Living in Denver as an expatriate

Caffeinate Your Denver Expat Journey: Find Essential Info and Connect with Expatriates Today

Image of Denver

Nestled at the foot of the Rocky Mountains, Denver boasts a distinct colorscape of terra cotta and blue-tinted glass that sparkles in the sunlight. Founded in 1858 amid gold rush fever, Denver has long since shed its frontier roots and transformed into a cosmopolitan force, with flourishing tech, healthcare, and finance industries that lure entrepreneurs and young professionals. Adventure-seekers will find plenty to indulge in, from skiing and snowboarding in nearby mountains to hiking along the Colorado Trail or kayaking in Clear Creek. Denver is also home to cutting-edge museums, hip up-and-coming neighborhoods, and a diverse array of international cuisine that reflects its burgeoning immigrant population. Denver is a wonderful place to call home.

Tips for expats in Denver

Visa requirements

Foreign nationals can apply for various immigration programmes under the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), depending on their residency and professional status. Common categories include F1 student visas, E-1/E2 treaty trader/investor visas, H-1B skilled workers visas, temporary work visas, green cards, and permanent residency. The application process for each visa category varies and may require a significant degree of documentation and a stringent background check. Applicants are advised to check the official USCIS website for the latest employer-sponsored visa updates and green card processing times.

Language resources

English is the official language in Denver, although Spanish and Chinese are the most commonly spoken languages. Learning English is essential for successful integration, with numerous language schools and tutorial programs available for expats. Popular options include the Colorado University Denver Language School, INTRAFI Language Center, and the Denver Open Media Language Exchange Program.

Cost of living for expats in Denver

Housing

Denver is known for being a relatively affordable city compared to other major US metropolises. Depending on the neighborhood, a room in a shared house can cost anywhere between $500 and $850 per month, while a one-bedroom apartment averages $1,050 per month. For a two-bedroom place, you can expect to spend between $1,300 and $1,650 a month, and for a three-plus bedroom house, prices generally range from $2,000 to $2,750 per month. However, prices can vary significantly based on location, size, and amenities.

Groceries

The cost of groceries in Denver is comparable to many other US cities. Typical household expenses for basic groceries such as bread, vegetables, fruits, and milk can range from $300 to $450 per month for a family of four. Specialty items like organic and imported produce may cost more, while sales and discounts offered by supermarkets can keep costs down. Shopping at farmer’s markets can be a great way to stock up on fresh produce and support local business, with prices varying based on the season and availability.

Transportation

Denver's public transportation system, RTD, runs on a bus and light rail network that connects most areas throughout the city and surrounding suburbs with periodic service. A one-way fare is $3.00 for adults, with reductions available for students, seniors, and people with disabilities. A monthly pass costs $99, while a 21-day pass is $40. A car-share system, Car2Go, is a cost-effective transportation alternative, which offers a monthly membership and yearly membership at $39 and $69, respectively, with usage fees starting at $0.38 per minute.

Climate in Denver

Denver enjoys a semi-arid climate, characterized by moderate summers, mild winters, and abundant sunshine. During summer months, the average temperature is around 78°F (26°C), while winter months average 36°F (2°C). Due to the city’s high elevation of approximately 5,280 feet (1,610 meters) above sea level, Denver experiences less air pollution than most US cities, making the air crisp and pure. The dry weather can lead to occasional droughts, so be sure to carry a water bottle throughout the day. Winters are generally dry, with very little precipitation, but the mountainous region can receive heavy snowfall, which lasts from November through April.

Job market in Denver

The economy of Denver is robust and vibrant, thanks to its strong industrial base and high-tech digital sector. Major industries include finance, healthcare, aerospace, and energy, making Denver one of the leading US cities for gainful employment. The University of Colorado Denver, one of the largest universities in Colorado, also provides a significant number of job opportunities in the city. Unemployment in Denver is consistent with the US average, with excellent employment prospects available across all sectors of the economy.

Healthcare in Denver

Denver offers excellent healthcare facilities and services, with a robust network of hospitals and clinics. The metropolitan area is home to a number of major healthcare systems and community hospitals, including the University of Colorado Health, Denver Health, Kaiser Permanente, SCL Health, and Rose Medical Center, many of which are affiliated with leading academic medical centers across the US. Generally, healthcare costs in Denver are similar to most US cities, with healthcare insurance available from myriad private providers and group health programs such as Blue Cross Blue Shield, UnitedHealthcare, and Kaiser Permanente.

Transport in Denver

Denver’s public transportation system, known as RTD, is affordable and reliable, with numerous bus and light rail routes connecting most areas of the city throughout the day and night. A 21-day transit pass costs $40 per adult, a one-way fare is $3, and monthly passes cost $99. Car-sharing services such as Car2Go and Zipcar provide a cost-effective alternative for shorter trips, and ride-hailing services like Uber and Lyft are also widely available.

Safety in Denver

Denver is a fundamentally safe city to live in, with an overall low crime rate compared to other major US urban centers. The city has made significant strides in police reform and community engagement, resulting in a proactive and collaborative law enforcement force. Still, residents are encouraged to exercise caution in some areas, especially at night, with appropriate measures such as carrying valuables discreetly and avoiding isolated areas. Lively neighborhoods like Capitol Hill and Cherry Creek may have higher levels of petty crime, while walkways around downtown Denver and the Civic Center Park could pose some risk due to homelessness and vagrancy. Teenagers and young adults should exercise particular caution during the late night hours in these areas.

