Moving to Denver, areas to stay away from? (Aurora, Lakewood: middle-class, apartment complexes)
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I am considering a move to Denver in about 6 months. I am a single white female, later 20's and am very unfamiliar with the different areas of Denver! I'm hoping to share an apt w/ someone, but I was wondering if anyone could advise me on areas to stay away from as far as crime and shady areas go? I'm also looking into the outskirts of Denver, since I don't really prefer the city-life (just figured Denver would be a good place to start when I move!
I'm not certain yet as far as a job goes. I will have 3 months living saved up (expecting rent @ $500/month) plus whatever I need for food, gas, etc. I'll be likely looking into job in veterinary clinics and the zoo, since most of my experience is animal training, etc. However, I expect to take on a second job just waitressing somewhere to just bring in some kind of cash flow until securing something better. I hope that helps!
areas to stay away from as far as crime and shady areas go?
Difficult to do.
There are really only small pockets of "dangerous" areas in the greater Denver area. (Except for the Town of Lakeside which has a really high crime rate.)
So, tell us what address you are contemplating and we will chime in.
That's about the kind of budget I was on when I dropped everything and moved to Denver after college graduation. I think it's important you have a roomate to split costs with, it can save you a hundred (likely more) a month. Paying utilities by yourself is where you really get slammed though. Try and find a place that has paid heat, and don't pay for cable when you can watch whatever you want on the internet. That can save you another 60 or so a month. It won't be impossible to move out here on your own, but it will certainly be difficult. Finding a roomate who you won't want to kill (kidding) can be difficult, but chances are there are lots of people who share common interests and such as you here in Denver, and who also share a similar situation. You could also rent a room in someone else's furnished place month by month until you get settled a little bit, that way you wont have to commit to a 6 or 12 month lease. Or maybe waiting on a friend to move into town so you can live together. There are always rooms for rent on craigslist, and you could do some chatting with the prospective roomates to find if you think you'll get along.
As far as "outside the city limits" of denver - trust me when I say you will be surprised at how "small" Denver feels. It does NOT have the feel of a big city like New York, Chicago, etc. The only place is feels like that is in the downtown/LoDo area (in my opinion) which is only one neighborhood in Denver.
I think you would feel right at home in an area like Wash Park, Baker, Cherry Creek, or even a few others. Cap Hill is great, trendy, and walkable which will allow you to walk just about everywhere, but parking can be a hassle, and it can feel a bit crowded at times, but that may be a good or bad thing. Having said that, if you are on a budget it might not be a bad idea to start off in a place like Englewood, or Lakewood which will get you cheaper rent than Denver, and is still a short (10-15 min) drive to downtown Denver. I just think inside the city limits of Denver is where you will be happiest. Its up to you to decide what's important, and what you want, but keep in mind with 500/month, you probably won't get everything you are looking for (price, location, charm, etc...you may have to sacrifice one)
Personally, I would stay away from Aurora. Just my opinion
Obviously, "areas to stay away from" is somewhat subjective. What seems like a bad area to one person might be completely acceptable to another.
With that said, I probably wouldn't direct a newcomer to some of the southwest Denver neighborhoods. I have a co-worker who bought a house near Federal and Alameda and can't wait to sell it at a loss so that he can move. He's had a lot of issues with petty crime and had his older/beater car stolen once, but it was recovered.
Obviously his experience doesn't mean that EVERYONE will have that same experience, but I don't think I would recommend that specific area to someone who is new and asking for advice.
As you say, you do not prefer city life then do not move into the city, regardless of what people say, thinking that a young woman needs the vibrancy of a city. You know what you do not like and do like--so stick with it, especially in a new environment.
