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Denver

Star Rating Not a fan. Not for me. Just okay. Great place. The best place.
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  3/12/2017
Mixed bag to say the least.
Can't give much of an accurate rating of Denver proper, but the metro area can be summed up quite nicely: Overpriced for what you get.

There are some nice aspects. The restaurant scene is fairly good in my opinion. Then again, I'm not a food connoisseur. But since Denver is such a melting pot, you can find decent replications of most cuisines around the country. Most chains usually make it here as well.

The amenities expected of a city are all here. You get big-name concerts, a decent art scene, blah blah blah. That said, if you're here for the arts and culture primarily, you'll be disappointed.

The weather is pretty fantastic most of the time. Sunny is the norm, without getting miserably hot or miserably cold for very long at a time. The freak hailstorms are kind of annoying, though. And the snow, though it doesn't come very often, can hit really hard, and then the transplants from the South don't know how to drive, which leads me to the cons...

Whoever designed Denver's road systems wants to watch the world burn. Who decided we needed one main north/south artery for a metro area of 2.8 million?? Predictably, I-25 gets extremely clogged at rush hour, as do most other highways in the metro area. Drivers are not particularly friendly either. They are allergic to letting anyone in their precious lane that belongs solely to them. They also drive really slowly in the fast lane. In short, anything goes when driving in Denver. And it will only get worse as people keep moving here.

Also, I don't know how Denver gets away with promoting itself as America's premiere mountain city. The entire city lies on the Eastern Plains, with a few of the outskirts flirting with the foothills. Sure, you can get to some decent mountain views within half an hour if you live on the western side of the metro, but on a daily basis you only get to look at ugly brown foothills. If you live on the eastern side, you get to see mountains on a daily basis, but then you're 45 minutes to an hour from the foothills even. Then, if you like skiing and live in Denver, have fun battling I-70 into the mountains. You'll be cursing everything while you try to make it up there. Even if you're not into skiing, you're at least two hours from any decent mountains. If you want a city with fantastic mountain views and quick mountain access, Salt Lake is your best bet (though it has problems in other areas).

The Denver metro is spectacularly ugly for most of the year. It is dead, brown, and smoggy. I do have to say that it can be really pretty in the summer when everything is green, but that usually lasts about a month or two and then it goes back to brown. As for downtown, it is dirty, gross, and crime happens way too frequently for me to want to spend much time there. They didn't even design anything to look very pretty. It's big-box skyscrapers.

To cap it all off, living is expensive and the costs are rising. It costs more to get a townhome in many parts of metro Denver than it does to get a nice house in the mountains (though good luck finding any sort of an income out there). Add that to the fact that the city is not all that impressive in many aforementioned areas. The metro area is not unlivable, but to me it is unacceptable to pay so much money for a sub-par living experience.

What really sucks is that Colorado overall is an awesome, beautiful state, but usually a person has to live in this overpriced hellhole to find gainful employment. I honestly do not understand why anyone would want to live here. I would rather move to another state in which I can live in a better area than have to live in Denver in order to stay in Colorado.

Of course, I am not really a city person to begin with, so maybe I'm not the best person to be reviewing a large metro area. The only thing that has kept me sane while I've lived here is the ability to escape into the wilderness. It is extremely depressing to come out of the mountains to see the big, ugly, sprawling mess that is Denver calling out, "Welcome home, back to real life, sucker!" I can't wait to get out of here.

If anyone has read this entire rant, congratulations. I probably wouldn't have read all of this if it was someone else's.

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  2/2/2017
since I cannot reply directly to peope's reviews
I agree with a few other reviewers who complained about the standoffish and unfriendly attitude of Denverites.
I've lived in a few other cities in the USA, and Denver is one of the most insular. Go to any bar on the weekend and you will find it very hard to talk to anyone, and nobody will approach you, whether you are alone at the bar, or with a friend (very approachable situation, normally). Even at outdoor festivals, people stick with their own groups here. It's like they have no interest in meeting other people. They just go out with a friend or 2 or 3, and only talk to those people all night long. It's very hard to get to know people here. In the grocery store, in yoga classes, coffee shops, and other public spaces, it's the same. People will act like nobody else in is in the room/building except themself, and the person or persons they came in with.
It's odd that such a crowded city that is so full of transplants is so standoffish to others. It probably has to do with the majority of residents here being felons, snobby hipsters who only care about their image, drug dealers, and other selfish personality types.

