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13 Pros and 13 Cons of Living in Denver, Colorado in 2022

Pros and Cons of Living in Denver

Denver is quickly becoming one of the most sought-after cities in the United States to live in. If you’re considering making the move to Denver, you have come to the right place!

There are many pros to Denver living, but to some, it can come with some cons as well. This article is the ultimate guide to understanding the pros and cons of living in Denver and will help you determine if it is the right fit for you.

The Pros and Cons of Living in Denver, Colorado

Pros of Living in Denver

  1. Fantastic Neighborhoods & Places to Live
  2. Proximity to the Rocky Mountains
  3. Thriving & Promising Economy
  4. Professional & Competitive Sports Leagues
  5. 4 Distinct Seasons
  6. Full of Adventures
  7. Spectacular Night Skies
  8. Lower Taxes
  9. Affordable Medical Care
  10. Proximity to Great Weekend Getaways
  11. Denver’s International Airport
  12. Highly Rated Schools & School Districts
  13. Unique Restaurants & Dining Areas

Cons of Living in Denver

  1. Cost of Living Can Be High
  2. Extremely Competitive Housing Market
  3. Traffic is a Nightmare
  4. High Altitude Living Can Be Tough
  5. Not the Best Public Transportation System
  6. Landlocked City
  7. Can Be Considered a Bland City
  8. Winters Can Be Rough
  9. The Windy Season is Annoying
  10. Skiing, Camping, and the Mountains Can Be Hours Away
  11. Densely Populated
  12. Forest Fires Taint the Air Quality
  13. Drier Than Phoenix

Continue reading this article to get a full breakdown of each of these pros and cons!

Our detailed guide is filled with pictures, tables, and guides to help you get all information you need to know if Denver is right for you.


Landon Bellum - REALTOR
Landon Bellum
(303) 800-2952

Hello, I’m Landon, the creator of this blog!

Landon Bellum is a REALTOR® and the Marketing Manager at MODestate. He helps people buy, sell, and invest in real estate throughout the Greater Denver and Colorado Springs areas. He also helps people find exceptional realtors throughout the United States to assist them with their real estate needs no matter where they are.

Landon graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Management – Marketing from BYU-Idaho with a minor in Latin American Languages. He is a competitive pickleball player and loves strategic board games that last 3+ hours. Landon is also fluent in Spanish and Portuguese.

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Pros of Living in Denver

1. Fantastic Neighborhoods & Places to Live

Pros and Cons of Living in Denver, Colorado

The first and most prominent pro to living in Denver is the dozens of incredible neighborhoods to choose from. This city has great communities and areas to live for everyone, no matter what your price point and preferences are! Denver has some of the US’s highest-ranked neighborhoods both in livability score and safety. You will never be short of places to choose from!

Denver neighborhoods range in diverse kinds of homes including Queen Anne-style, mansions, brick bungalows, furnished apartments, Tudors, and ranch homes. There are also many kinds of single-family residences, condos, and townhomes to choose from.

Below is our list of the top 10 neighborhoods in Denver. Click here if you are interested in exploring our list of Denver’s top 35 neighborhoods.

Denver’s Top 10 Neighborhoods

NeighborhoodMedian Home PricePopulation
1. Platt Park$891,5005,874
2. Virginia Village $552,50014,437
3. Hilltop $1,735,7509,524
4. South Park Hill $742,0009,546
5. Washington Park $1,250,0007,514
6. Washington Park West $875,0007,798
7. Wellshire $935,0003,525
8. Sloan Lake $1,041,0008,189
9. Congress Park $927,00011,475
10. West Highland $805,0009,252
Watch my video breaking down Denver’s 35 best neighborhoods to live in

Click Here to See Our Full Breakdown of Denver’s Top 35 Neighborhoods!