Neighborhoods in Denver

  1. Cherry Creek

    Cherry Creek is a trendy neighborhood situated south of downtown Denver. The area is characterized by lush greenery, upscale boutiques, and high-end restaurants. With a population of around 19,000, this neighborhood is known for its elegant homes and affluent demographic profile. Homes in Cherry Creek often fetch high market values, with prices ranging from $800,00 to $3 million for luxury estates, while apartments range between $1,500 and $3,500 a month. Cherry Creek is conveniently located near Cherry Creek Shopping Center, Cherry Creek North, and some of Denver’s most beautiful parks. Satisfyingly low crime rates add to its attraction.

  2. LoDo (Lower Downtown)

    Located simultaneously up and down from downtown Denver, due to the city’s unique geography, LoDo is an energetic quarter filled with chic restaurants, fashionable boutiques, and historic landmarks. Recent initiatives to revitalize the neighborhood have injected new life into the scene, resulting in some of the city’s most attractive properties. With its central location, beautiful architecture, and constant vibe of the neighborhood, LoDo is a magnet for young professionals and students. One-bedroom apartments can rent for around $1,350 a month, while two-bedroom apartments and houses average $1,800 to $2,700 per month.

  3. Capitol Hill

    Capitol Hill is a historic district in Denver's northeastern quadrant that begins east of downtown. The location is popular with students, artists, and other young professionals looking for affordable living with easy access to downtown Denver. The area is packed with eateries, bars, and clubs, making this the perfect location for a social lifestyle. Apartments and houses in the area range from $1,000 to $2,600 a month on average.

  4. Uptown

    Uptown, nestled west of downtown Denver, is vibrant and characterized by numerous art galleries, trendy cafes, and hip bars. The neighborhood is home to the fashionable 16th Street mall, as well as several other malls and entertainment complexes that punctuate the city center; much of downtown and Uptown is connected by public transportation. The area features a higher concentration of new constructions than most parts of Denver, enabling a wide choice of properties, from condos to luxury apartments that cost upward of $3,500 a month.

  5. Stapleton

    Stapleton, located northeast of downtown Denver, is one of the city’s most lucrative and fastest-growing neighborhoods, known for its beautiful parks, excellent community programs, and platinum LEED Certified homes. The area is home to numerous retailers, shops, and health clinics, and numerous startups are based here, resulting in a diverse socioeconomic profile. One-bedroom apartments can rent for around $1,300 a month, two-bedroom apartments typically cost between $2,000 and $3,00 a month.

Attractions in Denver

  1. Red Rocks Park and Amphitheatre

    Red Rocks Park and Amphitheatre is a spectacular natural attraction situated west of Denver. This stunning landscape, shaped by red rock formations and sandstone cliffs, is a popular destination for hiking, biking, and rock climbing, with some of the most profound views in the world. A year-round event calendar features numerous live concerts, movies, and festivals for music and arts lovers, with iconic acts like U2, John Denver, and The Beatles gracing its stages.

  2. Denver Botanic Gardens

    The Denver Botanic Gardens, spread across 24 acres in the heart of downtown Denver, features numerous intriguing landscapes, displays, and conservatories that explore different climates and botanical themes. Deeply committed to education and sustainability, the gardens offer a wealth of resources for families and students, including art classes, gardening workshops, and summer camps. Other notable attractions include the Helen Fowler Library, with over 8,000 titles to browse, and the Gardens' Shipungi Glass House featuring some of the rarest subtropical plants in the world.

  3. Denver Art Museum

    Denver Art Museum, a leading cultural institution in Colorado, features over 70,00 diverse works from around the world, including paintings, sculptures, and contemporary media. The museum is housed in two exquisitely designed buildings, with numerous events and exhibitions that bridge art and culture throughout the year. The artist studio program, available to students, enables young minds to explore their creative potential and develop their artistic and critical language skills.

  4. Civic Center Park

    Civic Center Park, located directly north of downtown Denver, is a verdant urban attraction commanding breathtaking views through its central position in the city. Home to the Colorado State Capitol and numerous other iconic buildings, Civic Center Park boasts walking paths, a Frisbee golf course, and a multitude of cultural events throughout the year, punctuated by summer concerts and movie screenings under the stars.

  5. Denver Zoo

    Denver Zoo, nestled in City Park, is home to over 4,00 animals representing a wide range of species from diverse ecosystems around the world. This 110-acre wildlife haven combines interactive programs, educational workshops, and fun activities for both children and adults, with a considerable focus on conservation and animal welfare. With ample grounds, comfortable seating, and live shows featuring otters and bears, a visit to Denver Zoo is a delightful family affair.

International Schools in Denver

  1. Colorado Academy International Program

    Greenwood Village, south of Denver

    Colorado Academy International Program offers high-quality international education for students in grades K-12, embracing diverse cultures and languages, and providing numerous opportunities for students to explore the world through global studies, cultural events, and exchange programs with collaborative schools worldwide. The curriculum is enriched with numerous international field trips, language classes, and cultural festivals, making the school an exceptional place for international and domestic students alike.

  2. American Montessori Society International Training Center (AMS - Denver)

    Denver

    AMS - Denver offers diverse international educational programs for parents and educators, designed to enhance Montessori education through innovative and collaborative teaching practices, curriculum development, and leadership training. A holistic approach to education helps to foster Montessori methods and leverage new teaching technologies to create a dynamic and immersive learning experience. This program is particularly suitable for foreign educators who seek to hone their teaching skills and develop their Montessori curriculum for delivery in their home countries.

  3. Denver Montessori

    Denver

    Denver Montessori, affiliated with the Montessori Foundation, serves as an educational hub for parents, educators, and Montessori affiliates, providing exceptional training programs for pre-primary, primary, and elementary school levels. The courses encompass comprehensive curriculum development, Montessori-based teacher training, and community building for educational groups worldwide. This is a perfect destination for Montessori educators looking to boost their skills and share their ideas with peers from other parts of the world.

Expat destinations in United States