Making a move from Chicago to Denver can be a great choice for a lot of people, and it doesn’t need to be difficult.
This guide will take you through the process from start to finish, and hopefully get you on your way!
Denver’s panoramic mountain vistas make it one of the most beautiful cities in the country, and this natural beauty is just one of the reasons why so many people visit.
Closing the doors of your old city to open a new one is exacting but if you want to trade Chicago-style (deep dish) pizza, Maxwell Street Polish Sausage and jazz music with thriving craft breweries, chef-driven dining, and red-hot music scene and see world-class cultural attractions, then moving from Chicago to Denver must be on top of your list!
Moving from Chicago to Denver will absolutely bring about some changes in your life. You can say goodbye to the hustle and bustle of the Windy City, and hello to a fantastic adventure that is waiting for you in the Mile-High City.
While both Chicago and Denver are large metro areas, the wonderful landscape and more relaxed lifestyle of Denver gives it a more chill vibe than most of the other big cities.
Throughout this guide, we will provide helpful tips and things you need to know if you plan on making the move from Chicago to Denver.
Moving Process of Chicago to Denver
How Far is Denver From Chicago?
The distance of Denver from Chicago is just over 1,000 miles. If time is not an issue and you don’t mind long drives, then the approximate 14 hours and 16 minutes of driving could make for a great road trip.
But, if road trips aren’t your thing, then a 2 hour and 25-minute direct flight could be your best bet.
What is the Average Cost to Move from Chicago to Denver?
The average cost of moving from Chicago to Denver is approximately $4,500 to $7,200. There are a lot of factors that you must keep in mind that can and will affect your cost to move.
Some of these include the amount of stuff you are moving, whether or not you will be doing all or some of the packing work yourself, and finding a moving company that has a high reputation.
What is it Like to Live in Denver?
Denver is rapidly expanding as more people migrate to the city. With the city’s emergence as a leading tech center, job opportunities are becoming increasingly plentiful.
As the popularity of remote work grows, Denver may see even more expansion as remote workers seek out the city’s low cost of living (in comparison to many other urban areas).
Living in Denver means you’ll be surrounded by outdoor activities, making it a haven for those with active lifestyles. Denver is the place to go if you enjoy winter sports, as there are numerous ski resorts within a short drive of Denver.
You will also find plenty of local cafes and artisan breweries if you take a stroll through Downtown Denver. Downtown is the city’s bustling and trendy hub, and it has grown in popularity as a place to call home.
Why Should I Move From Chicago to Denver?
The food and beverage scene is probably not something that comes to mind when considering reasons to move from Chicago to Denver, but boy do we have a surprise for you. Although Chicago’s deep-dish pizza is tough to beat, Denver’s craft beer scene is nearly unrivaled.
Denver is home to the second-most microbreweries in the country next to Portland. They have so many breweries, that they earned the nickname the “Napa Valley of Beer.”
Apart from being a beer destination, Denver has also claimed its stake in the culinary scene. The city is home to many fantastic restaurants and has become a foodie’s paradise.
Although Denver is not located directly in the mountains, its close proximity gives its visitors and residents stunning and fantastic views. The picturesque mountain panorama from Denver creates an incredible backdrop for the city, and it is difficult to get tired of the view.
The city is a mile elevated above sea level (hence the nickname the Mile-High City), along with a desert climate. This combination gives Denver some of the most vivid blue, clear skies anywhere in the country.
According to a recent report from WalletHub, Colorado has some of the best health care in the country. On WalletHub’s list best and worst states for health care, Colorado came in at #7.
When calculating the cost of living in Denver, you need to fact healthcare costs into your budget. MIT calculated the average annual health cost for a family of two adults and a child in Denver using data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, which clocked in at $8,135 per year.
Weather and Climate
Looking for a little more sun and some snowy mountain adventures?
You’re in luck! Denver averages 56 more sunny days per year than Chicago, in an average year (245 sunny days in Denver, as opposed to 189 in Chicago).
Not only that, but the Mile-High City also only receives 17 inches of rain, for Chicago’s 38 inches of rainfall.
Part of the reason for this is because Denver receives more precipitation in the form of snowfall, with 60 inches of snowfall (versus 35 inches in CHI).
Summer highs of 89°F and winter lows of 18°F are typical in Colorado’s capital city, which are comparable to Chicago’s summer highs of 84°F and winter lows of 19°F.
Denver is a city where you actually experience four distinct seasons. The weather is ideal for a majority of people, with plenty of sunshine, crisp air, and a breezy environment.
Chicago vs Denver
Cost of Living
One significant difference that you need to consider between Denver and Chicago is the cost of living.
As a whole, Denver is 20.4% more expensive than Chicago. Housing costs are 86.0% more expensive than Chicago housing costs. Health-related expenses are 2.1% more in Denver.
You may be wondering why the cost of living is so expensive in Denver vs Chicago. Part of the reason may be due to the fact that Denver is just a better place to live for many; Denver’s violent crime rate is only 30.7 compared to the 49.9 of Chicago.
Also, Denver’s education programs are considered to be more impressive than their Chicago counterparts.
