Moving to Denver
Archived Q&A and Reviews
- Neighborhoods and schooling options in Denver?
- Looking for neighborhoods in Denver
- What's life like in Denver?
- Moving our family to Denver
- My parents are moving to Denver
- Live in Golden for a job in Denver?
- Moving to Denver - what's the economic situation?
- Earlier Reviews
My family is thinking of bailing out of California for a more relaxed lifestyle in Denver (we are in LA, where supporting our current middle-classish lifestyle requires my husband to stay in a job with ungodly hours and stress). But before we go too far down the research road, I'd like to figure out if there's a 'place for us' in metro Denver.
If anyone on this board full of smart observant people knows Denver well and is an armchair demographer, I'd love to hear if you have any recommendations for 1) neighborhoods, or 2) schools or school districts, based on the self-profile below.
Basically, we are a more-or-less middle-class (higher income but lower wealth due to late starts in our careers and no intergenerational transfer) family with two young kids, liberal political beliefs and a strong, strong focus on bookish pursuits and education (we overspend on private education in LA right now while underspending on, e.g, cars). We'd love to live in a neighborhood with character and SOME walkability (even if it was just walkability to parks; hipster haunts are of secondary interest) that we could afford on an annual household income of around $200K. We'd also love to send our kids to a public or private school with a community that shares our values (we care deeply that our children love learning and are intellectually vigorous; we'd love to do this without drenching them in an affluent culture of material excess and/or meaningless academic competition).
Having done some preliminary real estate research, it appears we couldn't afford Washington Park or Cherry Creek and probably wouldn't find the amenities of NW Denver worth it for the sacrifices we'd have to make to live there. We are not anti-suburb at all and may even prefer more suburban settings t this point, but I'm scratching my head a bit over Denver suburbs--all seem to have built environments that are much more cookie-cutter and 'exurban' than the coastal suburbs we're used to, and it's not clear to me which of them would be places where we'd relate to our neighbors.
Could be the community we're looking for is a unicorn anywhere or at least doesn't exist in Denver--but thought it was worth asking.
Thanks so much in advance! Looking east
Hi, we moved from the East Bay to Denver a little less than 2 years ago (and we've lived in LA and still have family there). So we're fairly new transplants, but hopefully can offer a few insights.
It was a rough transition for us personally for a variety of reasons, but the costs in CA were starting to really become a problem with both of us in non-profits. But that said, Denver was more expensive than we were anticipating. However, our combined salary now (we both took paycuts when we moved here) is less than half of yours and we were able to buy a 3b/2.5ba house. In fact, buying is certainly cheaper than renting right now. Wash Park and Cherry Creek are indeed quite expensive. But Park Hill is quite nice and walkable. There are TONS of parks in Denver. Stapleton is a newer neighborhood and still growing and has kind of a weird vibe (I think). Probably falls into the category of cookie-cutter, but A LOT of families live there and there is definitely a sense of community with an emphasis on education from those that I know that live there. I think the same is probably true of the Lowry neighborhood. PH and Stapleton are NE Denver and Lowry is east. Crestmoor and Hilltop are also east and are nice established neighborhoods. Both are fairly pricey though.
