In the decade from 2005 to 2015, Denver’s population increased by more than 2 percent each year. Between 2015 and 2016, the Mile-High City’s population growth slowed to 1.9 percent. But people are still moving to Denver at a faster rate than in most large cities in the country. In 2015, Money Magazine named Denver the Best City in the West. And in September 2017, the same magazine ranked Lone Tree south of Denver the sixth best place to live in America. If you’ve considering relocating to Denver for a job, here are some important things to understand before you move.
The mountains are more than a backdrop
True to its mile-high nickname, Denver’s elevation is 5,280 feet above sea level. On any of Denver’s sunny days (300 per year!), you can glimpse stunning snow-capped peaks from the city. For many residents, these mountains are not just a scenic backdrop. They are integrated into daily life, being used for exercise, exploration, and inspiration. Skiing and snowboarding are wildly popular, and the season lasts longer than in many snow sports destinations. Around 30 Colorado ski resorts operate at present, six of which are within an hour’s drive of Denver. During the warmer months, hiking and camping are popular mountain activities. Mountain biking trails and whitewater rafting opportunities also abound.
Denver’s got culture
With a thriving live music scene, award-winning art museums, a vibrant theater district, and a ton of professional sports representation, Denver offers something for every cultural niche. Red Rocks Amphitheater is renowned nationwide for its acoustics and unparalleled natural setting. The Denver Center for the Performing Arts (DCPA) is the nation’s largest nonprofit theater organization. The 12-acre complex contains ten performance spaces with a combined 10,000 seats. The Denver area is also home to eight professional sports teams, almost unheard of for a regional market of its size. If you’re moving to Denver, you don’t have to worry about finding enriching activities to fill your free time.
The restaurant scene won’t let you down
Denver’s cuisine is rather underrated. From world-class restaurants to beloved micro-chains to national sensations originating in Denver, the Mile-High City’s got good grub aplenty. Chipotle may have fallen from grace, but it’s one of only several fast-casual chains found first in Denver. Bombay Bowl, Boston Market, Einstein Bros. Bagels, Noodles & Company, Qdoba, Quiznos, Smashburger, and Suki Thai House all started here. While rightfully known for its steakhouses and Mexican cuisine, Denver has some of the country’s best Ethiopian and Vietnamese food as well.
Denver’s lifestyle is inspired by its geography
Appreciation for one’s natural surroundings is a core characteristic of the regional lifestyle. As in much of the Mountain West, popular pastimes include outdoor recreation and savoring craft beer. “Colorado style” food is also a pretty big deal, and something to familiarize yourself with before moving to Denver. A term frequently applied to Mexican dishes, “Colorado style” translates more or less to “made with green chiles.” In season, fresh-roasted Hatch and Pueblo chiles feature prominently on menus throughout the metro area.
Denver feels like the boomtown it is
Denver’s recent growth has brought a spate of advantages, as well as a few disadvantages. Jobs are abundant and unemployment at an unprecedented low. The city’s dynamic restaurant scene grows more diverse and impressive with each new restaurant opening. From live music and stage performances to sporting and other events, there’s always something exciting going on in Denver. On the flip side, the cost of living is rising noticeably. Traffic is also getting worse, as the city’s roadways were not designed to support Denver’s growing population density.
Mile-High City neighborhoods have distinct personalities
Each Denver neighborhood has its own personality and vibe. Definitely do your research, especially if relocating to Denver for a job without experience in the city. And choose wisely. Your budget and proximity to work are obvious factors to consider when selecting a neighborhood. But it’s also important to think about your hobbies, lifestyle, and priorities. The Lower Highlands (LoHi), Lower Downtown (LoDo), Cherry Creek, Art District on Santa Fe, and Uptown Denver are all popular. Another trendy neighborhood is Capitol Hill, an eclectic and lively district long popular with artists and the LGBTQ population. If you’d prefer to live away from the action, consider apartments in Broomfield, apartments in the Denver Tech Center, and elsewhere.
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