Everything You Need to Know About Living in Denver, CO

We found out everything you wanted to know about the makes The Mile High City so great to live in from the people that call it home. Download our Denver Research Report to review all of the details.

Denver: Fast Facts

Denver is the 18th most-populous city in the US, the second largest city by area and the largest city in Colorado, followed by Colorado Springs and Aurora. It is also the nineteenth-largest metropolitan area in the nation and is located in the South Platte River Valley on the western edge of the High Plains just east of the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains.

Denver is currently growing at a rate of 1.5% annually and reached its highest population of 749,103 in 2021. The current metro area population of Denver in 2021 is 2,862,000, a 1.2% increase from 2020. The cosmopolitan city of Denver serves as both the state capital and the state’s biggest city.  Nearly 30 people move to the Denver area every day.

With a vibrant, well-educated, and youthful population of around 295,000, the median age in Denver is 37 years. In the Denver metro area, 49% of people over 25 have at least a Bachelor’s Degree.

The local government has been committed to investing in transforming the city into a tech hub, and it shows. There’s an entire ecosystem that supports entrepreneurs, and the business scene also feels more diverse because tech isn’t the only booming industry. In fact, Colorado has the sixth-highest concentration of creatives in the US, giving startups and major companies access to a diverse talent pool. 

Denver’s tech-talent labor pool is the 12th largest nationally at 113,270 workers, which amounts to 6.7% of the overall Denver workforce, significantly higher than the national average of 3.7%. The city has the fifth fastest-growing tech labor pool in North America. Over the past five years, Denver added 28,230 tech jobs.

There’s a lot of ethnic diversity. It really depends where you live. Denver tends to be less socially stratified than other cities that have distinctly black neighborhoods or distinctly hispanic neighborhoods. You’ll find a lot of Black people in areas like Five Points, Clayton, Montbello, and Aurora. There’s a lot of Hispanic people in my neighborhood (Baker) and extending further west into Lakewood. Also: Aurora.

Baker M

Denver Neighborhoods

Downtown Denver – This area has Denver’s most metropolitan feel — bustling streets, lots of pedestrians, mostly high-rise buildings — and is outlined by North Broadway, Park Ave West, Speer Boulevard, Colfax Ave, and the South Platte River. Depending on the vibe you’re looking for, you’ll have to choose between downtown’s Central Business District (CBD) or Lower Downtown aka LoDo. The CBD is more of a business hub, bustling during business hours but not as hip and happening as LoDo in the evening.LoDo is where to go to experience the action of Denver’s best: bars, restaurants, nightlife, and sites like the Museum of Contemporary Art, Coors Field, and Commons Park. This area is ideal for anyone who doesn’t want a car, has an active social life, and wants the bulk of what the city has to offer right at their doorstep.

The Capitol Hill neighborhood, or Cap Hill if you’re a local, is downtown adjacent and picks up at the Colorado Capitol Building where the CBD stops. Cap Hill is full of life with its vibrant arts and culture scene. In this ‘hood you’ll get six museums (including the Denver Art Museum and Clyfford Still Museum), tons of galleries, and the Curious Theater Company as your performing arts space. You’ll also find a range of global cuisine restaurants from casual to fine dining, breweries, cocktail bars, and clubs. This is a neighborhood for people and personalities who like to brunch. 

Cherry Creek is one of Denver’s more upscale neighborhoods. Apartment buildings are elegant and new. Most are within walking distance to high-end shopping and dining. Construction has been a constant in this neighborhood for the past few years as interest in the area continues to grow. There’s plenty of access to public transportation. Whole Foods and the Cherry Creek Mall are within walking distance of most housing.

One of Denver’s oldest neighborhoods, Five Points, boasts a diverse history, it’s roots dating back to pre-Capitol Hill era. Five Points is known to locals for its vast, multicultural history, marks of which can still be seen in the neighborhood’s businesses. Previously known for a short time as “Harlem of the West”, Five Points played host to many famous African-American jazz musicians. Efforts to renew and revitalize the area are well underway, making Five Points one of Denver’s most treasured neighborhoods.

Platt Park: this quaint, historic neighborhood feels like a small town with its summertime farmer’s markets and charming main drag, Old South Pearl Street. Trolley tracks from days gone peek their way through the asphalt. Homes are quiet bungalows popular with first-time home buyers, the neighborhood bridges the gap between historical and modern. Is its own cozy district that will feel like home immediately. At the turn of the 20th century, this neighborhood was its own city, separate from Denver. This gives Platt Park its vintage feel, as most establishments choose to carefully renovate rather than tear down and rebuild.

While smaller than a typical ‘college town’, University Park’s proximity to the University of Denver drives much of its unique energy. Weekend nights are busy and there are plenty of dive bars to quench your thirst at. Sometimes referred to as The DU neighborhood, this area offers a wide variety of rentals— and doesn’t fit any one stereotype. University Park is a fun, lively place to call home. This quaint neighborhood in Denver is full of eager students and historical architecture. While DU campus is close by, all walks of life live in this charming area. With plenty of green space to roam around in and watering holes to try trendy cocktails at, there is never a shortage of fun things to do.

