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Thread summary:

Couple with child moving to Denver or Phoenix; information on weather, hiking, mountain biking, climbing, annual snowfall, pros and cons of Denver and Phoenix

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Old 02-29-2008, 10:22 PM
 
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Hi all,
My wife, daughter and I are currently living in Flagstaff, AZ. We moved here from Oklahoma City, OK. We have been here since last summer. We are planning on moving away from the area within the next few months. The area around Flagstaff is beautiful but the city itself is very trashy and the cost of living is extremely high. We have been considering moving to either the Phoenix Metro or the Denver Metro (Broomfield/Lousiville/Superior). We are leaning more towards Denver because we do not care much for the 100+ degree temperatures that Phoenix has for so many months of the year. I am originally from Arizona and my wife is from Broomfield, CO. I have been to Denver a couple of times and loved it. It's such a beautiful area. We are both very much into climbing, hiking, mountain biking and etc....
My question is on average how much of the year is the weather in the Denver/foothills/Front Range area nice enough for us to be able to go out hiking and biking? Are the winters really as bad as what we hear? I've read on here that the area stays sunny most of the year. We hated the Oklahoma winters. It would get grey and cloudy and stay that way for weeks at a time. Not to mention all of the ice storms. We don't mind snow but don't care for too much either. We've had 90 inches in Flagstaff so far this season and it's a bit more than what we'd like to have. Does it snow that much there? I think I read that the average annual snowfall amount for Denver is 55-60 inches. Is this accurate? One thing that we do miss about Oklahoma are the amazing spring time thunderstorms that they receive. We don't miss the tornadoes just being able to sit back and watch the beautiful storms. Does the Denver area happen to receive storms fairly often or at least East of the Metro to where we can sit back and admire them? And the last question. Where would you all chose and why? Denver or Phoenix? Thanks.
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Old 02-29-2008, 11:45 PM
 
Location: Denver, CO
5,608 posts, read 20,723,022 times
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Denver is slightly warmer than Flagstaff, and definitely gets less snow, although still plenty. It's colder and snowier than say, Prescott, though. If you've ever been out in say, Holbrook or Winslow, that's pretty similar to what Denver is like in terms of climate. Very windy at times. If you were relocating based on climate alone, I would suggest Albuquerque-- about a perfect balance between heat and cold IMO, with just a little bit of snow each year. Between Denver and Phoenix, I'd go with Denver personally. Just a little over two months and my four year stint in Phoenix is over! I still haven't decided for sure what I'm doing, but it looks like Denver it is!

In terms of your question, "Is it really that great?" that's a bad question to ask. Who ever said Denver was "that great"? Instead, ask whether or not Denver has the qualities you are looking for in a city.
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Old 02-29-2008, 11:55 PM
 
Location: Scottsdale, AZ
45 posts, read 156,562 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vegaspilgrim View Post
Denver is slightly warmer than Flagstaff, and definitely gets less snow, although still plenty. It's colder and snowier than say, Prescott, though. If you've ever been out in say, Holbrook or Winslow, that's pretty similar to what Denver is like in terms of climate. Very windy at times. If you were relocating based on climate alone, I would suggest Albuquerque-- about a perfect balance between heat and cold IMO, with just a little bit of snow each year. Between Denver and Phoenix, I'd go with Denver personally. Just a little over two months and my four year stint in Phoenix is over! I still haven't decided for sure what I'm doing, but it looks like Denver it is!

In terms of your question, "Is it really that great?" that's a bad question to ask. Who ever said Denver was "that great"? Instead, ask whether or not Denver has the qualities you are looking for in a city.
I like how you put it, VP!! I think Denver is a good balance... I live in Phoenix and it is way too hot, I am glad I am making my move to DEN in June, just in time to get out of the aweful heat, although with global warming, the high temps will kick in, in March/Apr just like last year. I think Den may be cold and we want it to be so we can ski, right but not as cold as say WY, MN, etc...
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Old 03-01-2008, 12:31 AM
 
33 posts, read 150,207 times
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Thanks for the replies. No, climate isn't the only reason that we're basing our move on. The great outdoors is another. Plus she likes to shop so we'd need to be a place that has some fairly good shoppig center's and malls for her. Yeah, Prescott is a nice area. Most of my family lives there. The only problem with Prescott is the lack of good paying jobs. I really believe that we'll end up in the Denver area. We're looking at the Northwest burbs. Well, thanks again.
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Old 03-01-2008, 07:20 AM
 
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I'm originally from Phoenix and I loved it growing up. Tons of great places to hike whenever you want, the desert is beautiful and full of interesting critters. That being said, Phoenix isn't the area I grew up in anymore. Now it's a sprawling, poorly designed, traffic choked, endless expanse of beige adobe McMansions dotted with strip mall after strip mall and big box stores. There's very little character anywhere, and the weather is miserable from around April to November (8 months).

