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Old 02-16-2012, 03:57 PM
3 posts, read 4,670 times
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My boyfriend and I are planning on moving from Boston area, MA to Colorado in the late summer. We are 24 and 25, just a couple/few years out of college. We currently both have steady jobs, but are looking for a change of pace – a major change of pace. We are looking to Colorado for its breathtaking, natural beauty and outdoor activities, but also just to relax a bit. We both have only lived in MA and want to see what this amazing state has to offer. We’re just not sure what area to move to!

I have been reading and reading through these threads and have gained a general knowledge of the different cities in CO, but is there any way that we can see a side by side snapshot/comparison? We have a trip scheduled for May 10-13, where we will try to pinpoint and narrow down our choice. We will spend a day/night in Fort Collins, which seems to be our first choice lately due to the nearby outdoor activities and fun Old Town area. We will also spend some time in Denver – we’re open to living in a happening neighborhood of Denver, just not right in downtown. Boulder, which is closer to Denver, is also an option for us as the social scene seems great. Lastly, Colorado Springs has also shown to be a great place to live throughout these threads.

Can anyone help us out with a pros & cons/job prospect list for each of these cities? (Fort Collins, Denver, Boulder, Colorado Springs) We’re definitely looking to rent our first year, but will open our options up to buying if we love it out there. For rent, we’re looking for a 1 or 2 bedroom apartment/house for around $800/$900 per month. Of course, if we can find a place of this size for less, we’re are open to taking a peek I currently work in a Sales/Customer Service position (although I went to school for Public & Corporate Communications) and he works in the IT Department of a public school system (although he went to school for more of Media Arts). It’s not to late to get back to where we want to be, right? ...sigh… let’s hope not

Our goal in May is to shop around for apartments and rental houses in each city, but we need to know that each of these places are are a "must see" as we are only there for a long weekend. We should’ve planned a longer trip, huh?
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Old 02-16-2012, 04:38 PM
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Your rental budget is a bit low for much of the Front Range region that you're interested in, but may be doable with enough searching.

Denver metro area is the big dog for jobs, arts, culture, food, entertainment, museums, happenings, etc. Jobs in IT seem concentrated in an area called the Denver Tech Center (DTC) about 12 miles south of Denver's downtown.

Boulder is pricey but a major employment center for IT and others, with many well known firms. I consider it a small form of silicon valley, with a lot of research and high tech stuff going on. Smaller towns near Boulder offer much better rents/prices.

Fort Collins is known for lower pay as so many of their grads want to stay there and work.

Colorado Springs is where I'm at and may have the least to offer you, other than it's at the base of Pikes Peak and near tons of outdoor activities.

Seems critical to have one job lined up before moving here. IMO the city won't matter that much, there's tons to do everywhere.
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Last edited by Mike from back east; 02-16-2012 at 05:41 PM..
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Old 02-16-2012, 05:20 PM
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All of these places mentioned are on the I-25 Front Range Population Blob. All are on the prairie with varying views of the mountains.

Ft. Collins is the northern tippy tip of the I-25 Front Range Population Blob and it's a bit smaller and has less impact from the bigger cities down south. Close enough to Wyoming, it has a bit of that agriculture/prairie grassland vibe. It has some industry, but it's a smallish city, not a bit metropolitan area.

The People's Republic of Boulder is where all the regressives(socialists/marxists) tend to hole up along with all sorts of weird vegetarians, jam band lovers, dope smokers, vagrants, hippies, trustafarians, Colorado outdoor activity dudes(they drive Subaru wagons with big slobbery dogs inside and own all sorts of outdoor gear. They usually have an assortment of facial hair and wear grungy, but upscale outdoorsey clothes) and Colorado outdoor activity chicks(they wear no makeup, eat soylent green, believe that hair washes itself and wear hiking boots everywhere).

With Denver you have your downtown area, some industrial areas, inner city neighborhoods and then the suburbs.

