Living in Denver is a great way to enjoy city life along with easy access to incredible mountain scenery and hiking trails. And living in Denver could be good for your mental health, too. Did you know the city enjoys approximately 300 days of annual sunshine?
Other factors which make this city a great place to live include a robust job market, an incredible outdoor scene, and a rich arts and culture scene. All this adds up to it being a popular city to live in as well.
Fortunately, we’ve done some of the legwork for you by preparing a guide with the essential information you’ll need before relocating to the Mile High City and living in Denver. Here, you’ll find tips on how to move to Denver and what to expect when you get there.
How to move to Denver
If you’re moving to Denver from a different state –say you’re making the move from San Francisco to Denver, or St. Louis to Denver –be sure to check out our list of the best interstate movers. You’ll find options for moving containers if you want to save some money by doing the packing yourself as well as professional movers if you prefer a stress-free move.
You’ll also want to use our moving cost calculator as a way to estimate the cost of your move, so you can prepare your moving to Denver budget for moving day!
Whether you’re moving to Denver from Seattle, San Diego, Miami, or Colorado Springs or beyond, you’ll need a budget for moving day. Be sure to consider any additional services and fees like packing supplies that can drive up the cost of your move.
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Parking permits for moving vehicles in Denver
Depending on where in the city you’re moving to, you may need to get the “okay” from local officials before parking a moving vehicle by your new home.
Check out the city’s website for info on Denver Parking Permits when you’re planning your move.
Photo Credit: Sharon Molleurs
Everything about relocating to Denver
- Which Denver neighborhoods are most affordable?
- Which neighborhood in Denver is the best fit for me?
- How long is the commute in Denver?
- How’s the walkability, bikeability, and public transportation in Denver?
- How dangerous is Denver?
- Where can I find apartments and houses in Denver?
- How much will it cost to move to Denver?
- Don’t forget, all of these things need updating!
- What’s fun to do in Denver?
Mile High City snapshot
- With a population of 711,463, Denver is considered to be the 19th largest US city.
- The average rent in Denver for a one-bedroom apartment is $1,967/month.
- Denver is the 16th most expensive city in the country, meaning that the cost of living is pretty high. It may not be as expensive as New York or Los Angeles, but it’s up there. Some new residents may experience “sticker show” when living in Denver, especially if they’re coming from a lower cost of living city or town.
Before you get bogged down in the details, check out this video of some of the more breathtaking sights around Denver.
Denver’s varied neighborhoods
Denver is a city with a lot of neighborhoods, which means it’s hard to cover everything simply.
Because of this, it’s best to break the city up regionally into Central, East, North, Northeast, Northwest, South, Southeast, Southwest, and West Denver. Each of these regions contain multiple neighborhoods which all have their own vibes, strengths, and weaknesses.
By our estimation, Denver has over 80 neighborhoods, which should give you plenty of opportunity to find one that fits your personal style, needs, and budget.
So, when starting your search for an area to buy or rent, your first concern should always be whether or not you can afford it. This map from Trulia does a good job of showing how much you can expect to pay in different areas of the city of Denver.
Here’s how the regional pricing breaks down
- If you’re looking for affordability, you can expect to pay between $1,600 and $2,000 in places like Hampden, Park Hill, and Goldsmith.
- Neighborhoods like Washington Park, Five Points, and Baker fall more towards what passes for mid-range rent prices, ranging from $2,400 to $2,600
- And if you’re okay paying for high-end housing, you’ll find $1,900 to $3,000 rents in areas along the lines of Cherry Creek, Golden Triangle, and Lodo.
But while pricing is an important factor, you’ll also want to consider whether or not you actually like living there.
Which neighborhood in Denver is the best fit for me?
Picking the best area to live in when living in Denver depends on several factors, but most of them are meaningless if you don’t enjoy your environment. The tools at Esri can help you to narrow down locations based on whether or not they share your demographics.
The tool is super simple. All you do is plug in a zip code (we used 80202 for downtown Denver) and the site shows your the three largest demographic subsets along with other useful information.
Demographics are more important than you’d think! If you’re a Millennial growing your career and possibly a family, you’ll likely be less inclined to live in a neighborhood with fresh-from-university graduates (perhaps from University of Denver or University of Colorado) who are out partying all night at trendy bars.
When you’ve figured out which area best suits you, you should also consider commuting and transportation needs.
