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Colorado Springs or Denver: Where Should You Live?

Posted by Susanna Haynie on April 1, 2016
| 3 Comments

Denver or Colorado Springs-

So you’ve decided to move to Colorado! Congratulations and let us be the first to welcome you. You probably have several questions about WHERE to hang your hat. We won’t lie and say that we are not biased (because we are!); however, we want to help you make a decision. Many people wonder: Should I live in Colorado Springs or Denver?

Frankly, it is usually an easy decision as they are two completely different cultures. So here are some side-to-side comparisons that will make your decision easier:

Outdoor Living

  • Colorado Springs:
    Colorado Springs Downtown Museum

    Colorado Springs Downtown Museum

    The city is nestled right up  next to America’s Mountain, Pikes Peak, and it couldn’t be more spectacular. The vista from any point in the city will take your breath away.  The terrain throughout the city is varied with parks such as Palmer Park, Fox Run Park, Bear Creek Park, and Cheyenne Mountain Park that are a far cry from a typical city park. You find yourself surrounded by cliffs, hills, pine trees and rugged (though well-groomed) trails.  Highway 24 is easily accessible and takes you on a glorious drive up Ute Pass and to the Western Slope where you can find skiing, hot springs, hiking, kayaking, mountain biking, dirt biking, zip lines, and more. Love to run or walk? Make sure to check out the popular year-round running and walking clubs Colorado Springs offers, plus visit the challenging and very popular Manitou Incline – a favorite hike for locals and visitors alike.

  • Denver: The largest city in Colorado also is near the mountains and has it’s own stunning views – though many days these views are clouded by the haze of pollution usually found in a major metropolitan city. Denver has a more panorama view of the mountain range as it sits further back from the mountains than Colorado Springs. Access to the mountains is easy but it will be a 20 – 60 minute drive to reach the foothills depending on your location. There are communities closer to the mountains, and if you are not working in Denver proper, these could be options for you in order to be closer to the outdoor adventures awaiting you in the Rocky Mountains.

Compared to Denver, Colorado Springs is a more laid-back lifestyle with much of the population being outdoor enthusiasts.

Night Life

  • Colorado Springs: There are considerably fewer options than Denver, but downtown Colorado Springs features several locally-owned bars, pubs and clubs for those who want a more active social life. Downtown Colorado Springs is a clean and quaint place that offers parades and festivities in addition to the wonderful restaurants, breweries, and coffee houses. However, people trying to find [quality] excitement until late into the night (or early into the morning) find themselves disappointed in Colorado Springs.
  • Denver: Denver has many well-known venues for an exciting nightlife.  Places like Howl At The Moon, Grizzly Rose, and the Beta Nightclub are among the many options for bars, breweries, comedy clubs, amazing restaurants, live music venues. You can find anything you are looking for in Denver.

The good news is that it is only an hour drive from Colorado Springs so if you prefer the active lifestyle of Colorado Springs but want an occasional big night out on the town, it is only a short drive away.

Climate/Elevation

  • Colorado Springs: Our beautiful city nearly touches the clouds with an elevation of 6035 – 6370′ and higher due to the vast differences in terrain throughout the city.  The city stares at Pikes Peak which is an impressive 14,115′.  Pikes peak tends to create it’s own weather pattern so you will find that in the winter Colorado Springs averages 41″ in snow (considerably lower than Denver)  while just a few miles to the north of Colorado Springs sits Palmer Divide and they average a whopping 110″ of snow every winter! It is not uncommon for the north/northeast part of the city to be inundated with a storm and the south/southwest part of the city to be dry and sunny!  The summers in Colorado Springs are more temperate overall and we tend to get more rainfall. It is rare for the city to reach 100º during the summer, usually only 2-3 times per 100 years. The down slope winds from the mountains keep the winters warmer and the summers cooler.
  • Denver: The Mile High City sits at an impressive 5280-5313′ elevation, depending on where you are at; which means the weather is lovely most of the time. They tend to get more snow in the winter and are warmer and drier in the summer than Colorado Springs.  Denver averages 53.8″ of snow a year. The average high during the summer is 86º, though if you have lived there very long you know it is not uncommon to have several days in July that are 100º or above.deer in yard colorado springs

Both Denver and Colorado Springs have fairly mild weather year-round, but the overall climate in Colorado Springs is much more comfortable (especially in the Summer).

