Colorado has attracted tourists and those looking to relocate for years.
It’s one of the most stunning states in the country, with gorgeous weather and breathtaking, panoramic views.
As the state capital of the Centennial State, Denver has the highest population and saw the greatest influx of new residents this past year.
In fact, in 2020, it was one of the top ten locations people moved to in all of the United States.
What makes Colorado such a desirable hotspot for newcomers?
Is moving to the Mile High City the right choice for you?
Our 25 pros and cons for moving to Denver will provide you with all the information you need to make the right decision.
Pros Of Living In Denver, Colorado
The view is not the only reason to move to Denver.
In addition to being one of the best places for people who love to spend time outdoors, it boasts a thriving economy, a love of history and the arts, and is home to some of the healthiest people in the country.
1. Business Friendly Location
If you’re thinking of starting a business, Colorado is one of the best places to begin.
Business News Daily deemed the state one of the most desirable locations to set up shop, both for its enchanting location as well as its ease for new owners to get the appropriate licensing.
Regulation and taxation are reasonably manageable for new business owners, eschewing the high price tags on licenses found in other parts of the country.
Plus, the booming tourism, the drive for an active lifestyle, and the need for a cannabis-related industry mean there are plenty of opportunities to capitalize on a thriving economy.
2. Great Economy
This brings us to the economy itself.
The pandemic hit the US economy hard, and Denver was no exception to this plight.
However, the state as a whole is back on the rise to recovery and already making great strides to lower the unemployment rate.
This rate has dropped about six points from where it was at the height of the pandemic, showing a dramatic upturn for the economy.
This high ranking is primarily due to its high employment rates, anticipated job growth, and the overall business environment.
In addition, many claim the community for small businesses is very welcoming, with the state and locals alike encouraging success.
3. Lower Taxes
Another benefit to living in Denver is the low taxes. Colorado has a flat income tax rate of 4.63%, which means earning a higher wage won’t force you into a higher tax bracket.
The property taxes are also some of the lowest in the country and take third place overall.
The rate is approximately 0.51% and costs $1,113 annually for a $217,500 home.
4. Tourism Is A Billion-Dollar Industry
Before the pandemic, Denver hosted almost 18 million tourists in 2019.
This generated $7 billion in the city alone, with a total of $24.2 billion throughout the entire state of Colorado.
Claiming the fourth spot of the largest industries in the state, tourism creates 64,000 jobs in the metro Denver area and a whopping total of 180,000 jobs statewide.
5. Beer Capital In the US
Beer is a massive industry in Colorado. It’s fourth on the list of states with the most breweries per capita, and Denver is home to some of the best in the country.
Denver also celebrates numerous festivals revolving around their favorite alcoholic beverage.
The annual Beer Week takes place in September, lasting a little longer than a week.
The nationally lauded event, the Great American Beer Festival, takes place at the Colorado Convention Center in October.
There, patrons can try more than 2,200 different brews to tickle their taste buds.
6. Birthplace Of The Cheeseburger
There’s nothing more iconic in American cuisine than the cheeseburger, and Denver is where it all began.
Louis Ballast trademarked the very first cheeseburger in 1935, serving up the delicious meal at the Humpty Dumpty Barrel drive-in.
While this landmark of culinary innovation is no longer in service, there are still plenty of restaurants that stepped in to take up the cheeseburger mantle.
7. Home to Unique, Tasty Treats
Cheeseburgers are not the only food for which Denver is known.
While also being the birthplace of the Chipotle franchise, the Rocky Mountain oysters serve as another mouthwatering delicacy you simply cannot leave without trying.
One of the best places to start is at the Buckhorn Exchange.
Not only does it serve up the oysters, but a series of other curious and outlandish foods grace their menu.
Among these foods include buffalo, elk, and even rattlesnake. Yum?
8. The Sports Teams
Sports fans will discover a veritable paradise in Denver.
The city has six professional sports teams, which is quite the feat since only 13 cities in the US have four major sports teams.
The most notable teams are the Denver Nuggets for basketball, the Colorado Rockies for baseball, and of course, the Denver Broncos for football.
The Broncos played in eight Super Bowls and won a total of three.
9. Weather Is Cool
For those who can’t stand the heat, Denver just might be a place you find more comfortable.
