Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know that Denver has been voted time and time again as one of the best places to live in the United States. I’d by lying to you if I haven’t been on the bandwagon for the past couple of years, waxing poetic about this Colorado dreamland that I might someday move to. Then my grad school officemate from the very first day set about convincing me to move to Denver. Since that day, I’ve stayed at her family’s place twice (Hi, Becca!). So recently, I’ve been doing quite a bit of thinking about whether to put it on “the list” or not. I’ve written in the past that when I visit a place, my brain goes right to analyzing whether or not I would want to live there. Call it a case of itchy feet, a case of graduating in one month (exactly!), or a combination of the two…but that’s been the case for all of my travels in the past year. At least. So I thought it would be fun today to share what kind of questions I ask myself and see how Denver rank on the list.
Questions to Ask When Moving Cities
Location, Location, Location
Is it a city/close enough to a city?
"How city is it, really?” is another appropriate way to word this question. I’ve been in Philadelphia for seven years, so I am pretty accustomed to living in a big city. I love that there are hundreds of things to do at any given moment. I don’t like that sirens inevitably will wake me up at least once a week. But, I’m still 100% at the point in my life where I want to live in a city. I’m not ready for white picket fence and big backyard yet. Just a big enough yard for a pup.
How does Denver stack up? City enough, but the siren level seems vastly decreased.
What are the neighborhoods like?
I am addicted to finding the best neighborhoods in a city. I think it is so fun when you can walk a couple of blocks and get a completely different take on a city. This is probably the thing that makes cities so cool to me. This is also one of the reasons why I have only been traveling via AirBnB lately, because all of my trips have been doubling as secret “future life search” trips. This also gives me a baseline for some rent prices in the city, which is another thing to thing about. Unfortunately!
How does Denver stack up? I did notice some differences between the neighborhoods that I visited. I didn’t feel like there were a TON, though. Maybe that just means I need to explore again. Not mad.
How easily accessible is it?
Or, rather, how far is the airport? Listen, even if I find a great spot to start a new chapter of my life, I’m probably not going to stay still the whole time! Luckily, my first requirement of being a city usually means that an airport is pretty easy to get to. But I also travel by train quite a bit, so I do take note of that too!
How does Denver stack up? The airport is pretty easy to get to, and apparently they’re making it even easier in the coming year with a public transit option! While Denver does have a gorgeous train station, I didn’t see too many trains heading anywhere though.
Do I need a car?
I try to convince you all to rent bikes when you travel, do you think I do all that much driving when I’m at home? I will say that I use one sometimes (thanks, Paul), but I don’t like to depend on it. I’m interested in the car balance in every city I visit. How easily can I access things without a car? If I need a car…how terrible is the parking? I can parallel park like a pro, but that doesn’t mean I want to. If the biking infrastructure is up to snuff? Even better!!
How does Denver stack up? I think I might need a car here, especially one that will get me up into the mountains. So that’s a pretty big investment! On the plus side, parking didn’t seem to be too troublesome. It was kind of adorable to see how I parallel park vs a Coloradan parallel park.
Are there things to do on the weekend?
Have you ever visited a city and kind of…run out of things to do? This happens to me in some cities, too. I just like to check into social media accounts of the city LINK and see what kind of things are going on outside of the touristy things to do. It can be hit or miss, but I’ve been spoiled in Philadelphia, what can I say?
How does Denver stack up? I think Denver is looking pretty alright with this! I didn’t run out of things to do and there seemed to be about 1,000 shows to go to.
How is the outdoor life?
I am a type of person that likes a lot of outdoor activities that I can easily access. I like to complain a lot that I don’t have a lot of these opportunities near me currently. Luckily, I’ve been surrounding myself with people that can make it happen. But it’s still something I think about right away when I visit a new place.
How does Denver stack up? I probably don’t have to answer this for you, but Denver exceeds expectations in this regard. Have you seen those mountains?
Followup: can I access a beach?
I’m a beach bum, and ever since I’ve started going to the beach I have been spoiled. Right now, all I have to do is hop in the car for an hour and boom. I’m at the Jersey shore. As silly as this might sound, it’s something pretty high up on my must haves.
How does Denver stack up? Ahh, if you’re familiar with the geography of the United States, you know that Denver is pretty land-locked. So this one’s a no.
Money Makes the World Go ‘Round
Can I get a job there?
A lot of things about my future are up in the air right now. This is super exciting, super scary, and makes picking a location easy and difficult at the same time. Welcome to the confusion that is my life! I do like to give this a quick thought when I’m perusing cities.
How does Denver stack up? Right now I’m working at a children’s hospital, and I could see that happening for a couple of years. And wouldn’t you know, there’s a children’s hospital right in the next town over. Not a bad commute at all!
Is there a coffee shop there that makes me feel productive?
Regardless of the job situation, I want to keep up this blog. It’s become a bit of my baby, to be honest. I even tell people I know in real life about it. Ha! My favorite place to get some blogging work done is a coffee shop. I go to a new coffee shop probably at least once a week. So it’s important to me to have a good coffee shop (or couple of coffee shops!) where I can get some work done. AND coffee shops that have a delicious dirty chai, of course.
How does Denver stack up? I didn’t go to a ton of coffee shops, but I did some googling and it seems that there is a good amount. Unfortunately they do seem to be a little spread out! Denver residents, help me out here!
The Happiness Question
How does it make me feel?
If this isn’t the least objective measure of whether or not you should move somewhere, I don’t know what is. But. It might be one of the most important for me. People say, “You know when you know,” for a lot of things. Significant others, wedding dresses, what you want for dinner… For me that feeling has a lot to do with where I would move. I don’t expect perfection here, but a perfect mix of comfort and adventure and excitement will do. Is that too much to ask?
How does Denver stack up? I’ll be honest, the second I landed in Denver’s airport and saw mountains peeking at me…I was pretty hooked. I’ve definitely vibes a bit more in other cities, but Denver is still pretty high up there.
So there you have it! Some questions I ask myself when I’m touring other cities for potential new chapters. When will I move? Only time will tell. But for now, this is a fun way to dream!
- Do you ask yourself any questions like these? I’d love to hear them!
- Have you made a big city move in your life? Tell me your story and why you picked your new spot!