Average Home Price and Rent 

  • Colorado Springs: The average price of a single family home is $273,815 (Feb 2016)  with the median sales price of $243,800 (Feb 2016)  Average rent in Colorado Springs is $1023 (rentjungle.com) with 76% of all rentals falling between $501-$1500 (bestplaces.net).
  • Denver: Prices in Denver are quite a bit higher: the median home price is $295,100 with average price per square foot of $258 .  Rent cost in Denver averages $1569 (rentjungle.com).

The price differences do not seem very high, but there are currently many buyers in Denver trying to  buy a home to hopefully escape the rising rents and these buyers are continuously losing out to competing offers. The real estate market in Denver is “crazy”. Home sales in Colorado Springs have gained Denver-like speed only in the price ranges under $200,000 – above $200,000 is fast but not quite as backbreaking.

The Denver real estate market impacts Colorado Springs because homes located on the northern part of town and close to the I-25 are purchased by Denverites who don’t mind the drive in order to save an easy $100,000. Overall, the price of living in Denver is much higher than in Colorado Springs, which is enough of an argument in itself for people to rather live here than “up there”. Here is a detailed list of price differences.

Culture/History

  • Colorado Springs: There is a reason why COS is a popular tourist destination.  We offer so many wonderful attractions including: Garden of the Gods, Pikes Peak, Cave of the Winds, Seven Falls, and Manitou Cliff Dwellings. Don’t forget we are also the home of the International Olympic Committee with the Olympic Training Center located in the heart of the city.  Also we have an award-winning zoo located on Cheyenne Mountain and the 5-star BroAdmoor Hotel is a stunning attraction as well! Few people know of the wonderful museums in downtown Colorado Springs including the Pioneers Museum, American Numismatic Association/Museum, the lovely Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center, Space Discovery Center, Mining Museum and more!  Click here for a list of all our museums.
  • Denver: For culture, Denver has some of the best shows and museums in the country. The Denver Museum of Nature and Science is one of the top museums in the nation. The Denver Art Museum, Federal Reserve Money Museum, and the Molly Brown House are all popular attractions. The Buell Theatre and Paramount Theatre bring top Broadway shows to the city. There is never a lack of quality entertainment in Denver. Also, Denver boasts major league sports from the Super Bowl Champions Denver Broncos to Denver Nuggets Basketball, Colorado Rockies Baseball, and Colorado Avalanche Hockey.  Denver will keep you busy all year if you love professional sports.

Public Schools

  • Colorado Springs: One of the best aspects of Colorado Springs are the top-quality schools found in our area.  Our public school systems are some of the best in the country and rate nearly 20 points higher than the Denver public schools.  Not to mention that Colorado Springs has a very strong Home School community, several charter schools and amazing private schools.  The best education for your children is right here in Colorado Springs!
  • Denver: 

To sum it up Colorado Springs is perfect for you if you are looking for a family atmosphere, lower cost of living, friendlier setting, and if you are an outdoor enthusiast and want closer access to the mountains. It is also very attractive for empty-nesters. We find that many people come to Colorado Springs for vacation and then turn it into their home! We also have a very strong military presence with Ft. Carson, the Air Force Academy, and Peterson Air Force Base.University Village Shopping Center

Denver is more suited to those who are looking for a hip and “cool” vibe, night life, urban life, sports and [international] culture.  It is much more active and a faster-paced lifestyle.

Why do we live here?

I will admit: I am a small town girl. I think Colorado Springs is about as large of a city as I can handle it. The fact that I can practically step out the door, into the mountains and onto the trails is invaluable for me. Running, biking, hiking, snowshoeing, back country skiing – all this is possible right outside.

There is plenty of wildlife where we live and I enjoy it all. My choice is to have less traffic, a slower pace of life, but enjoy our little “quirkiness” that we have here.  Occasionally, Colorado Springs can feel really small, and in that case I simply zip up to Denver.

If you are ready to establish your roots in Colorado Springs then give us a call and let us show off all the wonderful aspects of our city! We would love to help you find your perfect place to call home.  Contact me, Susanna, at 719-321-0800 or send an email to: susanna@co-regroup.com

click here to download your Colorado Springs Neighborhoods Guide Download

3 thoughts on “Colorado Springs or Denver: Where Should You Live?

  • Pamela Walsh
    on November 25, 2016

    Great article that really helped put focus on where we are going to move….thanks!

  • Shawn
    on April 30, 2018

    Great writeup. Can you list the good school districts of Springs, a couple of them atleast. Thanks.

    • on May 5, 2018

      Shawn, you can go to greatschools.org and look at their ratings that will be a great indicator on quality of schools.

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