Denver is a growing city offering more than skiing in the nearby mountains. If you're moving to Denver, learn about its neighborhoods, schools and more.
Looking to move to an exciting and popular urban market that continues to draw interest from prospective home buyers and renters around the country? Consider Denver, a bustling modern metropolis graced with attractive neighborhoods and in-demand communities as well as favorable weather and preferred amenities.
Living in Denver: What to expect
Whether you’re eager to relocate from out of state or move to a nearby Denver neighborhood, this is a major metro market that rarely disappoints.
“Denver is an awesome place to live,” said Philip Kranefuss, head of real estate at Homie Colorado. “There are so many things to do—from hiking, skiing or camping in the mountains to patronizing excellent restaurants and dining establishments and enjoying many of the parks and recreational areas throughout. Most people here are outgoing and active and appreciate how lively this city is.”
Drew Sandoval, a sales manager at AptAmigo, a leading apartment locator in Denver, seconded those sentiments.
“I moved to Denver seven years ago from a small town in the Midwest,” Sandoval said. “I love that this city has a small-town vibe but also offers an exciting big city lifestyle. And when I need to escape, I’m just a short drive away from the Rocky Mountains.”
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Maytal Hess, a broker associate for Team Denver Homes, said Denver has grown dramatically and become increasingly popular in the past five years, particularly among those seeking a healthier work/life balance.
“There’s always something to do in Denver,” Hess said, “whether you’re spending an evening at a fabulous restaurant downtown or heading to Red Rocks to see a concert.”
Among the drawbacks to living in Denver: Traffic is more congested, road and building construction increased and home and rent prices spiked in recent years.
Walkable areas in Denver
Denver has a Walk Score of 61, which is around the middle in terms of walkable cities in the US. However, downtown Denver is more walkable than many people might expect.
“The city itself is relatively small compared to other major metros, so it can be easier to get from A to B on foot than in other cities,” Hess said.
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“Denver is very pedestrian-, bike- and scooter-friendly,” Kranefuss said. “The neighborhoods are spread out enough that they feel like different sections of town with their own culture and hotspots, yet they’re close enough that they are easy to reach by walking.”
Michael Nirk, the agent lead for Flyhomes Brokerage, LLC, in Denver, mentioned the Highlands as a good example of a walkable neighborhood featuring easy-to-reach restaurants, breweries and patio bars and a connection to downtown via the Highland Bridge, where you can hop on the 16th Street Mall buses or snag a ride to the airport using the A-Line train.
Denver, however, lacks public transportation amenities comparable to other big cities.
“I and many others who live here usually drive to get to where we need to go,” Hess said. “It takes at least 10 minutes, on average, to get from place to place in and around the city by car.”
Best public schools in Denver
Denver and its surrounding towns are known for their quality public school districts, the best of which, per Hess, can be found in the Cherry Creek neighborhood in southeast Denver and Littleton, a town south of the city. The Central Park neighborhood also includes seven highly-acclaimed Denver schools.
Top 3 elementary schools
- William (Bill) Roberts Ece-8 School
- Kunsmiller Creative Arts Academy
- McGlone Academy
Top 3 middle schools
- McAuliffe International School
- Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Early College
- Denver School of the Arts
Top 3 high schools
- D’Evelyn Junior/Senior High School
- Denver School of the Arts
- DSST: Stapleton High School
Commute time in Denver
The average commute time in Denver is around 28.8 minutes. Driving to and from the mountains can take longer than expected over the weekends or in the winter skiing season, Kranefuss said.
If you love an arid climate with minimal precipitation and plenty of sunshine, Denver will hit your weather sweet spot. Denver only receives 8 to 15 inches of precipitation every year but benefits from more than 300 days of sunshine annually.
The average daily high temperature during winter is 45 degrees, making for a relatively mild season. Low relative humidity and comfortably cool evenings make the summertime especially preferable; even during the hottest month, August, average daily high temps only reach 86 degrees, thanks to Denver’s 5,280-foot altitude above sea level, earning it the moniker Mile High City.
“Denver is milder than most people would think,” Kranefuss said. “The summers are very nice and usually not too hot. The winters can definitely see some snowstorms and wintry weather, but the snow melts off pretty quickly.”
Denver crime rate
In 2020, there were 4,649 property crimes per 100,000 people, compared to the national number of property crimes of 1,958.
Additionally, violent crime in Denver has increased 45% over the last 10 years vs. a 19% increase in property crime.
Denver city population
The Denver population growth rate was 20% from 2010 to 2020, a time when more than 115,000 residents moved to the city, based on US Census data. Currently, the city’s population totals more than 749,000 (up 4.7% from last year).
