Review of Denver, Colorado

Angry Natives... But Still a Nice Place
Star Rating - 6/22/2019
The best advice I can give to someone considering moving to Denver is to ignore half of these reviews. There's a small and very vocal segment of the population that enjoys what we have and will do anything to stop people from coming. I love it here, but I also want other people to have valid information about Denver when making big decisions and I just graduated from college so I'm bright-eyed and ready to fight some misinformation! Here's an honest (and kind of long) review from a 23 year-old Denver native.

First of all, I'll be frank about the negatives. You'll have to deal with a couple angry natives. Denver's going through some puberty right now and people who moved here in the 80s and 90s for the western sense of freedom are now upset that other people have discovered our little utopia. They express their anger over increasing traffic and home prices by saying Californians are taking over the roads and making the culture too uptight and ritzy. Obviously, there's no fact to back up those kinds of claims and it's easy to tell those kinds of comments are rooted in anger. Ignore them and move here if you want. 90% of us are the nicest people you'll ever meet.

Other negatives: Public transportation is VERY slowly improving in downtown Denver. We're trying really hard to make the bus and light rail reliable but a poorly run transit agency is holding us back. Denver is pretty walkable though and you can definitely find ways to get to everything you need using public transportation but it'll take some planning and patience since the bus in particular is known for being late. But using light rail to commute into the city from the suburbs is actually very reliable! I've heard riding a bike actually helps a lot too and the downtown area has a respectable (and also growing) network of bike lanes. Outside the city, riding a bike to the store is the easiest thing ever. I LOVE our trail system.

Okay, back to the Californians (really anybody from a coast). Please know you're welcome here. Honestly, the food sucked in Colorado before you showed up. Even just 10 years ago Colorado had nothing but bars, burger places and the occasional Mexican restaurant. Now there's Cuban, French, Cuban-French, Korean, molecular gastronomy places, whatever. Same with entertainment. Everything used to close at 10 PM. Now things are open later, there's more to do than just bowling and there's always the mountains and surrounding plains for exploring.

That excitement that comes with growth is actually one of the major reasons I think Denver is the best place to live in the country currently. Walking around, you can feel an energy to the city. It's growing but also staying true to its roots in a way that makes it a cultural destination. You can tell some of the museums that are just starting to hit their hey day will be national treasures in a hundred years. You can also feel that energy in all the dispensaries around town. Being on the cutting edge of a new industry has really made the city feel vibrant and important.

I've seen a lot of people complain about the weather because they heard Colorado weather was perfect before they came here. You'll have to deal with some annoying snow in May or the occasional rainy summer. Other than that, it really is more sunny here than most places and you don't have to deal with natural disasters that the coasts deal with like earthquakes. The Denver area is protected from tornadoes too because we're so close to the mountains. It's always dry which is a blessing on hot summer days. If it does get humid, it's only for a day after it rains a lot. Winter is nice because the warm, dry days melt any snowfall pretty quickly. The daytime temp in the summer can be anywhere from 70 to 100 and the winter daytime temp is 20 to 60 so you get a nice balance of really cold days, really hot days and then mostly nice mild days. It can change quickly like anywhere else but that's a general idea of the weather.

Explore the museums! Denver Art Museum is one of the greatest art museums in the country. History Colorado Center is great for kids and adults alike and is newly renovated so the exhibits are high tech and really interesting. Colorado has a surprisingly rich history, especially when you include Native American history, Colorado's black history and mining history.

Drive to Fairplay from Morrison for a nice drive through the mountains without I-70 traffic!

Make it back to the city before those summer afternoon showers start and eat at a place like Buckhorn Exchange or Euclid Hall. Denver's wild west identity is grounded in caring for animals and using them as effectively as possible. Trying new and less wasteful preparations of meat is one of my favorite culinary adventures to be had in Denver and it says a lot about Denver's culture of appreciating nature.

There's a really bad Trump-esque hatred of any outsider emanating through our culture right now and Colorado has definitely gotten swept up in it. Ignore the angry people who hate what you bring to the table and move wherever you want. Just bring your kindness and your desire to protect our wild places and you'll love it here!

James | Parker, CO
Reply to this Comment

10 Replies

Dead wrong. Minimum wage is so low at $11.10 that even your local gas station has to pay $13 /hr just to retain people. Rent is not well over $2k and is starting to raise prices across the board. Food is double what it was 2-3 years ago. The new trend is for people to come here starry-eyed like reviewer and then leave within 1 year even for San Diego.
Andrew | Aurora, CO You are entitled to your opinion but please do not leave out the reality of things to people who are potentially moving to Denver. Why are more people moving away than moving in, if it's become so great? I lived in Denver for 8 years and have lived in several major cities bigger than Denver. Denver has definitely seen many changes for the worst, in terms of everyday living... And no, its not just "Trump-Esque Native Hatred". I've know several people whom have moved out of Denver, who were transplants and could not stand what it has turned into, mainly due to the mass influx of people. Read the article at the top. Thanks and have a great day!
Jeff | Golden, CO