Expect long commutes when living in Denver
As Denver’s population grows, commutes throughout the city get longer and potentially more frustrating. This fact has led to Denver having one of the most stressful commutes in the country.
While the average commute time in the Denver metro is shorter than the national average, 25.7 minutes is stilllonger than most people would like. So, not the worst rush hour, but not ideal. This is reinforced by the fact that only 66% commute via car regularly, which is far less than most other cities.
But if so few people are driving to work, how are they getting around?
Denver is pretty great for walking and biking
Denver is fairly walkable, has passable public transit, and is solidly bikeable.
With a solid walkscore of 61, along with work being done with the Downtown Denver Partnership, Denver is accommodating to those looking to navigate the city on foot.
The fact that there are so many walkable cities to choose from (and the fact that residents of those cities are very happy) is solid evidence of how easy it is to get around. Unfortunately, you won’t fare as well if you want to ride the bus.
Public transportation in Denver is…fine
Denver has a 47.5 public transit score which is an average score.
Public transportation is fine for getting around downtown, but the further you get from urban areas, the less reliable coverage becomes.
Of course, part of the reason service hasn’t been expanded could be that ridership is fairly low within the metro area––but with so many other options, who could blame Denverites?
Denver is super bike-friendly
A 73 bike score is very good for a city of Denver’s size.
The city of Denver is extremely accommodating to cyclists, providing a Bicycling in Denver guide on the city’s official website. The guide includes information on bike paths and ensures that the RTD offers bike and ride services with their bus routes.
This infrastructure created a strong cyclist community throughout the city via organizations like Bicycle Colorado. The city is so passionate about two-wheeled transportation that it even has its own Bicycle Cafe.
Whichever mode of transport you’re using to get around, don’t forget to layer up on sunscreen! The Denver area is known for having some of the most days of sunshine–one of the sunniest US cities!
So now that you’ve got an idea of what getting around Denver is like, it’s probably a good time to look at crime rates.
Crime rates in Denver
Big cities have a ton of advantages, but the more tightly packed an urban area is, the better chance you’ll find that it has a high crime rate. While these statistics should be taken seriously, it’s important to keep them in perspective.
Denver may seem like a high-crime city, but it’s pretty on-par with areas that have a similar population.
According to NeighborhoodScout, Denver has a crime score of 1 (with 100 being the safest possible score) so…yeah. However, it doesn’t differ too much from other local and farther afield big cities; Boulder has a crime score of 4, and Chicago has a crime score of 9. So, Denver’s score is an average score for a big city.
With that in mind, you’ll generally find that most areas are safer than the statistics imply as long as you stay aware, steer clear of bad areas, and avoid putting yourself in dangerous situations.
Now, let’s get down to putting a roof over your head!
Looking for apartments in Denver
If you’re in search of an apartment, your first concern should be narrowing your options down to one that suits your needs while living in Denver.
One of your biggest considerations will be accounting for the weather in Colorado, which runs the gambit from very cold to pretty hot throughout the year.
You’ll definitely want a place with heating and air conditioning to get you through the more extreme highs and lows of the seasons when living in Denver.
And while you’re planning your heating and cooling needs, it might be the right time to start thinking about the average cost of utilities in Denver that you’ll be paying.
While the city is fairly walkable, it’ll be much more convenient if you can find a place with a washer/dryer.
Finding Denver apartments
While looking for an apartment for your move to Denver, you should use every resource available to find the best place that fits your needs and your budget.
We’ve gone ahead and compiled some of our favorite resources here to help make the process go a bit quicker:
A few more moving resources:
- If you’re looking to hire a moving company to help you move to Denver, we created a list of the best interstate movers.
- If movers are out of your budget, check out our list of the best moving pod companies. They’re cheaper but still allow you to avoid some of the hassles of moving.
- Lastly, if you need to ship a car be sure to have a look at our list of best car shipping companies.
Denver’s rental market
The average rent in Denver is $1,967, which is slightly higher from the national average of $1,702.
With rent higher than the national average and a vacancy rate that’s lower, it’s safe to say that Denver isn’t very renter-friendly.
Rental law in Colorado
With a less than ideal rental market in Denver, you’ll want to pay special attention to who you’re renting from if you’re planning on moving to Denver. Some landlords are just waiting to take advantage of their renters, so make sure to know your rights:
- Colorado Required Landlord Disclosures
- CO Security Deposit Limits and Deadlines
- CO Tenant Rights to Withhold Rent
- Colorado Landlord-Tenant Laws
Now, if renting isn’t quite your speed, you’ll want to look at some of Denver’s varied suburbs and perhaps consider a home purchase.