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  2/2/2017
I agree with Stephanie.
I have also noticed the dating scene is lackluster, for women. The men are good looking from a distance, but when you come closer, you discover all their tattoos, and sometimes odd piercings. These are not the only poor choices they have made in life so far. Many of them, I have found, are former or current drug addicts. And alcoholics. Few have college degrees or any ambition to do much with their lives beyond maybe working in a grocery store or a restaurant, or a pot shop. Or they're a truck driver, or they have no job. There's a lot of hipsters here so it's often hard to tell which men are gay, or which men are straight.... The straight men even sometimes act effeminate. A lot of people from small towns move to Denver, and Denver is the first city they've ever lived in, so they think they're really "cultured" for living here.

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  2/2/2017
much hyped
Denver is very overcrowded and actually has a lot of crime for being such a small city compared to other American cities.
The traffic is atrocious because the streets are so narrow and the lights have not been timed to improve the flow. The rush hour starts at 2:30 and ends around 9pm. People in Colorado drive very aggressively, run red lights, and speed everywhere, resulting in many accidents.
The cost of living keeps going up, it's basically at the same rates as you would find in large east coast cities, except for NYC. The wages in Denver have not improved in 10 years, according to what locals tell me. It's hard to survive here.
Sure the mountains are nearby, but most people can't afford to go skiing anymore as that is also very expensive, and add in the cost of renting in Denver, and the traffic, it's not easy to visit the mountains. If you took away the mountains, Denver would be like a more criminal version of Kansas City. Denver is full of hipsters who are covered in tattoos. It's nearly impossible to see a person who's between the age of 16-45 who is NOT covered in tattoos. And piercings.
Many people here have criminal records and they move to Colorado so they can sit around and smoke weed all day. There is a good deal of violence and crime here, probably because of all the criminals, and all the unemployed and homeless people everywhere. Good jobs are hard to find here.
The air is very, very dry and in Denver itself it's polluted and smells bad.
The food is not that great here, even the Mexican food is terrible compared to what you could find in Texas. People from Colorado like to think it's the best Mexican food ever, but very few of them have ever been out of the state so they don't know .
There's not much to do if you don't like eating mediocre food, drinking a ton of alcohol all the time, and smoking weed. There's also plenty of heroin and cocaine addicts in Denver. They play ads for alcohol and drug recovery programs on a few of the radio stations, that's how bad of a drug and alcohol problem that Denver has.


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  1/23/2017
Where Dreams Go To Die
Denver seemed to have only certain types of people my age: frat boy type thrill seekers, pot heads, and trustifarians. If you are not any of these things, you'll have a difficult time. People are judgmental, snotty pricks and I believe the reason they're flaky is because they're adrenaline junkies who can't possibly plan ahead and stick to it. These are not the kind of people who like (or need) to think more than 5 minutes ahead. And I still don't know where 80% of the kids I lived around in Capitol Hill neighborhood got enough money for rent, let alone all the alcohol and weed they consumed.

Dating? Forget it. I'm a nerdy, laid back, open-minded-but-realistic woman with a wide range of interests in reading, music, art, film, etc. And I felt like I was constantly going on dates with the high school jock/bully. If you don't live for the mountains and are VERY physically active (even though I run and x-country ski and am fit/average, it didn't seem to be enough) you will be ridiculed for not living the right way. Whatever that means.

The average wages are not enough to live on when you are paying Los Angeles level housing prices. There may be some good job openings but you are competing with the entire world since everyone wants to move there. I got plenty of interviews for real jobs with benefits but was not offered anything worth taking -- there was always someone more (over) qualified or the job did not pay enough. I made just enough to live but not to get ahead due to the cost of living. A lot of screw-you-over contract jobs.

I am from the midwest (as a good portion of the transplants are) but I came to the area over 15 years ago, before this new wave. I've noticed that they brought along the midwestern "nice" which is pleasant to your face and snotty behind your back. I have always hated that special form of passive aggressiveness so ...thanks for bringing it back to me Denver!