We rented in Park Hill and bought in SE Denver. Where we are is nice, but definitely more suburban than I'm used to even though it's still in Denver proper. South Denver has some nicer areas too (South University/Wellshire, University Hills, Harvard Gulch and there are probably some more nice neighborhoods too. The Highlands is the trendy neighborhood in the NW and seems overpriced for what you get, but it's the current home of hipster haunts. I definitely know people who love it and will only live there. And as a result, the surrounding neighborhoods are getting more popular too. Englewood also has some nice neighborhoods and better schools, from what I've been told. The Cherry Creek School System (not to be confused with the neighborhood!) is supposed to be pretty good, but I can't really speak to schools yet as we have only one who is still in daycare (which was also more expensive here and has long wait lists). But there is no shortage of private schools here, but I don't know whether they have the academic competition/materialism that you're trying to avoid. I think public schools are a mixed bag, but again, just hearsay at this point. Hope that helps! New to Denver
My husband is up for a promotion which would take us to Denver late summer and we are starting to look at areas to live and schools. We currently live in N. Berkeley and would like a neighborhood that would be similar in feel to what we have now, older developed area and homes (no cookie-cutter homes/McMansions) with shops, restaurants, grocery stores and schools within walking distance. We only have one car, so I bike or walk everywhere else with our kids and would love to keep it that way but is that possible there with winter? Our children currently attend a Montessori preschool/K-8 private school in Berkeley and would be looking to get them into a similar school for the 2015-2016 but knowing that admission slots would already be filled, we would be open to other options or homeschooling this year until admission time the following year. Is there a ''BPN'' in Denver as well? Thanks for any feedback this amazing community can give! Already Missing SF
We moved here from the Denver area almost two years ago, and often miss it. It's beautiful, affordable, and great for nature lovers. If you are looking for a walkable neighborhood, it's doable, but it depends where you will be working- if working downtown, the light rail system is great. I recommend looking on the RTD website at the new light rail tracks (FASTracks) that are under construction, there are some sections that are opening next year and those neighborhoods are becoming really desirable. I can't talk about schools, because my kid isn't old enough for school yet, but for adults the Highlands and West Highlands neighborhoods were great and expensive (for Colorado), but some of the further out communities (like Littleton & Arvada) are easily accessible to downtown. I lived near the Littleton station and took the light rail. The weather isn't too much of an issue, most of the snow stays in the mountains while downtown just gets cold. Unfortunately, one car might be a challenge at times, you'll probably need to drive to run errands even if you can walk to work/school, if you want to do anything recreational (like hiking) you will have to drive to get there. We had 2 cars and had to drive almost every day, while here we have 1 car and don't even drive it every week. I'd move back if I had the opportunity. -missing the mountains
Hi! Next week I'll be doing the opposite move. I have lived in Denver for more than 10 years. I now live in Boulder. Boulder is the town I would recommend for you. Boulder is really similar to Berkeley. It's a college town, great outdoor activities, family oriented, great playgrounds, and great selection of schools. Boulder school District in my opinion is the best from Colorado. Boulder has a great selection of preschools from Montessori, Reggio Emilia, Waldorf, Play base, to school distric preschools. Boulder is about 35-40 minutes from Denver. There's public transportation but nothing like in Berkeley. If Boulder does not work for you because of the commute, I could also recommend the Washington Park Neighborhood. Honestly Boulder has everything you are looking for and more. I wish you the best, I'm say to say bye to Boulder but excited for our new adventure. Colorado
We just moved from Denver and lived in a great neighborhood with most of the amenities you're looking for. Park Hill is in east Denver, just east of City Park. It has old homes and is family friendly. Park Hill elementary is in the neighborhood and has a strong sense of community. The area is bikeable and walkable to small shops. The area is not full of full size grocery markets but there was a recent Sprouts put in off Colfax that is close. I would say the snow will definitely hinder the bike-ability at times in the winter, but one of the great things about the snow there is that it doesn't hang out too long. Generally, within a few days after a snowfall, the temperature will rise enough to melt it and get it off the roadways. Feel free to ask any other questions via email! Denver is great so I'm sure you'll love it! Shannon
My husband may have a job opportunity there. Curious to hear pros and cons.archives are 8 yrs old (but still helpful, thx!) Any recent experiences? What neighborhoods are cute, walkable, family friendly, maybe even diverse and progressive? What are some neighborhoods that may not be as walkable but that have a great feel? We live in the Oakland and I love the Bay Area. Just trying to prepare myself for a potential move and learn more. California girl
We moved to Denver from Oakland over 8 years ago, obviously we like it here (but still read BPN)! There are lots of ex-Californians here. In terms of neighborhoods that is really going to depend on the job opportunity, if he's got to be in an office. Walkable neighborhoods are a challenge to find, especially in the suburbs, you are more likely to see strip malls and that type of development. But Denver in general is very family oriented and kid friendly.