With the higher altitude also comes a slightly cooler temp, which is much more manageable for people who crave cooler weather.
In the summer, highs typically reach no more than 92ºF with little to no humidity.
However, you still get plenty of sunshine and clear skies to enjoy throughout the year.
10. Mountain Views
Colorado is known for its incredible mountain vistas.
Naturally, living in Denver comes with a pretty killer view.
There are at least 200 peaks visible from the city, 32 of which stretch up to 13,000 feet tall or more.
As if that weren’t enough, there is a 140-mile-long panorama of the mountains that is sure to leave you in awe.
11. You Get All Four Seasons
One of the drawbacks of living in a sunny state like Florida is the lack of seasonal changes.
Denver combines the best of both worlds by providing sunshine and beautiful days alongside a cornucopia of colors in the fall.
Winter follows with a spectacular overlay of snow that is perfect for skiing and other winter activities.
Though spring is a little shorter than one might see in southern states, the abundance of wildflowers blooming atop the slowly melting snow is a genuine treat for hikers.
12. Sunny State
Florida may be the Sunshine State, but it doesn’t come close to the type of weather Denver is packing.
On average, the city sees 300 days of sunshine a year. That’s incredible, considering Florida only sees about 237 sunny days on average.
This leaves plenty of time and good weather for you to head out and enjoy the day with that many sunny days.
Considering most people move to Colorado to enjoy the great outdoors, this is a gift from nature many residents don’t take for granted.
13. Plenty of Skiing Options
When you think of things to do in Colorado, many people imagine skiing.
Denver is centrally located to some of the best skiing resorts in the state, and many are accessible by a short drive from the city.
Echo Mountain is arguably the closest, with less than an hour of drive time to get there.
14. Visit The National Parks
Rocky Mountains National Park is the most notable place near Denver for lovers of the outdoors.
Its majestic mountain peaks and lakes make it ideal for hiking, biking, climbing, and so much more.
In addition to the Rockies, Denver is within a few hours of other great national parks, such as the Great Sand Dunes.
If you love snowboarding, you’ll love sandboarding and sledding along these pristine dunes, which are the tallest in North America.
15. Museum Lovers Rejoice
If you love taking a trip through time, Denver has plenty of museums to help you capture a glimpse into the past.
This stunning stone building was once the home of the “unsinkable” Molly Brown, who survived the infamous sinking of the Titanic.
16. Dig Into Dino History
Colorado’s state dinosaur is the stegosaurus.
If you hadn’t realized some states had designated dinosaurs like they do flowers, you aren’t alone.
The stegosaurus rightfully takes rank as the state dinosaur because Colorado is the site of the very first stegosaurus fossil finds.
Surprisingly, Denver is so rich in fossils that uncovering these monumental capsules of prehistory is sometimes as easy as taking a stroll outdoors.
To see what remains of these majestic creatures, you have more options than a museum alone.
In fact, there are remnants of dinosaur history located throughout the town of Denver, including Coors Field, the Fossil Trace Golf Club, Coors Brewery, and many more.
17. Great Place For Artists
Denver isn’t just about spending time in the great outdoors.
It’s also a significant hub for artists and those seeking an outlet for their flow of creativity.
Replete with numerous creative arts districts, Denver hosts art festivals and music performances throughout the year.
In addition to being home to the second-largest arts complex in the city, the Denver Performing Arts Complex also collects more money designated for the arts per capita than any other city in America.
The city adds one-tenth of a cent of its taxes, which goes strictly for the arts.
It may not seem like much, but it adds up to a total of $40 million each year.
18. Hot Air Balloon Rides
The sunny weather, clear skies, and breathtaking views of the mountains are some of the reasons the hot air balloon industry does so well.
Who wouldn’t love taking a ride through the sky with a bird’s eye view of some of the most magical mountains in the country?
If you’d rather watch the balloons take off, they are just as enchanting from the ground.
Plus, Colorado hosts several hot air balloon festivals throughout the state for even better viewing opportunities.
19. Golfing with Style
Golfing takes on a whole new experience in Denver.
Your golf balls also do a funny little thing in Denver due to the higher elevation.
The ball flies an additional 11% further than it would at sea level.
While this might not seem like much, it really adds up after you factor in a couple of hundred yards.
