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Old 03-27-2017, 05:19 PM
 
Location: Brighton, MI
133 posts, read 83,073 times
Reputation: 474

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Long-time reader of these boards, I figured I could offer some insight for all those joining the massive Colorado migration.

To start, I grew up in small-town Northern Colorado, and moved to Denver about 5 years ago after graduate school. I live in Littleton (near Ken Caryl), so keep that in mind. These thoughts are in no particular order.

---------------------------------

-Population has skyrocketed these last few years. Popular/hot areas of Denver include Denver proper, the Highlands, Highlands Ranch, Centennial, Westminster, Littleton, and Lakewood to a lesser extent.

-Probably the biggest drawback of Denver (and the entire Front Range really) is cost of living. Specifically, housing. There is just a really low inventory level, and not enough homes in the <$400k market to fill the demand. Our small home has appreciated about 12% in the last year. If you are looking to buy a new home under 400k, expect to bid and be outbid, probably several times before you have a taker. People will put their homes on the market for 3-4 days and take the highest bidder. People do pay over appraisal price too.

-Apartments are everywhere, from luxury to basic, and they are pricey too. It seems every patch of undeveloped land is seized for more apartments and condos.

-Much of our population are transplants.

-Traffic is pretty bad on all major roads, and horrific on I-25 and I-70.

-Outdoor opportunities? Yes, but it depends on your frame of reference, and what you like to do. There are many beautiful open space areas (basically natural parks) in the city and city outskirts. For real wilderness hiking, you are looking at a 90 minute - 2 hour drive in most cases. The alpine hiking and backpacking season is from about mid-June to late September. And if you can drive there easily---so can everyone else so don't always expect solitude.

Skiing is another story--world-class yes, but at a world-class cost. Also ski traffic on I-70 on winter weekends is something to behold. Expect a 3-6 hour commute each direction.

Hunting can also be incredible but the best land is either private or requires a lot of preference points in the lottery to draw.

We have some incredible fly fishing rivers and streams, but you have a lot of company and competition. So the early bird gets the worm, as they say. Be willing to go weekdays or get out earlier, go further, and drive further to beat the crowds.

-Grocery stores are crowded and the food is costlier than you might be used to in the midwest.

-Pot shops are only in Denver proper and Lakewood, Northglenn I believe. There are a lot of them.

-Pot is a big part of culture here and you will smell weed randomly just about everywhere at some point. It's not like there are people walking down your suburban street smoking a joint, but many people partake and it's generally accepted within reasonable limits.

-Crime of course depends on your neighborhood. It's comparable to any other big western city. The suburbs are generally safe.

-SUNSHINE! We have a lot of it. More days than not. Probably my favorite part of Colorado.

-We get most of our snow in Denver in just a few days a year. 60-70 degree stretches are not uncommon really any month besides November, December and January. From July to August we get scattered thunderstorms almost daily, but rarely see any measurable rain. It will rain here for 15 minutes---sometimes torrential---then be done.

-Climate in Colorado is very much determined by the altitude. In the high country (~8,000 ft and up) snow is prolific and lasts from September to June.

-On the note of altitude, you should take it very seriously. Altitude sickness is no joke, and the lighting we get at 10,000 ft and above can be apocalyptic. Every year MULTIPLE people are killed by lighting strikes, mainly above treeline. Do not tempt nature and if you are above treeline and see or hear lighting, get down ASAP.

-Eastern Colorado is a vast, dry, desolate place. Think of it as an extension of Kansas.

-The last thing I'll say is the BEST parts of Colorado are not in the Front Range corridor, they are in the southwest and west-central. It's more wild, remote, sparsely populated, and the country is truly world-class. To see true Colorado you need to visit the San Juans, Ouray, Telluride, Pagosa, etc.

--------------------------------

Colorado is slowly becoming California in many ways but is still a great place to live. Quality of life is generally high if you have the coin. Expect a high cost of living, crowds and traffic if you are living in the Denver area. Industry dictates most people will have to live in the Front Range corridor. But there are many gems to be had elsewhere.
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Old 03-27-2017, 07:39 PM
 
Location: In The Thin Air
12,245 posts, read 8,033,606 times
Reputation: 8900
So is Colorado slowly becoming California based on your experience or from what you have seen or read in the media?

I partially agree it has some aspects of California but being from there I still think it is a long way off. Most of the "natives" I know despise anything California so they tend to blame everything on us. These days it seems more people are migrating from Florida, New Mexico and Texas.

