The Mile High Millennial
It’s probably not a huge shock that Denver tops this list: Its job market, kid-friendly culture, welcoming suburbs, and natural wonderlands are especially big draws. Thanks to these qualities and others, Denver has become increasingly popular among millennials as of late, especially as more and more find themselves moving to west. In fact, while Denver proper has a bit more than 630,000 residents, this figure includes 8 percent of population growth–which means that, especially for those not residing in nearby areas, there is a large group of fellow transplants, making it easier to join into the local community.
But why Denver? Well, besides its liberal atmosphere, booming tech and medical industries, and great access to all things outdoors, it’s a fantastic place to settle down, while still enjoying everything you used to, like a good brew, or a Broncos game.
For those looking to start a family, Denver is very kid-friendly—especially because 7 percent of the population is below the age of five, and more than 16 percent of the population is school age, meaning your children will be far from lonely. (Of course, the majority of residents are between the ages of 25 and 34, meaning you won’t be lonely, either.) Plus, there are 137 parks in the entire city—although the Rocky Mountains are a fun playground, too, especially if you’re hoping to foster a love of nature. Or, if your kids prefer adventures of a less physical kind, there are 25 libraries for them to explore new worlds in.
Plus, if you’re hoping to instill a better understanding of those with different cultural backgrounds, or if you are looking for places to instill the sense of community you grew up with, Denver is fairly diverse—58 percent of the population is white, while 24 percent identify as Hispanic or Latino and 8 percent is black.
In terms of schools, Denver comes in at fairly average according to its standardized test results—but test results certainly don’t capture the full scope of school quality. Regardless, there are a good number of public and charter schools in Denver that fall in the exceptional range of test results; you can view a list here.
Besides all this, Denver is also a somewhat walkable city, but it’s actually even better in terms of bikeability—perfect for those of you who want to commute to work with minimal impact on the environment, or for those of you who just want a great way to exercise in the fresh Mile High air.
But if city prices aren’t in your wheelhouse, Denver has plenty of affordable suburbs–like Thornton and Commerce City, both of which are less than 10 miles away, have a relatively low cost of living, and have median home values of $208,300 and $187,800, respectively. Which means you’ll have a bit more cash to spend on things like Denver’s burgeoning foodie scene (more than 400 restaurants opened in 2015 alone!).
Looking for something cozier and even more walkable? You’ll want to check out the #2 city on this list, Brookline.