20. Hit The Hiking Trails
Colorado is one of the best states for active people and has rightfully earned this accomplishment.
There’s no shortage of things to do and plenty of physical activities to help residents of all ages remain active and healthy.
Hiking is one of the best ways to take advantage of the excellent weather and jaw-dropping scenery and maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Hiking the Rocky Mountains is fantastic, but there are also several places much closer to Denver to enjoy the fresh air.
21. It’s Pet Friendly
If you have pets, you’ve come to the right place.
Colorado is the second most pet-friendly state in the United States, falling behind Oregon at number one.
Many of the businesses in Denver cater to dog lovers and their owners, which makes taking your furry friend with you for the ride that much more convenient.
The state also enforces stricter animal abuse laws than seen in other parts of the country.
Doing this encourages more responsible pet owner practices.
Colorado is also one of the states with the most no-kill shelters in the United States.
22. And Vet Friendly
Colorado is one of the best states for retired military veterans.
The state ranks as number ten across the country for the most military personnel per 100,000 people and has 20 active bases as well as the United States Air Force Academy.
They offer numerous incentives for veterans, including an income tax break of up to $24,000 which varies depending on age and income.
Other benefits include a property tax exemption, which covers 50% of the payments on the first $200,000 of the home.
Veterans also receive extra points on state exams and access to recreational licenses at a heavily discounted rate.
23. And Even 420 Friendly
Another reason some flock to Denver is their lax laws regarding marijuana.
Along with Washington state, Colorado was the first in the union to legalize both medicinal and recreational use of marijuana.
The introduction of the drug brought with it new economic opportunities and boosts.
As with any drug or alcohol, it should still be taken in moderation and not allowed to be consumed in a public setting.
24. Safety Is High
As a whole, Colorado is one of the safest states to live in, and Denver follows suit.
Of course, there’s always some crime associated with any larger metropolitan area, but Denver doesn’t have much to worry about when compared to other large cities.
Even the residents have reported feeling safer than those Americans who live in other parts of the country.
The most significant concern is property theft which primarily appears in the form of stealing packages.
25. Healthy People
The many activities available to residents in the Denver area and the overall atmosphere make it one of the best places for healthy people to live.
It’s why so many active people live in the area or flock there from other regions.
In addition to being a top destination for people who love to get up and go, Colorado also ranks high in other health factors.
It has the third-lowest rate for diabetes in the country and ties with Washington DC for the lowest obesity rating.
The Cons of Living in Denver, Colorado
With so much to love about Denver, it’s difficult to find anything bad to say about the city. However, as with every location, Denver is not without its faults.
1. High Altitude
Denver doesn’t get its moniker as the Mile High City for nothing.
It’s exactly one mile above sea level, which means it’s up to 5,280 feet in elevation.
The higher you get in elevation, the thinner the air around you also becomes.
This lack of oxygen can take some time to get acclimated to and makes even the fittest of people gasp for air every now and then.
It’s important to pace yourself, as altitude sickness affects everyone differently.
Some common side effects include headaches, nausea, and dizziness.
2. More Instance Of Sunburn
All those sunny days come with a price.
Not only are there 300 or more days of bright sun rays, but you are also closer to the sun.
It may sound silly, but the altitude makes a huge impact.
Being several thousand feet closer to the sun, along with additional exposure, causes a higher instance of sunburn.
It also makes you more susceptible to complications like skin cancer.
If you plan on retiring somewhere warm and toasty, this isn’t the state for you.
Though significantly warmer than most northern states during the season, these mild winters can still reach an average of 45ºF and a low of about 18ºF.
It also snows in Denver, which makes it great for winter sports but not so much for shoveling driveways.
4. Winter Driving
Any time you have snow, driving becomes a complication you must manage well.
Especially when you start to climb up into the mountains, driving on slick ice and snowy conditions can feel overwhelming for the inexperienced driver.
The same can be said for driving around Denver and the surrounding areas.
If you’re used to driving in winter, this might not be much of a problem for you.
The critical tips to remember are checking your tires and clearing any snow or ice from your vehicle before you begin driving.
5. It’s Windy
Being so close to the mountains comes with a new set of complications, namely windy days.
Colorado ranks as one of the windiest states in the US, falling in at number ten.
This weather condition is mainly due to the pressure differences that arise from the shifting geography.