Best Denver Neighborhoods

2. Proximity to the Rocky Mountains

Pros and Cons of Living in Denver, Colorado

The state of Colorado is home to a very large portion of the Rocky Mountains with dozens of fourteeners (mountains over 14,000 feet above sea level). This is one of the state’s top claims to fame which attracts a lot of residents and tourists.

Denver has an incredible view of these gorgeous mountains as you can see in the picture above. Those interested in spending time hiking and exploring the mountains just have to hop on C-470 or I-70 and will get to the entrance to the Rockies in 30-60 minutes depending on what part of Denver they’re in.

Here are a couple of our favorite places in the Rocky Mountains to visit:

  • Mount Evans – home to the highest paved road in the US and rises above 14,620 feet above sea level – 90 minutes from Denver
  • Rocky Mountain National Park (Long Peaks) – home to the highest peaked mountains – 90 minutes from Denver

3. Thriving & Promising Economy

Pros and Cons of Living in Denver, Colorado

The Denver economy is booming like never before. Many major businesses have established their headquarters in Denver like Century Link, Wells Fargo bank, and Kaiser Permanente, and many more are moving there due to the healthy and active working community.

Agriculture, Tech, and Aerospace are the most common sectors where one can find a job easily. The median individual income in Denver is about 25% higher than the nation’s median individual income. The Denver Tech Center is the most common employer in Denver. Also, The Children’s Hospital of Denver is ranked among the top pediatric hospitals in the US which is another major employer there.

There is a surplus of jobs in Colorado in general, and Denver is no expectation. In fact, some restaurants have gone out of business in recent years due to not being able to properly staff their establishments.

If you’re looking for a job then Denver is definitely a great place to work. The economy continues to rise to support Denver residents and the continues to look promising.

4. Professional & Competitive Sports Leagues

Pros and Cons of Living in Denver, Colorado

Are you a sports fan? Well, get ready to jump on the Colorado sports bandwagon because this state has great teams to follow!

Here is a list of some of Colorado’s professional sports teams:

  • Denver Broncos – Football
  • Colorado Rockies – Baseball
  • Colorado Avalanche – Hockey
  • Colorado Rapids – Soccer
  • Denver Nuggets – Basketball
  • Colorado Mammoths – Indoor Lacrosse

There are fantastic stadiums to attend games to watch these pros do what they do best. If you are living in Denver you will be close to all of these locations! Here is where you can watch them play:

  • Empower Field at Mile High – Home of the Denver Broncos
  • Coors Field – Home of the Colorado Rockies
  • The Pepsi Center – Home of the Denver Nuggets, Colorado Avalanche, and Colorado Mammoths
  • Dick’s Sporting Goods Park – Home of the Colorado Rapids

The golf courses in Denver are also ranked among the biggest and most difficult to play courses in the whole US.

5. 4 Distinct Seasons

One of the things that Denver residents enjoy the most about the city is that the weather is fantastic. The four seasons, summer, spring, fall, and winter, are all very distinct which you don’t get in a lot of the U.S. states.

Denver summers never get too hot, the winters rarely get too cold, and the springs and falls in Denver are just perfect.

In fact, Colorado has more sunny days on average than the state of Florida even with winter being the longest season, so that helps the temperature stay just right throughout the year.

6. Full of Adventures

Pros and Cons of Living in Denver, Colorado

When it comes to adventurous living, Denver is not limited to just skiing and hiking. Denver is famous for its daring attitude and outdoor activities. According to a survey by YouGov, 43% of the population of Denver called themselves active and adventurous which is a higher percentage than any other state of the US.

Here are some adventurous activities you can do in the Denver area:

Water Sports

Jet skiing, water-skiing, white-water rafting, and tubing.

Mountain Sports in Summer

Rock climbing, backpacking, and mountain biking.

Flying Adventures

Paragliding, Hang-gliding, ziplining, and skydiving.

Apart from the daring sports mentioned above, Denver has 300 miles of paved biking paths and an impressive bike-sharing network spread all around the city. In simple words, living in Denver is not short of outdoor activities.