I would suggest you need the safest suburbs you can find and that is what you are asking--not what to avoid but where are the safest suburbs. The safest suburbs are the most conservation or the most wealthy. Since your funds are limited then pick the most conservative family areas that are away from the amusements of younger folks and their venues that attract perils and make life exciting but more risking. They are nice areas but living near the young, even when you are young, involves you in that lifestyle of fast and furious which makes crime because youth has the hormones of sexual drives, anger and inpatience. However, in a family stable conservative area, you will find less of those problems because we have all gone past those stages and burnt ourselves out.
You certainly can get cheaper housing in other areas, especially in areas of Denver and Aurora but they are not the safest for a young woman. Stick with your main focus--that is safety.
So leaving out the wealthy areas, I would select the most stable suburban areas of Wheat Ridge Lakewood and Arvada. Many would say boring but they are the safest. I live in Arvada and most of Arvada are extremely safe and have comparatively less expensive housing. I would look along Ralston Road which turns up to West 64th in West Arvada. It has many apartment complexes. I would look in Wheat Ridge, west on 32nd, 38th, 44th, past Kipling. I would look at Apartments in Lakewood, West of Wadsworth, the farther west and south you go the better. You can go to the Southwest in the Jefferson County, near Coal Mine, Bowles and areas near the Southwest Mall. Can you afford all these areas, perhaps if you find a small studio.
You can go choose to look south in Centennial and Littleton which are very nice, safe, stable and family friendly conservative but you will be hitting some pricey areas.
Another important issue is where you are going to work. If you are going to work at the Denver Zoo, there are many good expensive areas near and around but some bad areas, which also can be expensive.
I know I just drove by a big new Veterinary clinic somewhere near Highlands Ranch. I remember thinking how many dogs and cats can people need. I think it was on South Colorado, past Dry Creek--nice area of Centennial.
I should say that I do agree with the previous poster, KottkeKU, in saying that Denver is very nice place to live and has many good neighborhoods. I think it is very safe and it is not like many other cities which gives you some preconceived notions. I am ex New Yorker and Denver is not like New York or Chicago. But I know it is hard for some people to move away from idea that suburbs are always better--it is not that case here. So, move where you feel safest and more secure initially and explore Denver; you may suddenly realize what many of use know that Denver is great.
Last edited by livecontent; 11-28-2011 at 05:00 PM..
$500.00 doesn't get much beyond a studio here...unless you want to rent a room in someone's house...
Waitressing gigs here are tough to get unless you're okay with the family chain restaurants...Chili's, Denny's etc..
Thornton isn't Denver. $500/mo can do better than a studio outside the city. Inside Denver, not so much.
Seriously, getting a job as a server might be the absolute easiest job in the metro area. Sure, Chili's and Outback are always hiring, but if you want to make real money, you can find a job at a better restaurant in the downtown area. Some places require previous experience but a lot of managers like to train you the way they want you to be.
I've seen a few people get decent serving jobs with minimal experience. You'd be surprised how far a charismatic attitude can carry you in restaurant interviews.
Good luck on your move. It's not as hard as it sounds. It might take hard work, but it's easy to do if you want it bad enough.
I'm the kind of guy who would probably be fine living anywhere (I'd probably go Gran Torino and hopefully not get killed at the end)....BUT
the average middle-class mentality newcomer should probably avoid:
most of 80204 W Denver
much of 80205 NE Denver
some of 80207 NE Denver (the far northern parts)
some of 80211 NW Denver (the far NE parts)
80216 NE Denver
80219 SW Denver
80220 E Denver, E of Quebec
80223 SW Denver
80010 and 80011 N Aurora
80012 and 80017 Aurora if you're particularly wussy
80022 Commerce City (the non-Reunion/newer areas)
maybe the far eastern parts of north/central Lakewood, a teeny part of Denver 80236 near Federal, perhaps the older parts of town of Sheridan, far south Thornton 80229/80260, and maybe parts of Westminster 80030/uninc Adams 80221.
Sounds like a lot, but really, it leaves the whole middle part of Denver, and a giant ring around the city as perfectly "safe".
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