To grossly generalize, downtown Denver is denser, more walkable, more urban. The close-in (older) suburbs have lots of cute but small ranch homes, generally older populations, while the newer suburbs (Jefferson County, Douglas County, Highlands Ranch, etc.) have younger families and newer housing stock (cookie cutter). The west suburbs are more expensive (closer to the mountains). The east side of town is generally cheaper and if you go far east it definitely feels like the plains (flat, not many trees).
In terms of diversity, it is much much whiter here than in the Bay Area, its takes a while to get used to. The food options are not in the same universe as what you are used to, you cannot begin to compare. I have met plenty of liberals, conservatives, libertarians, and more, you will find your people.
For me, the positives are:
-more open space, more nature, tons of parks and hiking and biking trails, you will drive past horses and llamas in the middle of the city, you can be up in the mountains in 30 minutes, ~2 hours to Rocky Mountain National Park, 2-3 hours to go skiing.
-less traffic: the traffic is still bad in certain areas, but rush hour doesn't last all day and you can basically get from one end of the metro area to the other in an hour, nothing like the Bay Area. And there is light rail which is nice. I don't have that 'I'm stuck in the city with 10 million people all competing for the same parking spot at Costco' feeling here.
-people: of course there are all kinds here as you would find anywhere but in general I've found that people here are more laid back, less caught up in the rat race, friendlier, and more focused on their friends and family rather than career and status, you run into many people that have specifically moved to Denver for quality of life. Housing is more affordable here so people are not as financially strapped and stressed, in general.
-don't know what industry your husband is in, but there is a great tech economy, the population is highly educated, and the tech community is also wonderful and welcoming with lots of networking groups, meetup events, etc.
I don't really have a cons list. Nothing is perfect right? You get used to the dryness and the altitude and the cold weather, and the kids love the snow. I don't know what ages your kids are but the school situation is a struggle here as it is everywhere in terms of budget cuts, common core implementation, more standardized testing, etc. There is a significant culture of homeschooling, secular homeschooling, and unschooling. There are lots of public charter school options including Waldorf, Montessori, and Core Knowledge, and plenty of private options as well. Colorado has open enrollment for public schools which means you can go anywhere regardless of your district or neighborhood, but as in the Bay Area, a lot of it is done by lottery for high demand schools.
I'm happy to answer any other questions you have about Denver but that is probably more than enough for a BPN post - you can email me. Happy in CO
Hey CG, We are a family of 4 that moved to Denver 4 years ago from the Oakland/Berkeley area. We've a 10 and 5 year old. I'll try to answer your questions, in no particular order. We really enjoy it here, and feel that there are more pros than cons. What Denver doesn't have is the 'extreme' diversity of the Bay Area. It's somewhat diverse, but more representative of US demographics, not California's. It also doesn't have the ocean (duh), and the moisture that goes along with it. Traffic is better, the winters aren't so bad, but the summers are short. They say we get 300 days of sunshine, but that includes half days too. =-) People love to play outdoors here. It's a very active culture, and you'd be surprised how vibrant downtown is. We're 1 hour from the closest ski resort, and only 2 from Vail. There's tons hiking in the nearby mountains if you're not in to winter sports. Boulder is only 30 minutes away if you need your 'liberal college town' fix. We live in a 'purple' state, but Denver itself is pretty progressive. As for neighborhoods... That all depends on what kind of vibe you're looking for. No kids? Wash (Washington) Park, and the neighborhoods north of DU (University of Denver) are pretty cool. Want closer to downtown? East of downtown is 'Uptown,' Congress Park, and Cap (Capitol) Hill. Or head across I-25 to 'Highlands' where there are tons of restaurants. I'd stay away from Five Points, unless money is an issue, and you want to be a 'Pioneer.' You gotta look hard to find a bad part of town. More family oriented? There's Park Hill, Crestmoor, Montclair (our neighborhood) and Mayfair. My wife and I like to say that Denver is Midwest friendly and West Coast laid back. People are genuinely friendly, and welcoming, with tons of out-of-state transplants. Poke around. There's tons to do and see. Hope all works well for you! --BPN relative
We are seriously considering moving our family of 4 to Denver this summer and we need advice. I have friends in the area, so I can get advice from them, but I'd like to poll this list about a a few things in particular:
1) Schools -- Our son would (most likely) be starting Kindergarten in September. What should we know about school districts? What about specific elementary schools? We think of ourselves as a public school family, but we want good public schools and are willing to pay more to live in an area where public schools are a priority. Ideally, our kids would be able to attend the public schools all the way through (not so interested in having to switch to private once middle school starts). We would also love a school with at least some diversity, both ethnic and other ways -- like a place where there are lots of ways a child can excel and find his/her niche.
