Denver, Colorado is one of the fastest-growing cities in the United States. New residents are attracted to the city’s year-round sunshine, nearby mountains and booming economy. If you’re ready to join the crowd and move to Denver, here are a few tips to make your move as smooth as possible.
You’ll Need a Few Days to Acclimate
The Mile High City really is 5,280 feet above sea level; you can even visit an official plaque at the Colorado State Capitol marking the city’s height. If you’re moving from almost anywhere else in the United States, this change in elevation will wreak havoc on your body for a few days. Plan to take it slow while you gradually adjust to the thinner altitude and drier climate. You may not be physically able to unload a truck full of heavy furniture when you first arrive, so consider hiring professional movers to help out. You’ll also want to wait a week or two before hiking a fourteener or enjoying the city’s bike trails.
Pack Your Sunscreen
Due to Denver’s high altitude and constant sunny weather, it’s important to protect your skin from the sun. Whether you’re hiking in the mountains, walking to your favorite brewery or strolling down the Sixteenth Street Mall, you should apply sunscreen any time you go outside. If you don’t, you’re risking a sunburn, and in the long-term, even cancer – Denver has one of the highest rates of skin cancer in the entire country.
The Public Transport System Isn’t the Best
Denver’s public transport agency, RTD, is jokingly called “Reason to Drive” among Denverites. If you want to use the bus or train system on a regular basis, you’ll have to plan where you live and work carefully. You’ll also have to budget, as a local day pass costs $6 and a monthly pass costs $114.
While the city built a train line between Union Station and the Denver International Airport, it’s usually cheaper to use a Denver long term parking option. A one-way train trip to the airport costs a whopping $10.50. This means a family of four would spend $88.00 just getting to and from the airport, not to mention the cost of getting to Union Station to catch the A-line and the hassle of dragging your luggage through downtown to get to the A-line. With Denver long term parking costing as little as $7 a day, you’d need to be out of the city for almost two weeks before you saved money taking the train.
Sports Are a Big Deal
As a major American city, Denver is home to a professional-level football, baseball, basketball and hockey team as well as up-and-coming soccer, lacrosse and roller derby teams. You’ll find flags and jerseys for the Denver Broncos and Colorado Rockies everywhere, especially on game days, and RTD even runs special trains and buses to get tipsy fans home safely. Parking in downtown Denver can be expensive, so if you’re headed to a game, it’s usually worth taking public transportation.
Denver Skews Male
With dozens of breweries and a heavy focus on tech jobs, Denver has a reputation for bro culture. This rap isn’t entirely undeserved, as the city is home to far more single men than single women. Dating requires more work in Denver than in other cities, but between sporting events, hiking and trivia nights, Denver offers many opportunities for finding love.
The Cost of Living is Sky High
Denver’s real estate market has exploded over the past decade. Whether you plan to rent an apartment or purchase a home, be prepared for sticker shock. If you already have a job lined up, make sure your income will support your housing needs. A one-bedroom apartment in Denver’s downtown area will likely cost at least $2,000 a month in rent, and you probably won’t want to live in the few run-down buildings that advertise cheaper rental costs. Buying a home in the metro area will also present major challenges as the influx of new residents has left the city’s housing inventory severely depleted. Luckily Denver boasts many pleasant and affordable neighbors like Wheat Ridge, Arvada and Aurora, all of which are still within a 30-minute drive of downtown.
The Denver Public Library Is Amazing
One of the first places new Denver residents should stop is the local library. The Denver Public Library system offers more than just books; residents can check out bicycle repair kits, video projectors and even Chromebooks. The library also offers free passes to many museums throughout the metro area, including the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. If you’re looking for a more traditional library experience, the book selection is massive, and the library is a member of the Prospector alliance, which lets Denver residents borrow books from libraries throughout Colorado.
Cowboy Culture Still Reigns
Denver got its start as a cattle town, and the city still embraces its heritage. Every January, the Western Stock Show kicks off with a cattle parade straight through Downtown Denver, and many locals don Western gear to celebrate. Throughout the year, the city keeps a casual attitude; fancy dress is rarely seen, even in the Central Business District. You truly can wear blue jeans anywhere you go in Denver without feeling out of place.
You Can’t Use Marijuana in Public
While Denver is famous for its early legalization of cannabis consumption, the city still has a few rules about where and when you can light up. Public use of marijuana is illegal, so you’ll have to wait until you get home to dive into your dispensary goodies. While you can probably get away with taking a toke on the sidewalk, you’ll definitely want to avoid using marijuana at public events, including concerts at Red Rocks Amphitheatre, as enforcement of the ban on public marijuana usage is high – and that’s not a pun.