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Minnesotan

Denver, CO

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I should add a little bit more about Denver to the forum now that I think about it. I've lived here since February and have enjoyed pretty much every minute of it. The great thing about Denver is the fact that you can drive for an hour or two outside of the city and be in world-class national parks, hiking trails, and skiing venues. The city itself can feel a little bit small townish for me, I once ran into two people I knew on the way to a baseball game, but the city is large enough so that you can find good food, shopping, etc. etc.

I am actually pretty sad to have to leave this fall . . .

I'd be happy to answer more specific questions about the city or surrounding area.

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I hear Denver is a pretty good place for the younger crowd (18-40). I know the Av's rink is in Denver, so there must be some interest in the sport. Is it pretty easy to get a pickup game going?

What about the night life? And the female situation?

Better yet, since we're both Minnesotans, how does it differ from the Cities?

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I was just accepted to the University of Denver and would like some advice on where to look for housing. Right now I'm searching in the Englewood/Littleton area. I visited briefly last Fall so I have a decent concept of the areas surrounding the campus. Where would be the best place for me to look?

For reference, I'm not interested in the party scene and would like to live in quiet area more geared toward young professionals/grad students.

Any other tips for a Floridian moving across the country for the first time would be helpful as well!

P.S. I know it's going to be cold. I actually hate Florida and the heat, so I'm looking forward to the change, even though I'm a little nervous about driving in snow!

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Hey LizBlizz,

Great to hear that you're moving to Denver. As it sounds like the decision is already final, I ll spare you my misgivings about the city. I grew up here and recently moved back from Wisconsin. It's a large city with sprawling suburbs of which Littleton/Englewood are two. Young professionals in the area tend to live either around DU or in Capitol Hill. This city has lousy public transit so if you don't have a car, be within walking distance of the school and buddy up with somebody who does have a car. Capitol Hill is where I currently live and its fairly chic, it has interesting bars, restaurants, pawn shops, bookstores, coffee shops and other things you might like. Groceries are spread out so keep that in mind. Also, Capitol Hill is close enough to downtown that you could (but I never do) walk to the great stuff that grad students can't afford like the two art museums, amazing symphony, performing arts center, sports venues etc. Traffic, particularly from Littleton, would be borderline unbearable but you needn't worry about driving in snow. Denver has over 300 days of sunshine a year and its summers, while less humid, are no less hot than Florida. There averages only three or so big snow storms but that only happens within a narrow window of time in the winter. If there is anything else that I can help you with, don't hesitate to post.

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I'm looking into moving from Seattle to Denver for grad school. My decision isn't made yet, so I want all opinions on the area around the CU Denver campus. I won't have a car, so neighborhood suggestions that have transit lines running through them would be helpful.

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Denver is pretty much inaccessible without a car in its present state. There's also two UC-Denver campuses: one near the Auraria-area (more or less right off the highway) and the Aurora campus (where the medical campus is). DU is a bit away from downtown, but it's in a pretty neat area. That will help give an indication of areas to live. One of the best places to live for easier transit is near Union Station. This is downtown in the 16th Street Mall area which is pretty reasonably safe, although on the expensive side.

Denver has very pleasant weather in comparison to many places in the US. People forgot since Denver is on the West side of the mountain range, all the weather gets dumped in the mountains and Denver gets a lot of the warmer air and much less of the precipitation. That doesn't mean we don't get snow, but not as much as you might think. It's much nicer than say... the Northeastern US. There's no humidity in the summer, so that's a huge plus. It doesn't rain a whole lot. You get moderate snow in the winter. Generally, it doesn't dip much below the 30's even in the winter time, and you get high 90's in the summer.

There's a ton to do and see as belevitt already described.

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My wife and I (along with our 18-month old son) are driving up up to Denver next week to check out the area and look into housing, etc. Can someone offer any suggestions for where we might look for cheap housing (aside from on-campus). We'll probably be living off just my stipend (assuming I get one) and also have the added difficulty of pets. The closer I can be to the Iliff/DU campus, the better.

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My wife and I (along with our 18-month old son) are driving up up to Denver next week to check out the area and look into housing, etc. Can someone offer any suggestions for where we might look for cheap housing (aside from on-campus). We'll probably be living off just my stipend (assuming I get one) and also have the added difficulty of pets. The closer I can be to the Iliff/DU campus, the better.

I would check craigslist first. If anything, it will give you an idea of what's available.

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I am also seriously considering the move to Denver, so I will join in the chorus asking for advice. What are good neighborhoods in Denver? Where might I look for decent housing (I have no family to worry about)? Any advice in general that could be given?

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I'm in the Denver area. Since I don't have a car right now, it's hard for me to comment on neighborhoods on the other side of town. I can give you decent advice about the west side of town, but what I say about the rest of Denver is probably hearsay. I do have officemates and/or friends who live (or have lived) all over--Aurora, Thornton, Centennial, Highlands Ranch, downtown...so may be able to find out for you.

Questions:

(1) What part of Denver are you considering--or, alternatively, where's your school and how much of a commute are you willing to put up with?