I agree it is getting crowded and the housing market is insane.
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Old 03-27-2017, 08:44 PM
 
Location: Colorado Springs
3,046 posts, read 2,076,221 times
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Not exactly ground breaking insight and it has all been discussed over and over again in the couple of years I've been on CD. I was hoping you might provide a new angle on it all.
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Old 03-27-2017, 08:47 PM
 
24 posts, read 20,936 times
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"Population has skyrocketed these last few years."

The Denver metro area (Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO Metropolitan Statistical Area) has grown by a little over 12% in the last 7 years, since the 2010 census. It ranks 27th among US Metropolitan Statistical Areas for growth in that time period. So the growth in Denver has been fairly high but at the same time its growth has been vastly outpaced by many other MSAs in the US--from Houston to Dallas, Orlando to Raleigh, San Antonio to Provo Utah.

Lots of places in the country have experienced much more growth than Denver in recent years. I'm sometimes surprised by how much some Denverites talk about population and growth--yes there's been some but after being here over 10 years, the city just does not feel that different to me. The Union Station area has undergone the most change in that time and that's a relatively small patch of land--to say nothing of the fact that downtown areas are supposed to have dense development and Denver's downtown remains quite small, with very few tall commercial buildings or tall residential buildings. One's perspective is relative to one's experience, of course...

I've lived in Denver for over a decade, for example, and I still fail to see crowds or very much traffic. I work downtown and rent a condo in LoDo, two of the densest areas of the entire metro, and in the evenings during the week the sidewalks and streets are generally dead, so much so that I'm often the only person on an entire block when I'm walking around. Even taking my own bias into account, it's just weird to hear people talking about crowds here. I never see any crowds--where are the crowds, apart from the slopes?

The only traffic I can't stand is traffic on 70. But have gone skiing more than 10 times this year, I can't agree with this comment: "Expect a 3-6 hour commute each direction." I have made it to and from A-Basin in just over an hour every time during the week and it has taken about 30 minutes more during the weekend.

Anyway, I lived in LA a long time ago. The Front Range shares very few similarities with California (by which people usually mean negative aspects of California) and Denver still feels like a wonderful place to live and relocate to. Just my 2 cents.
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Old 03-27-2017, 09:44 PM
 
795 posts, read 423,244 times
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I've lived in a North Denver suburb for a couple of years having migrated from the East Coast where I had lived in many of the major cities. In the spirit of MZM's post about general impressions and experiences of living here, here are a few more to add to the list from my perspective:

-We had ski passes this season and the traffic to and from wasn't bad at all as long as we left at 5:30 am and headed home by 2 pm. Not bad at all other than waking up that early out of warm bed to head into frigid temps.

-Husband commutes from Broomfield to the downtown mall every day and it's not that big of a deal. He's gotten used to the about 45 minutes each way. My dad reminds us that back in the early 70's, he used to commute by train almost two hours each way between Manhattan and the the outer edge of Long Island.

-Minimal bugs. Yay!

-Low Humidity. Yay!

-Cool breezy evenings. Nice.

- Strange housing in the burbs if built before maybe 10 years ago. Weird insanely open floor plans with strange interior awnings, odd drywall ledges, carpeted bathrooms, bizarre upstairs landings, awkward built-ins etc. Very large, open, and bland with super cheap finishes. Some really ugly suburban houses out here if built before 2000 ish. The newer homes are much nicer.

-Colorado continues to be the promised land for especially a lot of young people across the US. The mountain-outdoorsy-earthy-hippie subculture can offer salvation from whatever other place that they are coming from, and possibly tired of and disillusioned with. I think this CO subculture can be quite seductive to absorb as one's new lease on life identity and lifestyle. One should be aware of the pitfalls of getting too addicted or attached to all of this as it may not be sustainable as one ages or has to leave and adapt to other subcultures for jobs, family etc. National Geographic did an article last year about the relatively high rate of ski town suicides in recent years.

-In general, people are friendly enough here. There tends to be a live and let live vibe.

-I do find the land outside of the mountains to be visually unappealing. It's brown much of the year, flat, weedy, dusty, and somewhat barren and desolate looking to me. The houses tend to be close together. I miss the lushness and tree canopies of back East where the terrain is far less wide open and exposed. I feel claustrophobic out here because of the wide open exposure as it can feel like psychologically there is less respite from other people.

-Dry. Nose is constantly dry and bleeds and hands have aged in two years. Booo. Hair looks better out here. Far less allergies here.

-Tired upon arrival. Felt drained first few months I was here probably due to higher altitude. No problems with fatigue now.