2) Preschools -- our two year-old girl would also need at least part-time preschool/daycare. Are there any preschools that you love that we should investigate?
3) Where should we live? This is maybe the most important question. I would be looking for a job once we settled in and my husband's job could take him to sites all around the area, so we feel overwhelmed by all of the options. We currently live in North Berkeley and we love the walkability, older homes, trees, etc. We also love the social values of this place. Some of Denver's (or the suburbs) new developments are not that appealing to us. We're OK with a smaller house in a great neighborhood. Schools are a huge priority for us. Not accidentally signing up for a commute worse than our current commute would also be a priority. We may have to rent first for a year, but we'd love to settle on a school district or school, so we wouldn't have to disrupt our kids' lives twice. What places should we check out? (We are somewhat familiar with Stapleton and also Wash Park, because we have friends there).
We're grateful for any information you can provide -- we may have to make a difficult decision quickly and are a bit overwhelmed! Trying to learn more about Denver
You will not go wrong with a house in the Cherry Creek School District. Check their challenge school if you child needs more challenge. I am giving this suggestion both from my experience living there and working for the department of education. Seriously, you will never have a need to consider private school in Colorado for the sake of academics. We miss that a lot for our child here. Always a Coloradoan
We lived in the Platt Park neighborhood of Denver for two years about 1.5 years ago, renting. Did not have school age children at the time (too young). We loved Platt Park and it's near Wash Park and walking to a great farmers market on S. Pearl St., boutique stores, Safeway, Whole Foods, Walgreens, banks, library, small parks, University of Denver, etc. Bus and light rail accessible. Tree lined shady streets. Very flat too. Not sure how great the schools are - I know they were trying very hard to improve them and get people to go and some did go - the middle school might be challenging though. You might have school choice options, charter schools etc so you don't have to go to the local school- but double check that, in the Denver public school system. I got the impression that if you want guaranteed great schools all through high school, you basically have to move to the suburbs and not so walkable to stores etc. Lack of character etc. Personally, we didn't like the very dry air, the very hot summers, the distance to the mountains/traffic on weekends to get there, and the lack of water. But you can exercise mostly year round outside and it's cheap. Also, we had a wonderful birth experience (water birth IN a hospital with a midwife- couldn't do in the bay area - at the Univ. of Colorado hospital in Aurora.) The Children's Hospital in Aurora was also very helpful and all new. Cherry Creek Pediatrics treated us well too. Parking was EASY. Denver Botanical Garden was awesome w/ toddler programs. Good luck! ex-Denverite
My parents are considering a move to the Denver area and are looking for recommendations about neighborhoods. They currently live in the South, but are from the Bay Area originally. They would like a neighborhood that is racially diverse, walkable, has good amenities (grocery store, farmer's market, library, restaurants, etc. - preferably locally owned), and ideally has either an academic or artsy feel. They want to get away from strip malls, big chains, driving everywhere, and being ostracized for believing in evolution. Any input is greatly appreciated. Thanks,
Trying to help out my folks
To get general ideas about neighborhoods, you might want to look at this site: http://www.denver.org/metro/neighborhoods Just remember that this a boosterish website so look into safety issues.
I have friends (a lesbian couple with kids) who live in the Highlands and love it. It's a very walkable, urban neighborhood with great local restaurants, an art scene and open minded residents.
Littleton has a small town feel with a charming downtown but is firmly within the Denver Metro scene. Although not a full fledged college town, the Arapahoe Community College is there. Hudson Gardens is a beautiful botanical area with a series of retro style concerts in the summer which are a lot of fun. And the South Platte, bordered by excellent walking/cycling trails, and the Highland Canal, also a great walking & cycling trail, both run through Littleton and connect with trails that can take you all over the Denver Metro Area. The Light Rail also has a stop in Littleton which makes it easy for people to get downtown or even to the airport.