And the air, it's filthy and only getting worse because you can't get anywhere in Phoenix without a car. Public transit is a joke. Developers did whatever they wanted in Phoenix and it shows--the cheapest, easiest building that would make the most profit for the developer without regard to good design, beauty, or preservation of the environment spread like a cancer to cover the entire area. It's a lost opportunity than I can't see as redeemable (I hope I'm wrong).

I've lived in Denver for the past 11 years and it has some of the best benefits of Phoenix (abundant natural beauty, lots of places to hike, bike etc..), but also many urban places of beauty also. Not that we don't have sprawl--we do--but we also have great little town center neighborhoods with their own character dotting the area as well. Phoenix (with the exception of the development occurring in downtown Scottsdale, Verrado in Buckeye, and Carefree) doesn't have this. We are developing a transit system to link the entire area, which is very important to me, and to our future as a city I believe and will contribute greatly to our quality of life here.

The weather--where do people get the idea that the winters here are so bad? Last year was an exception and yeah, it was a bit much for me, but generally speaking we have about 2 months of the entire year where the weather is usually crappy (Jan and Feb) and even in those months we have nice, clear sunny days above 40 degrees when you can still be outside. It is sunny here most days (300 days of sunshine I think, almost as many as Phoenix). We get great thunderstorms in the summer that are fun to watch with little tornado concern-at least along the Front Range, the eastern plains is a different story. We do get some nasty hail sometimes though! In my opinion the climate here is perfect from March-December (10 months) which is pretty good. We in reality get very little snow (usually, there are exceptions of course), and the mountains are always so beautiful, I appreciate seeing them every day.

If you move to Denver, I think you will love it. I live in the NW metro area (Westminster) and it's great. I love the whole area up here around Boulder, Superior, Louisville, Lafaytte, and Broomfield. If you let us know what you are looking for in a neighborhood (style/price/location to what's important to your family) the board can make some recommendations as to places to look if you want to come out and visit. I'm afraid the places I would recommend living in Phoenix are very limited (and expensive now) which makes me so, so sad.

Good Luck!
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Old 03-01-2008, 01:22 PM
 
Location: Carefree Arizona
127 posts, read 398,640 times
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ab14asos:

2 quick things - anyone who tells you that Phoenix is miserable in April and November obviously does not know what good weather is. Phoenix's hot/warm months May-September with your first 100 degree temperature recorded sometime around mid may.

Both places have good shopping, however, Arizona has two new projects currnetly under construction called "Scottsdale One" and "City North", Scottsdale One is going to be very unique and considered one of the top 10 world class shopping destinations.
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Old 03-01-2008, 02:41 PM
 
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Thank you all for your comments. We are really having a difficult time on figuring out if we are wanting to go to Phoenix or Denver. It will more than likely end up being Denver. Both metros have many areas and destinations that are appealing to us. We don't care much for the hot summers that Phoenix has, then again we aren't too thrilled about lots of snow. That's one thing that seems appealing about the Denver area. They do get snow but it doesn't seem to be near as much as what we get here in Flagstaff. This winter has been terrible for us and they say it's been a mild winter for the area.

Bradburn1 - You make some really good points. The Phoenix area is sprawling too fast. We actually read that they are expecting a population of 10 million in the greater Phoenix area by the year 2030 compared to about 4 million in the Denver area. 10 million just seems way to big. That's almost the size of current Greater L.A. The traffic is terrible in Phoenix. I'm sure Denver has fairly bad traffic also but I'm not sure if it's anywhere near as bad as Phoenix.

The Mass transit project in Denver seems wonderful. I hear that they are in the process of developing a similar project in the Phoenix area too. I don't know the exact figures on it to whether or not it will be as large as what Denver has and is building. Both areas have wonderful outdoor activities. I'm glad to hear that there is on average only a couple of months a year that the weather isn't all that great in Denver. The summers in Phoenix are almost too hot to enjoy the outdoors unless you are sitting next to a pool or drive North into the higher elevation areas of Arizona.

It is nice to hear that Denver does get some nice storms during the spring and summer. We really do miss that about Oklahoma. They are so wonderful to watch. How are the shopping malls in the Denver area? I've been to Flatirons near Broomfield. It is a nice mall. I like the lodge style design it has. I've also heard that Park Meadows is a really nice mall and heard that they just built a nice outdoor mall/shopping center in the Aurora area. Is it nice? I think that the mall scene is one of the only advantages that the Phoenix area has over Denver. They just seem to keep building more and more malls in Phoenix. I'm not sure if Denver has any plans on adding additional major shopping destinations for the future or not. I am just thinking about my wife. She likes to shop and just walk around malls. We are looking at living in the Northwest Denver metro if we move that way. We will probably rent when we first move.