-I'm not really sure if this is just my imagination or actually a real dynamic. It seems there could be this money grab-greedy mentality out here. Plumbers, mechanics, home repair persons, painters, locksmith, etc have all seemed pretty expensive, and at times, gouging compared to back East. The houses seem built for builders to give you the least they can for the max profit. Food seems pricey. I've wondered if maybe there's some correlation to the settlers mentality here with trappers, hunters, miners all hustling to get at the resources, and make away with the most because survival was harder here. Could be my imagination...not sure.

-Beautiful evening skies. Lots of beautiful pinks, blues, purples.

-Seems more safe and less crime ridden to me. Watching the local evening news seems somehow jolly, benign, and lighthearted here. The hubs and I recall East Coast local news always being very freaky and frightening. Not here. The main story will be about a lost goat needing help, people brewing beer for some cause, or problems with too much poop in dog parks etc.

-Somewhat homogeneous, but then again a lot of places are like this. In my particularl suburb, MOST of the kids are VERY into soccer, and many families' lives outside of school/work revolve around youth sports. I mean hard core. These people routinely travel out of state to tournaments and competitions and spend a small fortune on their offspring's athletic endeavors. I guess a lot of burbs across the country are like this. If coming from more diverse locales, I could see how Denver may feel too homogeneous to some.

Overall to me, a nice place to live but with its pros and cons just like everywhere else!

Last edited by Chloe333; 03-27-2017 at 09:54 PM..
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Old 03-27-2017, 10:23 PM
 
Location: Denver
1,303 posts, read 430,145 times
Reputation: 1239
Quote:
Originally Posted by MZMpac View Post

-Outdoor opportunities? Yes, but it depends on your frame of reference, and what you like to do. There are many beautiful open space areas (basically natural parks) in the city and city outskirts. For real wilderness hiking, you are looking at a 90 minute - 2 hour drive in most cases. The alpine hiking and backpacking season is from about mid-June to late September. And if you can drive there easily---so can everyone else so don't always expect solitude.

Skiing is another story--world-class yes, but at a world-class cost. Also ski traffic on I-70 on winter weekends is something to behold. Expect a 3-6 hour commute each direction.

-Grocery stores are crowded and the food is costlier than you might be used to in the midwest.

-Pot is a big part of culture here and you will smell weed randomly just about everywhere at some point. It's not like there are people walking down your suburban street smoking a joint, but many people partake and it's generally accepted within reasonable limits.

I disagree with these points.

Wilderness - Plenty of not-crowded options out there. Golden Gate Canyon State Park often has a lot of people, but it's spread out and not a congo-line. Lost Creek Wilderness near Bailey has been near-dead the now 5 times I've been there. Went hiking there yesterday and ran into only 1 other person on a 4 hour hike. Parts of the Colorado Trail near Waterton Canyon get pretty empty a few miles in. CO Springs has a number of trailheads for day hikes that aren't too crowded.

Backpacking is dependent on your equipment, personal tolerance for weather, and skill level. You can easily go on lower level backpacking trips from April-October. You'd just need a properly rated sleeping system and the right hiking clothing to stay warm.

Skiing - Get the Epic Pass or avoid Vail resorts. Loveland is only $71 walkup and if you get a 4-pack in the fall, it's only $33/ticket. Copper can be skied for $75 with the 2-for-1 deal, along with Crested Butte, Monarch, Sunlight, and Powderhorn. If you leave early enough (and on a Sunday), traffic isn't that bad.

Food - King Soopers and Walmart seems to be priced the same as Jewel Osco and Walmart in Chicago. No busier either.

Pot - Sure, you're more likely to run into potheads here than other states and people are a lot more open about it, but I wouldn't call it a big part of the culture here. A high majority of people don't partake or only partake in limited social events. I'd say it's just not frowned upon like it is in other states, so more people are willing to try it.
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Old 03-28-2017, 12:22 AM
 
Location: We_tside PNW (Columbia Gorge) / CO / SA TX / Thailand
22,389 posts, read 39,704,721 times
Reputation: 23408

-Eastern Colorado is a vast, dry, desolate place. Think of it as an extension of Kansas.


and... Denver is a LOT like Kansas (Except Denver's 'Brown Cloud', very evident if coming from Kansas headed west)

Nothing new... Michener summed it up pretty well in 1976. (and that was pretty dated)

By 1976, CO had already been overrun by transplants. (and skiing was REALLY expensive) and gas was rationed!

BTDT.
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Old 03-28-2017, 12:58 AM
 
Location: CO/UT/AZ/NM Catch me if you can!
4,697 posts, read 4,330,816 times
Reputation: 10278
Gotta agree with Mr. Rabbit.