Major Cost of Living Factors:
Taxes — Taxes in Denver are a mixed bag, as while property taxes are relatively low, the sales tax is quite high. Income tax rates are 0.4% lower in Colorado vs Illinois, so this gives Denver a slight advantage.
Health Care — Although we discussed earlier that Denver has really high-quality healthcare, this comes at a price as it costs about 17% more than the national average.
Groceries — You’ll pay about 4% less for groceries in Denver than the national average
Less Commuting Time
Are you fed up with being stuck in traffic? If that’s the case, here’s some good news for you. Moving from Chicago to Denver will most likely result in spending less time on the road.
According to recent surveys, Denver drivers spend an average of 83 hours each year stuck in traffic. In comparison, Chicago drivers spend an average of 138 hours on the road.
This means that you’re hopefully gonna have more time to do the things you enjoy, instead of sitting in bumper to bumper traffic.
Big cities have many advantages, but the more densely populated a metropolitan region is, the more likely it is to have a higher crime rate.
While these figures must be taken seriously, they must also be viewed in context. With that said, statistics can make Denver appear to be a high-crime city, but its crime rate is comparable to other cities with similar populations.
Denver has a crime score of 6 on NeighborhoodScout (with 100 being the safest possible score) Although this does seem a little bit alarming, when comparing it to other large cities (such as Boulder, which has a score of 9), it does put the score into perspective a little bit.
Although crime rates in Denver have risen in recent years, this is not something that should be of major worry to your average consumer. Provided you move into a decent neighbourhood and keep yourself out of trouble, Denver can be a fantastic place to live, raise a family, and pursue new opportunities.
Denver attracts a highly-educated population, with 41% of the Denver metro-area residents holding a bachelor’s degree or higher.
If you’re moving from Chicago to Denver and have kids, you do not need to worry about the schooling situation. Denver has many great schools to pick from for your child’s K-12 education, including many public and private options.
Denver also has many great schools to pick from for post-secondary education, including the University of Denver, University of Colorado Denver, and more.
There are also a lot of highly rated schools in the suburbs if you don’t plan on moving directly into the city of Denver.
Buying a house in Denver can be expensive, with average prices being nearly double that of Chicago. Although renting can be a smart idea in lieu of expensive real estate, renting a 1 bedroom apartment in Denver is also about 20%-25% more expensive than in Chicago.
It will be very important for you to sort out your housing situation before getting to Denver, as scrambling to find a place to stay is not a pleasant experience, especially if you’re moving in the wintertime. This is even more crucial if you are moving with a family.
The Most Common Transportation Methods in Denver
RTD’s bus system is Denver’s primary mode of public transportation, though a light rail and commuter rail system also shutter passengers across the Mile High City.
Denver’s RTD is composed of buses and trains, and you will most likely need to use both in order to get around places using public transit. Uber and Lyft are also widely available and very convenient for Denver travel.
The city of Denver is very bike-friendly, with a Bicycling in Denver guide available on the city’s official website. The handbook includes information about bike pathways and ensures that RTD bus routes incorporate bike and ride options.
Through organizations like Bicycle Colorado, a vibrant cyclist community has risen up around the city as a result of this infrastructure. The city is so enthusiastic about bicycling that it even has its own Bicycle Cafe.
Finding a Job in Denver
It’s simple to leave work at work in Denver since individuals like making time to appreciate other aspects of life that bring them joy. Denver has 1.9% more unemployment than Chicago. Denver job growth has increased by 24.1% in the past 10 years.
There are nine Fortune 500 companies headquartered in Colorado and seven of them are located in Denver. Denver has achieved massive growth over the last decade, thanks to its prosperous economy. And, according to US News, Colorado is the most prosperous state in the United States! You’ll find wonderful opportunities here if you work in a school, technology or any business.
Tourism is another attractive destination of economic growth and national progress, with 17 million visitors each year. More businesses make their home in Denver than anywhere else in the state and it is also home to more business relocations than anywhere else in the world!
Some of the biggest employers in the region include the University of Colorado Hospital, Oracle Software, UPS, Comcast Corporation, Frontier Airlines, and MillerCoors Brewing Company among many others. This influx of major corporations means a steady job market and higher-paying salaries for employees.
Indeed is usually one of the best places to start the job searching process, no matter where you are and no matter what industry you work in. Indeed allows you to filter the jobs in order to see jobs that fit your skillset, and offers free alerts which send you new jobs in an area.
There are currently almost 88,000 jobs on Indeed, in the Denver area. Go and take a look, you never know if it could be the start of a new beginning!
A Few More Things to Note
Make sure to register to vote in Denver, as it is one of the most important and frequently forgotten parts of moving to a new city.
You might as well get an updated driver’s license while you’re already registering to vote so that you have a form of identification with your new address on it.
Out-of-State Vehicle Registration
If you’re driving a car from another state, you should certainly get some Colorado license plates as well.
Meet New People
Meeting new people and making new friends is an important aspect of any move, but can be pretty intimidating! Fortunately, the internet can be useful in this situation, with sites like Meetup for finding others who share your interests and r/Denver for finding out what’s going on in the city.
This guide should provide you with some actionable advice in order to make sure that your move from Chicago to Denver goes smoothly. Let us know in the comments if there was anything we missed, to help others with their trek!
Have a safe trip!