Chinook winds also play a role in adding to the windiness of the state, relating to shifts in temperature that boost those powerful gusts.
The average wind speed reaches approximately 20 mph, which is quite windy for those of us who aren’t used to driving in such weather.
6. Forest Fires
California isn’t the only place that has to worry about forest fires.
It’s uncommonly dry in Colorado, which makes the terrain more susceptible to burning.
Especially with camping and fireworks being so prevalent in the area, it’s easy for the fires to start but not so easy to put them out.
For comparison, Colorado is actually drier than Phoenix, Arizona.
This precarious position often triggers bans on campfires and anything else that might spark into a raging forest fire during these periods of extreme dryness.
7. Ski Traffic
Having all of those activities at your disposal is one of the best things about Colorado, but getting there can be tricky.
Since everyone wants to take advantage of the ski season, that means many people all take the same path to get there.
As a result, the traffic can be annoying, increasing a 60-minute commute to well over two hours at times.
The best way to avoid this has been to travel on an off day, particularly during the week when everyone else is still working.
Heading out as early as possible is another way to avoid long lines of traffic.
8. Regular Traffic
Most metropolitan areas experience some level of increased traffic.
Denver has the highest population of any other Colorado city, so it only makes sense that it would have the worst traffic as well.
On average, Denver residents spend about 36 hours stuck in traffic jams.
What’s worse is that the city has not seemed to account for the large influx of people moving into the area.
The growing population also means the traffic is likely to continue to worsen as the years go by.
9. Everybody Wants to Live There
The drawback of moving to a state that seems too good to be true is that there are plenty of other people with the same idea.
The population has grown by 8% in the past five years, averaging about 10,000 new residential transplants each year.
The metro area has approximately three million people who live there and is expected to increase to about four million over the next twenty years.
That would be an increase of about a third of the current population!
10. More Densely Populated Than The Rest Of The State
As the state capital and a major city, of course, Denver is going to be more heavily populated than the rest of the state.
Denver ranked at number 17 out of more than 400 cities in Colorado for the highest density.
It contains approximately 4,099 people per square mile
Though this is more than most of the state, it still doesn’t compare to other major cities.
For example, Pittsburgh contains 5,540 people per square mile, while cities like New York have 27,000 people per square mile.
11. Air Pollution
Denver may be home to some of the healthiest people in the country, but it comes short of health in terms of air quality.
An article from the Denver Post reported:
“Denver residents faced an average EPA AQI level of 64, with 274 days in 2018 during which air quality was moderately degraded or unhealthy—more than in almost every other large metro area with populations topping one million.”
Denver is still nowhere near as bad as some cities throughout California, but the pollution is quite notable for those seeking quality, fresh air.
12. Less Space For New Buildings
One major drawback of living in a landlocked city surrounded by mountains is that there is much less space for you to grow.
In recent years, the city of Denver encountered problems with the growing population and not being able to provide as much housing.
This has resulted in two solutions that are not so desirable.
The first is building large skyscrapers, which is not ideal for a city that favors its surrounding panorama.
The second is to cut into the surrounding green areas, which defeats the purpose of moving to a town that boasts natural wonders and activities.
13. Rent Is Going Up
During the pandemic, rent prices dropped by about 5% for 2020.
As the economy starts to recover, however, the typical trend for Denver resumes.
This means the rent prices are going back up.
This increase in prices is generally a good thing and shows a strong, healthy economy.
However, they won’t see this jump in rental prices as ideal for those looking for an affordable housing option.
14. Housing Costs Are Twice The National Average
Though property tax on housing is still considerably more affordable than much of the country, the houses themselves can be astronomical.
A local news station reported that prices in Denver increased by more than 50% from five years earlier.
The average cost of a single home now runs anywhere from $560,000 to $630,000 depending on where in Denver you’re located.
That’s almost twice the national average cost of $389,000 in the US.
15. Sales Tax Is Weird
Sales tax in Colorado may be one of the cheapest in the country.
However, Denver does its own taxation, which adds to the amount you typically pay.
While the state tax is only 2.900%, the city of Denver adds on an additional 5.910% to the total.
As a result, the overall sales tax you pay in Denver is 8.810%, which might be much higher than you expected.
However, it is still small compared to the national average, which stands at about 9.9% overall.
