A close friend has a interesting opportunity in Denver. Tell me your experiences, please.
I’ve been in Denver from 2002. I moved here from the Chicago region.
Pros: The weather is amazing if you come here from a ‘winter’ state. We have more hours of sunlight per year than San Diego. And we still do have seasons. Summer is hot, but not unbearable and winter consists of a big snow storm one day and a big melt the next day. Mother Nature does the shoveling for us more times than not. Low humidity.
The scenery. I’ve lived here 13.5 years and it still takes my breath away.
Great medical/healthcare services. Denver is the hub for such things for the area between Kansas City and Los Angeles.
Excellent range of cultural goodies for a city of 600,000 - symphony, theatre, ballet, etc.
Four professional sports teams, multiple college sports teams. Lots of opportunities to see live sports if you like them.
Growing foodie scene.
Property values - once you buy a home - do nothing but go up up up
Cons: Very fast-growing area, hard to find any affordable housing - rent or purchase. Houses sometimes stay on the market less than a day.
Growth has led to congestion. Highways haven’t kept up and commutes can be bad. Of course it’s relative if you’re coming from California, you may find it refreshing easy to commute in Denver
I found it hard making friends here at first. Lots of people are transient and have little interest in putting down roots. They expect to move on in a year or two. If you are coming from the East and are used to ‘neighborhoods’, you won’t find many here. Only if you locate in some of the older sections of the city.
Employment rates can vary depending on how the oil and gas industry is doing. Taxes are pretty high.
We are far away from everywhere else. For example, back home I could drive from Chicago area to Milwaukee, Detroit, Indianapolis, Louisville, in less than a day. Driving anywhere from Denver is a bit of a commitment.
On balance, I’ve come to love it here.
I asked a similar question last year. You might find some good info here: http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=761509
(I ended up not moving there. My wife’s job opportunity didn’t pan out.)
Great post, thanks!
I just moved to Denver in January. My basis of comparison is Florida, where I had lived my whole life. My impression:
The weather is beautiful! Although I have been told that this has been an unseasonably warm winter, it has been getting up into the 60’s and even 70’s on many days. Even when it stays in the 40’s or 50’s, the low humidity and bright sun makes it nice and comfortable. I’ve endured a couple of snow storms, but the snow is dry and powdery and an inevitable wave of warmth keeps it from building up into huge, dirty piles.
The people are very friendly and unpretentious. Even though most locals grumble about too many people moving here, I’ve yet to encounter someone who didn’t make it a point of welcoming me if they found out I was from out of state. And if you put your blinker on when driving, people will let you into the next lane! (That was a huge adjustment from South Florida).
Yes, traffic can suck. It can take 20 minutes to go 5 miles, and there are some roads you really should avoid due to the congestion. There’s a lot of land between the city and the airport, and the city is going to have to fill it in if it continues to grow as at its current rapid pace.
The local culture tends toward health, activity, and nature. When I bought a bike, two people told me I was a “real Coloradoan”. Everyone goes camping in the summer, or so I’m told. There are parks and trails everywhere, and it seems like everyone owns a dog, or at least like them. Largely due to the beautiful weather, there’s a cultural pressure to be outdoors.
In conjunction with the health trend, there are lots and lots of healthy and organic restaurants. Many places are local, too. I don’t find a ton of fine dining, though, like you might find in other big cities. (I chalk that up, in part, to the lack of pretentiousness. You rarely have to worry about a dress code when going out to eat).
The cars are really dirty. Maybe it’s a winter thing. But it’s weird to me.
It’s liberal, although I don’t find a ton of ethnic diversity (few Blacks, some Asians, and an occasional Hispanic). But pot is legal, single payer healthcare is on the ballot for 2016, and I’ve encountered plenty of gay people (a staple of Ft. Lauderdale, where I moved from). Colorado went for Bernie in the Democratic primary, after all.
Housing in the city is probably overpriced. It’s certainly expensive. But there are suburbs that are only miles from downtown, so I have hope!
4 major sports teams confirm that it is a major city, but it doesn’t have the grimy feel of a lot of big cities. Yes, there are places where the homeless beg for money. But it generally feels safe out at night.
It was just named the #1 place to live by US News and World Report.
Thanks, great info.