Denver ranks No. 1 on U.S. News & World Report’s list of the 2016 Best Places to Live. U.S. News analyzed 100 cities based on quality of life, job market, as well as the value of living there and people’s desire to live there. Denver had an overall score of 7.8 out of 10. Austin, Texas, came in No. 2 with a 7.7 score; Fayetteville, Ark., got 7.5; Raleigh-Durham, N.C. got 7.5. (see the full article U. S. News & World Report)
So why is Denver a desirable place to live, we’ll let’s look at 10 reason you might consider Denver as your home. There are so many more reason to want to live in the “Mile High City,” but we will start with the top 10 reasons.
- 300 sunlight days a year – The Denver area enjoys more days of sunshine than any other city, making it a phenomenal place to play outdoors. Some good advice; invest in a good pair of sunglasses. The snow quickly melts in the city while keeping the white stuff on the peaks. Can’t beat 300 days of sun rays.
- A thriving downtown – Downtown Denver doesn’t shut down after 6 p.m., like the downtowns of so many other cities. A historical mining town with a long history of drinking and saloons, Denver nightlife is today a varied scene. Legend has it that first building ever constructed in Denver was a drinking establishment and with a high brewery count per capita, Denver specializes in select microbrews and authentic breweries with a local, Western flavor. LoDo, or Lower Downtown, is a hip enclave of see-and-be-seen bars alongside packed sports bars.
- 5,280 feet above sea level – You didn’t think they called it “Mile-High City” without reason, did you? Denver is a mile above sea level. In fact, if you walk up the western stairs of the Colorado State Capitol, you’ll be “Mile High” on the 13th step. The high altitude will definitely improve your golf game, but for newcomers and visitors, it means drinking more water (and less alcohol), taking it easy on physical activity, and wearing lots of sunscreen. The sunsets erupt into incredible oranges and reds, with mountains silhouetted against the backdrop.
- Public transportation and parks – Denver offers every kind of free public-park option: dog parks, skate parks, bike parks, walking parks, grassy parks, and above all, Red Rocks. Similar to the concept of Chicago’s “L,” Denver has the RTD Light Rail that stops at 46 stations throughout the Denver metro. With stops all the way from Sports Authority Field at Mile High and Pepsi Center out to Littleton, Denver residents and visitors can get where they need to go without hitting tons of traffic. Just added in 2016 is a line out to the Denver International Airport from downtown Union Station. It’s also easy to transfer to city buses from the Light Rail, and there are Park-n-Ride lots for commuters.
- The Rockies mountains are 20 minutes away – The excellent view of the Rocky Mountains just to the west of the metro isn’t the only reason people like living in Denver. Outdoor enthusiasts in particular love the area because they’re only a short drive from hiking and sightseeing adventures at Rocky Mountain National Park, camping in Chatfield State Park or Guanella Pass, whitewater rafting down Clear Creek and so much more.
- Front Range is on the front line of this country’s beer production – Although initially known for Coors, the Mile High City has been a huge player in the craft brewery revolution. There are microbreweries located all over Colorado and many within the Denver city limits. You can’t go wrong with any of them and a favorite is the Great Divide Brewery located in Downtown Denver. They have amazing beer, a brewery tour and a tap room. In addition, there are several downtown standouts: Wynkoop Brewery, Breckenridge Brewery, Great Divide Brewery, Blue Moon Brewery, Falling Rock Taphouse, Renegade Brewing, Denver Beer Company, Denver Chophouse and Brewery, and Rock Bottom Brewery. Brewpubs outside of downtown include Avery Brewing, Left Hand Brewery.
- Outdoor play zone – With nearly 200 parks in Denver, you’re bound to find the right place for outdoor recreation. Many locals love South Denver’s Washington Park—known as Wash Park—for running and biking. It has miles of wide, well-kept trails frequented by runners and cyclists of all levels. For those who aren’t into running and biking, the more modern Central Park in Stapleton is also a great place. In addition to lakes and paths, this 80-acre park includes a stage and playground area, as well as a massive hill perfect for sledding in the winter.
- Every major sports team and then some… – If professional sports are your thing, there are plenty of options in the Mile High City. Denver is home to all of the big four major sports teams with the Broncos, Avalanche, Nuggets and Rockies. For the non–traditionalists, there are also two professional lacrosse teams and soccer as well.
- Denver International Airport – Thanks to its convenient location in the center of the country, Denver is the fifth-busiest airport in the world (based on aircraft movements). It’s the main hub for Frontier Airlines, as well as a hub for United Airlines and Southwest. Flights to either coast (especially the west) are relatively quick and inexpensive, and flights to Europe and the Middle East often head due north, to Canada, and then over the Arctic, making for an abridged route.
- Independent arts and music scenes – From the Colorado Symphony Orchestra to the Denver Art Museum to the Denver Performing Arts Complex (where touring Broadway shows like The Lion King and Book of Mormon please the crowds), the Mile-High City offers its fair share of cultural attractions. If you like live music, head to the Ogden or the Fillmore to catch major touring acts. If you’re searching for smaller bands, check out the Hi-Dive, Bluebird Theater or head north to the Boulder Theater.If you’re into independent movies, the Esquire Theatre (just south of Cheesman Park) shows plenty of indy and foreign films, while the Mayan Theatre (on Broadway, between 1st and 2nd) shows a blend of big-box and indy flicks. Less than an hour south of Denver sits the Colorado Renaissance Festival, a literal village that opens each summer and is filled with hundreds of trained and experienced costumed merrymakers. Not only do these actors live and work in the village, but they also perform on each of the seven stages throughout the festival grounds. You can come in plain clothes or dress up—you can even buy a costume while you’re there! Also, try Steak on a Stake and cheer on your favorite jouster alongside the royal court in the jousting tournament.
Denver Colorado is an attractive place to raise a family, retirement or just the single life. As Denver’s offer of more than 5,000 acres of parks, trails, golf courses and playgrounds makes it an outdoor paradise. But for those sensitive souls when it comes to temperature, Denver definitely has seasons, but they are more mild than a lot of people would think. Lots of snow one day and sunshine the next. Who could ask for more.