For those of us who grew up here back in the day, the Front Range has become unlivable and even the Western Slope is growing ever more tattered around the edges. I seriously considered moving back to CO Springs a while back, but when I saw the cost of housing + the increased population pressure, I wrote off my old home town as having gone the way of the wooly mammoth.

For younger folk and/or those from other parts of the country, I'm sure many have no prob with Colorado the way it is today. When folks from places like NOVA or LA or whatever praise the Colorado of today, that just tells someone like me how horrid it must be to live in those places. Comments like "But it sure beats Newark!" leave me cold.

I got to chatting with a woman I was standing in line with at the local City Market the other day, and she told me that she'd moved out to my part of Colorado because she'd been priced out of Salida. SALIDA? Good grief! I no longer discuss my town very much on this forum unless I'm in the mood to point out all its faults - of which there are many. "Cheaper than Salida" is not exactly a rip-roaring review of this place. Remember that, any of you who may be considering a move to rural Colorado. Go with the "sure beats Newark" school of thought and move to Denver. You'll be much happier - I promise.

OP wrote:

Quote:
-The last thing I'll say is the BEST parts of Colorado are not in the Front Range corridor, they are in the southwest and west-central. It's more wild, remote, sparsely populated, and the country is truly world-class. To see true Colorado you need to visit the San Juans, Ouray, Telluride, Pagosa, etc.
I must respectfully disagree. SW and W-central Colorado are no longer especially "wild, remote, sparsely populated." Halliburton, Kinder Morgan, etc., etc have been busily building pipelines and pumping stations all over western rural Colorado. At least two National Monuments that I know well have been almost completely destroyed by the activities of the mega carbon based energy companies. Grand Junction (Mesa County) can't slaver enough all over 45 and his plans to destroy the Western Landscape (and water and rivers and fishing and hunting). I believe they've hung a giant "WELCOME HALLIBURTON - COME REMOVE THE MOUNTAIN TOPS ON GRAND MESA!" sign on the gates to their city. The poor fools think Halliburton is going to give them jobs. That's rich. These outfits generally come with their own supply of workers that were hired anywhere but the area they're currently destroying. They do manage to raise the rents, however, with their per diem pay that no local could ever even dream of paying to rent a two bedroom trailer in a meth park on the edge of town. The landlords are happy enough, I suppose. But the energy industry is volatile in more ways than one and I've watched them come and go here on the Western Slope for the better part of 40 years now. When they do leave, the places that have been plundered all sooner or later end up being super fund sites. Of course, since there's no more EPA, I guess we don't have to worry about cleaning anything up out here these days. What a relief since we're all working 3 minimum wage jobs just trying to survive here in "wild" rural Colorado. Don't believe me? Then consider this. Where I live, I'm about equal-distant from San Juan County, NM and San Juan County, Utah. NM opened up ITS San Juan County to the Kinder-Halliburton gang. That county is a bleak landscape of pipelines stretching in every direction and semi-functioning pumping stations. It has lost 12% of its population in the past 5 years. The only people who live there now are the ones who are forced to because they live on the Rez. On the other hand, Utah's San Juan County is the site of the newly created Bears Ears National Monument (this despite the protests of the folks who wanted to open the area to more massive drilling). That new National Monument has created all sorts of interest from outdoorsmen and women and just people who love Ed Abbey Country. The population of San Juan County, UTAH has increased 14% in just the past year thanks to the increased outdoors recreation opportunities there. And unlike Halliburton, Bears Ears ain't going nowhere. Unless 45 takes it into his so-called mind to destroy it like the folks in NM did to their county, that National Monument will still be drawing tourists and creating LOCAL jobs 100 years from now. Too bad Western Colorado can't get a clue, but so far, it hasn't.

Telluride is a ski resort which caters to the upper 5% in income. Yep, it has great slopes and a huge price ticket to experience them to match. Come to Telluride and buy yourself a $5,000 pair of turquoise dyed, alligator skin, ersatz smoke jumper boots - its the "in" thing to do around here unless you're a local working those 3 minimum wage jobs trying to survive in the farthest dumpy little town from astronomically priced Telluride - like Nucla - the commute's only 70 miles over treacherous icy mountain roads each way. You'll love it. Pagosa used to be nice, I guess. But anymore it's far from being "wild' or "isolated." It's pretty built up and up and over-priced, but then - it does beat Newark.

And that's THIS native's take on the Colorado "scene."

