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17 Things to Know About Living in Denver

Considering moving to Denver? As one of best big cities to live in the U.S., Mile High City offers a strong economy, close proximity to the Rocky Mountains, professional sports teams, incredible outdoor recreation, and much more. Here are 17 things to know about living in Denver!

Denver Real Estate Is Hot

Denver’s hot housing market offers great opportunities for those looking to buy a home—and even for those hoping to become an Airbnb host, as it’s one of the best cities in America for investing in Airbnb! With low property taxes, a median home price of $292,700 and plenty of safe, affordable neighborhoods throughout the Denver metro, home buyers looking for a good place to settle down will find it in Mile High City!

Start Your Career Here

With a 3.8% unemployment rate and income per capita that’s 23% higher than the national average, it’s no wonder why Denver is one of the best cities for jobs! As one of Colorado’s largest industries, the energy and natural resources industry supports about 150,000 workers and accounts for nearly $11.4 billion annually, thanks to major companies like Xcel Energy. But that’s not all Denver has to offer for employment! Work for Fortune 500 Company DaVita, which specializes in kidney healthcare. Be on the cutting edge of manufacturing at Arrow Electronics. Support active apparel and accessory brands at VF Corporation‘s Denver headquarters. Join over 4,000 employees at major Denver employer Dish Network. Or serve 33% of Denver’s population by working for healthcare system Denver Health.

Further Your Education

Aerial View of the University of Denver Campus. Photo by Instagram user @uofdenver

Photo via @uofdenver

Looking for a great place to pursue higher education? There are colleges and universities in Denver for virtually every major and interest! Attend the oldest private university in the Rocky Mountain West at University of Denver, where you can choose from undergraduate and graduate programs in business, law, social work, and more. Study fashion design, animation, game art, and more at Rocky Mountain College of Art & Design. Start your career in nursing at Denver College of Nursing, a private college dedicated to nursing located in the heart of Lower Downtown. Prepare for college by enrolling in Metropolitan State University of Denver‘s Innovative & Lifelong Learning program, which is designed for high school students and employees looking to improve their skills. Study at private Aspen University for a smaller student population. Find your passion at Regis University, one of the nation’s 2021-2022 Colleges of Distinction. Or get your start at the Community College of Denver, where you can find over 100 degree and certificate options.

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Adjust to Denver Elevation

It’s not called the “Mile High City” for nothing! Denver sits at 5,289 feet—or a mile—above sea level, making the altitude an everyday consideration for residents and visitors alike. Since it sits higher, Denver has thinner air, which can take a while to adjust to if you’re new to the city. The altitude has been attributed to making golf balls go 10% farther, and alcohol feeling more potent than usual. Its height results in 25% less protection from the sun, so it’s even more important to regularly apply sunscreen and drink plenty of water. When you’re there, climb to the 13th step at the Colorado State Capitol Building to be exactly one mile above sea level!

Take Advantage of Public Transportation

No matter where you’re headed, Denver has public transportation to get you there! There are a few options that you can find via Denver Union Station. Ride the RTD Light Rail, which stops at more than 50 stations throughout the Denver metro. Take the RTD Free MetroRide during weekday rush hours along 18th and 19th street. Hop on the RTD Free MallRide to travel from one side of the 16th Street Mall to the other. Visit Downtown Denver attractions and more on the Denver Trolley. Travel throughout the city with Denver’s scooter and bike share program, with reduced pricing for need-based groups and reduced rates in areas with low-vehicle ownership and high transit ridership. Use the Amtrak Station in Denver to travel to San Francisco, Chicago, Omaha, Salt Lake City, Oakland, and more. And, of course, you can always fly in and out of Denver International Airport, one of the busiest airports in the country!

Enjoy the Beautiful Denver Parks

Inside of the Denver Botanic Gardens. Photo by Instagram user @gracekatowen

Photo via @gracekatowen

With over 200 parks in Denver totaling over 5,000 acres, it’s easy to see why Denver is one of the best U.S. cities for outdoor recreation! In fact, the increased park accessibility allows 90% of residents to live within ten minutes of one, making Denver one of the best city park systems in the nation! Run or bike at Washington Park, also known as Wash Park. Sled down the massive hill at Central Park in the winter. Picnic or play softball at Ruby Hill Park. Explore the gorgeous gardens and art exhibitions at Denver Botanic Gardens. Hike at Red Rocks Parks for a 200-mile panoramic view of Denver. Or skateboard on 60,000 square feet of concrete terrain at the Denver Skatepark.