16. Growing Homeless Population
Major cities bring about some unfortunate circumstances, especially regarding poverty.
In Denver, the homeless population increased by approximately 15% over the past five years.
This took the population of homeless persons from 3,631 to 4,171.
In certain areas of the city, you may even encounter minor factions of tent cities.
However, this is typical in most heavily populated metropolitan areas.
17. Not Actually In The Mountains
For those thinking they’ll be dropped right in the middle of the mountains when moving to Denver, you’ll be sadly disappointed.
While the city offers incredible vistas from the center, the mountains are still another 12 or so miles outside Denver.
There are plenty of walking trails in the city itself, but some have said seeing nothing but rooftops for as far as the eye can see is nothing compared to the state’s natural beauty.
18. Not Good For Boating
For all the many activities available to residents, boating isn’t something you’ll find easily.
In fact, finding a good boating location generally takes you about an hour out of town.
The only place you’ll actually be able to operate a motorized boat is Sloan Park, located within the city limits.
19. Not Good For Water Activities In General
The landlocked city of Denver is great for skiing, biking, hiking, and almost every other outdoor expedition known to man, but not when it comes to the water.
If you’re an avid surfer, snorkeler, scuba diver, or just love heading down to the beach for a nice swim, Denver isn’t the location of your dreams.
There are plenty of lakes to enjoy in the area, though swimming is not permitted in lakes located inside the city limits.
20. Things Aren’t Open Late
Another drawback residents often complain about is that things aren’t open as late as in other parts of the world.
While they may not close as early as places in Europe, where entire towns shut down as early as 8 pm, it’s still far from a city that never sleeps.
It’s best to get your grocery shopping done ahead of time and plan your outings as early as possible.
21. Expensive Compared To Other Locations
It can be pretty expensive to grab a bite to eat in the Mile High City.
The website Budget Your Trip offers helpful advice for travelers on planning for expenses when traveling.
The average expenses for staying in Denver amounted to $168 per day.
This is significantly higher than cities like Pittsburgh, which only required about $60 per day.
It’s not too far off from more traditionally expensive cities like Los Angeles, which came in with an incredible price tag of $190 per day.
22. No Kissing On Platforms
This is an old but still active law that dates back to the early 1900s and pertains to kissing on platforms at the Denver Union Station.
The law came into practice after kissing just before boarding the train proved to be so irritating that it was actually slowing down the train schedule.
Other intriguing laws in Colorado include no buying or selling cars on Sundays, not mutilating a rock in a state park, and no throwing of snowballs in Aspen.
Is this really a bad thing about living in Denver?
It may not be, but the giant blue mustang statue that stands at 32 feet tall is definitely not something you can ignore.
With glowing red eyes and looking a bit like something from the apocalypse, the Blue Mustang statue created by Luis Jimenez has earned the name Blucifer.
The statue greets arriving flights outside the Denver International Airport.
What is perhaps the most shocking about this creation is what happened to the artist.
While building the figure, a section of the sculpture fell on the artist and killed him.
24. Watch Out for Bears…
Much like California, Grizzly bears have been extinct in Colorado for decades.
The only remaining bears in the area are black bears, which can still be quite a nuisance if you aren’t used to dealing with them.
While it is rare to see bears, even when trekking through the woods, it does still happen.
What’s more, bears in search of food often come into town.
There are plenty of ways to bear-proof your yard, including keeping trash indoors until pick-up time and not keeping any kind of food storage outside.
25. … And Other Dangerous Animals
Since hiking is a regular pastime in Denver, it’s not unusual to encounter several dangerous animals now and then.
While the state may not be as abundant in snakes as other places, there is still the little matter of the occasional rattlesnake to deal with when walking.
In addition to bears and rattlesnakes, residents may also encounter coyotes, cougars, moose, and elk.
If you think those moose and elk are harmless, think again.
Some of these creatures even find their way into town, especially when scoping out areas for food.
Having a good awareness of these animals and your surroundings makes all the difference in the world.
What do you think about Denver?
Is it everything you ever dreamed of in a new home?
Having a bountiful array of activities and the splendor of nature so close within reach, it’s no wonder so many people flock to Denver for their forever home each year.
However, if overcrowded highways and higher living costs are not your speed, there are plenty of other neighboring towns that may be more your speed.