Famous for its namesake, the neighborhood of Washington Park is a gorgeous and pricey spot to call home. The 155-acre park serves as the neighborhood’s epicenter and is lined by beautiful historic and modern homes. People from all walks of life call Wash Park home and you’re sure to make friends at any of the pick up games this summer. With its namesake park and Cherry Creek Trail a short walk away, the Wash Park neighborhood provides an oasis for outdoor enthusiasts. Local restaurants line the streets of this energetic neighborhood and provide a welcoming introduction into one of the most popular areas in Denver. You’ll find residents and their dogs taking a morning stroll down tree-lined streets or grabbing a warm coffee at any of the locally owned cafes that are sprinkled throughout this neighborhood.

This little slice of heaven has everything one could wish for. Situated near Baker’s burgeoning arts district and just north of a myriad of vintage shops, South Broadway is a great place for music lovers and foodies. South Broadway is home to many of Denver’s greatest dive bars and some of the best music venues in the city. The residential streets remain relatively quiet and provide ample space for after work strolls with the pooch. This vibrant area is widely recognized for its colorful storefronts, hip restaurants, and music venues that line Broadway street. No matter where you draw the line, this eccentric collection of dive bars, galleries, hole-in-the-wall pizza joints, and vintage stores gives Denver a healthy dose of cool.

Uptown offers residents a break from the 16th Street Mall and the city’s bustle, while still situated on major bus routes only a stone’s throw from downtown. Professionals and commuters alike spend their time on 17th dining at Uptown’s unique, moderately priced restaurants. Beautiful churches, historic brick row houses, and modern apartment buildings form the amalgam that is Uptown. Uptown is an extremely eclectic neighborhood. Walk through the tree-lined streets and you’ll see a mix of Victorian homes and modern loft apartments. This area shares many qualities with Cap Hill and City Park West, but is located closer to the bustle of Downtown. If you’re looking for a community feel, but still want to be near urban conveniences, Uptown is for you.

Harvey Park is located in Southwest Denver and is bounded by South Sheridan, Hampden, Lowell, and Jewell. Built in the 1950’s, it’s known for its selection of some of Denver’s best mid-century modern architecture. Cliff May-style California Contemporary homes fill the neighborhoods’ quiet, suburban-like streets.

Sunnyside is located in Northwest Denver, Sunnyside is bounded by I70, 38th, Federal, and I25. It’s an up-and-coming neighborhood near trendy Tennyson and is already pretty well discovered, yet still in transition. It’s easy to take a bike ride or a walk downtown, and there is easy access to get out of town. Trendy coffee shops, restaurants, boutiques, and home goods stores are starting to pop up everywhere.

Best part about living in Denver is living close to the center of town. There are a lot of neighborhoods to accommodate different income levels, but each is safe (police-wise) and welcoming. The suburbs are not the same. The city is pretty safe. A lot of people here like the city for its proximity to the mountains and a plethora of outdoor physical activities. It’s also a city of a predominately high percentage of educated population. So, you won’t find a lot of conservatives, overall.

Logan F

Doing Business in Denver

Denver, Colorado was named sixth on Forbes Magazine’s “Best Places for Business and Careers”.  Due to its proximity to the mineral-rich Rocky Mountains, Denver has long been a home for mining and energy companies. 

Key Industries: Aerospace and Aviation, Broadcast and Telecommunications, Healthcare and Wellness, Financial Services, Bioscience, Energy, and IT-Software

Major Employers: Denver Health, Kaiser Permanente, Wells Fargo Bank, Children’s Hospital Colorado, CenturyLink, Ball Corporation

Major Tech Companies with Offices in Seattle: HomeAdvisor, Vantiv, Zayo Group, CA Technologies, BiggerPockets, TrackVia, Convercent, Havenly

Major Financial Services and Insurance Companies with Offices in Denver: Janus Capital Group, JD Edwards, Western Union, Charles Schwab, First Data Corp., Lockton Companies, IMA Inc., Hub International Insurance Services Inc., IMA, Denver West Insurance Brokers

Denver offers a chance to build sustainably successful businesses outside the confines of Silicon Valley or New York City. In fact, analytics company Palantir is one of the latest tech firms to leave Silicon Valley for a new headquarters in Denver, citing the Denver area as a better cultural fit.

Cost of Living in Denver

Cost of living in Denver is 12% higher than the national average

  • Denver’s housing expenses are 34% higher than the national average 
  • Utility prices are 6% lower than the national average
  • Transportation expenses like bus fares and gas prices are 6% higher than the national average. 
  • Denver has grocery prices that are 2% lower than the national average.
  • Healthcare in Denver is 5% higher than the national average.