(2) What do you consider "affordable"?

There's an undergrad from my school who hangs out here from time to time. Maybe he can give better advice...

FWIW, I think Denver's a great place to live. Big enough to have almost everything you need, but small enough that you feel like you have elbow room*. The weather is great. (Yes, this is coming from a former California girl.) Public transit is pretty darn good for a town this size, too. Plus, you have the most majestic views.**

*I realize this may not be an issue for some, but I got almost claustrophobic living in Silicon Valley.

**see my avatar--this is what I see every morning while walking to the bus stop!!

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Sorry, didn't see that you were at DU. I'm a big fan of public transit, so I'm going to recommend living in Centennial near the light rail line (which also stops at DU). I think my friend M says that housing is affordable in Centennial and she hasn't complained about the neighborhood yet (and she's the sort who would complain if there was a problem).

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I live in an apartment 1 mile East on Iliff Ave of the Iliff School of theology. My 1 BR is 595 a month with parking, heat, sewer, water, and trash included. Its in a pretty quiet neighborhood next to two private schools, daycare centers, and veterinary clinics. Also the light rail is only 1 block away.

PM me and I an try to get you the name of the place and contact info of the manager so you can check it out.

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I'm also looking at the University of Denver. Denver definitely looks gorgeous, I'm definitely excited about that. I am just completely clueless when it comes to the area.

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Thanks for the comments everyone. My wife and I leave tomorrow to head up for a look around. We'll keep in mind the neighborhoods mentioned and I'll post back with any questions that come up while we're there. :)

Please comment on the campus too if you can! I'm still trying to decide on whether or not to visit (I need to hurry) but even second hand information would be great!

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DU has a beautiful campus. It is a non-smoking campus, which is kind of neat. (Or torture, if you smoke!) I live in Westminster, and on good traffic days I am on Auraria campus in fifteen minutes. I think the bussline and lightrail systems are useful, but I have always had a car to get to the park and rides. I wouldn't really recommend Aurora as a place to live, but that's not totally true. Aurora has a lot of affordable housing, but it seems to me to be divided between the haves and have nots. Cool little places in the city are often old and small if they are affordable. But Thornton and Northglenn have affordable apartments and are near park and rides.

I have lived here for ages. I love it. The snow is rarely an issue, but it's good to have a front wheel drive or ESC. Denver often closes things too late, so if there is a snow storm, sometimes it seems like you are already in trouble before the official closures are made - so be sure to use your own judgment about the weather when it's snowing. The mag chloride keeps the streets clear, most days.

Auraria campus, which hosts three schools, can be kind of a challenge. It is definitely a commuter campus. That said, UCD boasts some fairly strong academic programs. They definitely have the jealous sibling thing going on with CU Boulder, so there isn't a ton of collaboration between those campuses. There is not a "feel" of a college campus at Auraria, probably because some 35 - 40k students are attending at any given time, and since it's shared by a community college, a four year college, and a graduate granting college, there's no synergy of identity. For me, I loved that - Auraria is urban, it's about the practical aspects of pursuing higher ed. It feels integrated with the city if that makes any sense. DU is way different, it has the feel of the hallowed grounds of higher ed. One cool thing about Auraria is it is right down town, so the 16th street mall is just a few steps away, about a five minute walk.

Depending on where you are moving from, it will seem cheap or expensive. IMO, a decent apartment will run about 750 or so a month. But there are plenty of alternatives. For families, I would say that the suburbs are the way to go - the burbs are accessible to everything and give you a more realistic environment (ie, no drunken parties keeping you up, the neighbors and you have yards). The economy is tough. Unemployment and foreclosures are high. It's probably a great time to buy, if you are ready, but you will have to wait quite a while to see a return on such an investment.

Anyhoo, happy to talk about Denver if anyone wants. Particularly questions about neighborhoods, although a visit is always best.

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DU has a beautiful campus. It is a non-smoking campus, which is kind of neat. (Or torture, if you smoke!) I live in Westminster, and on good traffic days I am on Auraria campus in fifteen minutes. I think the bussline and lightrail systems are useful, but I have always had a car to get to the park and rides. I wouldn't really recommend Aurora as a place to live, but that's not totally true. Aurora has a lot of affordable housing, but it seems to me to be divided between the haves and have nots. Cool little places in the city are often old and small if they are affordable. But Thornton and Northglenn have affordable apartments and are near park and rides.

I have lived here for ages. I love it. The snow is rarely an issue, but it's good to have a front wheel drive or ESC. Denver often closes things too late, so if there is a snow storm, sometimes it seems like you are already in trouble before the official closures are made - so be sure to use your own judgment about the weather when it's snowing. The mag chloride keeps the streets clear, most days.