Lastly, absolutely DO NOT move to Denver without a dream job already lined up. If you think you're a hot shot (like I did) who will easily get a job equal to the one you had for many years (so you'll just wing it,) you'll be in for a rude and sad awakening. Unless you are a trustifarian, then proceed...your brethren have been waiting for you.

I have lived in more hip, albeit smaller, places in Wyoming and Colorado that are closer to pristine mountain recreation with higher wages, lower rents, and overall better quality of life.

The only good thing to come of Denver was meeting a person who became my best friend *of all time* and got me through the Denver experience. We were both in the same boat of struggle and bonded over it -- like being in the trenches together. He has since moved to L.A. and I have visited. I love L.A. -- a place with some culture, excitement, a variety of people, and freedom of expression. I would like to move out there at some point -- I'm already used to paying that much in rent, so why not enjoy higher wages as well?

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  12/15/2016
Denver is a great city
Watch the best football team in the NFL. Ski on the weekends. Great restaurants and wonderful culture.


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  9/27/2016
a box I can afford
is there some where I can rent a box or closet to live in ?

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  9/22/2016
You can rent a closet
In every major city on the front range you can now afford to rent a closet it is awesome and you can eat soup ! . with the exception of Pueblo there is not one city on the front range where a person making $ 20.00 an hour or under can afford to rent a closet but it is fantastic !
the quality of air ( cough , cough ) , the traffic gridlock , the commute time from where one can actually afford to live ( Brush, Sterling,Limon )is not bad if you can sleep while driving to and from work. Don't get me wrongthis is the place!. get away to the mountains on weekends and spend all of Sunday night trying to get home, it is great. I plan on buying one of those " mini houses " and placing it on 1/10 acre lot now being Sold by Wallymart on line.

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  9/19/2016
awesome place to live
This place is fantastic !I have My rent is not to bad , I live in the basement of a box under a bridge but my dog does not mind. The climate is fantastic except in January when my sterno can bill goes way up ! I usually stock up on newspaper to line my Box. The cosmopolitan areas of the city are great , I can find just about anything to eat and I can afford it! . I just go around back and ask for left overs.

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  7/26/2016
High cost, Low reward
I've lived in Colorado my entire life. I never figured I'd have a reason to want to move. But, now I'm not sure if I'm going to be able to afford to stay. When I moved out of my parent's house (at 18), I was paying $650 for rent. My rent is now more than $1300 (double) for the same sq feet, and I was forced to move away from the center of the city. The price of food (I'm talking simple staples) has more than doubled. Hell, eggs have tripled in price since then.

This is large in part to the new marijuana industry. We've seen a huge influx of people, and most of them have come for the weed. Several of my neighbors are just such immigrants (the entitled, hipster variety). They live perpetually on the government's dime. They have their rent and food subsidized, and get paid cash under the table. Most of them seem to spend all that untaxed cash on weed.

Most of these newcomers do nothing to help society, and are rewarded with free rides. I just don't understand it, when I'm working my ass off to make ends meet. Maybe I'm not cut out for Denver anymore. Maybe if you aren't willing to cheat the system and smoke weed every day, then Denver is no longer for you.

I'm being priced out of my home, and it sucks. But maybe I have to find a new home.

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  3/7/2016
Sweet "Cow-Town" no more
As a native I am very sad to see the changes that have taken place. I have lived in Boston and Seattle (awesome cities with much to offer), and always enjoyed returning home. Unfortunately, the growth is unchecked, and the infrastructure has not kept pace. I will always love hiking, rock climbing, horseback riding, and all the outdoors has to offer... However, part of what was so appealing about Colorado was the serenity and beauty of the outdoors. Now, even in the mountains you have to fight traffic, parking, deal with folks who do not respect the beauty of the mountains and trails... I cannot help but mourn the loss of once an ideal place to grow up...

