City living isn't for everyone. Though Denver is a hotbed for growth, some people find the accompanying traffic, congestion, noise and fast pace unappealing. Yet, the allure of a major airport, thriving economy and vast array of entertainment options mean that some people would like to enjoy Denver without becoming a resident.
Fortunately, plenty of great cities near Denver abound that combine access to its amenities without the downsides. Listed from closest to farthest, here are some of our favorite non-Denver places to live — all within 30 miles of downtown.
Westminster is an incredibly family-friendly suburb to the northwest of Denver. It's not quite the halfway point between Denver and Boulder, but considering traffic, it can feel like the midpoint. The best of both worlds is at Westminster residents' fingertips.
A 15-minute trip to downtown Denver via the light rail makes this an easy choice for commuters. Plus, there are endless ways to have a good time in the area. Water World, one of the city's best-loved water parks, is nearby for family outings, and so is the Butterfly Pavilion, an invertebrate zoo and conservation institution.
Standley Lake promises a ton of summer fun for paddle boaters, kayakers and canoe fanatics. Plenty of hiking and biking trails are available, and Boulder is just half an hour away for more breathtaking mountain views.
Hanging out in Denver's northwest corner is a historical suburb known as Arvada. Olde Town Arvada has recently turned into a trendy gathering place for people who like to shop and drink local beer.
The local shops and restaurants make this suburb feel less suburban. The Arvada Center for the Arts and Humanities is making a name for itself in the world of Denver-metro theater, and it offers classes, boasts a history museum and has an outdoor amphitheater with space for 1,200 attendees.
Arvada is an excellent place to live if you'll be commuting downtown. You can hop on the light rail from Olde Town and be there in 20 minutes.
One of the most populous places in Colorado, Aurora is also a sprawling community. Due to its size, the neighborhoods vary widely, but they have one thing in common: reasonable prices.
Living in Aurora provides easy access to the city. Many neighborhoods in Aurora offer a quick commute to Denver via the light rail.
Plus, the Aurora Reservoir and Cherry Creek State Park are nearby, which provide limitless fun for boaters, scuba enthusiasts and people who like to fish or paddleboard.
Tree-lined streets and pristine parks are the marks of this upscale suburb located south of Denver. The commute times here are low, and the incomes are high. That's because Greenwood Village encompasses the Denver Tech Center, a booming economic center that is a magnet for young professionals, families, older couples and entrepreneurs alike.
Greenwood Village is pricey, but many people consider it worth the cost because of the convenience.
The living is good in Greenwood Village, a place where the schools are competitive, the neighborhoods are quiet and the lawns are neatly manicured. While it lacks nightlife, the city is just a quick trip away from Denver via the light rail for those who want to paint the town.
Centennial is a suburb just south of Denver that runs east to west. Plenty of golf courses, hiking and biking trails and family fun pavilions are available here. Water parks, indoor ski areas and open-air shopping areas are easy to find.
Centennial is home to great schools, more space and a slower pace compared with Denver.
Centennial offers affordability and a commute that's not too bad whether you plan to work in the Denver Tech Center or downtown Denver. Plus, this suburb has its own airport, a handy amenity for frequent flyers.
Young families and professionals alike will enjoy the modernity and friendly feel.
Just to the west of Denver sits Golden, the last place you pass on Highway 6 before it's clear you're not in the city anymore. Golden serves as the gatekeeper between city life and rural mountain views, and that comes with a heftier price tag than the average cost of rent in Denver.
This picturesque town feels like a little mountain town, and yet it's still a place where downtown Denver is accessible by the light rail in under 40 minutes.
Yes, Golden is small, but it's already making a name for itself in the Colorado dining scene. Here, you can expect charming mountain views, golf clubs galore and craft breweries.
You can also anticipate fun for the kids with offerings including Dinosaur Ridge trail with dig areas, the Colorado Railroad Museum, aquatic parks and more.
Lone Tree is a newer suburb, but it has already become known as a haven for shoppers. It's also the last stop on your way south out of Denver.
The Park Meadows Mall is a stylish shopping center, and there are plenty of dining options, ranging from casual to the dress-code enforced. The light rail extends to the Lone Tree city center and will get you downtown Denver in about 45 minutes. If you need to drive, you're just a stone's throw from Interstate 25.
People who move to Lone Tree love the mountain views, the parks with hiking, biking and horseback riding trails and the golf.
The schools here are good, making Lone Tree a hotspot for families who don't want to deal with Denver's nonstop activity.
What you miss in independent mom and pop shops, you make up for with affordability. Spacious yards are also a draw for people with pets and those who prefer wide-open spaces.
A local arts center completes the town and leaves it feeling less like a suburb and more like an escape.
Parker is a microcosm of Colorado. It feels like part mountain retreat, part rural small town and part city, which is to say that Parker has it all.
With a cute downtown bustling with restaurants, shops and events, Parker has plenty to do and see all on its own. It feels incredibly removed from Denver, and you can't get downtown on the light rail. Yet the draw of Parker, for many residents, seems to override the commute.
Ideal for anyone who prefers safety and peace to action and adventure, Parker is still somewhat of a hidden gem. It's safe, quiet and pretty, plus the schools are top-notch, making this an ideal spot for families.
Denver remains somewhat close by, but the city rush is nowhere in sight.
Boulder is a dazzling college town with scenery so enchanting that you won't feel like you're within 30 miles of Denver. And yet, the Mile High City is close enough that many people make the commute.
If you have pets, love to hike and enjoy beer, you will immediately feel at home in Boulder.
Bars that sling cheap beers for college students and fine dining restaurants with astounding views live happily side by side in this area.
Boulder has a lot to offer, but it is pricey. If you can afford it, though, Boulder will repay you with excellent schools, hiking trails that never cease to amaze, first-rate dining options and unbeatable people-watching opportunities.
Castle Rock is south of the Denver-metro area and sits roughly 40 miles north of Colorado Springs. This smaller city is an ideal place for people raising families, and it boasts outlet shops, spectacular views and attractive neighborhoods.
Golfing, an open-air ice-skating rink and trails and parks make Castle Rock an ideal location for someone who needs the trifecta of outdoor recreation, proximity to Denver and a small-town feel.
Castle Rock will entail a more difficult trek to Denver, as it lies outside the light rail's reach. Plan on long commutes whether you head north or south since this city sits in a perpetually overcrowded neck of I-25.
Denver is not the only place that makes the Centennial State a great place to live. Living around the Front Range, you are likely to find the perfect combination of affordability, recreation and friendly locals.