7. Spectacular Night Skies

Pros and Cons of Living in Denver, Colorado

The city of Denver lies in high elevation and low humidity which results in a splendid view of the sky at night time. There are times when the sky is covered with haze but when it is cleared one just can’t stop looking at it. It is like a free front-row ticket to nature’s amazing show.

On an average day in Denver, the night sky is usually clear and gives an incredible view to stargazers. Also, some of the parks in Denver are designed to give the Denverites the perfect view of rocky mountains touching the stars in the nighttime. The sereness the vibe the climate, everything there is just too perfect in Denver at the night.

Denver has much less pollution than many other capitals in the US. This allows for consistent and clear skies to enjoy.

8. Lower Taxes

The income tax rates are approximately 4.63%. In Denver, the grocery rates are 4% less than the national average.

Denver’s taxes are quite less as compared to New York City, San Francisco, Seattle, Washington DC, and other major cities. The cost of living might be higher in other regards than average, but in terms of taxing Denver is below average which is a huge plus.

9. Affordable Medical Care

Denver is not only known for having a solid medical care system and highly rated hospitals, but they are also very affordable, especially when compared to other cities in the United States. Health on the cost of living index is at 92.5 which is 7.5 points lowers than the nation’s average.

10. Proximity to Great Weekend Getaways

Pros and Cons of Living in Denver, Colorado

You can never run out of fun and enjoyment while living in Denver, Colorado. Alongside the fun within the city of Denver, there is a lot of other great stuff that is available to residents thanks to the city’s location and proximity to the spectacular places.

Vail, Winter Park, Crested Butte, Grand Junction, the Arapahoe Basin, Breckenridge, and Beaver Creek are great places to spend time during the weekends because they are only a few hours away from Denver.

11. Denver’s International Airport (DIA)

Pros and Cons of Living in Denver, Colorado

Denver International Airport is one of the top 10 busiest airports in the whole world. In 2020 it was ranked the 8th busiest airport (3rd busiest in the US), and the only other foreign airports that were busier were in China. To some, this may seem like a con, but in many ways, this is a big pro because can avoid a lot of layovers while traveling from Denver since it is such a large, international airport.

Regardless of what you think of DIA’s business, the central location of the city of Denver makes it the hub for almost any kind of travel experience. You can get to the airport quickly from the city which is not the case at all if you lived down in CO Springs or north in Fort Collins.

12. Highly Rated Schools & School Districts

The schools in Denver hold an overall score of 99.76 out of 100 and rank 42nd nationally. D’Evelyn Junior/Senior High School has a 99% graduation rate, for example, and according to reports, they hold a total score of 89.1 in college preparedness.

Cherry Creek School District runs through some of Denver and is considered to be the very best school district in all of Colorado.

13. Unique Restaurants & Dining Areas

Pros and Cons of Living in Denver, Colorado

Listing the pros and not including the best restaurants of Denver in the list would be a complete injustice to the food points of Denver. In Denver, you can find diverse cuisine menus offering unforgettable tastes.

Fabulous American, Italian, Chinese, and Mexican restaurants can be found around Denver. There are great restaurant chains as well as fantastic local places to eat that are unforgettable. Just name the menu you want to explore and hundreds of options will be right there for you.

To The Wind, Bistro is one of the most famous and must-visit food spots in Denver which locals can’t stop bragging about. Kike’s Red Tacos, Blackbelly, Frasca Food & Wine, Tavernetta, Safta Restaurant, The Wolf’s Tailor, and El Five, are some other fantastic options to try. Every neighborhood has its own famous eateries and pubs making Denver a perfect location for foodies.

Green Chili is also a Colorado classic, so if you see than on a Denver restaurant’s menu you have to give it a try!

Considering making the move to Denver? Check out some of the city’s newest listings below!