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  2/23/2016
Don't believe the hype...
I made the mistake of taking a chance on Denver and it didn't work out. The huge influx of weed enthusiasts is obviously one of the reasons even locals are beginning to dislike Denver, since it's caused a jump in expenses and BAD traffic that's on par with much bigger cities. Several of the friends I made who were born in and around Denver expressed to me that they couldn't wait to get out for these reasons, the biggest one is that it's unaffordable and you don't get enough for what you pay for. Denver has decent parks and recreation but it is nothing amazing, there are limited places to walk and run downtown which is ironic since the city's only real cultural identity lies in its love of fitness. Expect to drive up to the mountains in Boulder etc. to really take in the nature Denver is acclaimed for. While the mountains are great, I feel like that's about all you get in terms of awesome attractions in Denver. As I mentioned it does not have a strong cultural identity, the arts scene is lacking. I have two friends who are artists and lived in Denver and both agree with this, and that's why they also left. Denver is acclaimed for being youthful and fun, and this can project the false image that it's great for hip, modern types. But, if you're not into fitness, juicing and doing yoga at Red Rocks then don't bother coming. I felt that the city's atmosphere overall was very drab, dull and depressing, and I didn't even live in a bad neighborhood [it was Capitol Hill]. Maybe the issues with sprawl and the ugliness of surrounding areas like Aurora made me feel this way. The areas surrounding the 16th st. Mall are okay, but the rest of the city is run down and junky, except for a few well preserved old mansions. The central road, Colfax, is littered with old, run down motels from the 70s and it just looks terrible. Crime along with homelessness is becoming an issue in Denver as well, and there is gang activity that is usually clustered around bad areas surrounding Colfax. Unfortunately, affordable housing downtown Denver is short of impossible which is why some of my friends lived closer to the suburbs, but going to visit them made me feel creepy every time due to the nasty surroundings. The weather is disastrous and the air quality is pretty poor, so don't be fooled by the notion of having crisp mountain air. Also, expect extensive hail damage to your car the longer you live here. I already have about 500 dollars worth in hail damage for living there less than a year, and this is a common complaint for pretty much everyone who lives here, so if you move here get garage parking or a house with a garage. This is the trade off for sunny, humidity-free summers you get in the mountains. Overall, I am glad I moved. It was not for me.

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  2/23/2016
Don't believe the hype...
I made the mistake of taking a chance on Denver and it didn't work out. The huge influx of weed enthusiasts is obviously one of the reasons even locals are beginning to dislike Denver, since it's caused a jump in expenses and BAD traffic that's on par with much bigger cities. Several of the friends I made who were born in and around Denver expressed to me that they couldn't wait to get out for these reasons, the biggest one is that it's unaffordable and you don't get enough for what you pay for. Denver has decent parks and recreation but it is nothing amazing, there are limited places to walk and run downtown which is ironic since the city's only real cultural identity lies in its love of fitness. Expect to drive up to the mountains in Boulder etc. to really take in the nature Denver is acclaimed for. While the mountains are great, I feel like that's about all you get in terms of awesome attractions in Denver. As I mentioned it does not have a strong cultural identity, the arts scene is lacking. I have two friends who are artists and lived in Denver and both agree with this, and that's why they also left. Denver is acclaimed for being youthful and fun, and this can project the false image that it's great for hip, modern types. But, if you're not into fitness, juicing and doing yoga at Red Rocks then don't bother coming. I felt that the city's atmosphere overall was very drab, dull and depressing, and I didn't even live in a bad neighborhood [it was Capitol Hill]. Maybe the issues with sprawl and the ugliness of surrounding areas like Aurora made me feel this way. The areas surrounding the 16th st. Mall are okay, but the rest of the city is run down and junky, except for a few well preserved old mansions. The central road, Colfax, is littered with old, run down motels from the 70s and it just looks terrible. Crime along with homelessness is becoming an issue in Denver as well, and there is gang activity that is usually clustered around bad areas surrounding Colfax. Unfortunately, affordable housing downtown Denver is short of impossible which is why some of my friends lived closer to the suburbs, but going to visit them made me feel creepy every time due to the nasty surroundings. The weather is disastrous and the air quality is pretty poor, so don't be fooled by the notion of having crisp mountain air. Also, expect extensive hail damage to your car the longer you live here. I already have about 500 dollars worth in hail damage for living there less than a year, and this is a common complaint for pretty much everyone who lives here, so if you move here get garage parking or a house with a garage. This is the trade off for sunny, humidity-free summers you get in the mountains. Overall, I am glad I moved. It was not for me.