Finding a home in Denver’s suburbs
If you’re in the market for some stability in your living situation or you just want to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city, consider the ‘burbs. Unfortunately, high housing costs haven’t affected competitive real estate.
The 2023 median home value in Denver is currently $573,189, a 2.4% decrease from the past year.
One silver lining of Denver’s high home price price tags and housing costs are lower property taxes. Colorado is among the ten states in the U.S. with the lowest property taxes.
Below are a couple of our favorite Denver suburbs.
The town of Littleton may be a bit outside of the city, but it makes up it by featuring a plethora of amenities that’ll add some convenience to living out in the ‘burbs.
The town features plenty of shopping and dining options, a beautiful historic downtown, and a focus on community with local events and block parties.
Centennial is a town that’ll be very appealing to nature lovers, with its proximity to Cherry Creek State Park and it’s many mountain views. (Note that if you’re the type who loves an outdoor adventure, living in Denver – or one of its surrounding suburbs – is going to have you going full tilt on fun adventures like rafting, exploring ski resorts and skiing down mountains, hiking on amazing trails, and much more.)
Centennial features a ton of housing options with a wide range of prices to fit all lifestyles. Plus, the town is full of shops, restaurants, and even has its own amphitheater.
Now that you’re ready for your move to Denver…
Use our moving cost calculator to estimate your moving costs to Denver.
Also, if you are moving to Denver from out of state, be sure to have a look at our state-state moving guide for more info and tips.
Some finishing touches to put on your move to Denver…
Congratulations, the hard part’s over!
You’re all moved in and you are officially a resident of Denver. As newly-minted Denver residents do, it’s time to take care of the remaining logistical details associated with moving to Denver.
- Voter registration: This is one of the most critical and most often overlooked aspects of moving to a new city, so be sure to register to vote in Denver.
- Driver’s license: Since you’re already registering to vote, you might as well get an updated driver’s license so you have a form of identification with your new address on it.
- Out-of-state vehicle registration: If you’ve brought a vehicle with you from a different state, you will need to get Colorado license plates.
- Trash and recycling: You’ll also want to make sure you set up trash and recycling services as soon as possible.
- Meet new people: Making new connections can be a challenge of moving to a new city. Fortunately, the internet has many helpful websites, like Meetup.com, for connecting people with shared interests. There’s also r/Denver to show you what’s going on around town.
- Get used to the high elevation: Denver is 5,280 feet above sea level, so with the high altitude, give your body some time to adjust.
Things to do in Denver
If you’re moving to Denver, you’ll discover that it’sa big city with plenty to see, do, and places to explore. If you want to get a general feel for what the city has to offer, a great starting point is the Denver tourism website.
If you’re a sports fan, you’re going to love living in Denver. The city has four major professional sports teams (Denver Nuggets basketball, Colorado Rockies baseball, Colorado Avalanche hockey, and Denver Broncos football).
Here’s a brief list of fun “To Do’s” for newbies living in Denver:
- Catch the Colorado Rockies play baseball at Coors Field.
- See the Nuggets (the basketball team, not the fantastic meal choice).
- Watch the Denver Broncos play at Empower Field at Mile High.
- Check out the Museum of Nature and Science.
- Get cultured at the Denver Center for Performing Arts.
- Explore incredible works at the Denver Art Museum.
- Denver’s food scene is definitely worth checking out, too. Foodies love this city and you’ll find many food festivals in Denver, like A Taste of Colorado.
Denver has a ton of examples of Colorado’s natural beauty that’ll be sure to please nature lovers. The Denver Parks and Recreation department has a fantastic guide for all of the city’s outdoor activities. Full of plenty of green spaces with its city parks, Denver is a haven for many of its residents.
If you’re in the mood for some Colorado cuisine, Denver has a plethora of dining options including Basta, Bar Dough, and Uncle. For one of the best ranges of coffee shops to nightlife, check out parts of Denver like Capitol Hill, the Highlands, or RiNo (River North Arts District.)
Or, if you’re looking to unwind with a beer or cocktail, check out Golden Moon Speakeasy, Union Lodge No. 1, Falling Rock Taphouse, or any of Denver’s diverse bar and lounge options. Denver has an amazing beer cutlure, with lots of interesting breweries to explore that feature delicious craft beer.
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