Cons of Living in Denver

1. Cost of Living Can Be High

One of the biggest cons to living in Denver is the cost of living. Living in Colorado has gotten very expensive over the last couple of decades, and it just continues to get pricier. Any Colorado native will tell you that it is probably because of all the Californians that are moving to Colorado, but who knows!

See the breakdown of Denver’s cost of living index compared to the state of Colorado as a whole and to the rest of the US:

Cost of LivingDenverColoradoUSA
Overall128.7121.1100
Grocery101.9100.7100
Health92.595.8100
Housing184.3166.1100
Median Home Cost$534,100$488.600$291,700
Utilities96.298.4100
Transportation116.1106.7100

As you can see, overall Denver has a high cost of living than the state of Colorado. It is also 28.7 points higher overall than the US which is pretty substantial.

Groceries, Housing, Median Home costs, and Transportation are all on the more expensive side. Housing specifically is insanely expensive compared to the US average. That is Denver’s most expensive aspect as far as the cost of living goes.

Health and utilities are both more affordable than the US average, though.

2. Extremely Competitive Housing Market

Pros and Cons of Living in Denver, Colorado

As mentioned above, Denver’s housing is extremely expensive compared to the rest of Colorado and the US average. This is due to there being a very high demand for living in Colorado and a low inventory of houses.

As mentioned in the pros, Denver has incredible neighborhoods and communities and people are ready to pay top dollar for it. In this market, it is not uncommon for a listing to receive over a dozen offers that are each tens of thousands over the asking price. Many cash buyers are also migrating to Colorado which is making it difficult for those who need mortgage loans to have competitive offers.

There are several neighborhoods in Denver where the average wage amount is not enough to meet the demands of the debt-to-income ratio for rental properties and mortgages. The only chance to survive in such neighborhoods is if you have a high-paying job that can cover your living expenses as well as rents or mortgages.

3. Traffic is a Nightmare

Pros and Cons of Living in Denver, Colorado

Traffic in Denver never seems to slow down and it remains the same at almost any hour of the day or any day of the week. On the weekdays, main thoroughfares and highways are always packed. Trying to travel through Denver during the rush hours of 4:00-7:00 pm can increase your commuting time by over an hour.

On weekends the roads to mountains, picnic spots, and other fun places are also packed because almost everyone is out on road to get some enjoyment before another hectic work week starts.

A few highways that are particularly heavy with traffic around Denver are I-25, I-70, I-225, and 6th Avenue.

4. High Altitude Living Can Be Tough

Pros and Cons of Living in Denver, Colorado

Denver is known as the Mile High city. This means Denver is located one mile, 5,280 feet, above sea level. Living at such a high altitude comes with some cons. To start with dry skin and dry hair are common symptoms of living in this mile-high city. Nose bleeding is also frequent along with mild headaches. New residents and visitors can get altitude sickness if they aren’t properly hydrated which feels awful.

Also, exercising can get a little bit difficult because of the decreased oxygen level. Even professional athletes from out of town have a difficult time adapting.

5. Not the Best Public Transportation System

Thinking of moving to Denver? Then be ready to own a vehicle as well. The public transit infrastructure is decent but not the best. Most Denver residents own cars which is why the traffic is so bad. Denver’s public transit is not that extensive and can get pretty expensive when compared to other states’ public transit systems.

The Light Rail is available in the city but some consider it underdeveloped which makes it really difficult to reach these public transport points unless you are living at the center of Denver city. So, if you are in rush make sure you have your own vehicle or someone to drive you there because the public transport might disappoint you. It is getting better, but still is not the best at getting you to anywhere you want to go in the cities.

6. Landlocked City

Sure, Denver has great parks and trails. Skiing and camping are readily available. There are even some lakes for boating. When it comes to sandy beaches, Denver has nothing to offer.

So, if you are a beach person Denver is not for you.