Median Household Income of $68,377

Denver Apartment Living

The COVID-19 pandemic is upending the US’s rental market, with prices dropping in large, expensive cities but rising in typically more affordable locations, a report from Apartment List found. This trend can be seen in Colorado where Denver’s rental market is dipping while the markets in nearby cities such as Aurora and Colorado Springs are on the up. The city’s rent prices have decreased even more consistently. Denver’s average apartment rent has lowered each month since March 2020, going from a 1.3% increase compared to January to a 4.4% decrease by November.

The average rent for a 1-bedroom apartment decreased by -2% to $1,390 and for a 2-bedroom apartment in Denver decreased by -3% to $1,940.

The March 2021 Rent Report from Apartment List reveals that in February, the most recent period for which data is available, the average rent in Denver increased 0.9 percent over the previous month.

Renters will find more reasonable prices in Denver than most large cities. For example, Los Angeles has a median 2BR rent of $4,596, which is nearly twice the price in Denver.

A Denver start-up is trying to make the home rental market work better for both landlords and tenants. With Nomad, property owners sign up for a one-, two-, or three-year contract, and Nomad guarantees rent every month for the duration of the contract. Nomad charges a fee to cover their own risk. Nomad also hopes to provide a smoother transition for tenants. Nomad renters can move between Nomad properties with no penalty for breaking a lease. 

What Denver Renters Want

Here are the top things tenants report looking for in a property:

  • Work from home spaces
  • High-speed internet 
  • Walk-in closet  
  • Soundproof walls
  • Private parking
  • Fitness Center
  • Washer/Dryer
  • Roof decks and gardens

Most of the good work is going to come from The Denver Tech Center in the Englewood and Centennial area; South of Denver. That’s where I live now. While I work from home for a company based in the D.C. area, I still like to keep close to this part of town in case my situation changes. There’s some good companies down here with (almost) fair salaries. The other big one would be downtown, but I try to steer clear of that area. Most of the jobs I’ve seen downtown are for law firms and financial institutes… Really not my thing, but that’s just me.

Amy G

Arts, Recreation, and Entertainment in Denver

Denver and the neighboring Rocky Mountains are overflowing with outdoor activities like cycling, running, white water rafting, kayaking, rock climbing and more. From spring through summer, weekends in Denver are filled with great festivals featuring arts, entertainment, food and more.

From fun fall festivals to holiday weekend celebrations, Denver’s calendar is always packed with great events and activities. Whether you are planning a long romantic weekend for Valentine’s Day or looking for free fall activities, Denver has something for you.

The Denver Chalk Art Festival features more than 200 professional and amateur artists who will spend hours on their hands and knees over the course of two days every summer. Their efforts transform Larimer Square into a bright and colorful street museum, adorned in vivid pastel chalks.

The River North Art District “where art is made” goes by the nickname of “RiNo” and has even adopted a rhino design for its official logo, so look for creative rhinos in art and signage all around the neighborhood! The district’s interesting blend of urban charm and unique industrial revival makes it a great destination for visitors. Historic warehouses and factories now house jazz bars, restaurants, brewpubs, art galleries and working studios. 

Colorado has one of the most colorful railroad histories in the world. Following the discovery of gold and silver in the Rockies, railroad lines were pushed up nearly every canyon and high pass, making them the lifeline of every mining camp and community in the state. The Colorado Railroad Museum is housed in a replica of an 1880-style masonry depot, filled with 50,000 rare old photographs and artifacts. Outside on 12 acres of sprawling grounds are more than 50 narrow- and standard-gauge locomotives, cars and other rolling stock. The Denver Trolley  is a replica of an open-air “Seeing Denver” streetcar operated by the Denver Tramway Company in the pre-World War I era. The Georgetown Loop Railroad  is a reconstruction of one of Colorado’s most famous railroads.

Denver is home to six professional sports teams 

  • Colorado Rockies (MLB)
  • Denver Broncos (NFL)
  • Colorado Avalanche (NHL)
  • Colorado Rapids (MLS)
  • Colorado Mammoth (NLL)
  • Denver Nuggets (NBA)

Sports fans have plenty of attractions to visit in Denver. “Behind the Seams” tours of Coors Field provide a behind-the-scenes look at one of the premier ballparks in Major League Baseball. Fans can also visit the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame, a free museum honoring Colorado sports legends. Ball Arena is where the Denver Nuggets, Colorado Avalanche, and Colorado Mammoth call home. Tours of this arena show how the venue converts from hockey ice to basketball court, and gives backstage access to where the big names in music have performed. The National Ballpark Museum is recognized as one of the finest baseball collections in the world. Personalized tours include a tribute to Colorado baseball history, seats from the classic ballparks, one-of-a-kind baseball artifacts, and autographed jerseys, baseballs, uniforms and bats.

Read the full research report: Denver, CO. We interviewed the people that live there to find out what makes their city special. Stay tuned for more city research.

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