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Moving to Denver metro from DC


Original Post
Randy Lange · · Washington, District of Col… · Joined Oct 2018 · Points: 0

Hi All,

I think we all there are a million different opinions about places to live in CO (and elsewhere) and we all filter through our own preferences etc.  We live on Capitol Hill in DC and have really enjoyed our time here, however, my wife and I are both from the West (CA) and spend a lot of time and CO and are planning to move there.  We have young children (boys aged 10 and 8) and are moving primarily to downshift our lifestyle and to get closer to a lot of the outdoor activities we like to do (biking, skiing, hiking, the boys play baseball etc). What we've liked about Capitol Hill for those of you who know it..is the sense that its a small "village" inside the craziness of DC.  We walk and bike a lot and only own one car.  While we know we can't perfectly re-create the same vibe we are looking for a similar "community" feel that is family friendly and not too far from the amenities of a downtown area.  I own a government contracting firm and will be traveling to DC once a month for 3 or 4 days and my wife is a fed employee and will either work remotely or consult. We likely will not need to commute anywhere local in Denver.  All that said, we've looked at homes in Denver proper like the Wash park area and areas further West like Golden.  We are lucky and have a fair amount of equity in our DC home and will sell that and roll it into a property in CO.  Denver is definitely much more expensive than it used to be...but not exorbitant like DC.  We like Golden's access to the mountains and small downtown and all the great outdoor options nearby.  I've read some folks complain that its gotten expensive and more trendy....but how does it fit as a family community to raise kids?  I've read good things, but I'd like to get some direct feedback please.  We like the vibe of the Wash park area as well but its a longer trek to the mountains through even more traffic AND the neighborhoods are a strange mix of re-done houses and pockets of dilapidated properties.  In some places there are sidewalks that literally end...it seems like its in the midst of a slow transition but the neighborhoods lack continuity IMHO....mcmansions alongside bungalows etc.  For those of you know that now DC..I'd love any direct comparisons you can provide.

Thanks in advance!

Matt Ward · · Golden, CO · Joined Oct 2017 · Points: 0

Congrats on your move.  We pulled off nearly the exact same move last year from Chicago, for basically the same reasons.  We also have two boys (8 and 11) and scoured the area pretty well.  We ended up in Golden: amazing proximity to the mountains and recreating, great downtown, and I can be at the airport within 35 minutes 90% of the time (I fly weekly, typically on an early AM flight and come home after rush hour).  Happy to discuss more if you like.

Garth Sundem · · Boulder, CO · Joined Jan 2011 · Points: 15

I second Matt's vote for Golden. Also, we moved from CA to Louisville, CO and love it here (kids ages 10 and 12). Both Golden and Louisville have nice, small-town vibes and strong climbing communities, including excellent options for the wee ones to pull on plastic. You might also check out Fort Collins, though it's pretty far from ski areas.

Randy Lange · · Washington, District of Col… · Joined Oct 2018 · Points: 0

Thanks for the response Matt and Garth.  The drive the to the airport can be jammed up with traffic but, Matt, it sounds like you do it quite a bit and if hasn't been unmanageable then that's good to know.  I would love to pick your brain more and I can send you an off-line PM.  Garth...Ft. Collins is gorgeous but I do think we like being closer to Denver so we can go downtown when we want to for Rockies games, events and other things.  You both have kids of similar ages...I would also ask if they found the transition fairly easy?  My kids are adventurous and like the outdoors and seem excited about the idea.  Even they realize that DC weather leaves a lot to be desired lol.  It looks like we'd give the Golden public school system a shot which seems fairly strong from what I've read and look at other options if it wasn't a great fit.  

Shawn Adrian · · Unknown Hometown · Joined May 2018 · Points: 5
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Andy Novak · · Golden, Co · Joined Aug 2007 · Points: 370

I'd look into Montana or Idaho.

Shawn Adrian · · Unknown Hometown · Joined May 2018 · Points: 5
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curt86iroc · · Lakewood, CO · Joined Dec 2014 · Points: 53
Randy Lange wrote:  I've read some folks complain that its gotten expensive and more trendy....

there are definitely 2 sides to golden; the original blue collar roots from the "manufacturing days" (brewery, coorstek etc.) and the outdoor recreation crowd for access to world class activities. the aforementioned like to say we are changing the town (yes, i fall into the ladder group), but the reality is, it's all based on perception.  they have their cruise days the first saturday of every month, and we go play in the canyon.

Trendy? if you call better restaurants downtown and good beer trendy, then im all for it :) what some may call "trendy" i call revitalization. drive down south golden road and you'll know what i mean...

though i will say the cost of housing has dramatically shifted in the past 5-7 years, to the point where we couldnt afford to live in golden anymore (just over the border in lakewood now). i still commute to golden every day for work and it's where my family and i spend a fair amount of time.

lastly, don't rule out some of hidden gems around golden that are outside the real estate bubble but can still offer easy access to the town.
Getoutside · · Golden, CO · Joined Apr 2014 · Points: 0
Andy Novak wrote: I'd look into Montana or Idaho.

Let me second Montana or Idaho. 

Noah Yetter · · Lakewood, CO · Joined Jul 2015 · Points: 105

I've lived here all my life (minus 6 months spent in NoVA) and would choose Golden over Denver in a heartbeat. I don't have DC-house-equity money though, so I live in Lakewood.