Us colorado natives wouldn't mind if people move here for the jobs, the mountains the outdoor activities. It's those that simply moved here for the pot and now stayed and hate it.
Georgia | Lakewood, CO

Your evaluation of Denver couldn't be further from the truth! In fact, it's almost comical! I've lived here for close to 30 years and I have to point out some things you've mislead people about. First, you state that the people who complain about increasing traffic and home prices are just angry natives. Well, I'm not a native and I think traffic here sucks! Denver just ranked as having some of the worst traffic in the country and since you claim there is no evidence to back that up, here is some evidence for you. Do you like spending two hours in traffic to reach a destination that's 20 miles away? Great. Then Denver is perfect for you! Would you enjoy living in a city thats had non-stop construction on all the interstates, highways and city streets for the last 20 years, or so? Awesome, feel free to come and enjoy all the orange signs and cones! The construction isn't ending any time soon, either, since Interstate 70 is now being widened and the Boulder Turnpike now needs to be repaired (after it partially collapsed). Oh! I hope you also enjoy paying toll fees because we have plenty of toll roads, too! Also, I'm sorry but, a 20 something year old native, saying that there is no evidence of Denver becoming too "ritzy," is hilariously funny! You aren't old enough to remember what Denver was like in the 90's, before everyone started to move here! I was ten years old when my family moved here in 1990 and it has changed, drastically. Most of the cool mom and pop shops that used to exist here, have closed down and been replaced with either; luxury apartment buildings, wine bars, high end restaurants, or high end stores. So, if you want to live in a place where you can take your family out to dinner and not break the bank, look elsewhere! There's evidence of this just down the street from my house, where a building that used to be a Village Inn, now sits empty. Now to address housing... It used to be incredibly easy to find a nice place to rent that allowed pets. Landlords here used to be pretty forgiving and most of them didn't bother to check your credit or do a background check. Those days are long gone! Renting in Denver, now, is a nightmare and it costs more than double what it did about 5 years ago! Additionally, rental laws here heavily favor the landlord. Not only that but, you'll be asked to pay more than one month of rent, for the deposit. Some landlords even charge additional pet deposits and monthly pet rent! Want to buy a house, instead? Hope you have at least $20,000 for a down-payment, since the average home price is now close to half a million dollars! Houses that would've sold for $150,000 a few years ago are now, easily, being listed for $400,000 - $600,000. Some of those haven't even been remodeled, either! I'm not saying that Denver is a bad place to live, it just isn't what it used to be. It's lost the friendly neighborhood feel that it used to have and has been horribly gentrified. There's lots to do here and the mountains are gorgeous! Just be prepared to; sit in traffic, pay high prices and be surrounded by trust fund kids, hipsters and yuppies!
Melissa | Denver, CO

Denver is going through some puberty now? LOL, Denver was going through puberty in 1980 when I first moved there. It's a city that will NEVER grow up and mature. It basically attracts slackers and other losers who can't make a go of it where they're planted. Glad I left. Life is better post-Denver.
Zen | Portage, MI

This is a very well written and honest opinion of Denver. I have lived here before. I am thinking about moving back. I am from Florida and I constantly hear negative remarks about the transplants ( which is about 90%). But as you said they bring new ideas and cultures that any city needs to grow. Without them there would be no reason for the city to grow or evolve
Denise | Holly Hill, FL

LOL Jeff you lost all credibility posting that Redfin clickbait. It does NOT say more people are moving out than moving in. It says more people in Denver are LOOKING to move out. The number one outbound destination in that Redfin "study" was Seattle - which is 1.5 times MORE EXPENSIVE than Denver. Seattle also has much bigger problems with traffic and homelessness than Denver does.
ChuckT | Fort Collins, CO

Keep repeating your pro-Denver mantra until you realize one day that it truly has severely declined to a point of diminishing the quality of life here. Then you'll find that there are dozens of way better places to live in the USA. And you too will relocate.
Steve | Denver, CO

James, Your post is dripping with condescension: “Colorado is surprisingly rich in history.” And “Even just 10 years ago Colorado had nothing but bars, burger places and the occasional Mexican restaurant.“ you sound like someone who prefers chain restaurants. I’ve lived in Colorado for almost 40 years, and no, I am not a native. And what does Trump have to do with the discussion?
Sharon | Lakewood, CO

I’m all for everybody moving here. Unfortunately I cannot go one day without watching an angry entitled selfish transplant from another major city like New York starting a fight with random people in public places to assert their sense of entitlement. Denver used to be the friendliest city in America. Now I feel like I have to always be vigilantly prepared to defend myself or other people from angry violent transplants. Furthermore these perpetrators are nearly always financially well off and well dressed and not homeless. Your kind drove the middle class out of Denver and are now rubbing salt in the wound by lashing out at natives in public places.
Yee | Denver, CO
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