Auraria campus, which hosts three schools, can be kind of a challenge. It is definitely a commuter campus. That said, UCD boasts some fairly strong academic programs. They definitely have the jealous sibling thing going on with CU Boulder, so there isn't a ton of collaboration between those campuses. There is not a "feel" of a college campus at Auraria, probably because some 35 - 40k students are attending at any given time, and since it's shared by a community college, a four year college, and a graduate granting college, there's no synergy of identity. For me, I loved that - Auraria is urban, it's about the practical aspects of pursuing higher ed. It feels integrated with the city if that makes any sense. DU is way different, it has the feel of the hallowed grounds of higher ed. One cool thing about Auraria is it is right down town, so the 16th street mall is just a few steps away, about a five minute walk.

Depending on where you are moving from, it will seem cheap or expensive. IMO, a decent apartment will run about 750 or so a month. But there are plenty of alternatives. For families, I would say that the suburbs are the way to go - the burbs are accessible to everything and give you a more realistic environment (ie, no drunken parties keeping you up, the neighbors and you have yards). The economy is tough. Unemployment and foreclosures are high. It's probably a great time to buy, if you are ready, but you will have to wait quite a while to see a return on such an investment.

Anyhoo, happy to talk about Denver if anyone wants. Particularly questions about neighborhoods, although a visit is always best.

Thank you for this info! Very helpful!

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I agree. The DU campus was beautiful and the view of the Rockies was absolutely breath-taking. Though we decided in the end not to attend Iliff/DU (got a better offer here in TX), I am still somewhat rueful of a decision that has "cost" us such clean air and beauty.

We enjoyed "Denver the City" as well. "LoDo" was very cool and the fantastic educational opportunities for children were something we really enjoyed. Being able to drive for only an hour and be up in the Rockies was a definte plus as well.

In the end, had it not come down to money, we would have moved to Denver in a heartbeat. Who knows? Maybe once I finish my PhD I'll be able to get a job there. ;)

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I've been in Denver for a few years and completed my undergrad at that campus. You can find reasonably priced housing right by campus, but I'd go for a different neighborhood. Capitol Hill is probably the most culturally diverse with lots to do, though personally, I would recommend staying a couple blocks off Colfax Ave. I live a little over a mile south of that, near 1st a few blocks off Broadway, which is near the Baker neighborhood. It's pretty quiet, but there are great coffee shops, used book stores and neighborhood bars. There is the Santa Fe arts district, with some great galleries, but the neighborhood drops off as you go west from there. There's also the Highlands, which is northwest of downtown. Its a bit pricey, but there are great restaurants and lots more. You could probably find a room in either an apartment, or a cool house from the late 1800's in most of those areas starting around $450/mo, but $800 or so should be able to get you something fairly nice.

In Denver you're a 1 to 2 hour drive from world class skiing, hiking, mountain biking and all kinds of great outdoor activities. If you don't own a car, you can probably find rides with people to do stuff in the Mountains. While I would recommend owning a car, the transit is better than most US cities and a school ID gets you free light rail and bus. I only use my car once or twice a week and I could get by without it if I really wanted to. The light rail goes right by campus, as does the Cherry Creek bike trail and numerous bus routes. Campus parking is expensive and long walk from academic buildings, so its actually faster and cheaper to use mass transit or ride a bike.

Denver has mild weather. Snow rarely stays on the ground for more than a few days and average winter temps are in the 40's. There is a massive snowstorm once every two years. Summer is sunny, but its not that humid and rarely hits 100 (though its been hot lately. I don't like it when it hits 90). Rain usually doesn't last very long but can be very hard, and there is occasional hail.

Denver is a good food city (much better than LA where I lived for 2 years). The cuisine is influenced by New Mexico with great roasted and smoked peppers, but with the added advantage of being the most cosmopolitan place between Chicago and San Francisco. Hole in the wall Mexican food is cheap and good, and there are lots of nice restaurants. Also, I believe that Colorado microbrews are the best beers in the world. Most of them are not available outside the state. The music scene is so-so, but not bad. Boulder is about a half hour away, which is an actual college town and is worth checking out.  A lot of UCD faculty live there.

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Denver has very pleasant weather in comparison to many places in the US. People forgot since Denver is on the West side of the mountain range, all the weather gets dumped in the mountains and Denver gets a lot of the warmer air and much less of the precipitation. That doesn't mean we don't get snow, but not as much as you might think. It's much nicer than say... the Northeastern US. There's no humidity in the summer, so that's a huge plus. It doesn't rain a whole lot. You get moderate snow in the winter. Generally, it doesn't dip much below the 30's even in the winter time, and you get high 90's in the summer.

Yay!! Not sure if anyone is still reading/following this thread, but I'm super psyched to hear this. I'm from the Northeast, and I hate our winters with a passion (though this year has been very mild and tolerable). I originally wanted to move to FL for school, but I think I would miss the mountains, trees, nature... and the spring/summer/fall seasons. I know Denver gets snow, and winter, but you're one more person who has given me hope that the winters there aren't quite as bad as they are here. Someone mentioned they might be shorter, too, though I don't necessarily believe that. Here, it doesn't start to get up to the mid 40's until probably late march, and we've been known to have snow through early-mid march to. How does Denver compare in this sense?

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