining al fresco at various restaurants.

14. Vibrant Nightlife Scene

One of the most amazing things about Denver is its nightlife, which can even be compared to other major cities like NYC and LA. One of the best places for nightlife in Denver? The Lower Downtown area, which is also known as LoDo. There are a lot of great bars and clubs in this area, and it's hard to go wrong with wherever you end up.

Some of the other best places to party in Denver are in the Denver Pavilions, Milk Bar on Broadway, and the Glow Lounge on Colfax Avenue. If you're looking for a more laid-back environment, then Denver has plenty of bars that are ideal, as well, like The Ginn Mill.

15. Denver’s Proximity to Other Popular Destinations 

Besides being around an hour from other beautiful locations in Colorado, such as Boulder and Colorado Springs, you can find affordable flights to other popular cities, such as Los Angeles, Salt Lake City, and Albuquerque and fly straight out of the city. The Denver International Airport is just a 45-minute train ride away from the Denver Union Station.

16. Outdoor Parks Located in Denver

Aside from visiting popular Colorado hotspots, like the Rocky Mountain National Park, one of the best free things to do in Denver is to visit the variety of parks located right inside the city’s limits. Washington Park is home to gorgeous trails, flora, and ponds, while Confluence Park is most ideal for a picnic on a warm day. But don’t stop there. There are more than 250 individual urban parks to choose from! 

17. Denver’s Beer Culture

Dubbed The Napa Valley of Beer, Denver is home to the second-largest concentration of microbreweries in the country, just behind Portland, Oregon. And the best part? They’re sprinkled all throughout the city. New Terrain? Black Sky? Great Divide? Which one will be your new go-to?

18. Retail Experiences in Denver

The city of Denver is known for its vibrant and diverse retail experiences, and one of the most fun things to do in Denver for young adults is shopping! Larimer Square, located between 14th Street and 15th Street, and is known for its sophisticated urban style. If you're looking for something a bit different, you can always find it here!

And, of course, you'll notice the 16th Street Mall while you’re down at Larimer Square, which spans one mile and is regarded as Metro Denver's most popular tourist destination. It features a variety of restaurants, cafes, and art galleries, as well as a multitude of shopping options.

19. Amusement Parks for Family-Friendly Fun

The city of Denver is known for its vibrant and diverse retail experiences, and one of the most fun things to do in Denver for young adults is shopping! Larimer Square, located between 14th Street and 15th Street, and is known for its sophisticated urban style. If you're looking for something a bit different, you can always find it here!

And, of course, you'll notice the 16th Street Mall while you’re down at Larimer Square, which spans one mile and is regarded as Metro Denver's most popular tourist destination. It features a variety of restaurants, cafes, and art galleries, as well as a multitude of shopping options.

20. Denver’s Murals and Street Art

Street artists of Denver have been making canvases of the city’s public areas for decades now, which means you can expect to find beautiful art virtually everywhere you go.

The River North Art District (RiNo) in Denver is known for its innovative and creative spirit along with a heavy reliance on its industrial past. Rather than tearing down old factories and warehouses, it encourages the reuse of historic structures. This is evidenced by the abundance of street art throughout the district.

And Denver’s Art District on Santa Fe features over 30 art galleries, making it one of the largest in Colorado. Its vibrant colors and artwork cover every aspect of the neighborhood, including its storefronts, doors, windows, and sidewalks! You truly get to experience incredible art on just about every corner.

 A family looks on as their PODS portable container gets loaded onto the truck. There is a mom, dad, and two kids standing in front of a white home.

Make the Move to Denver With PODS

Making the move to a new city like Denver is a big deal. So make it easier on yourself by letting PODS help you get there. They can deliver a portable moving container straight to your driveway for you to load at your own pace. And if you need help with the heavy lifting, PODS can even connect you with local packing and loading assistance. When you’re ready, a PODS professional will then pick up your container and deliver it to your new mile-high address. Not quite ready yet? No worries. You can keep your container in a secure PODS Storage Center as long as you need to. 

Editor’s note: For ease of reading, monthly rental prices were rounded to the nearest $25 and home values were rounded to the nearest $100.

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