When you look at it from a certain perspective, Denver, Colorado starts to sound like a paradise in and of itself: a place where golf balls fly farther, the sun shines 300 days a year, the landscape takes your breath away on a daily basis and more beer is brewed than any other city in the U.S. Hawaii can be a hard place to leave, but, with all of this (and more!) waiting for you in Denver, your transition might be easier (and sunnier!) than you might think.
If you’re considering a move to Denver—a city that initially exploded to a population of 200,000 practically overnight, thanks to the Gold Rush—we’ll give you an insider’s look at the city: why to make the move, where to live and what to do once you get there. Armed with this information, you can decide whether Denver sounds like the kind of place you’d love to call home.
First, let’s start with four reasons that someone living in Hawaii might want to relocate to Denver.
Why Move to Denver?
1. Take Advantage of a Strong Economy with a Variety of Jobs
If you’ve been living in Hawaii for any length of time, you’ve probably noticed that the state’s economy is heavily focused on tourism. If you want to work in hospitality, food and beverage, retail or any of the other industries supporting the travel and leisure industry, you’ll have your pick of positions in Hawaii. However, if your expertise (or interests!) lies elsewhere, you might find it hard to score a job.
You’ll find a much more diverse economy in Denver. With companies working in aerospace, tech, agriculture, healthcare, finance, and the booming cannabis business, you’ll have a much more diverse list of open jobs to browse through. And if hospitality happens to be your thing, don’t worry: You’ll still find plenty of opportunity in Denver, which welcomes around 30 million tourists each year.
2. Keep Enjoying Your Outdoor Lifestyle
If you loved Hawaii’s plentiful outdoor opportunities, you’ll find plenty to do in Denver. Hiking trails, hot springs (Colorado has more than 30!), kayaking, white water rafting, and biking are all big in Denver. If you’re looking forward to putting some miles on your road bike, the Cherry Creek Bike Path starts in downtown Denver, offering you 42 miles of picturesque creekside biking with zero car traffic.
Plus, if you want to pick up a few winter sports you didn’t get to enjoy in Hawaii, let Colorado be your playground. You’ll find plenty of areas to ski or snowboard, like Vail, Breckenridge, and Copper Mountain. And when (if?) you need a break from the slopes, strap on a pair of snowshoes to explore the landscape or tie on a pair of ice skates and glide around the Downtown Denver rink while enjoying the festive winter atmosphere.
3. Stay on the Sunny Side of the Street
Worried about leaving the Pacific sunshine behind? If so, Denver might be the perfect place for you. As we mentioned, Denver boasts 300 days of sunshine a year, and because the city sits at about a mile of elevation, the sun will actually feel warmer (and its effects will be stronger, so make sure you wear sunscreen)!
By the way, if you weren’t living at elevation in Hawaii, you might have a couple of surprises in store. Yes, it’s true that golf balls fly further at 5,000 feet (it has to do with the density of the air), and you’ll find golf courses open and available to you all year, just like in Hawaii. Finally, Denver only gets about 14 inches of precipitation a year, on par with Los Angeles, so you’ll be able to enjoy the outdoors just as much, if not more, than when you were living in Hawaii.
4. Pick a Team and Cheer Them On—Live!
In Hawaii, you’ll see plenty of flags flying on Sundays during football season—Seattle Seahawks, Dallas Cowboys, Green Bay Packers, Pittsburgh Steelers, and many more—Hawaii residents have to content themselves with cheering on their team on television (and often early in the morning)! However, if you move to Denver, you’ll be in Broncos Country, making it easy to enjoy the wild energy of Mile-High Stadium (now Empower Field at Mile High) on game day.
If football isn’t your thing, you’ll have plenty of other teams to root for in Denver, including the Colorado Rockies (who made a 2007 World Series appearance), the Denver Nuggets (whose roster has included basketball greats Allen Iverson, Carmelo Anthony and Dikembe Mutombo) and the Colorado Avalanche (who have two Stanley Cup titles to their name). And if none of those strike your fancy, Denver also hosts one of the world’s largest rodeos—National Western Stock Show & Rodeo—which is perfect if you’re missing paniolo country.
Now that you understand the “why,” let’s talk about the next piece of your Denver relocation: the “where.”
What’s the Best Place to Live in Denver?
As one of the fastest-growing cities in America, Denver has a roster of neighborhoods to choose from, including the Highlands, RiNo (River North), Platt Park, Harvey Park, and Capitol Hill, as well as plentiful options in the suburbs, including Englewood and Arvada.
However, there’s one neighborhood, in particular, we’d like to offer for your consideration: Sunnyside. You’ll find this area in northwest Denver, and those who haven’t lived in the city for a while might remember it as a place that was formerly dominated by auto repair shops, commercial operations, and industrial space. Over the last ten years, though, coffee shops, restaurants, and stores have begun to show up, and the character of the neighborhood has changed considerably.