Last edited by Colorado Rambler; 03-28-2017 at 01:59 AM..
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Old 03-28-2017, 01:05 AM
 
114 posts, read 79,082 times
Reputation: 81
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chloe333 View Post
I've lived in a North Denver suburb for a couple of years having migrated from the East Coast where I had lived in many of the major cities. In the spirit of MZM's post about general impressions and experiences of living here, here are a few more to add to the list from my perspective:

-We had ski passes this season and the traffic to and from wasn't bad at all as long as we left at 5:30 am and headed home by 2 pm. Not bad at all other than waking up that early out of warm bed to head into frigid temps.

-Husband commutes from Broomfield to the downtown mall every day and it's not that big of a deal. He's gotten used to the about 45 minutes each way. My dad reminds us that back in the early 70's, he used to commute by train almost two hours each way between Manhattan and the the outer edge of Long Island.

-Minimal bugs. Yay!

-Low Humidity. Yay!

-Cool breezy evenings. Nice.

- Strange housing in the burbs if built before maybe 10 years ago. Weird insanely open floor plans with strange interior awnings, odd drywall ledges, carpeted bathrooms, bizarre upstairs landings, awkward built-ins etc. Very large, open, and bland with super cheap finishes. Some really ugly suburban houses out here if built before 2000 ish. The newer homes are much nicer.

-Colorado continues to be the promised land for especially a lot of young people across the US. The mountain-outdoorsy-earthy-hippie subculture can offer salvation from whatever other place that they are coming from, and possibly tired of and disillusioned with. I think this CO subculture can be quite seductive to absorb as one's new lease on life identity and lifestyle. One should be aware of the pitfalls of getting too addicted or attached to all of this as it may not be sustainable as one ages or has to leave and adapt to other subcultures for jobs, family etc. National Geographic did an article last year about the relatively high rate of ski town suicides in recent years.

-In general, people are friendly enough here. There tends to be a live and let live vibe.

-I do find the land outside of the mountains to be visually unappealing. It's brown much of the year, flat, weedy, dusty, and somewhat barren and desolate looking to me. The houses tend to be close together. I miss the lushness and tree canopies of back East where the terrain is far less wide open and exposed. I feel claustrophobic out here because of the wide open exposure as it can feel like psychologically there is less respite from other people.

-Dry. Nose is constantly dry and bleeds and hands have aged in two years. Booo. Hair looks better out here. Far less allergies here.

-Tired upon arrival. Felt drained first few months I was here probably due to higher altitude. No problems with fatigue now.

-I'm not really sure if this is just my imagination or actually a real dynamic. It seems there could be this money grab-greedy mentality out here. Plumbers, mechanics, home repair persons, painters, locksmith, etc have all seemed pretty expensive, and at times, gouging compared to back East. The houses seem built for builders to give you the least they can for the max profit. Food seems pricey. I've wondered if maybe there's some correlation to the settlers mentality here with trappers, hunters, miners all hustling to get at the resources, and make away with the most because survival was harder here. Could be my imagination...not sure.

-Beautiful evening skies. Lots of beautiful pinks, blues, purples.

-Seems more safe and less crime ridden to me. Watching the local evening news seems somehow jolly, benign, and lighthearted here. The hubs and I recall East Coast local news always being very freaky and frightening. Not here. The main story will be about a lost goat needing help, people brewing beer for some cause, or problems with too much poop in dog parks etc.

-Somewhat homogeneous, but then again a lot of places are like this. In my particularl suburb, MOST of the kids are VERY into soccer, and many families' lives outside of school/work revolve around youth sports. I mean hard core. These people routinely travel out of state to tournaments and competitions and spend a small fortune on their offspring's athletic endeavors. I guess a lot of burbs across the country are like this. If coming from more diverse locales, I could see how Denver may feel too homogeneous to some.

Overall to me, a nice place to live but with its pros and cons just like everywhere else!

Some areas are flat but it's not flat as a pancake like you suggest it to be. The front range is appealing to me. It might be brown 6 months out the year but to me it looks beautiful in its own way.
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Old 03-28-2017, 01:07 AM
 
114 posts, read 79,082 times
Reputation: 81
Quote:
Originally Posted by StealthRabbit View Post

-Eastern Colorado is a vast, dry, desolate place. Think of it as an extension of Kansas.


and... Denver is a LOT like Kansas (Except Denver's 'Brown Cloud', very evident if coming from Kansas headed west)

Nothing new... Michener summed it up pretty well in 1976. (and that was pretty dated)

By 1976, CO had already been overrun by transplants. (and skiing was REALLY expensive) and gas was rationed!

BTDT.
Denver is nothing like Kansas. Not in the least bit.
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