Review of Denver, Colorado


I don't necessarily recommend moving here...
Star Rating - 4/27/2019
I am a Denver native and lived here most of my life. I have watched the city change considerably in my lifetime and not really for the better in my opinion. I am planning to leave the city very soon because I don't care for how big it has gotten. I will try to break it down the pros and cons of living here.

The pros:
The mountains. For those who enjoy outdoor activities the mountains are right there for your enjoyment (as well as everyone else so be prepared for a minimum 2 hour drive to find solitude)

Sports. Denver has become a model sports city. Every major sport has a Denver home team. Lots of radio (and some tv) spectrum dedicated to getting you all the stats and opinions you could want.

Plenty of activities and venues. If your looking to see your favorite band live in concert, chances are very good they will make a Denver stop. There are some good theatrical productions that pass through and comedy as well. There are some museums, a couple amusement parks, water parks and several golf courses. Plenty of parks and bike trails as well.

Employment opportunities. Denver and it's metro has jobs available in a wide range of industries. Development is still quite active and demand for skilled tradesmen is so high it's not uncommon to have people drive from Ft. Collins to the north and Colorado Springs to the south to work here.

Now the cons:
Rapid growth in population vs. Infrastructure. Denver over the last decade has seen a massive influx of people migrating here from all over the world. As a result a boom in large multifamily developments occurred and has contributed to ever increasing congestion issues on the roads. Commute times continue to increase, however the state transportation department fails to adequately plan and develop long term solutions to the problem. So often by the time an improvement project begins it is already inadequate. The city streets are poorly maintained, the traffic lights are often timed to stop traffic and increase congestion instead of effectively moving traffic. This is increasing air pollution in the city, which was the worst I'd ever seen in my lifetime this past winter.

An inadequate public transportation system. Although Denver's public transit system has improved considerably over the years, it still is inadequate for the geographical area that it must serve. Denver's metro area is very sprawled out and as a result people choose to drive from one side of the city to the other and travel 30 to 45 minutes in light traffic vs. A 2 to 3 hour trip on public transit. Bus trips across the city often require transferring to other routes and layovers can be almost an hour. A train system has been slowly built out but only serves about 20 or so percent of the metros population effectively and has not been able to keep up with growth in population. Also of note, the buses runs along the major grid streets mostly so if your trying to see a friend deep in a subdivision, be prepared to do some walking. As for the trains, outside of downtown they run mostly along the highways and one goes from downtown to the airport but still takes over 20 minutes to make that trip.

Heavy traffic and bad drivers. As mentioned above the traffic volume has been increasing and as such so have commute times. Much of the interstate through the city is bumper to bumper and slow during the week and sometimes on the weekend also. If you think you'll get around it driving on surface streets, forget it. You'll be sitting at traffic lights instead. As for the drivers, they are increasingly aggressive. Trying to merge into another lane is often very difficult because so many insist on tailgating. People do not respect the state law of only using the left hand lane for passing which increases dangers on the highways. People often drive with the attitude that other people on the road should always yield to them increasing accidents and road rage. Seems like Colorado needs to reevaluate its practices in issuing drivers licenses. I'd imagine people migrating from heavily populated areas like NYC or LA would find commuting here to be better but with CDOT failing to improve infrastructure adequately, that won't last much longer as the population continues to grow.

High cost of housing. As I mentioned above there has been an explosion of multifamily developments in and around Denver. Many were built within a mile of the train lines that have been built. But with that rent has exploded as well. Unless your fine with living in a run down slum in a "bad" part of town, prepare to shell out at least $950 a month. Realistically closer to $1300.
A decent house, 400k and up. A condo, 350k and up.

Lastly unpredictable and sometimes extreme weather conditions. The weather here is crazy and sometimes entertaining. One day it can be in the mid 70s and the next morning you wake up to snow. The temperature can be as cold as -10s in winter and 100s in summer. The climate here has been changing and not for the better. We are seeing more cloudy days and days with clouds in general. Where snow on a day in May here in Denver was very rare, it's happening more often now. The valley that Denver sits in is susceptible to inversions which trap cold air and pollution near the surface. We also have had tornadoes touch down in the city, we get frequent thunderstorms producing hail, lightning, flooding, and gusty winds. Wind in the winter months can be very intense. Summers see many days with highs in the 90s.

In closing I think if your a big city kind of person then Denver might be for you, but if you think Denver offers an easier way of life that's not really the case anymore. Driving much more than a few miles from home will become frustrating and sooner or later you will get in an accident. Insurance is expensive here by the way, keeps going up for everyone every year, and you're required to have it. If you already have considerable funds, or get an opportunity to make annually 50k plus, then you'll be able to make it here. If not then you'll struggle.

The choice is yours, but I don't really recommend it.
Dom | Aurora, CO
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