Michigander looking for good place to live/advice on CO move. (Denver: apartments, rentals)
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Any Michigan natives that can help? I'm planning on relocating to Colorado Springs or Denver this time next year. I would like to rent until I know if I like it/become more familiar with the area. I'm looking for a safe area close to downtown (within walking or biking distance). I would like to use my car as little as possible and I'm curious about public transportation in both COS and Denver. Dnver seems very expensive so I've been leaning more towards COS.
I'll be working as a librarian and I need something inexpensive. I would rather not live in a conventional apartment building and would prefer a flat or a house rental with a small yard/space to garden. I like old features (bungalows from the 30s or victorian would be preferable). Looking for something in the $800 range--small is okay. Is this possible? If you're from MI would like a neighborhood/area similar to Ferndale/Royal Oak.
Any Michiganders with input on how they like CO so far would be great. Also, I'm concerned about COS' conservative reputation. I would like to live in an area that is open-minded/progressive. Would Denver be a better bet? It seems so much more expensive is this the case? What's the size/culture difference between the two?
Public transit in COLO SPGS is very poor by most any standard. Denver is far better in that respect. In the Denver Index you will find threads listed on the RTD and Car Free Living (a Librarian will appreciate that I made indexes of our key threads for easy reference).
Biking in/around either city is probably about the same, though COLO SPGS has some nearby areas of keen interest to cyclers (Garden of the Gods) and nearby mountains/foothills. Lots of biking seen here in COLO SGPS. Google on the topic and you'll find lots of info on cycling in CO.
You might find an old Victorian or small charming cottage in Old Colorado City (OCC) on the west side of COLO SPGS or even in the old north end up near Colorado College. Getting one for $800 month may be hard to do, you may need a roomie to make it happen.
Google the Denver library system for their job list. Lots of colleges in Denver too, most with large libraries. In COLO SPGS we have the Pikes Peak Library District at: Home Page | Pikes Peak Library District and we also have UCCS and private Colorado College.
Denver is a much more happening place for young singles, though we do have our share here.
Boulder and Fort Collins are both towns with large colleges and thus libraries that need tending. Fort Collins is well away from Denver. Boulder is amazingly expensive but there is good bus service from Denver.
Here in COLO SPGS, I really like our PPLD. They just got me a book from a Catholic College in NJ on Inter Library Loan, a service that I find simply amazing - ask for a book and you can pull it in from anywhere in the nation.
COLO SPGS has a lot of conservative folks, but it's all very low key. Ironic thing is that my local branch of the PPLD has a computer lab with about 20 PCs, proudly sponsored by the local Gay/Lesbian fund, while across the street is the HQs of Focus on the Family with their very conservative views. Things that make you go hmmm....
Denver metro area is about 2.5M people, COLO SPGS is about 0.5M people.
IMO, Denver has way more culture, museums, arts, performance venues, food, fashion, flights, pro sports; all to be expected in the ONE major city for close to 600 miles in any direction.
My advice, in this economy, is to find the job first and go to that city, then once you're here you can figure which city you like better and move around within the area. If you are the flexible type, with a couple of months savings, no dependents to worry about, and the ability/desire to wait tables, etc, then you might consider just winging it and come out without a job. Many brave souls have done that and done fine.
There is a LOT of info in the threads; use the indexes for the cities and the state and use the advanced search tool with any keyword or combination thereof to find specific info already here.
Colorado Springs has 80+ miles of bike trail and bike lanes in the city - very friendly for bicyclists. The city is also loved by mountain bikers like myself - lots of places to ride trails. For getting to downtown, there is a paved bike path that follows the river and crosses under I-25 in multiple spots so any location near I-25 will give you easy access to a bike path to downtown that is not on the roads. If you get a chance to visit, there is a bicycle shop on a trailhead for this path that rents bikes: Criterium Bicycles Criterium Bicycles
With your tastes it sounds like you would love Manitou Springs attached to the West side of Colorado Springs. There are apartments for rent in Manitou that are above the quaint shops on the second floor - very easy access to ameneties without having to drive.