I have friends who live in Arvada, kind of a Littleton north without the South Platte and Highland Canal trails. Longmont is a great little community in a more rural location near Boulder. Of course Boulder, the Berkeley of Colorado, is the numero uno Colorado liberal, university community. It comes with all the pluses and minuses of an intellectual community with lots of students. Living in Boulder makes it easy to get up into the mountains for winter sports and summer get-aways.
If living in Denver isn't important there are a lot of charming, walkable mountain communities like Evergreen, Conifer, Vail, Aspen, Estes Park, and so on. Some are pricy, some aren't so bad. Most are walkable with relatively good public transportation in beautiful areas to live. Of course there will be snow which can limit accessibility depending on living location.
If liberal minded neighbors and walkable community is important, avoid Douglas County, especially Highlands Ranch--a community that looks walkable but was designed for car culture. (Although I have lesbian couple friends who live in Douglas County, too.)
Good luck! Likes Denver
Hi! I lived in Denver for 16 years, and I'm sure your parents will love it! There are plenty of great neighborhoods in the city (by all means, tell them to stay away from the 'burbs-- the unfortunate thing about Denver is that it has a big urban sprawl problem). But within the city limits there are lots of nice places.
Here are a few to check out: Congress Park (probably closest to what they're looking for), Cherry Creek (very tony, but great shopping), Capitol Hill (careful though, the further from Colfax the better), Cheeseman Park, and the Denver Highlands (not Highlands Ranch-- very different!). If you have any further questions please feel free to contact me, I love talking about my old home! Sara
Your post is crying out 'Boulder'. That is where you are going to find what you/your parents are looking for. We lived in Denver and Fort Collins for many years and I would move back to Boulder in heart beat. Anon
Denver will be a great place for your parents to live! I know, because I grew up there. It is a wonderful, friendly community and is actually still affordable. Downtown Denver is a totally revitalized area, with tons of converted Loft buildings, shopping and walking trails. The Cherry Creek area is also very nice in terms of shopping, walking, etc., however real estate is pretty expensive there. A really great place for them to consider is the Town of Golden. It is an old mining town, located west of Denver, in the foothills of the Rockies. It is a wonderful place to live, with tons of walking trails along the river, shopping on old main street and lots of community activities. I highly recomend it!! BTW, I know of a couple of terrific Real Estate agents in the Denver area. If you are interested, send me an email and I'll provide you their contact information. Best of luck to your parents. konsella
My husband got a job at Colorado School of Mines and we're moving. Not until January (I know, strange time to move), but I like to be prepared. Anyway, we'll be going out in July to check out the area. I'm looking for any information about Golden that you can provide. Not interested in Boulder. I know it's the Berkeley of the Rockies, and that is certainly appealing, but I don't want to live there - I'll probably end up working in Denver. We want to be close to at least one of our jobs and since his is definite, and I like the idea of living in a smaller town, Golden it is.
So... where should we live in Golden? Be specific about neighborhoods, streets, etc. One of the deciding factors in where we live will be what the assigned school is like - not just scores (although that's something), but extracurriculars, vibe, parent participation, etc. We are interested in the Montessori, but it's a school choice school - any idea how hard it is to get your kid into one of these special schools? Any advice on a realtor who can help us find a place to rent at first and ultimately help us purchase a home? any other information about Golden (besides the fact that Coors is there and the owner is super conservative) would also be greatly appreciated. Thanks! Jen
We left the Bay Area to move to a suburb of Denver 3 years ago, so I can tell you a couple of things about the area in general, but not too much about Golden in particular. First of all, this is a wonderful area to live with kids. Coming from California, the most striking things are the feeling of space here, and the natural beauty of the place.
