Lakewood, Colorado is a suburb sandwiched between Denver and the great Rocky Mountains. The city is gradually becoming one of the most appealing communities in the United States to move to and live in.
Lakewood has earned two All-America City awards, meaning that it has been recognized nationally as a place that leverages civic engagement, collaboration, inclusiveness, and innovation.
There are many pros to living in Lakewood, but no city is perfect. In this guide, we are going to cover all of the city’s top pros and cons to help you determine if living there would be a good fit for you. See our list of Lakewood’s pros and cons below:
- Great Neighborhoods & Places to Live
- Affordable Colorado Housing
- Proximity to Denver
- Cool Community Events
- Good Food Nearby
- Proximity to the Rockies & Scenic Areas
- Highly Rated Schools
- High Cost of Living
- Traffic Can Be Frustrating
- Altitude Sickness is Common
- Crowded City
- Air Quality is Not the Best
- Not the Public Transport
- Unpredictable Weather
Continue reading for a full breakdown of each of these Lakewood pros and cons!
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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Lakewood, Colorado is a large city with 157,935 people and 41 distinct neighborhoods. Since there are so many communities to choose from, we went ahead and broke down Lakewood’s top 11 neighborhoods, as seen in the table below. You can also click on the image below to check out our full blog post breaking down these top 11 neighborhoods.
People tend to gravitate towards neighborhoods in Lakewood because they are close to Denver but have more of a suburb feel to them than Denver communities. They are also more affordable than Denver and other metro suburbs, which is what we’ll talk about in the next pro.
|Neighborhood||Median Home Price|
|1. Briarwood Hills||$550,000|
|2. White Fence Farm||$627,500|
|3. Green Mountain Village||$569,000|
|4. Crown Hill||$600,000|
|6. Applewood Knolls||$762,000|
|7. Meadowlark Hills||$605,000|
|8. Green Gables||$632,000|
|9. Fox Hollow||$700,000|
|11. Country Village||$630,000|
Lakewood’s housing prices are high compared to the national average, but comparing them to Colorado’s standards, living in Lakewood is much more affordable. This city is cheaper to find a house in than basically all of the southern-Denver suburbs like Highlands Ranch, Castle Rock, Parker, etc. Lakewood housing also has better prices than Denver does as well, which is one reason that people relocate to Lakewood while still working in Denver.
There are definitely pricey neighborhoods and communities in Lakewood, but for the most part, a lot of the housing in the city is very affordable as far as the Colorado housing market goes.
Lakewood, of course, has a wide range of housing to choose from including single-family residences, luxurious homes, new townhomes, condos, and multi-family living.
A major pro of living in Lakewood is its proximity to Denver. Denver is Colorado’s capital and provided hundreds of thousands of jobs and employment opportunities for Colorado residents. However, not everyone likes living in a large capital city with 700,000+ residents like Denver. So, Lakewood is a nice option that is right next door. Plus, you can avoid a lot of Denver’s major interstates, as well as bumper-to-bumper traffic, by living in Lakewood.
Since Denver is so close, residents of Lakewood can also use the avoiding driving to the city by biking or taking the light rail. Denver is only around 3-8 miles away from most Lakewood neighborhoods, which opens up more affordable opportunities for commuting.
It is really hard to get bored in the city of Lakewood and the reason is the cool community events of the city. In Lakewood, there are plenty of gatherings. activities, and exciting things to do! Cider Days is an annual fall celebration that includes apple pressing, tractor pulls, and other family activities. Bring your own chairs and blankets to the Lakewood Heritage Center’s Rockin’ Block Party to see a free movie. Ride your bike to Earth Day to celebrate sustainability, which includes a beer garden, a climbing wall, and live music. Fresh food may be found at one of Lakewood’s farmers’ markets throughout the summer. Alternatively, visit Block 7 Galleries in Belmar for their First Friday Art Walk.
You don’t have to travel to Denver or any other city to find unique restaurants and fine dining! Since 1989, 240 Union has been serving delectable meals in Lakewood. Try the Colorado Lamb Shank or Prime Rib Slow-Roasted. Looking for a decent Italian restaurant?
For the past 18 years, the family-owned Cafe Jordano has been a Lakewood pasta mainstay! Popular menu items include handmade Gnocchi in a genuine cream sauce and Buffalo Parmigiana. If you’re looking for something more laid-back, stop into Teller’s Taproom for a beer, some food, and live music. Teller’s provides everything from snow crab to bananas foster waffles on its broad menu, which includes breakfast and happy hour. Whatever you’re in the mood for, Lakewood has a fantastic restaurant!