Would these places in Manitou Springs be quaint enough?
Manitou Springs Castle Top Floor w/Turret Room $895/mo: http://www.rentals.com/Home-Rentals/Display.aspx?ListingNumber=876156 (broken link)
Remodeled Duplex $815/mo: http://www.rentals.com/Home-Rentals/Display.aspx?ListingNumber=859502 (broken link)
Manitou Cottage all utilities included close to Garden of the Gods $650/mo: http://www.rentals.com/Home-Rentals/Display.aspx?ListingNumber=759567 (broken link)
Mike is right on with job first. If you end up in Denver, come on down to Colorado Springs for some biking!
P.S.: I'm not from Michigan but my Dad and his side of the family are all from the Green Bay area.
Last edited by reginhild; 02-18-2009 at 11:03 AM..
I agree with Reginhild's advice. Manitou would be great... In addition, stay close to the Fountain Creek trail and it will take you into downtown very easily. I wish I was closer to it, but it is still only a five mile ride into the City. I have to ride on Hancock a little but the majority of my ride into town is on the trail along Fountain Creek...
If you really want the honest truth- heres the deal. I am fairly new to the area (moved in July) so this may not be as exact as some others can help but I will do my best. I can, however, assist on the Michigan end living in GR for 18 years. You will find several Michiganders here- so you will feel welcome on that end- dont worry about the political atmosphere- you get everything here. People are pretty relax here and let you be whoever you want to be.
As to the comparison in cities- yes Denver is MUCH easier transport wise. BUT it is MUCH more expensive as well. A downfall with it that I dont reccomend is if you want to stay close to a public transport line such as the light rail line, you will need to come out here once or twice and see some apartments or townhomes. Pictures in that city arent worth squat. They may look nice, but its a huge city- and as such, much like Detroit- you need to know what you are doing. Go there, check out the places you are planning to rent first. You should find a place easy and close to a light rail or a bus line or within walking/biking distance to work if you do your research within your budget that you like.
Colorado springs is nicer than denver in almost all areas as far as not worrying about where you live, but for the most part, many of the rentals are tougher to find really close to town. Our bus system is ok, not great but ok. What I am saying is- I would call a realator- many have rentals as well. Colorado Springs has many of those older homes, especially close to the Univ of Colorado-Colorado Springs, check with realators- I went through Courtney and Courtney and they are good with decent prices. Its also a good area close to town.
Remember when it comes to biking too- the elevation will kick you for a bit. But you will love it here- its much better than MI! (Weather is similar, but less snow). Hope that helps!
Colorado Springs is like Grand Rapids. Lots of conservative and relious businesses and people. If you want a city like Detroit (liberal, industrial), go to Peublo. But you'll find just like Detroit, not much happening there. Denver is a good middle place.
I lived in Lansing and GR for years. Parents still live in the Lansing area. What a depressing place!
Thanks all for your input. I'll check the other threads for more info and am currently waiting for my CO Springs and Denver relocation guides. I think I'll really love CO. Growing up in MI, I've been spoiled by seasons and plenty of outdoor/recreational activities. CO seems like just the place to try and much less depressing. I'm not sure I could find a job here after I graduate if I wanted to. YIKES!
I lived in Holland MI for 3 years and moved to CO about 6 months ago. I don't find CO anything like the area that you are coming from. I find colorado springs somewhat like grand rapids except that you will have a much harder time finding a job here (imo). There is way more traffic here (except for in detroit). Denver is similar to detroit in the sense that they both have a lot of buildings but I find denver is more comparable to new york city. Detroit, I think, is dirty and nasty and I don't find that in most parts of denver. Not the same way anyhow... All I know is, MI bored me (I am from MA) but now that I am in CO, I miss the home town feel of MI. I miss the beaches/lakes and I miss the weather. And yes, the snow. It doesn't snow a lot in the city of colorado springs and when it does, it melts immediately. There is no humidity and very little fog. Just an outsiders thoughts....
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