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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., the Mile High City offers a strong economy, exciting professional sports, incredible outdoor recreation, and much more. Here are 17 things to know about living in Denver!

Find Affordable Living in Denver

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Denver lives up to its reputation as one of the best places to live near the mountains, due in part to the affordability of certain amenities. Though housing costs are high—with median home prices around $530,000—locals save on expenses like healthcare and utilities, which are lower than the national average. Plus, the Denver housing market still offers great opportunities for buying a home, thanks to low property taxes and several safe, affordable neighborhoods throughout the Denver metro. There are also opportunities for downpayment assistance with the Social Equity Program provided by metroDPA. Or if you’re interested in owning a vacation rental property while living in Denver, the Mile High City is one of the best cities in America for investing in Airbnb!

Start Your Career Here

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With a 3.1% unemployment rate and an income per capita that’s 53% higher than the national average, it’s no wonder Denver is one of the best cities for young professionals! As one of Colorado’s largest industries, the energy and natural resources industry employs nearly 100,000 people and brings in nearly $11.4 billion annually thanks to major companies like Xcel Energy. But that’s not all Denver has to offer for employment! Find a job with Fortune 500 Company DaVita, which specializes in kidney healthcare. Be on the cutting edge of manufacturing at Arrow Electronics. Work with active apparel and accessory brands at VF Corporation‘s Denver headquarters. Join over 4,000 local employees at major Denver employer DISH Network. Or serve Denver residents by working for the healthcare system Denver Health.

Further Your Education

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There are colleges and universities in Denver for virtually every major and interest! Choose from undergrad and graduate programs in business, law, social work, and more at the University of Denver—the oldest private university in the Rocky Mountain West. Become a Lynx by enrolling in one of 112 different degree programs at University of Colorado Denver. 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 located in the heart of Lower Downtown (LoDo). Earn your bachelor’s degree in Nursing & Health Sciences, Education, or Business at the private Aspen University, which offers a smaller student population. Find your passion at Regis University, one of the nation’s 2023-2024 Colleges of Distinction. Get your start at the Community College of Denver, where you can find over 100 degree and certificate options. Or continue your professional development, brush up on your skills, or let your high school student start earning college credits through the Metropolitan State University of Denver‘s Innovative & Lifelong Learning program.

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Adjust to Denver Elevation

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It’s not called the “Mile High City” for nothing! Denver sits at 5,280 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 also results in 25% less protection from the sun, so it’s even more important to regularly apply sunscreen and drink plenty of water. To be exactly one mile above sea level, you can climb to the 13th step at the Colorado State Capitol Building!

Take Advantage of Public Transportation

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No matter where you’re headed, Denver has public transportation to get you there! Start your trip at Denver Union Station by boarding a train at the Amtrak Station in Denver to travel to San Francisco, Chicago, Omaha, Salt Lake City, Oakland, and more—or 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 Streets, or hop on the RTD Free Mallride to travel from one end 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 that offers reduced pricing for need-based groups and those in areas with low-vehicle ownership and high transit ridership. Or fly in and out of Denver International Airport, one of the busiest airports in the country!

Enjoy Outdoor Activities in Denver

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With Denver parks and parkways totaling over 5,000 acres, it’s easy to see why Denver is one of the best U.S. cities for outdoor recreation. The increased park accessibility allows 92% of residents to live within ten minutes of a Denver park, making it one of the best city park systems in the nation! Walk through the replica of Mount Vernon’s garden, or run and bike at Washington Park, also known as Wash Park. Take the kids to play on the Dr. Seuss-inspired playground, splash around in the play fountain, or sled down the massive hill in the winter at Central Park in Denver. Picnic, play softball, or walk your dog at Ruby Hill Park. Explore art exhibitions and gorgeous gardens like the Gates Montane Garden or the Cactus and Succulent House at Denver Botanic Gardens. Hike at Red Rocks Park for a 200-mile panoramic view of Denver. Skateboard on 60,000 square feet of concrete terrain at the Denver Skatepark. Catch glimpses of wildlife and beautiful scenery as you whitewater raft through the Rocky Mountains with Denver Adventures. Take in nature as you soar through the sky on a zipline at The Edge Zipline. Or put on your warmest winter gear to hit the slopes at one of the nearby Denver ski resorts.