Clipping Chains · · Colorado · Joined Sep 2018 · Points: 0

Randy,

You are correct that Denver neighborhoods are both getting highly expensive and are a piece-meal assortment of both “ugly boxes” as we like to call them and more historic bungalows. Coming from DC, the money may not be the issues, but the housing trend is similar in all metro neighborhoods (Wash Park, Highlands, City Park, etc).

I personally find Wash Park to be the most pretentious of the city neighborhoods, but that’s me. I suppose any metro neighborhood these days has a bit of a yuppie factor though. If that’s an issue for you, I’d look to Lakewood, Arvada, or Golden where this is less of an obvious factor in the overall vibe of the area.

Welcome!

Clipping Chains · · Colorado · Joined Sep 2018 · Points: 0

I’ll also add: The metro area has a decent (and growing) light rail system that can get you around the city and to the airport.

curt86iroc · · Lakewood, CO · Joined Dec 2014 · Points: 53
Clipping Chains wrote: I’ll also add: The metro area has a decent (and growing) light rail system that can get you around the city and to the airport.

decent? its pretty terrible...and pales in comparison to the DC metro system...  kudos to denver for trying though

Clipping Chains · · Colorado · Joined Sep 2018 · Points: 0
curt86iroc wrote:

decent? its pretty terrible...and pales in comparison to the DC metro system...  kudos to denver for trying though

At least to the airport from Union Station. I’ve never used it to get around otherwise, so take my endorsement with a grain of salt.

Buck Rio · · MN · Joined Jul 2015 · Points: 0

I am not a CO resident, but have spent 20+ years travelling to CO for the mountains and climbing/skiing. 

If you don't really need to commute to Denver, couldn't you live in Nederland or Estes?  Or Leadville for that matter, or Blue River or Silverthorne or Frisco...

Just throwing some ideas out there. CO is increasingly a destination for folks from TX and CA, and they seem to be creating a certain amount of animus with "locals". Haven't seen that with people from the Midwest or out east...but it is bound to happen as the price of real estate goes up. Ask folks from Seattle.

Will Handy · · Denver, CO · Joined Aug 2016 · Points: 0

Don't Boulder my Golden! /s

But seriously, both Golden and Wash Park are great choices. Just depends on if you'd rather be in a trendy downtown area or a semi-trendy foothills area. I've been to Cap Hill once, and it does seem kinda similar to Wash Park.

If you're leaning towards being closer to the mountains I'd also look at Evergreen.

physnchips · · Boulder, CO · Joined Jan 2016 · Points: 0

I don’t get it. Live where you’ll be working. Coming from DC the traffic probably won’t seem bad, but you can either live 10 minutes from the mountains and spend 2hrs commuting every day or live 30 minutes from the mountains and commute for 10 minutes (bonus of you don’t bring your pollution with you). If you don’t have to commute and like climbing then live in Ned, virtually instant access to climbing and biking.

wendy weiss · · boulder, co · Joined Mar 2006 · Points: 10

Ned -- cold, windy, and a bitch of a commute to the airport, especially in winter. Since moving to CO, I've only lived in Boulder, but I'd say Golden is a good choice. Maybe consider Louisville. Also, there are other neighborhoods in Denver that may be worth checking out. I have a friend who lives and raised her daughter in something called the Bonnie Brae neighborhood that seems like a nice place. 

Long Ranger · · Boulder, CO · Joined Jan 2014 · Points: 156
Buck Rio wrote
If you don't really need to commute to Denver, couldn't you live in Nederland or Estes?  Or Leadville for that matter, or Blue River or Silverthorne or Frisco...
If the dude's gots kids, I think raising them is a pretty big topic. I would seriously have to ask myself if Leadville is where I want to raise them. The small town politics of that town are ridiculous (police corruption, drugs), the town is isolated with crappy weather much of the time, and not so much overrun with tourists - but they're there, and as a teenager, I could see being bored out of my mind.

I, as a single dude who loves mountain activities have seriously considered just moving it to Leadville, but then I have to realize that the isolation of the place would probably be a pretty dangerous thing to handle mentally.
Andesite · · Portland, OR · Joined Feb 2015 · Points: 0

Oh man...My wife and I left Capitol Hill for Portland, OR more than 20 years ago.  Now that the kids have left the house, we want to move back to DC, preferring Capitol Hill.  Too bad you aren't looking to move to Portland.  We could probably work something out.

Buck Rio · · MN · Joined Jul 2015 · Points: 0
Long Ranger wrote: If the dude's gots kids, I think raising them is a pretty big topic. I would seriously have to ask myself if Leadville is where I want to raise them. The small town politics of that town are ridiculous (police corruption, drugs), the town is isolated with crappy weather much of the time, and not so much overrun with tourists - but they're there, and as a teenager, I could see being bored out of my mind.

I, as a single dude who loves mountain activities have seriously considered just moving it to Leadville, but then I have to realize that the isolation of the place would probably be a pretty dangerous thing to handle mentally.

What I meant with the Leadville comment is that he might want to be more open to greater Colorado, instead of focusing on the metro area. One of my cousins lives in the Durango area, not in Durango, but about 30 miles away, and he loves it. Has a few cattle, leases his land out in the fall to hunters ($$$), rides horses etc. But no kids.  

As many of my friends know, if asked where I would like to live, I would respond without hesitation Boulder. The biking, climbing, hiking access is unbelievable. People care about their community, and there are good restaurants.

But there is no way I could ever afford to live there and keep the same living style. Full stop. I'm in a good MN suburb and my 3000 SF house and a .5 acre wooded lot goes for about $450k. I'm sure in Boulder it would be >$1.5MM.
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