Colorado’s population has soared to a record 5.8 million, marking an addition of over 1.5 million residents in the past two decades. The state’s allure continues unabated, drawing people especially from hotspots like California and Texas.
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In 2015, we settled in Boulder, Colorado, even though Ryan’s roots are in Colorado Springs. Our desire for a fresh start in a different city brought us there. Later, we bought a house in Colorado Springs to be nearer to our loved ones, and our love for the place has only grown.
However, with the state’s rapid population surge, dynamics change swiftly. As an outsider, I was quick to pick up on some unique Colorado quirks. They were unlike anything I’d encountered before, and I believe they’re worth highlighting. Here are some insights and advice on navigating them!
Considering a Move to Colorado?
Our initial stint in Denver for half a year was our introduction to life in Colorado. Having contemplated relocating from Texas to Colorado for some time, this experience solidified our decision.
Colorado, with its vibrant cities, myriad outdoor adventures, and burgeoning culinary landscape, is truly enticing. Perhaps you’re feeling the pull too?
Choosing the Right Spot
Considering downtown Denver? The bustling capital is a hub of culture, art, gastronomy, and lifestyle. However, its popularity comes with a higher cost of living and increased traffic.
If you’re leaning towards a more economical and relaxed pace, Colorado Springs might be your pick. Known as “The Springs” among locals, it boasts the Olympic Training Center and a strong family-oriented culture. Here, you can enjoy the mountainous backdrop without emptying your pockets.
For those who yearn for a closer bond with nature, Ft. Collins is an excellent choice. Alternatively, Boulder offers a harmonious blend of urban and natural living. Such cities provide the charm of a smaller community while being just a stone’s throw away from metropolises like Denver.
Indeed, Colorado offers a plethora of choices for every preference!
Identifying Your Motivations
What’s driving the influx of people to Colorado? Everyone has their unique reasons.
Perhaps you’re on the hunt for a promising career opportunity or yearning for a life that’s intertwined with nature and health.
To navigate this, we recommend initiating with a straightforward checklist. Reflecting on our journey, our motivations included:
- A longing to be nestled near the mountains.
- The allure of a healthier way of life.
- A setting that prioritized exploration over endless work, fostering reduced stress.
- Being in closer touch with our loved ones.
- The ease of stepping out and immersing in nature.
At the heart of it all, it’s about pinpointing a location that resonates with the life you envision for yourself. That’s the path we chose, and it’s a choice we cherish every day.
During my recent visit to Colorado, I was immediately captivated by the state’s breathtaking landscapes, the harmonious blend of urban and natural beauty and diverse wildlife. As a traveler seeking a potential new home, I was drawn to the vibrant arts scene in Denver and the serene mountainous backdrop of Colorado Springs. The friendly locals and the plethora of outdoor activities made me feel right at home.
However, I did find the sudden weather shifts a bit challenging to adapt to, especially when I was caught off-guard by a snowstorm during what started as a sunny hike in Boulder. The traffic in and around Denver was also more congested than I anticipated. Nonetheless, the state’s allure, combined with its rich cultural tapestry, has left an indelible mark on me, making Colorado a top contender in my search for a new home.
Things To Know
1. Embrace the Dryness
Colorado’s air is notably dry. This means you might find yourself reaching for moisturizers more frequently and being cautious of issues like nosebleeds and throat irritations.
Remember to hydrate more than usual. The Rocky Mountains can be deceptive, and dehydration is a common concern. To counteract the dryness indoors, think about getting a humidifier.
2. Acclimating to the Altitude
Elevation changes are a given in Colorado, whether you’re ascending or descending. If you’re unfamiliar with such shifts, altitude sickness might catch you off guard.
Its symptoms can mimic the flu, including headaches, nausea, dizziness, and exhaustion.
Despite my 7-year residency in Colorado, I occasionally grapple with altitude sickness.
The key is gradual acclimatization. Avoid pushing yourself too hard too soon, and heed any warning signs your body gives. Hydration remains crucial, as does consuming nutritious food to bolster your body during the adjustment phase.
3. Embracing the Marijuana Culture
In many parts of Colorado, the purchase and sale of marijuana is commonplace, thanks to its legalization. The cannabis culture is vibrant and very much integrated into daily life.
You’ll find that for many, consuming marijuana is as routine as having a glass of wine. In places like Boulder, the scent of marijuana is a frequent presence in the air. While it might be an adjustment initially, it becomes a part of the everyday backdrop.
However, it’s worth noting that cities like Colorado Springs have opted out of allowing the retail sale of marijuana within their boundaries. If this is a concern for you, it’s something to factor into your decision about where to settle in the state.
4. Adapting to the Fickle Weather
Colorado’s weather can be as unpredictable as Texas’. It’s not uncommon to experience a sunny, warm day followed immediately by a chilly, snowy one.
The transitional periods between fall and winter can be particularly erratic, so it’s wise to stay updated with weather forecasts.