One thing that you may not have considered is that Golden to Denver is the ''commute'' direction. If you lived closer in to Denver, your husband would be able to do the reverse commute instead, which might be easier than you having to fight the traffic into Denver every morning and then back out again in the evening. On the other hand, if you can find a job with flexible hours where you can avoid rush hour, it might not be so bad. Rush hour here is really only from about 7am to 9am. Another option might be to live in a southwest suburb of Denver like Littleton or Englewood, where you can take the light rail downtown. There are plans to extend the light rail to the west, but who knows when it will actually happen. I can tell you that from our house in Englewood, which is right near the light rail, it takes about 30 minutes to get to the School of Mines by car, and 30 minutes to get downtown by light rail. In any case, I would recommend that when you come to visit, do test drives during rush hour from various locations. Keep in mind that since you will be here during the summer, you will need to add about 10 minutes mentally because traffic is noticeably lighter when school is out.
Colorado has a very strong Charter school law, so there are lots and lots of charter schools everywhere. Most of them are very good and have long waiting lists. They all admit by lottery (its the law), but they also have priority for siblings, and some of them have priority for ''in district'' students. I don't know about the one you mentioned in particular, but if you are interested, you should probably get on the waiting list now if you can.
My son got into a charter school in second grade after going to our neighborhood school for K and first. It is common to wait awhile to get in. I wouldn't discount your neighborhood schools off the bat though. Some of them are very very good. Have you checked out greatschools.net? Sometimes they have parent reviews for individual schools that can be very enlightening. Good Luck!
Hello, My family is considering relocating to Denver in the near future. I have read the previous posts and have done other research on my own. I am now very concerned about the number of home foreclosures in this city. Can anyone that lives there, or knows someone that lives there, explain what is going on? I know that many cities are seeing an increase in foreclosures, but Denver has been at the top of the list for the past five years. There are some neighborhoods where a third of the homes in in foreclosure or up for sale. I have been reading the Denver Post on-line and it doesn't sound pretty. Is the economy a concern?
I also need to know about the population. Is this an area that many uneducated and unskilled people have moved in order to find cheaper housing? Is this an area filled with day laborers and their families? I am not looking for a debate about these issues, I am trying to make an honest, educated decision for our family. Any advice is greatly appreciated. Thanks all. PS
Hi - We just moved back to the Bay Area after living in Denver for 2 years. My hubby had been transferred there and I, the Californian, was *really* nervous about the move. We did buy a house there and sold it upon our return. I really ended up quite surprised with the family resources in Denver - the tons of parks, rec centers, quality options for kids - one of the best Zoos I have ever seen, etc. Yes, the Denver housing market is going through a rough time again - first time around was the ''Dallas-type'' Oil foreclosures. My opinion is that there are too many houses available - I hate to saysSprawl, but that seems to be the best word. WE had several neighbors who bought their houses from a foreclosure. For capabale, financial stable folks - you can really get a great deal. Had we had more time to buy, we would have looked at foreclosing properties. There are some really great neighborhoods that remind me alot of the Bay Area. Right now there is a great deal of snow - but I can attest to the amount of sunshine there...it really does get more sun than San Diego! I thought that claim was bogus until I lived there. Wear sunscreen and good luck! New fan of Denver
I asked my mother-in-law who has lived in Colorado all her life and here is her response:
''I'm aware, too, that the number of foreclosures is high in Denver. I can only guess that people bought homes at a high price, lost their jobs or otherwise had their income lowered and could not keep up the mortgage payments. Denver is a big city and Metro Denver which includes Boulder is even bigger. No, Denver is not a low-income, blue collar town, although some sections of the City offer housing for low-income and working class families. Other parts of the City are quite the opposite, very high-end and expensive. If I were moving to the Denver area, I would seriously consider Broomfield, Lafayette, Louisville and Longmont to the north. I would avoid Commerce City, Thornton, Northglenn and the eastern suburbs. Those to the south, down toward Parker, are expensive. Englewood and Littleton could be nice, but these are older enclaves like North Denver. The homes are older, not really up to date, but the neighborhoods are quiet, orderly and the schools are good. There are great bargains to be had in the Denver housing market. You should take a few days to come out and drive around.'' Good luck! dorinda
We moved to Denver last summer. The main reason we moved is because we couldn't tolerate the chasm between the poor and the rich in Oakland, especially in terms of school choice, and we couldn't afford to move anywhere else in the Bay Area. In the Denver metro, most of the schools are at least average, and they have open enrollment accross the state so you can pretty much send your kids anywhere you want. Our son goes to the local school a couple of blocks from our house where he is thriving. There are also a lot of public school options for special ed and GT kids.