Casa Bonita (shown in the picture on the right) may be one of Colorado’s most entertaining places to dine. This Lakewood restaurant has made itself a staple with its incredible waterfall, jungle scenery, and divers that entertain guests. There are fun skits and amazing diving routines people can enjoy while eating their food. Some people complain that the food is a bit questionable, but word on the street is that the restaurant is under new management, so we are expecting higher quality dining at Casa Bonita in the coming months.
As mentioned earlier, Lakewood is conveniently located right in between Denver and the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. This makes evening, morning, or weekend getaways to the mountains super easy, quick, and convenient.
Lakewood is also home to Green Lake and Bear Creek Lake Park. More than 7,000 acres of green space and trails make up roughly 35 percent of Lakewood’s total area, thanks to the city’s 99 parks. At 2,400 and 2,600 acres, respectively, William F. Hayden Park and Bear Creek Lake Park are Lakewood’s two largest parks. You’ll appreciate having so much greenery at your disposal, whether you’re a morning walker, long-distance runner, cyclist, or picnic packer!
In the Lakewood region, there are approximately 100 schools ranging from preschools to high schools as well as public schools, charter schools, and private academies. Lakewood also has accessibility to Jefferson County R1 schools, which perform at or above the national average in over 75% of cases. What’s the best part? Many of them are within walking distance of some of the city’s most popular areas! Lakewood High School is also placed 2nd in the Jefferson County system, making it a desirable school for families with children relocating to the state.
|Cost of Living||Lakewood||Colorado||USA|
|Median Home Cost||$543,000||$488.600||$291,700|
The cost of living matters a lot when deciding to relocate. As you can see in the table above, both Lakewood and Colorado as a whole generally have a higher cost of living than the USA average. Grocery, housing, and transportation are more expensive in Lakewood than they are in Colorado and in the United States.
Expect to pay significantly more for living expenses in Lakewood, since the entire cost is around 7% more than the national average. This city does tend to be more affordable than the majority of Colorado suburbs, but it is by no means a cheap place to live. Unfortunately, this makes it difficult for first-time home buyers and people moving to Colorado from out of state to settle down here.
Lakewood has a population of over 150,000 residents which makes it Colorado’s fifth-most populous city. There has also been a recent surge of new inhabitants, and the road infrastructure was not designed for such a rapid expansion. This has resulted in serious traffic concerns in Lakewood and the neighboring districts.
It doesn’t help that Lakewood is surrounded by some of Colorado’s most used highways including 6th avenue, I-70, etc. Rush hour and weekday evenings typically are when the traffic is at its worst. Roads are frequently congested with honking vehicles and irritated drivers, many of whom are attempting to overtake one another while still moving.
There is also a lot of road work going on throughout the city that slows the roads down significantly. The traffic situation is Lakewood is likely going to get worse before it gets better.
We all know that high altitude can be uncomfortable, and as we’ve discussed, Lakewood is right next door to Denver, The Mile High City. The city’s height is really around 5,518 feet, and acclimating to that elevation can be difficult for visitors and new inhabitants.
Altitude sickness is frequent among those who aren’t used to being at higher elevations. Drinking enough water before and throughout your first few weeks in Lakewood is the most effective strategy to help your body acclimate to a higher altitude.
On top of that, Colorado’s low humidity makes the air dry, so you’ll need nearly twice as much water as you would in your daily routine. There are many other ways to avoid sickness like eating food that has a higher level of potassium or watching your physical activities etc. If you don’t push yourself too hard physically before you are used to the dryness and high altitude, you should be okay.
Crowded cities cause a lot of problems like traffic, poor air quality, and poor water quality. Crowded cities need a lot more than energy. Lakewood is Jefferson County’s most populated municipality. Its population is expanding at a pace of 0.79% each year and has climbed by 12.21% since the most recent census. Lakewood’s population reached a peak of 160,441 in 2021 and there is a population density of 3,727 people per square mile.
When a city is crowded, it affects the air and water quality. Lakewood may have some of the healthiest people in the city, but it falls short when it comes to air quality. The pollution that enters Lakewood from Denver and other large cities is bad, but it still doesn’t compare to other US cities.
The light rail system in the Denver metro area has definitely helped the public transportation system in Lakewood. It helps residents get around the Denver Metro area in an efficient manner.
However, this public transport system is relatively limited on where it can take you. Depending on where you need to go in the Denver area, the light rail system might not drop you off close enough to your destination. This will likely get better in the future, but for now, most Lakewood residents prefer to commute via car instead of public transit.
Colorado in general is known for having fairly mild weather throughout its four seasons, however, it can be pretty unpredictable. Snowstorms can come out of nowhere during the wintertime and thunderstorms can catch you by surprise during the springs and summer. Hail is also very common and is nearly impossible to predict how much damage it will cause.
Best Places has more great information on living in Lakewood, Colorado.