CareFreeAZ - Thanks for your reply too. I do agree with you that they are building some amazing shopping destinations in and around Phoenix. I looked up One Scottsdale and it seems like it's going to be a really nice master planned community. The only problem with that is that it's in Scottsdale and the area is so expensive. I read on the One Scottsdale website that the average family income for the area will be $101,000 dollars. That's a lot of money. They're aren't many people who make that kind of money or many jobs in the area that pay that kind of money. I will probably be working Law Enforcement in either Phoenix or Denver. That's what I've been doing for the past 3 1/2 years and enjoy it.

Well, thanks again for everyone's advice. We look forward to receiving more advice on here regarding our situation.
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Old 03-01-2008, 04:17 PM
 
694 posts, read 1,793,680 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CareFreeAZ View Post
ab14asos:

2 quick things - anyone who tells you that Phoenix is miserable in April and November obviously does not know what good weather is.
I lived in Scottsdale for 15 years, obviously "good" weather is somewhat subjective. I hate hot temps which for me having acclimated to Colorado is anything above 80 degrees. Phoenix fits that most of the time. April and November aren't miserable, just not my preference is all. I should have been more specific on such a highly subjective measure!

Last edited by Bradburn1; 03-01-2008 at 04:32 PM..
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Old 03-01-2008, 06:20 PM
 
287 posts, read 366,742 times
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There is nothing better than winter in Phoenix. If you can make it through the summer, every day you wake up in Phoenix over the winter, you will
feel blessed. I think winters in Denver suck. I do not ski. I have no desire to ski.
The cold weather really gets annoying. The snow just makes it more miserable.
Walking across icy parking lots to get to your car at night makes me utter to myself, why, why why am I here.
While Denver's climate is decent, some even say, blessed, I do not think there is any one time of the year that stands out as special, unlike Phoenix. Summers are mild, to be sure. But on the other hand, during the summer, I long for woods, and campfires.
We don't have woods here. So I always wish I were somewhere else in the summer,
such as the Midwest, for example. The best thing about Denver is the summer storms.
Even though the storms are often dry, they make the tall grasses swirl, and it looks
spectacular. I don't know, it's really hard to decide if Phoenix is the right place.
You have lived in Phoenix before, so you know the climate. I have lived in Phoenix, as well. But it is easy to fool yourself into thinking you can somehow coexist with a Phoenix summer. But it reality it is scary.
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Old 03-01-2008, 11:33 PM
 
33 posts, read 150,207 times
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Patrickmich - I agree with you about the Phoenix winters. They are wonderful. 60's and 70's is amazing for winter time anywhere. I did hear that Denver hit 75 degrees today though (but will only reach 34 degrees tomorrow). Like you, we don't ski either. We may get into it if we move to Denver but we're really not sure. The cold and snow doesn't bother us. We just don't want to be in a place where it stays cold and snows all the time. That's one reason why we are looking at Denver. From what I've read on here and seen studying the climate of Denver it seems like for the most part the winter's really aren't that terrible. Yeah, it snows but nothing like what we get in Flagstaff. Plus it seems to be fairly sunny in Denver most of the year. I know it's not as sunny as Phoenix but then again, it's no where near as not as Phoenix either. What did you mean when you said that you don't have any woods there? Are you talking about the Denver area or Phoenix area? I agree that there aren't any wooded areas in the general area of Phoenix but Denver? The Rockies are covered in beautiful evergreen wooded areas. I too love wooded areas. That's the main reason we came to Flagstaff was because of all the Ponderosa Pines in the area and of course the San Francisco Peaks. But Colorado has all of those things too.

I guess our main issue with deciding whether to move to Phoenix or Denver is which city has more to offer when it comes to outdoor rec and shopping. I know both cities are surrounded by mountains and both have nice shopping districts but which would be the best overall. I don't like the way that the Phoenix area is sprawling so much and so fast. Plus the mountains within a close distance to Phoenix aren't great to hike during the summer months due to the heat. You have to drive well over 1 hour to get to any fairly large mountains. Are the malls in and around Denver any good? Do they have any fairly large malls or shopping centers? My wife moved from there about 10 years ago so she doesn't remember much of what's there.

The crime rate in Phoenix seems to be getting extremely high. I hear of police involved shootings all the time in the Phoenix area (including officers being shot and killed alot). It seems like Phoenix is becoming a miniture L.A. I know that Denver has it's crime issues but I'm not sure that they're anywhere near as bad as what Phoenix is becoming. I understand the reason for this is because the fact that Phoenix is becoming such a major city so quickly compared to Denver. The officer related shootings and crime numbers in Phoenix are just concerning to me because of the fact that I work law enforcement and will probably continue to work law enforcement whether we go to Phoenix or Denver.

Plus I hear that Arizona is ranked last or near last in the country when it comes to education quality. This is another major factor in choosing where to live because our daughter will be starting her first year of school in about 1 year and we really would like her to be in a good and safe school district. Her cousins who live in Broomfield and Westminster, CO attend a private school and from what I hear it's a wonderful school. They do alot for the kids. They take field trips all over the country a couple times per year and have lots of after school projects for the students.

Well thanks again to everyone for your input. I hope to hear more regarding the situation.
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