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Old 10-27-2018, 03:55 PM
 
9 posts, read 10,422 times
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My boyfriend and I are deciding between Chicago and Denver. We are late 20s/early 30s and both work in finance-related industries.

We do not have kids and do not want them (other than the fur kind).
We do not want to live in a suburban area - would rather be where the action is happening.
Both of us are health-conscious and love organic food.
Want somewhere with a lot of diversity and international food options.
We both love the outdoors.
We want to own property and not rent forever.

Is there anyone who has experience with both who could offer suggestions about which city and even neighborhood might fit?
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Old 10-27-2018, 06:44 PM
 
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You should visit both before making a decision. Two completely different cities with different vibes.

Denver hands down for out door activities and home ownership.

Chicago for nightlife, diversity and food options.
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Old 10-27-2018, 07:48 PM
 
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Originally Posted by usamathman View Post
Denver hands down for out door activities and home ownership.

.
Denver for home ownership? Even though the average nice place is like $800k+?
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Old 10-27-2018, 10:57 PM
 
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Chicago is much more affordable and offers high paying jobs. On the other hand, I think Denver's real estate values will continually go up due to the natural location.
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Old 10-28-2018, 01:01 AM
 
Location: River North, Chicago, Illinois
4,613 posts, read 7,362,021 times
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Originally Posted by brightlights123 View Post
Denver for home ownership? Even though the average nice place is like $800k+?
Well, it's easier to get into home ownership here, but Chicago has never had housing values grow as fast as Western and Coastal cities. So it depends on what you want from home ownership. If you want to stability of knowing where home is, Chicago is probably better because it's cheaper. If you want to leverage real estate as an investment, Chicago has some challenges.

On the other hand, Denver and the coasts' real estate might be in a huge bubble, so it's entirely possible that people getting in now will lose all their equity in the next decade - that's unlikely to happen in Chicago.

To the O.P.:

Denver is a Western city. It's advantages are proximity to the nature and natural wonders of the West. It's getting more urban, especially by contemporary standards (that are still pretty auto-centric), but it's much less urban than older cities.

Chicago has some beautiful natural wonder with the lake and a few nearby areas, but it doesn't really compare to Denver in that regard unless you want to be into sailing, where Lake Michigan enables that better than anything in Colorado. But Chicago's urbanity blows Denver's out of the water, and it has both pre-auto urbanity and more contemporary styles, too. If your idea of a real city is having the option to live daily life without using your own car while not giving up any lifestyle benefit, you can do that in numerous parts of Chicago, but not easily in Denver. I've lived car-free in Chicago now for twenty years, and not because I can't afford a car - I just don't need to own one and get by just fine without one. I do use Zipcar occasionally, but I can go months without it, too.

So really it depends on what you want out if a city lifestyle. If you want a traditional, pre-automobile city lifestyle where you commute to work by transit and/or bike and/or walking, are able to get groceries by walking, can shop for anything else you needed either by walking or using transit or a taxi/Urber, then Chicago is the better choice.

If you won't even be in the city most weekends, and work so much you won't be able to take advantage of City Life during the week and want to be able to hike or ski most weekends, Denver is probably better.
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Old 10-28-2018, 01:54 AM
 
Location: Seattle
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brightlights123 View Post
Denver for home ownership? Even though the average nice place is like $800k+?
That’s a bit over the top. You can get a nice place Denver for far less than $800k. You can get a nice place in Seattle for less than $800k, and Denver is less expensive than Seattle.
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Old 10-28-2018, 06:54 AM
 
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Well if you work in finance then Chicago hands down for your career. Chicago isn’t good for outdoorsy stuff though.
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Old 10-28-2018, 07:17 AM
 
Location: Sweet Home Chicago!
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Tough one, I've lived in both and they are completely different animals. Lots of good points above. Denver is tiny compared to Chicago. I like both, but based on your wants/needs, I'd say Chicago. I'd suggest looking for something close to the lake where there are trails, parks, beaches, etc. In addition, there are many state parks about an hour from Chicago with lots of outdoorsy stuff. For example > https://www.google.com/search?q=indi...w=1280&bih=612

Keep in mind that although Denver is close to the mountains, they are a couple hour drive, especially with traffic. A lot of people think Denver is "in the mountains", but it is not and the city itself is flat as a pancake, just like Chicago.
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Old 10-28-2018, 08:48 AM
 
9 posts, read 10,422 times
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Originally Posted by emathias View Post
Well, it's easier to get into home ownership here, but Chicago has never had housing values grow as fast as Western and Coastal cities. So it depends on what you want from home ownership. If you want to stability of knowing where home is, Chicago is probably better because it's cheaper. If you want to leverage real estate as an investment, Chicago has some challenges.
That's a really good point. I have been watching Denver and Chicago real estate for a while and the trends could not be more different. Houses in Denver/Boulder will sell for double the sale price ten years ago (ex. bought for 300k now selling for 600k+), whereas I've seen houses go for less in Chicago than when they were bought originally (ex. bought for 600k three years ago and now selling for 590k), which blows my mind.
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Old 10-28-2018, 09:21 AM
 
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Go with Chicago, and Lake Michigan, which is beautiful. More opportunities, relatively affordable housing, centrally-located, and a microcosm of America...
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