Colorado Springs I have always found odd with roads running every which way and no rhyme or reason to the layout of the town. It is a substantial moderately sized city metro area, much less than Denver however. Colorado Springs has a lot of local military bases and some industry. It's a reasonable ordinary American city, not anything extreme in either direction.

Mostly the important thing is to come out and visit first. Colorado is very different from Massachusetts. Distances involved between places are much longer, it has a rural western influence, the elevation is much higher, the air is thinner, the weather is much drier and windier, but still cold and has it's share of winter especially once you start going up above 7000 feet. I think I'd decide first whether you even like the place first before you start worrying about what suburb or city to live in.

The next thing I'd do if interested is find the best job you can along the I-25 corridor and then start looking for places to live within 30 minutes. It's pretty pointless for people here to point you towards specific neighborhoods/suburbs when it turns out you end up with a job 100 miles away. To me having been around Colorado all my life, I have never really felt that any of the cities and suburbs along the I-25 corridor are really THAT different from one another with the exception that Denver Metro is the largest population area.

So I would get out and visit first and once you do that you'll have some refined questions to ask.
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Old 02-16-2012, 05:23 PM
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Originally Posted by Mike from back east View Post
Your rental budget is a bit low for much of the Front Range region that you're interested in, but may be doable with enough searching.
Yes that reminds me, $800-$900 a month for rent probably isn't going to land anything except a student flophouse in Boulder.
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Old 02-16-2012, 06:00 PM
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Thanks for the overviews! We look forward to our trip in May. We're going to squeeze in as many areas as we can during that long weekend. Looks like we'll have to start job hunting first, which totally makes sense. However, I feel that the timing of lining up the jobs and apartment within the same time frame will be our biggest feat. But we are saving to create a cushion in case one of us has more trouble finding work, etc.

I appreciate the insight. Anyone else can feel free to keep their opinions coming. We'd love to hear what you have to say.
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Old 02-16-2012, 06:34 PM
Location: SE Portland, OR
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I moved to Co when I was 25, and lived in the Springs and FoCo. I would definitely steer you towards the Fort over the Springs (due to your age). Problem is that the Fort has very limited job opportunities. I absolutely loved the city, and would move back in a heartbeat, but it's just not that big, and finding a job can be tough.

Boulder will be WAY overpriced for you, I don't even know if it's worth visiting it on such a short trip.

Denver will probably be your best bet both for jobs and finding housing in the price range you want. Also has better ski access than the other three cities.

I would give you a little warning though. I had a roommate from Boston in FoCo and he definitely had trouble getting used to the less aggressive, more laid back culture that is prevalent in CO. But it sounds like that's what you're looking for.

Do you have any more specific questions?

Yes, you should have planned for a longer trip, esp. if you have never been to CO before.
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Old 02-16-2012, 06:53 PM
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Oh yes, we're definitely looking forward to a more laid back approach to life.

Regarding Denver - what neighborhoods within and what suburbs surrounding would you recommend?

Side Note: it's strange about the response to the rent budget we mentioned. We've looked on padmapper, zillow, trulia, craigslist, etc and we've found places around that price in each city we listed. They may not be the most amazing places ever, but they're not awful either. We're young and would like to save in order to buy a house. That's when we'll spring for something nicer. That said, we're still not looking to live in a dump.
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Old 02-16-2012, 09:23 PM
Location: SE Portland, OR
1,167 posts, read 2,145,112 times
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I think you can get decent places in all the cities for that price, except for Boulder. You're going to be looking at mostly one bedroom, maybe two apartments. The Springs will stretch you dollar the farthest for housing, but again, wouldn't recommend living there just for that reason.

West side of Denver is much closer to outdoor stuff, but also more expensive because of that. Might look at Golden, although I know nothing about the price.

I had a friend who lived in West Highland, that seemed like a nice place. Unfortunately I can't help you out too much with Denver, that's the one place I didn't live, and outside of the random concert/airport/ski show trip, didn't spend a ton of time there.
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