Find Adventure at Rocky Mountain National Park

Of course, inner-city outdoor recreation isn’t all Denver has to offer. The city is only an hour and a half outside of the expansive Rocky Mountain National Park! Take Guanella Pass for a stunning introduction to the Rocky Mountains. Hike the Bear Lake Loop for scenic lake views. Go horseback riding in the Rocky Mountains at Glacier Creek Stables. Stop at dog-friendly Estes Park and ride the aerial tramway for a view of the area. Drive on Trail Ridge Road in May through mid-August for a scenic view and a chance to see bighorn sheep. Climb Longs Peak via the Keyhole Route, which is one of the most popular routes in Colorado. Snowshoe or trek Bear Lake Hike, where you can see elk, bear, and tassel-eared Abert’s squirrels. Or take in the beauty of Ouzel Falls, a 40-foot waterfall cascading over a cliffside.

Participate in the Fun at Local Festivals

From celebrating film and art to the beer and foods of Colorado, the Queen City of the West has a festival for everyone! Become an amateur film critic at the annual indie Denver Film Festival. Celebrate German culture, food, and beer at Denver Oktoberfest. Take part in the Great American Beer Festival to taste beers from all over Denver. Attend Denver PrideFest, the largest Pride event in the Rocky Mountain region. Dig into some barbecue with an all-you-can eat Pit Pass at the Denver BBQ Festival. Get your fill of over 50 delicious vendors like Biker Jim’s Gourmet Dogs or The Captain Tacos & Sushi at the Taste of Colorado. Learn about Native American heritages at the Denver March Powwow, a day filled with dancing, singing, food, art, and storytelling. Support local artists at the Denver Arts Festival, which features over 145 Colorado artists. Take part in National Hispanic Heritage Month with films, art exhibitions, and dance to celebrate the history and culture of people descended from from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central and South America.

Spend a Day at Denver Museums

Inside of MCA Denver. Photo by Instagram user @mca_denver

Photo via @mca_denver

Take advantage of all of the great history and culture Denver has to offer by checking out one of the city’s local museums! View exhibits about Egyptian mummies, space, and prehistoric times at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science. Appreciate modern art at the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver, which has featured famous artists like Tatiana Blass, Jane Hammond, and Jonas Burgert. Take selfies to your heart’s content at the Denver Selfie Museum. Learn about trains, motorcycles, and the history of automotive transportation at the Forney Museum of Transportation. Venture to the Wings Over the Rockies Air & Space Museum to find out more about all kinds of aircraft and the history of aviation. Or visit the National Ballpark Museum for one-of-a-kind baseball treasures.

Get in Touch with Denver’s Old West Past

Denver was once a mining camp in the Old West, with Larimer Square in lower downtown being a hub for saloons and barrooms. Visit the final resting place of Buffalo Bill at the Buffalo Bill Museum & Grave to learn about Buffalo Bill’s life and see his firearms on display. Observe the state’s famous buffalo at Genesee Mountain Park, home to the first buffalo and elk herds in Colorado. Appreciate the collection of western art at the Denver Art Museum. Learn about the history of Black Americans during the settlement and growth of the West at the Black American West Museum. Check out the mural by famed Western artist Allen Tupper True in the Renaissance Downtown City Center Hotel. Or enjoy educational programs about Denver’s frontier past, pioneer exhibits, and the city’s oldest standing structure at Four Mile Historic Park.

Denver Supports the Arts

Fun fact: A Denver saloon performed Macbeth during its Old West days—before the city even had a school or hospital! And that support for the arts has grown into what’s now seven different art districts in the city! Discover the Art District on Santa Fe, known for its First Friday Art Walks and the Colorado Ballet. Explore the Golden Triangle Creative District, home to 15 art galleries, eight museums, and the Curious Theatre Company. Check out the River North Art District (RiNo) for creative businesses and street art on almost every corner. Visit the Tennyson Street Cultural District for art studios and the historic Oriental Theater, which hosts live music, film, and comedy performances. See Hispanic-centric murals and galleries in the Westwood Creative District. Take art classes on cyanotypes, Bob Ross paintings, and more at the Arts on Belmar. Or support shops featuring local artists on South Pearl Street.

Rock Out at Denver Concerts

Concert by August Burns Red Happening inside the Fillmore Auditorium in Denver. Photo by Instagram user @iwally

Photo via @iwally

The Denver music scene has grown tremendously in the past few years. And while Red Rocks Park and Amphitheatre is probably the most well-known Denver music venue, Colorado’s capital offers several other places to jam. Visit a newer venue like Mission Ballroom, which features a giant disco ball. Jam out with 3,600+ fellow concert-goers at Fillmore Auditorium, where you can see popular artists like Post Malone and Mumford & Sons. Enjoy a comedy show at the historic Paramount Theatre and appreciate its beautiful Art Deco design. Experience contemporary rock at Ogden Theatre, where Harry Houdini once performed! Or head to Gothic Theatre, the first theater in Denver to show “talkies,” which now features genres like indie, folk, rock, and more.

