Tell me what's great about living in Colorado and the Denver area in particular.

I spend time in the Denver area periodically. Many people I know, want to move there. I have my own thoughts, but am curious to what the masses think.

So enlighten me.

I lived in Denver or Broomfield CO on and off during the late '80s and early '90s. I’ve only been back very briefly since then. But as I recall it:

Plus side - the beautiful view of the mountains and easy access to them if you like hiking etc, public transport (which I gather from my family that still lives out there has improved since ~1990), and the 16th St Mall (which I’ve heard has gone downhill since)

Minus - the high altitude affects some people badly until they acclimate; the lack of humidity gave me frequent nosebleeds; the dramatic weather fluctuations. There was also the Brown Cloud smog layer that often lay against the front range of the mountains and obscured the view, but I think that that’s been cleared up and doesn’t happen as often as it did when I lived there.

I love living in Denver so, so much! Mainly, it’s the climate. I moved from South Florida (essentially, a drained swamp). I love cool mountain air, warmed by a bright sun, with very little humidity (meaning, you can get cool in the shade in the summer, and the winter weather isn’t brutal). Snow is beautiful, and with the bright sun it doesn’t build up into disgusting black piles. And few bugs (instead…rabbits!) Plus, the open, rolling landscape is often breathtaking. The mountains off in the distance look like a painting.

Because of the climate, people here like to be outdoors and active. I like that. It creates a sense of general good cheer. People are generally nice and friendly.

Of course, it has its issues. Prices are too high (especially in real estate). Traffic can be bad, although it is commensurate with other big cities. It does have crime (I do legal work in criminal defense; we have our share of the dregs of humanity). The food scene is improving (lots of “farm to table”) but not as exotic as some other cosmopolitan areas (on the flip side, you know that you can wear jeans and walk into any restaurant in town). It needs more ethnic variety. And the school system needs better funding.


Oh, there’s also weed. I spend way too much money on it. But it’s not really a big deal (anymore). There’s plenty of places to get it, but it’s not like people are passing joints on the sidewalk.

I moved to Boulder last year for work. It’s been good. A lot more chill than the east coast. The wife loves all of the outdoor activities (we did a bunch of 14ers last year). Good public transport and bike paths everywhere.

I would go to concerts at Red Rock of bands I don’t even like. That place is awesome!

Welcome! We’re coming up on our 25th anniversary of living in Boulder. We’re very happy here, with a few caveats.

Pros:
[ul]
[li] Weather[/li][li] Outdoor activity[/li][li] Work culture is very balanced. People move here for the lifestyle, which includes not being indoors at work all the time.[/li][li] The food scene on the Front Range has improved significantly in the past couple of decades, both at the high end and in the diversity and quality of ethnic cuisines.[/li][li] If you like intoxicants, this is a great place to live. There are literally hundreds of small breweries, cideries, meaderies, and distilleries in Colorado, most of them in the Colorado Springs-Ft. Collins corridor (where most of the people are). And weed, if that’s your thing.[/li][/ul]

Cons:
[ul]
[li] Not very diverse, and becoming less so every year. Because…[/li][li] Housing costs rising fairly quickly. This is good for those of us who’ve owned for a long time, but it’s tough for new residents (unless they bring equity from an even more expensive place, like the SF Bay Area). We could not afford to buy our house today on our current incomes.[/li][li] Public schools in the Boulder and Cherry Creek districts are among the best in the country, but other school districts struggle. This is one consequence of TABOR, which deeply restricts the ability of the state to ameliorate the inequities of property-tax based school funding. And even the relatively wealthy districts, like Boulder, deal with constant funding problems, even in a roaring local economy. [/li][li] Water is an issue. Droughts are common (this is a semi-arid climate), and the infrastructure is having a tough time keeping up with the population growth.[/li][/ul]

Bottom line: Denver metro has a lot of the benefits of big cities, plus near-perfect weather and a more relaxed lifestyle than a lot of major population centers. But it has some of the problems of big cities, too, and a bunch of its own. If you’re really into the unique things Colorado offers, it’s a great place to live. YMMV, etc.

This reminds me of something that wasn’t an issue for me as an apartment-dwelling student, but would be for home-owners who like a lawn: the sandy soil doesn’t hold water, but lets it seep right down through.

When they had a house in Broomfield, my parents used to say that in a Colorado summer, it rains every day, but you still have to water the grass. (They live in Golden now and, for all I know, they still say it even though they no longer have a lawn.)

It’s really very pleasant here. That sounds like mild praise, but I’ve been to places that aren’t pleasant. Some places are extremely hot or extremely cold for long stretches of time. Not here. It can get hot or cold, but will change after a few days or a week. It will snow, be pretty, mess up the commute, and then be completely gone in two days. It isn’t just weather. Broomfield is kind of a chain restaurant wasteland, but Denver and Boulder have lots of great, local places to eat. Traffic can be bad in Denver, but in outlying areas it is mostly non-existent, except during rush hours (which includes weekend and holiday traffic into the mountains).

If you like outdoor stuff this is a great place. If you’re not much into outdoor stuff, it is still very pleasant.

Downsides: It’s nice, so lots of people come here. The economy is doing great, so lots of people come here. Lots of people come here, so housing and rent prices are going up. There are lots of jobs, so service in restaurants is going down hill. Somebody is likely to start fracking in your front yard.