“There’s been a huge population influx over the past 10 years,” said Kranefuss of Denver’s growth. “The secret has gotten out about all the awesome things Denver has to offer, and it’s attracting people from all parts of the country as well as many employers.”
Cost of living in Denver
Denver has a score of 128.7 on the cost of living index, which is around 28 points above the national average, according to Denver Relocation Guide’s index. (A score higher than 100 equates to a higher cost of living, while a score less than 100 is less expensive than the national average.) Denver scores 101.9 for groceries, 116.1 for transportation, 96.2 for utilities, 92.5 for healthcare, 102 for miscellaneous expenses like clothing, entertainment and restaurants and 184.3 in the housing cost category.
For a single person, the average cost of living in Denver is $2,061 monthly, while a family of four can expect the cost of living to more than double to $4,703, said Hess.
Median household income in Denver
The average Denverite’s annual household income is $99,151 (46.8% more than the 2020 median household income across the country), and the city has a poverty rate of 12.9%.
Denver neighborhood map
Top 5 Denver neighborhoods by population density
Curious what the most in-demand communities are in Denver? Check out these five different neighborhoods:
Photo Credit: Michael Rosebrock/Shutterstock
One of the oldest neighborhoods in Denver, Capitol Hill offers historic appeal.
“It has a very charming yet hip vibe,” Sandoval said, “where you can find the coolest museums but also hit up your local concert venue or dive bar any night of the week.”
“Capitol Hill is a very central and vibrant area of the city that has been referred to as having a bohemian vibe,” Hess said, “with lots of artists and hipsters frolicking the streets. There is no shortage of restaurants, clubs, bars, stores and other cultural amenities in this community.”
North Capitol Hill
Photo Credit: Felix Mizioznikov/ShutterstockV
Similar to Capitol Hill, this section is north of Colfax Avenue, a major artery in the city, and is known as “Uptown,” considered an eclectic and “happening” area of the city.
“North Capitol Hill is a diverse urban area surrounded by LoDo, Capitol Hill and Five Points,” Nirk said. “It’s very much an up-and-coming neighborhood with a lot of potential, which has enticed many young adults and couples to move into that area. The Ogden Theatre and Fillmore Auditorium are two popular live music venues there.”
Photo Credit: Page Light Studios/Shutterstock
Formally a cemetery that was redeveloped, Cheesman Park boasts some of Denver’s oldest mansions as well as the renowned Denver Botanic Gardens.
“Cheesman Park attracts a diverse blend of residents, runners, dog walkers, members of the LGBTQ+ community, apartment renters and mansion dwellers,” Nirk said. “This neighborhood also offers luxury high-rise living with breathtaking views, beautiful Victorian homes with colorful gardens and quaint condos on quiet streets.”
Photo Credit: Kara Math/Shutterstock
There’s plenty to do in Speer, from strolling down Broadway and frequenting its many shops, bars and clubs to accessing the Cherry Creek Trail.
“Locals think of Speer as the Cherry Creek-adjacent thoroughfare that carries them in and out of downtown,” said Nirk. “Named for the city’s 26th mayor, this neighborhood is a popular up-and-comer, as evidenced by the 15% increase in single-family home prices in this neighborhood over the past year. You’ll also find historic houses with plenty of character, along with plenty of rental properties.”
Over the past few years, Westwood (which is southwest of the city center) was named a Colorado Creative District, and Morrison Road—which crosscuts the neighborhood—became a focal point for development and pedestrian-minded improvements.
“Suddenly, this Spanish-speaking, working-class neighborhood on Denver’s western border has become the place of interest for buyers seeking an entry into the city’s red-hot market,” Nirk said. “Efforts to maintain its historic and contemporary Hispanic and Latino heritage are underway.”
Median home price in Denver
According to Realtor.com, the median listing price in the Denver metro area is approximately $545,000, which has increased 11.2% year over year. The median listing price per square foot was $342, and the median sale price was $425,000.
“Denver metro area housing prices just keep getting higher,” Hess said, noting Denver homes appreciated 20% in value in the past year alone. “The real estate market here has been crazy recently, with everything selling for $40,000 to $50,000 over asking price, in my experience.”
Average rent in Denver
The median rents for Denver apartments currently stand at $1,468 for a one-bedroom and $1,798 for a two-bedroom. Rent prices have increased by 16.5% over the past year. Of the 10 largest surrounding Denver cities, all have seen prices rise drastically as well. Keep in mind that median gross rent also includes the estimated average monthly cost of utilities.
Moving to Denver
Depending on where you are relocating from, moving to and living in Denver won’t be cheap. If you can afford to live in the Mile High City, your median household income is likely higher than the national average, which puts you ahead of the curve.