Root for Broncoville’s Sports Teams

Juancho Hernangomez Laying Up a Basketball with the Denver Nuggets. Photo by Instagram user @nuggetsxnation

Photo via @nuggetsxnation

Sports fan? Don’t worry—Denver’s professional sports will keep you plenty busy! Catch a Colorado Rockies (MLB) game at Coors Field. Attend a Broncos game (NFL) at Empower Field at Mile High Stadium, which is actually a mile above sea level. Get excited about the Colorado Rapids (MLS) at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park. Grab your favorite player’s jersey and cheer on the Colorado Mammoths (NLL). Bundle up and have fun watching the Colorado Avalanche (NHL), which has nine Hall of Fame inductees. Or support the Denver Nuggets (NBA), who have played in the NBA playoffs 25 times!

Find Activities for the Entire Family

Mother Orangutan Holding Baby at the Denver Zoo. Photo by Instagram user @denverzoo

Photo via @denverzoo

There’s great selection of family activities in Denver! Take everyone to Elitch Gardens, where you can hit the seven-story Brain Drain ride and Tube Top waterslide in one day! Slip and slide with the attractions at Water World, which includes a dinosaur-themed lazy river. Play pretend with the kiddos in the firefighter, vet, and farmers market exhibits at the Children’s Museum of Denver. Spot elephants, penguins, tigers and more at the Denver Zoo. Shop for nostalgic candy and take a factory tour at Hammond’s Candies. Learn about 1,600 different tropical butterflies at Denver’s Butterfly Pavilion. Or attend FAN EXPO Denver, a three-day event surrounding comics, gaming, sci-fi and more!

Indulge Your Inner Foodie

You can find a variety of dishes from ramen to pizza at Denver restaurants! Kick off the day with a Southern-inspired brunch at Mimosas and try the Fried Green Tomatoes, Chicken & Waffles, or Crab Cake Benedict. Head to Denver’s original poke spot, Ohana Island Kitchen, and get the Spam Musubi or Spicy Tuna Poke. Order a famous pizza like the D’Estate Pizza or the Cacio e Pepe Pasta at Bar Dough. Check out one of the top restaurants in Denver, Uncle, and try the Spicy Chicken Ramen or Pork Buns. Tame your sweets cravings with unique treats like the Pop-Tart Ice Cream Sandwich or Ice Cream Cannoli at Ice Cream Riot.

Drink at Denver’s Famous Breweries

Four Pack of Beers and a Full Stein from Station 26 Brewing Co. in Denver. Photo by Instagram user @s26bc

Photo via @s26bc

The Denver breweries are no joke! As one of America’s best beer cities, the Denver metro is home to 150+ breweries. Grab some friends and tour any of the 100 breweries on the Denver Beer Trail. Spend time at Great Divide Brewing and drink a Strawberry Rhubarb Sour or a Horchata Yeti Stout. Sip on a Superpower IPA or Yellow Card Citra at Comrade Brewing. Attend a Grateful Dead listening party while drinking brews like the Giggity Giggity Double IPA, Huggy Lager, or Tenn Street Coffee Amber at The Grateful Gnome Sandwich Shoppe & Brewery. Try a Fresh Hop Juicy Banger IPA or Tangerine Cream at Station 26. Or enjoy a Denver Gold Amber Lager or Graham Cracker Porter at Denver Beer Co.

Experience Denver Nightlife

Bartender Serving Drinks at Union Lodge No. 1 in Denver. Photo by Instagram user @unionlodge1

Photo via @unionlodge1

Eager to explore Denver’s nightlife? You can find some of the best Denver clubs at the South of Colfax (SoCo) Nightlife District, which is home to four-venue CoClubs. Club at Milk, which has a milk bar in tribute to Stanley Kubrick’s Clockwork Orange, as well as a Jazz Room, Green Room, and Red Room. Enjoy a slower pace with a Union Gin Fizz or a Pineapple Julep at Union Lodge No. 1. Spice up date night at La Rumba with latin dancing! Sip on a Manhattan or Champagne Cobbler at The Cruise Room in Lower Downtown (LoDo), renown for being in the shape of a wine bottle and its red glow light. Ride the mechanical bull at The Grizzly Rose, where they also boast free dance lessons and live music five nights a week. Unwind 5,430 feet above sea level at the highest open-air rooftop bar in Denver, 54thirty Rooftop, which commemorates the view of Denver’s skyline and the Rocky Mountains with a drink called #thatviewthough.

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Moving to Denver? With accessible storage facilities throughout the Denver area—including the suburbs of Aurora, Centennial, Lakewood, Littleton, Parker, and more, Extra Space Storage can help make your transition easier. Find self storage near you!

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