7. Can Be Considered a Bland City

Denver offers a landscape that is bland from an urban perspective. Of course, there is a reason why Denverites flock to the mountains on weekends because the inner city doesn’t really have to offer pretty much. Denver does have zoos, professional sports to enjoy, great restaurants, cinemas, parks, and theaters but some think it lacks the artistic touch. The government has been active recently and artistic culture is already developing there. Although progress is slow, in a few years this con will be out of this list.

8. Winters Can Be Rough

Pros and Cons of Living in Denver, Colorado

Denver is typically known for having relatively mild winters compared to other cities in the US, but every so often things get pretty intense. Every year there will be a couple of large blizzards that blow through the city and shake things up a bit. The roads can get pretty rough to drive on which causes lots of accidents.

If you’re not a snow person at all then Denver might not be the right fit for you. It is typically pretty mild, but when it can be brutal at times.

9. The Windy Season is Annoying

Colorado is ranked among the windiest states in the United States and Denver is one of the cities that really feels it.

The average wind speed in Denver reaches approximately 20mph which is too much for those who are not used to driving in windy weather. Chinook Winds also adds to the already windy weather of Denver. Living close to the Rock Mountains comes with its challenges and complications.

10. Skiing, Camping, and Mountains Can be Hours Away

Pros and Cons of Living in Denver, Colorado

As mentioned in the pros section, Denver is located pretty close to the rocky mountains. The issue is that traffic can get SUPER intense in the mountains which can slow things way down. On an average weekend day, the usual 60-minute commute can easily change into a 2-4 hour drive.

If you are planning on skiing, camping, or spending time in the Rockies you need to drive through them on I-70 early in the morning or you will get stuck in some of the worst traffic you’ve ever seen.

11. Densely Populated

Denver is the capital of the state of Colorado with over 700,000 residents. There is a total of 4,999 people are living per square mile which is higher high even to national standards. If you are used to city living then Denver won’t feel too bad, especially compared to LA or NYC. However, if you prefer the suburbs or rural living you will definitely feel cramped living in Denver.

12. Forest Fires Taint the Air Quality

Colorado wildfires are very common and happen every year. The good part is that you don’t have to worry about them affecting you directly in Denver because you are far enough away from the Rocky Mountains. However, when the fires get bad in the autumn, the air quality gets really bad in the whole state. Sometimes the sky will light up red and ash will fall down even in Denver.

13. Drier Than Phoenix

Don’t be surprised if some Colorado natives brag that the area is drier than Phoenix, Arizona. It gets very dry in Denver, especially during the wintertime. The spring and summer see very little rain. You’ll definitely feel it in your hands and on your face. Just be prepared to spend some extra money on lotion!

More Information on Denver, Colorado

Denver is the fifth fastest-growing city in the United States and hundreds of out-staters flocked to this Mile High city from all over the nation. Denver County is full of life and most of the residents there are young professionals who are pursuing their careers, thanks to a lot of job opportunities there.

With a population of 705,576, Denver, the capital of Colorado, covers the 400.7 km² area of the whole United States. Denver is known to be the home of some of the best schools in the US as well as boasts plenty of tourist attractions.

Where Denver is full of fun, enjoyment, livability, spectacular views, and a diverse range of houses it also has some downsides which you must know about. Today we will tell you about the major pros and cons of living in Denver, Colorado.

Check Out More MODestate Colorado Guides & Resources

Embrace Someplace has another great article on Denver’s pros and cons.

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Landon Bellum

Landon Bellum is a REALTOR® and the Marketing Manager at MODestate. He helps people buy, sell, and invest in real estate throughout the Greater Denver and Colorado Springs areas. He also helps people find exceptional realtors throughout the United States to assist them with their real estate needs no matter where they are. Landon graduated with a Bachelor's Degree in Business Management - Marketing from BYU-Idaho with a minor in Latin American Languages. He is a competitive pickleball player and loves strategic board games that last 3+ hours. Landon is also fluent in Spanish and Portuguese.

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