Denver used to be a well-kept secret, but now people are flocking from all corners of the country to live in the Centennial State's capital. Ranked No. 2 on U.S. News and World Report's list of best places to live, the word is officially out about Denver.
Before you become one of those we affectionately call “transplants," find out the 10 things you need to know about living in Denver.
People living in Denver tend to love the outdoors, and residents have plenty of reasons to spend quality time with nature.
From hikes with jaw-dropping views, national parks right around the corner, ice climbing, whitewater rafting, outdoor concerts, high-altitude golfing and world-class skiing, most people take advantage of every opportunity to go outside. Plus, some of the most breathtaking scenery in the nation is just a day trip away.
Denver has nearly 300 days of sunshine per year, making the great outdoors irresistible. And yet, it has its fair share of strange climate phenomena that could take some time to appreciate — or at least adapt.
Denver is home to bomb cyclones, avalanches that trap cars on mountain roads, tornadoes, mudslides, flooding, summer wildfires and blizzards. Somehow, for most of the residents, the characteristic ideal weather makes up for the occasional inconvenience. But always be prepared. In a city where the temperature can shift up to 40 degrees in one day, you will want to wear layers.
Just a few years ago, Denver was a relatively undiscovered gem. But recently, Denver's population has exploded, and so have apartment and housing prices. Though the affordability is declining, people moving from the coasts may still be surprised by the price of housing. Denver's cost of living is 11 percent higher than the national average.
Some areas in Denver strike a balance between central, hip and affordable. South of downtown, but with easy access to the light rail, is Baker. Baker is a historic neighborhood with charm and vibrant city energy — without the price tag of downtown living. Vintage shops, music venues, coffee spots and restaurants are all within walking distance. The average rent in Baker is $1,914 for a one-bedroom apartment.
Washington Park West is an ideal location for families. With a gorgeous park nearby, excellent schools and quick access to anywhere in the city, this quieter neighborhood is a perfect place for serenity and city living. The average cost of a one-bedroom apartment in Washington Park West is $1,784.
Recently, INRIX rated Denver as having the 21st worst traffic in the U.S. The traffic in Colorado isn't limited to just Denver, unfortunately. Denver newcomers may find that heading out for the weekend to ski means sitting in hours of traffic, no matter how early they leave.
Fortunately, the light rail and bus routes are widespread throughout the metro area to help reduce the time spent behind the wheel.
While Denver is known for Rocky Mountain Oysters, the city has a lot more to offer. If you're into breakfast burritos, green chile and burgers, Denver is the place for you.
Head to the Highland neighborhood, where the culinary scene ranges from unbelievable ramen to coastal Mexican to farm-to-table vegan food. The fine-dining establishments are flourishing, too, but you can find some of the best-loved fare at a hole-in-the-wall restaurant.
The Denver area is home to more than just Coors. Craft microbreweries are around nearly every corner, with more popping up by the year. Denver has become a mecca for beer enthusiasts, and for good reason. No matter what your drink of choice is, you can find a first-class brewpub to satisfy your thirst.
History, art, music and nightlife are some of Denver's best assets. One can't-miss excursion is Red Rocks, the only acoustically perfect, naturally occurring amphitheater in the world. There, you can find big-name concerts, yoga classes and film screenings whenever it's warm outside.
Denver also has top-notch history and art museums, as well as eclectic affairs like street art festivals and First Friday Art Walks on Santa Fe.
It doesn't get much pet-friendlier than Denver. The Mile High City offers plenty to discover with your furry family: dog-friendly hikes, pet-friendly apartments and workplaces and countless restaurants that will be happy to serve you and your pets.
Denver only trails behind Seattle and Chicago in a recent survey of America's most pet-friendly cities.
Denver has major sports teams in each of the big four leagues for you to watch, which is something rare in this part of the country. You can cheer for the Broncos, Rockies, Nuggets or Avalanche — or stay loyal to your home team and watch them live when they come to compete.
Colorado consistently ranks as one of the healthiest states in America, and Denver ranks as one of the fittest cities. Denver has more outdoor activities than most people could reasonably enjoy in a year.
And with all the hiking, biking and skiing you can do, it's the ideal city for getting in shape. Indoor gyms are abundant, too, and cater to fitness interests of all varieties. Finding a bite to eat that can satisfy your dietary restrictions is a breeze in most neighborhoods.
There's a lot to enjoy about Denver, and people across the country are starting to recognize the draw. You're sure to find a neighborhood that suits your personality in this growing and dynamic city.