Find Adventure at Rocky Mountain National Park

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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! Hike the Bear Lake Loop for scenic lake views. Go horseback riding in the Rocky Mountains at Glacier Creek Stables. Pack your camping supplies and pick up your permit before heading to popular camping spots like Timber Creek, Moraine Park, or Longs Peak. Take part in the many fun activities like fly-fishing, hiking, or playing miniature golf at the dog-friendly Estes Park. Drive on Trail Ridge Road from May through mid-October for scenic views and a chance to encounter bighorn sheep. Climb Longs Peak via the Keyhole Route, which is one of the most popular routes in Colorado. Do the Bear Lake Hike to see elk, bear, and tassel-eared Abert’s squirrels. Or take in the beauty of a 40-foot waterfall cascading over a cliffside at Ouzel Falls.

Participate in Fun Local Festivals

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Whether you love celebrating film, art, beer, or food, the Queen City of the West has a festival for everyone! Become an amateur film critic at the annual indie Denver Film Festival, one of the first film festivals in the US. Celebrate German culture, food, and beer at Denver Oktoberfest. Take part in the Great American Beer Festival to taste beers from all over the country. Attend Denver PrideFest in June, the largest Pride event in the Rocky Mountain region. Dig into some barbecue with an all-you-can-eat Pit Pass at the Q BBQ Fest Denver. Take bachata dancing lessons, catch the big brass band and drumline during the parade, or fill up on food from the vendors during Viva Streets Denver. Learn about Native American heritages at the Denver March Powwow, a day filled with dancing, singing, food, art, and storytelling. Support over 150 state and national artists at the Denver Arts Festival. Or take part in National Hispanic Heritage Month with films, art exhibitions, and dance to celebrate the history and culture of people descended from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central and South America.

Spend a Day at Denver Museums

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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 (MCA) Denver, which has featured local and national artists like Gala Porras-Kim, Steven J. Yazzie, and Ken Gun Min in yearly rotating exhibitions. 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. See all kinds of aircraft and learn the history of aviation at the Wings Over the Rockies Air & Space Museum. Or visit the National Ballpark Museum to view one-of-a-kind baseball treasures.

Get in Touch with Denver’s Old West Past

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Denver began as a mining camp in the 1850s, with lower downtown’s Larimer Square—the first block built in the city—originating as a hub for saloons and barrooms. But that’s not where the Old West influence ends! Visit Buffalo Bill’s final resting place at the Buffalo Bill Museum and Grave to learn about the figure’s life and see his firearms on display. Observe the state’s famous bison and learn about conservation efforts at Genesee Mountain Park, home to the first managed bison herd in Colorado. Appreciate the collection of Western American art at the Denver Art Museum. Learn about the history of Black Americans during the European settlement and growth of the West at the Black American West Museum & Heritage Center. Check out the mural by famed Western artist Allen Tupper True in the Renaissance Downtown City Center Hotel. Or enjoy pioneer exhibits, educational programs about Denver’s frontier past, and a look at the city’s oldest standing structure at Four Mile Historic Park.

Support the Arts in Denver

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Denver’s art scene is so large that there are multiple different art districts in the city! Check out 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 the Curious Theatre Company and 16+ galleries and museums. Wander through River North Art District (RiNo) to find creative businesses and street art on almost every corner. Visit the Tennyson Street Cultural District for local boutiques and The Oriental Theater—a historic venue which hosts live music, film, and comedy performances. See Hispanic-centric murals and galleries in the Westwood Creative District. Take art classes, join interest groups, listen to live music, and more at the Arts on Belmar. Or try to find all of the Fairy Doors while you shop at stores featuring local artists on South Pearl Street.

Rock Out at Denver Concerts

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The Denver music scene has grown tremendously in the past several years—and while Red Rocks Park and Amphitheatre is probably the most well-known Denver music venue, Colorado’s capital also offers several other places to jam. Visit a newer venue like the 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 and appreciate beautiful Art Deco design at the historic Paramount Theatre. Experience contemporary rock at The Ogden Theatre, where Harry Houdini once performed! Or head to The Gothic Theatre, the first theater in Denver to show “talkies,” which now features musical acts in genres like indie, folk, rock, and more.