After years of just barely scraping by in Oakland, we are so relieved to finally be in a secure financial situation with a MUCH smaller mortgage. We have much bigger house now with a beautiful veiw of the mountains.
We have been pleasantly surprised at the wonderful quality of life here. I could go on and on, but I will try to be brief and mention just a few things that are very different here than in Oakland. There are literally hundreds of parks here. We have two large, well maintained parks within two blocks of our house. During the winter, most of the cities set up small outdoor skating rinks. The light rail system is very convenient, and it is undergoing expansion right now. There is plenty of culture and diversity here in terms of food, art, politics, neighborhoods, etc. All of the cities have great recreation centers with tons of classes for kids and adults that are very affordable. At the Englewood rec center, it only costs about $20 for a 4 or 5 session class. The weather is lovely and sunny in general. In Englewood, the public library is open seven days a week and in the evenings. In the summer, it is actually hot enough to go swimming without getting chilled. It only snowed about four times this winter, and never enough to keep us from getting to school/work. Even in January, it is often 60 or 65 degrees outside and sunny. The one disadvantage of moving to Denver? There is no BPN out here! which is why I still read the BPM newsletter.
I would be more than happy to talk with you further if you have more questions. Happy we moved!
Considering a move to Denver/Boulder area
Hi, I am considering relocating to Denver/Boulder area in the next 1-2 years. Mainly for financial reasons. I could sell our 2bed/1bath condo and pay approx 70-80% downpayment for a much bigger condo/townhouse in Denver, less in Boulder area approx 50- 60% downpayment (assuming the bubble doesn't burst by then). Does anyone have any feedback on relocating or living in these areas, particularly the Denver metro area? I checked out previous BPN reviews but these were more general and are a little old now. I am a single mom with an 8 year old son and while we love the Bay Area, I can barely make it every month financially! Any feedback would be greatly appreciated, thank you! Mama Bear
Funny you should ask, because we just moved to Denver from Oakland two months ago. We had lived in the Bay Area for 12 years and loved loved loved it, but felt forced out by the high cost of living, poor educational options for our two kids, and a hectic culture that was not as kid friendly or family oriented as we wanted it to be. Although I miss the Bay Area quite a bit, I couldn't be happier with our choice. Denver is a very progressive town, and the people here care a lot about the environment, education, and each other. And I've never met friendlier, warmer people in my life. In the Bay Area, I felt like kids were an add-on, but here they are part of the fabric of life. They are welcome everywhere. And the weather is terrific. Sunny and warm with the occassional exciting snow or rainstorm. Since we've been here, there have only been two or three days where we haven't had sunny blue skies. And the mountains are right there. Of course, the place has its drawbacks. It's big and sprawling, and I spend a lot more time in my car than I used to. Chain stores are much more a part of life here. There are only a couple of neighborhoods where you can walk to everything the way I did on Piedmont Avenue. People ask me about church and religion much more than in the Bay Area. And there is no ocean. So I guess it depends on what you want and what you are willing to give up. For us, it was definitely the right choice. Amy
Moving to Denver
My husband and I are considering relocating to the Denver area. We had both lived in ski-towns as post college grad ski bums, however, we are unfamiliar with Denver metro area. Can anyone offer any feedback and observations both good and bad. We have lived in both NYC and the Bay Area so of course we think these are the only two places to live in the US! OF course they are also the most expensive and my husbands profession (IT) is practically at zero growth here (he is a dot com casualty). We have a young son 16 months who is of mixed race (asian/american) so it is very important to me that we remain in a somewhat diverse and open minded community. Aside from skiing and the great outdoors, I do associate Colorado with very conservative, fundamental religious types. Any comments about this as well? Where are the more community oriented places like Oakland/Berkeley? Boulder is not really in the picture for us. Thanks!