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  2/15/2016
Too many snotty "hipsters" ruining Denver
I've lived in the Denver area since 1998 and unfortunately, it's becoming overrun with too many snotty, entitled, 20 something year old "hipsters" who think their shi* doesn't stink. They are creating rents to be sky high, have snotty arrogant attitudes, and many of us wish they'd all LEAVE so we can have the quality of life we used to have here.

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  2/15/2016
Stiflingly mediocre
Oh Denver. I wanted to like you so much, but after only 8 months of living here, I'm already planning my exit. I grew up in southern Colorado, moved to Iowa for college, lived in NYC for five years, and moved to Denver last summer. Before moving, I grilled my friends who live here about Denver life. They all had nothing but rave reviews of the city. I was so excited for the new hipness, vibrancy, outdoors adventures, and great living Denver supposedly offers. Sadly, I've found that everything about Denver varies from being okay at best and painfully dull at worst.

Let's start with the outdoors. I will admit that having the mountains as your backyard is pretty nice. I went hiking a lot in summer and fall. There are some nice running trails throughout the city. I don't go skiing because of the cost and difficulty in driving to the resorts. While having outdoors options is nice, it's fairly easy to extinguish the easily accessible outdoors options. Once you've gone running through the brown parks several times or have done the same dry hike along the foothills, it gets a little boring and repetitive. To get the breathtaking Colorado mountain views, you have to drive 2-3 hours (not including the horrendous traffic) west of Denver into the mountains.

Be cautious of the "great" weather here. While summers are dry and hot (i.e. not totally miserable), this winter has been rough. We've only had a handful of days above freezing in the past four months with a fair amount of snowstorms. It is dry dry dry. My skin constantly feels itchy and my sinuses are killing me. Couple the dryness with the altitude and the thick layer of smog that blankets the city, and you've got a recipe for terrible breathing conditions. Every time I leave Denver for a couple of days, I immediately get a sinus infection when I return because of the dryness and bad air quality. What would be pleasant warm days are generally ruined by strong winds that whip down the mountains.

There are some great Asian and Mexican food options outside of the "cool" neighborhoods. The restaurants and bars that people gush about in the Highlands, RiNo, Five Points, etc. are so contrived and vastly overrated. It seems like they were all conceived, designed, and launched with the same boring, yuppie tastes in mind. Beyond the uninspired menus, these places tend to attract the worst of the worst of the Denver population.

Denver needs to learn that the Broncos aren't culture. Museums aren't culture. Theaters and performance spaces aren't culture. Retails shops aren't culture. Any city can drop those institutions in the landscape; they're not unique to Denver. It's so odd that Denver is fairly racially and ethnically diverse, has a ostensibly large LGBT community, and has tons of transplants flocking to the city every day, and yet there is no unique culture to speak of.

I think the lack of culture largely boils down to the fact that people in Denver have very little interest in experiencing anything outside their own individual bubble. The vast majority of Denver residents live in the suburbs, which are homogenous and conservative by nature. The young people who live in the city itself are just...weird. People tend to stick to themselves. I've never experienced so much difficulty in striking up a conversation and getting to know someone as I have experienced here. Everyone is severely guarded, standoffish, uninterested in anything that doesn't directly concern them, and overall pretty socially inept. As other commenters have noted, there is a very strong current of subtle racism through Denver. I'd also add homophobia and xenophobia. I don't see Denver becoming any more socially progressive, as the majority of people moving here are ignorant dude bros who just want to snowboard, smoke weed, and make places feel unsafe for anyone who is not a straight white dude. I've heard people compare living in Denver to living in a frat house, which is pretty spot on.

Denver has so much potential that is being squandered. Rather than apply experiences, cultures and talents to making the city interesting and vibrant, Denverites focus all of their attention on the mountains. Everything in Denver is just mediocre and normal because people here tend to not really explore outside of the safe, whitewashed, and mainstream. If you're considering a move here, I would suggest looking elsewhere, especially if an interesting, vibrant city culture and population are something you value.



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