A pro-tip for living in Colorado: always have a backup jacket or boots in your car. Given the state’s high-altitude sun, it’s also a good idea to keep travel-sized sunscreen on hand to protect your skin when needed.
5. Embracing an Eco-Friendly Lifestyle
Colorado champions an eco-conscious lifestyle. The state facilitates green living, with each city boasting its own recycling initiatives. This eco-friendly ethos extends to local businesses and eateries too.
The state’s culture leans heavily towards health and sustainability, making it convenient for residents to adopt practices like recycling and utilizing solar energy. Plus, with the natural beauty Colorado offers, it’s no wonder residents are inspired to be active and spend time outdoors daily!
6. Navigating the Competitive Housing Market
Describing Colorado’s housing market as “intense” might still be putting it mildly.
With a steady influx of around 250,000 newcomers each year, the demand for housing far outstrips the supply. Finding a good rental can be a challenge, and if you stumble upon a house you’d like to buy, hesitation isn’t an option.
You might find yourself in situations where swift decisions are essential. For instance, when we found our Boulder apartment, we committed with a deposit without even seeing the place. Similarly, when buying our first Colorado home, we trusted our real estate agent’s insights and made an offer before a personal visit. It’s that competitive!
7. Flourishing Job Market and Services
The growth spurt in Colorado cities over recent years has led to a surge in job opportunities and services for its residents. The Denver Post highlights Colorado’s job market as one of the nation’s most robust and steady, a trend that has been consistent since the mid-90s.
As per USAwage.com, the most sought-after roles span across retail, food preparation, administrative tasks, and medical professions. In 2022, the top earners in the state were obstetricians, surgeons, general practitioners, CEOs, and airline pilots or flight engineers.
Denver’s average salary stands at $76,000 annually, as reported by Payscale.com. The city sees a particular inclination towards roles in the tech and software sectors.
8. Growing Pains: Traffic and Crowding
With growth comes challenges. As Colorado’s population swells, so does its urban sprawl. This expansion has led to increased traffic, more crowded spaces, and a strain on infrastructure. The natural beauty is gradually giving way to urban development, leading to concerns about trash, pollution, and extended commute times.
Colorado’s unique geography, with its majestic mountains, poses additional challenges. There are limited main thoroughfares due to the mountainous terrain, which restricts both current travel and potential road development. This means that as the population grows, these main roads become increasingly congested, making travel more time-consuming and less efficient.
9. Quickly Feel At Home
The spirit of adventure and the plethora of outdoor activities in Colorado make it easy to bond with others and feel integrated into the community. Every city we’ve resided in along the Front Range has welcomed us with open arms.
However, a word of caution: as Colorado’s popularity soars, some long-time residents may not always warm up to newcomers. At times, they might express frustration or displeasure towards new arrivals. But this sentiment often stems from a deep love for their state and a desire to preserve its beauty. To foster a harmonious relationship with locals, we advocate for everyone to practice the “Leave No Trace” principles when exploring Colorado.
10. A Top Choice for Residency
Recent surveys and rankings have consistently placed Colorado at the pinnacle of desirability. Denver has earned accolades from Lonely Planet as a top global travel destination. Meanwhile, U.S. News and World Report has spotlighted Colorado Springs as the most coveted city to live in the U.S.
11. A Culinary Haven
Colorado, especially Denver, is carving out a niche in the culinary world, showcasing a distinct style and flavor palette. The state’s food scene is rapidly gaining recognition, rivaling other burgeoning foodie cities across the nation.
A testament to its culinary prowess, many of Colorado’s eateries are helmed by James Beard award recipients and nominees, as well as participants from the renowned show, Top Chef.
12. Embrace the Great Outdoors
Colorado’s allure lies significantly in its emphasis on an active, outdoor lifestyle. The state’s residents prioritize health and outdoor activities, making it a magnet for those who share similar values. The vast array of hiking trails, mountain peaks, and natural wonders ensures there’s always something new to discover. Nature’s playground is right at your doorstep, ensuring you’re never short of adventures.
13. A Paradise for Beer Lovers
Mention Colorado and craft beer is often the first association. The state boasts a rich brewing culture, with Fort Collins often hailed as the beer capital. From quaint local breweries to the iconic Coors Brewery in Golden, there’s a brew for every palate. Events like the Denver Beer Festival further cement the state’s reputation as a beer haven.
14. A Haven for Pet Lovers
Pet owners, especially those with dogs, will find Colorado incredibly welcoming. The state’s pet-friendly ethos is evident in its restaurants, hotels, and residential complexes that cater to furry companions. Colorado Springs, in particular, is renowned for its dog-friendly environment. Plus, the vast outdoor spaces provide endless exploration opportunities for pets.
15. Central and Accessible
Colorado’s strategic central location makes it a gateway to other notable travel destinations like Utah and Wyoming. The state is peppered with national and state parks, offering a plethora of camping, hiking, and fishing spots.