Today, residents recognize Sunnyside as a friendly, family-oriented place to live that offers easy access to both downtown Denver as well as the outdoor fun you’ll find out of town. The area has a social feel. It’s the kind of place where people say hi to each other on the street and participate in summer block parties. Additionally, the tree-lined streets and the green space in Chaffee Park offer a quieter respite for those who might not want the full-on urban experience of downtown Denver. In other words, if you’re looking for an up-and-coming area with an urban-yet-suburban feel, Sunnyside might be the right area for you.
Now that you have some ideas for the “where” of Denver, let’s talk about the “what:” If you decide to relocate to Denver, what kind of activities can you enjoy during your leisure time?
5 Things to Do in Denver
As the 19th largest city in the U.S., Denver will keep you as busy as you want to be. Consider these five ideas your jumping-off point for exploring all that the city has to offer.
1. Get Your Game On
As a former frontier town, Denver still retains some of the traditions of the American West, including enjoying meat of all kinds. Buffalo and elk are common items on many menus, and you’ll also see things like quail, pheasant and even exotic meats like ostrich and rattlesnake. Want to get in the game? Drop by Biker Jim’s for a wild boar hotdog, made with apricots and cranberries. Or, if you’re feeling brave, stop into the Buckhorn Exchange for a set of Rocky Mountain Oysters.
Now, if the more exotic meats available in Denver aren’t to your liking, there’s also plenty of excellent steaks to be enjoyed. Try the Columbine Steakhouse for a no-frills but respectably large cut of meat, served with a baked potato and an iceberg salad.
2. Drink in the Beer Scene
Denver brews more beer than any other city in the U.S. The Coors Brewery is a scant 15 miles west of Denver—and that’s just the start of what you’ll find in Denver. Like San Diego and Portland, Denver is home to a burgeoning craft brew scene. New Belgium’s original brewery in Fort Collins is about an hour’s drive from the city if you want to tour the operation that’s grown to become the fourth-largest craft brewer in the country and the eighth-overall largest brewer in the United States.
And don’t neglect the small(er) guys! Denver’s breweries regularly take home top honors in the Great American Beer Festival, which contributed to its Zumper.com title as the #1 best city for beer drinkers.v Although you can’t go wrong with most of Denver’s beer offerings, don’t miss Breckenridge Brewery, Great Divide, and Renegade.
3. Soak Up the Scene at Red Rocks
Every now and then, Hawaii gets some great visitors to Aloha Stadium, like Guns ‘n’ Roses, Jack Johnson, the Eagles, and others. And, yes, many notable musicians pass through smaller venues like the Republik on Oahu and its equivalents on the neighbor islands.
But most music lovers would agree: There’s nothing like seeing a show at Red Rocks. Is it the stunning setting? Is it the perfect acoustics from the surrounding monoliths? Is it the energy of the place? You’ll have to decide for yourself. Either way, some of the most epic concerts in recent memory have gone down at Red Rocks (U2’s 1983 performance, anyone?). Even James Taylor said there was “no better place in the universe to play a show.” And, when you move to Denver, catching a show at this legendary show is as simple as a few clicks and a short drive.
4. Take a Trip to the Denver Skatepark
And now for something completely different. If you’ve got kids—or you’re a skateboarder yourself—spend an afternoon at the Denver Skatepark, 60,000 square feet of concrete just waiting to be enjoyed by skaters of all skill levels. (You can bring your BMX bike, too!) Located centrally, it’s easy to get to, and best of all, it’s free.
There’s just one catch: You have to bring your own gear, including safety equipment. So if you’re transitioning from the surfing lifestyle to the skating lifestyle, it might be time to make an investment in some equipment. Denver has five skateparks, so your new gear will get plenty of use.
5. Fly High at the Wings over the Rockies Air & Space Museum
You’ll find this unique museum (one of Denver’s many!) in a repurposed Air Force hangar. The museum’s collection includes nearly 50 aircraft and spacecraft, including a Star Wars X-Wing Fighter. It’s a great place to spend a day with the family, with plenty of opportunities for kids to test out some of the equipment. (Don’t miss the museum’s three Simulator Experiences!)
Wings over the Rockies Air & Space Museum also participates in the Denver CityPASS program, which allows you entrance to several museums with a single entrance fee. If you’re stuck for activity on one of Denver’s rare rainy days, consider grabbing a CityPASS and spending the weekend exploring the Downtown Aquarium, the Denver Zoo, or the Denver Art Museum, to name a few.
The Centennial State Awaits
It can be tough to say goodbye to Hawaii. (Just ask all the residents who first visited these islands as tourists!) However, Denver has plenty to offer you: sunshine, the outdoor lifestyle, food and drink fun and much, much more. With these tips around the “why,” the “where” and the “what” of Denver, you’re all set to make a simple transition to mile-high life, with everything that comes along with it.
Need some help with your Denver move? We’ve helped tens of thousands of families make the transition between Hawaii and the mainland. Just get in touch with us for a free quote, and we’ll help you make a stress-free move to Denver—or anywhere in Colorado!
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