I grew up in Denver, and have lived away from there now for 15 years, but my folks still live there, and several friends. Here's my 2 cents...There is a broad range of political alliances -- something for everyone. Yes there are powerful conservatives in the area, but there are just as many people who are mainstream moderates and there is a large and vocal left. I was delighted recently to learn that the new mayor succeeding a 2 or 3 term fairly liberal, well-liked black mayor is an old boss of mine: the engaging and funny John Hickenlooper, who started the Wynkoop microbrewery downtown in the mid-eighties, spearheaded the so-called ''Lo-Do'' revitalization, and was a huge influence on the whole microbrewery boom then.
Many many people in Denver are health-minded and focused on staying healthy. They get outside a lot because the weather is near perfect for most people's seasonal tastes (except in March and April when the winter slush/mud/wind gets tiresome). I'm assuming from your post that you prefer a diverse and more urban than sub-urban area, so I'd say neighborhoods to look at in Denver are: about a 7 block radius around Denver University, the neighborhood adjacent to Washington Park, Park Hill (east of Colorado Blvd, North of Colfax, west of the old airport), and the area just southeast of downtown (south of Colfax to Spear, and over to Colo. Blvd). You might also try some areas of Wheatridge, which are appealing because they're closer to the foothills and therefore regular mountain getaways. If you've lived only in SF and NYC, the Denver urban scene is never going add up to your past experiences. However, what Denver has that the Bay Area at least doesn't have is stately neighborhoods in an urban setting that still have kids in them and local ice cream parlors and brick school houses with big trees. They have a beautiful restored river area downtown, with really enjoyable walking spaces and running paths right downtown. People get up early in the morning all over Denver to exercise or meet each other for breakfast -- something I've always missed living in the Bay Area (''Brunch'' is a concept reserved more for mother's day). By the same token, they don't stay out much past midnight...you may hate this. A bit of local (and trivial) machismo is the propensity to drive stick vehicles instead of automatic transmissions...if you can read anything into this, it'll give you an idea of the rough & tough persona of the Denver crowd. It's definitely got more midwest flavor than the Bay Area, but parts of it are still strongly identified with the WILD west, and I'll bet it's more hip than you might expect.
Finally, I'll say that both my parents and many of my friends are independent business people there, and are not really involved in any large corporate endeavor. You said your partner was in IT...I know a job in a large corporation in Denver could really dictate where you can live, as most of them are located in the extant suburbs. Good luck. I'm sure you'll make a good decision.
I'm originally from Denver and visit family (a Big family of many ages) at least 3-4 times a year. Denver is a wonderful place to raise children (I have two--10 and one)and always has been. It's so close to the mountaints..I spent summers and many weekends up in the mountains. I have lived on both coasts (Providence, New York City, Los Angeles, and Berkeley). I left to pursue a career in the arts and both my husband and I have to be in California right now career wise. But, I would move to Denver in a minute.
In the past 20 years it has really developed as a city. The arts are flourishing. People are traveled and much more sophisticated than years ago. But, best of all, it's a family place. There is so much for children and families. And, the whole religious/conservative thing is overrated. That exists everywhere in this country. Denver has a large liberal contingency. The only negative growing up there was that it was a Broncos/Ski town..and I don't ski nor watch football. That has since changed.
Obviously you can see I like Denver.
5th generation Colorado-ite
I sent the question about moving to Denver to some people who recently moved there. Here is their response: We recently relocated to Denver from Albany. Besides getting used to the snow, it's been a relatively easy transition. I also associated Denver with fundamental religious types - and while there are some, it is more liberal in the city than I expected. The suburbs may be different. We live in the Washington Park neighborhood. It reminds me a lot of Albany, only a lot bigger. The park system in Denver is phenomenal - I've heard that it tops the list of cities that have reserved space for public parks. We found it really easy to meet people here and there are some great preschool options. As far as ethnic diversity.... it's pretty small. Mostly white, with a lot of Mexican immigrants, some Asians and very few African- Americans. (Ironically, most of the Asians I see are adopted from China (girls).) Here's a few websites to check out - also feel free to email me with more questions.
Sadly, a list like this one just doesn't exist in Denver - I miss it! Kathryn