For international travelers, Denver International Airport (DIA) simplifies global connectivity. And if you’re looking to explore renowned ski destinations like Aspen, Vail, or Beaver Creek, they’re just a train ride away from Denver.
16. A Harmonious Work-Life Balance
Colorado champions the philosophy that both work and life should be fulfilling and enjoyable. The state promotes a culture where time outside the workplace is not just leisure but a means to rejuvenate oneself. Initiatives like “Bike to Work” and “Tube to Work” days are testament to this ethos, emphasizing a balanced lifestyle that integrates work, play, and nature.
17. A Flourishing Arts Scene
Colorado’s vibrant arts scene is as diverse as its culinary offerings. The state is a hub for a myriad of cultural experiences, from museums to theater productions. The Denver Art Museum, for instance, has showcased a range of captivating exhibits, from Star Wars memorabilia to masterpieces by Leonardo Da Vinci and Claude Monet. For those who appreciate art intertwined with nature, the Denver Botanic Gardens is a must-visit. This serene haven, located in the heart of Denver, offers a refreshing blend of flora and artistry throughout the year.
18. A Playground for Sports Enthusiasts
Denver, also known as the Mile High City, is a hotspot for sports aficionados. The iconic Mile High Stadium is the proud home of the Denver Broncos football team. But football isn’t the only game in town. Baseball fans can cheer for the Colorado Rockies, while ice hockey enthusiasts have the Colorado Avalanche to root for. With a plethora of sports events, festivals, and activities, Colorado stands out as an ideal destination for individuals and families alike.
19. Diverse Climate Zones
While Colorado is often associated with snow-capped mountains and winter sports, the state actually boasts a diverse range of climate zones. From the semi-arid conditions of the Eastern Plains to the alpine climate of the mountainous regions, and the high desert areas of the Western Slope, the state offers a variety of weather experiences.
This means that while it might be snowing in the mountains, it could be sunny and warm in the plains. This diversity allows residents and visitors to engage in a wide range of activities year-round, from skiing in the Rockies to hiking in the desert landscapes.
20. Rich Historical Heritage
Colorado is steeped in history, from ancient Native American civilizations to the Gold Rush era. Places like Mesa Verde National Park showcase well-preserved Ancestral Puebloan cliff dwellings, offering a glimpse into the lives of the region’s earliest inhabitants.
The state also has numerous ghost towns, remnants of the Gold Rush days, which provide a fascinating look into the state’s vibrant past. Museums, historical sites, and cultural festivals throughout the state celebrate Colorado’s rich heritage, making it a haven for history buffs and curious minds alike.
Is it a good idea to move to Colorado?
Absolutely! Colorado offers a unique blend of outdoor activities, a thriving job market, diverse cultural experiences, and a strong sense of a safe neighbourhood community. However, like any place, it’s essential to consider your personal preferences, career opportunities, and lifestyle before making a move.
How do I prepare to live in Colorado?
- Research the different cities and neighborhoods to find a location that suits your needs.
- Familiarize yourself with the state’s climate and prepare for diverse weather conditions.
- Understand the cost of living and housing market.
- If you’re not used to higher altitudes, educate yourself about altitude sickness and how to acclimate.
- Engage with local communities online to get insights and make connections before your move.
How much money do I need to move to Colorado?
The amount varies based on your lifestyle, housing choice, and the city you’re moving to. On average, it’s advisable to have three to six months of living expenses saved up, which can range from $6,000 to $15,000 or more.
What is a good salary?
A “good” salary can vary based on individual needs and lifestyle. However, considering the average expenses, a salary of $60,000 to $80,000 can be considered good for a comfortable living in most parts of the state.
What is a livable salary in Colorado?
For a single person, a salary of around $50,000 to $55,000 is generally considered livable in Colorado. For a family of four, this number can be closer to $90,000 to $100,000, depending on the city and lifestyle.
What is the top 1% salary?
To be in the top 1% in Colorado, an individual would typically need to earn a salary of around $450,000 or more annually.
How much is $90,000 after taxes in Colorado? If you earn $90,000 in Colorado, after federal and state taxes, you might take home approximately $67,000 to $70,000, depending on deductions, credits, and specific tax situations. However, it’s essential to consult with a tax professional for precise calculations.
Colorado is a state of contrasts, offering a unique blend of natural beauty, urban sophistication, and a deeply rooted sense of community. Whether you’re drawn to its outdoor adventures, its cultural vibrancy, or its promising job market, the Centennial State has something for everyone.
Keep in mind that like everywhere, Colorado has some neighbourhoods and cities that are not as safe, avoid the dangerous places to keep yourself and your family carefree.
As with any major life decision, moving to Colorado requires careful consideration and planning. But for those who take the plunge, the rewards are plentiful, from breathtaking landscapes to a quality of life that’s hard to match. Embrace the journey, and let Colorado’s magic unfold.