Root for Broncoville’s Sports Teams

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Are you a sports fan? Don’t worry—Denver’s professional sports will keep you plenty busy! Catch a Colorado Rockies (MLB) game while enjoying a hot dog at Coors Field. Attend a Denver Broncos (NFL) game at Empower Field at Mile High Stadium—which really is a mile above sea level. Watch the Colorado Rapids (MLS) score goals at DICK’S Sporting Goods Park. Or make your way to Ball Arena to cheer on the Colorado Mammoths (NLL), the Colorado Avalanche (NHL)—which has nine Hall of Fame inductees—or the Denver Nuggets (NBA), who have played in the NBA playoffs 29 times!

Find Activities for the Entire Family

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There’s a great selection of family activities in Denver! Hit the seven-story Brain Drain ride and Tube Top waterslide at Elitch Gardens. Slip and slide on attractions like the Sunset Racer, Voyage to the Center of the Earth, Thunder River, and more at Water World. 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 butterflies at Denver’s Butterfly Pavilion. Make your way through four floors of immersive art installations, see live performances at The Perplexiplex, or stop by Sips (with a Z) for a handcrafted cocktails, mocktails, and snacks at Meow Wolf’s Convergence Station. Or attend FAN EXPO Denver, a four-day event surrounding comics, gaming, sci-fi, and more!

Indulge Your Inner Foodie

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You can find a variety of dishes from ramen to pizza at Denver restaurants! Kick off the day with a Southern-inspired brunch of Fried Green Tomatoes, Chicken & Waffles, or Crab Cake Benedict at Mimosas. Get the Spam Musubi or Spicy Tuna Poke at Ohana Island Kitchen, credited as Denver’s original poke spot. Order a famous pizza like the Zucca or Salsiccia Pizza or Cacio e Pepe Pasta at Bar Dough. Try Spicy Chicken Ramen, Roasted Beets, or Pork Buns at Uncle Ramen. Dig into homemade dishes that use locally-sourced ingredients, like Duck Fried Rice, Pozole, or a Grilled Burrito at Onefold. Or satisfy your sweet tooth with unique rotating ice cream flavors like Salted Oreo, Banana Pudding, and Mint Chocolate Chip at Little Man Ice Cream.

Visit Denver’s Famous Breweries

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As one of America’s best beer cities, the Denver metro is home to nearly 150 breweries. Grab some friends to tour any of the many breweries on the Denver Beer Trail. Drink a Strawberry Rhubarb Sour Ale, Wild Raspberry Fruited Ale, or a Car Camper Hazy Pale Ale at Great Divide Brewing. Sip on a Superpower IPA, The Quick Fill Pilz, or Yellow Card Blonde Ale at Comrade Brewing. Listen to live music while drinking brews like the Giggity IPA, Mountainlair Lager, or Tenn Street Coffee Amber at The Grateful Gnome Sandwich Shoppe & Brewery. Try a Cherry Limeade Sherbert Sour, Tangerine Cream Ale, or Belgian Pale Ale at Station 26 Brewing Co. Or enjoy a Denver Gold Amber Lager, Princess Yum Yum Raspberry Kolsch, or Graham Cracker Porter at Denver Beer Co.

Experience Denver Nightlife

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Eager to explore Denver’s nightlife? Find some of the best Denver clubs in or near the South of Colfax (SoCo) Nightlife District, which is home to the five-venue CoClubs. Attend the 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, Sherry Cobbler, or 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 wine bottle-shaped bar The Cruise Room, the oldest continuously operating bar in Denver. Ride the mechanical bull, attend free dance lessons, and listen to live music five nights a week at The Grizzly Rose. Or unwind 5,430 feet above sea level at the highest open-air rooftop bar in Denver, 54thirty Rooftop, which has delicious seasonal cocktails like the Frosted Blackberry Sour, Hot Apple Cider, and Crystal Clear Old Fashioned.


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 storage units near you!

About Mike Beutler

Mike Beutler is a writer and digital content specialist who transitioned to self storage in 2020 after several years in the airline industry. His travels cultivated a passion for exploring cities across the U.S. and abroad and inspired him to learn more about practical insights for urban living. With 14 moves under his belt, both locally and cross-country, he also has a passion for minimalism and organization, and sharing tips to help others make any space feel like home while staying organized.