Your time in Denver, CO, has been excellent – but you are ready to see what the rest of the country has to offer. Chicago is at the top of your list, but you aren’t sure if the relocation makes financial sense or if you can even afford to live in the Windy City.
Here is the comprehensive guide for anyone considering moving from Denver to Chicago – and why when you are ready to compare moving quotes, you will quickly discover the Denver Moving Companies offers the best prices around.
How Big Is Denver Metro Area Compared to Chicago’s?
Both Chicago, IL, and Denver, CO, are big cities with a lot to offer. Denver is 155 square miles, and in 2023, the population of the Denver metro area is 2,963,821, which is an increase of almost 17% since 2010. The population of the city of Denver itself is around 729,329 residents.
Chicago, the capital of Illinois, is the third largest city in the United States, with a metro population of nearly 8,937,126 million people. The city is approximately 234 square miles and has 100 neighborhoods and 50 wards.
How Does Denver Compare to Chicago?: Pros and Cons
If you really want to understand how your life in Denver will compare to a new life in Chicago, you need to consider several aspects of experiencing everything each big city has to offer.
Chicago and Denver have an active nightlife with many places to explore – including ethnic restaurants, bars, clubs, and theaters. In Denver, you can explore the River North District, an area filled with converted industrial spaces. Young people in Chicago flock to the downtown area to visit one of the many bars or catch a show at a live music venue.
The food scene in both cities is vibrant, and you have several amazing restaurants to choose from. Chicago is known for its pizza and hot dogs, while you can always find a great food truck or fine dining establishment in the downtown area of either city.
Both cities have several restaurants, world-class dining, bars, and clubs within walking distance of one another. The nightlife in Chicago is slightly more expensive than in Denver, so be prepared to spend more on a cover charge or a pint at your new favorite pub.
Chicago and Denver are both family-friendly cities. You will have no trouble finding a way to keep the kids entertained on a lazy Sunday afternoon. Both cities have affordable entertainment options for the whole family – including Millenium Park’s splash pad in Chicago, the free summer concert series, and several museums in Denver.
Both Midwest cities have plenty of other ways to spend quality time with the kids – including the Denver Museum of Nature & Science, Confluence Park, and Downtown Aquarium in Denver. You and the kids can jump on the light rail in Chicago and spend the afternoon exploring Lake Michigan or strolling through the Chicago Children’s Museum, Shedd Aquarium, or the Adler Planetarium.
One of the only Denver cons, when compared to Chicago, is that there are more outdoor activities in Chicago – especially for kids. Chicago is home to an impressive 600 parks, 307 public baseball, soccer, and football fields, and 500 playgrounds!
Both cities are a sports fanatic’s paradise. Denver is home to a wide variety of professional sports teams, including the incomparable Denver Broncos, Colorado Rockies, and the Denver Nuggets. However, if you love sports and want to spend most Sunday afternoons rooting on your favorite team, a move to Chicago might be the better option.
Softball was actually invented in Chicago in 1837, and the city was named “The Best Sports City” by Sporting News several times. Chicago is home to the Chicago Bulls, Chicago Bears, Chicago Blackhawks, Chicago White Sox, and of course, the Chicago Cubs.
Median Age of Residents
The median age of residents in both Denver and Chicago is relatively young, with a median age of 37 years in Denver and 35.8 years in Chicago. This is below the national average median age of 37.7 years. Both cities have a booming economy – thanks in part to the relatively young workforce in the metro areas of both cities.
Living in Denver, you know the weather can be very dramatic. The temperature in Denver dips to around 22 degrees Fahrenheit in winter and 88 degrees Fahrenheit in summer. The summers can be very humid, and you will spend several mornings shoveling your sidewalk and driveway in the winter.
The weather in Chicago is comparable. The average winter and summer temps in Chicago are very close to Denver. However, it is more likely to dip below zero in Chicago than in Denver, and Denver gets approximately 2 feet more snow on average than Chicago.
There is plenty of history in both Denver and Chicago to soak up – and the best way to soak up the sights and sounds of both cities is to walk. Both Denver and Chicago have high walkability scores. The cooler temperatures in spring and fall make it an ideal time to spend your weekend walking through the downtown areas of either metro area.
Weekends in Chicago vs. Denver: The Winner
Now that you have factored in all the pros and cons of both Denver and Chicago, it is time to ask yourself a fundamental question: Where would I rather spend my weekend – Denver or Chicago? Denver and Chicago have exceptional dining, historical sites, and ways to entertain your kids.
If you crave a purely-urban experience, Chicago is a great city. However, if you want to balance out time in the city with time in nature, consider staying in Denver. As you know, Denver is known for its excellent outdoor activities, including hiking and biking trails.
Cost of Living: Chicago vs. Denver
Both Denver and Chicago are amazing places to call home for several reasons – from the abundant nightlife to the rich theater scene and walkability of either city. However, if you are like most people, the most critical aspect you must consider before moving to Chicago is if you can find a job and afford an apartment and a week’s worth of groceries.
Housing Costs: As of June 2023
When considering the financial side of moving to Chicago or staying in Denver, one of the most significant factors is the cost of housing. Homes in both Chicago and Denver are in high demand, and the rental market in either city is very competitive.
You will spend slightly less money on rent in Denver than in Chicago. The average rent, based on RentCafe, is $2,216/month in Chicago and $1,968/month in Denver.
Where the two differ dramatically is the median home price. The median home sale price in Denver, based on REDFIN, is approximately $601,000, while in Chicago, it is $340,500. The rent and your mortgage greatly depend on where you live in either city.
For example, the rent in South Chicago is slightly lower than in the downtown region, where you can expect to pay more each month simply because shops and restaurants are so easily accessible. The Southwestern portion of Denver features much higher rental prices than other areas, such as East or South Denver.
The job market in Chicago, IL/Denver, CO, is very healthy. The national average salary is $60.576. In Denver, the average salary is a healthy $67,313. Several industries in Denver are thriving, including hospitality and hotels, higher education, healthcare, telecommunications, and finance.
In comparison, the average salary in Chicago is slightly more than the national average at $73,854. Jobs are also plentiful in several sectors, including healthcare, transportation, and pharmaceuticals.
The school systems in Chicago and Denver are diverse, with the opportunity for your children to grow and learn – no matter what their age. Chicago features over 450 elementary schools and nearly 400 preschools. There are 117 elementary schools and 92 preschools in Denver.
If your teenager is heading to college, you can rest assured they will receive a quality education in either city. Both cities are home to several private and state universities. The University of Chicago and Loyola University are ranked amongst the best colleges in the Midwest, as is the University of Denver.
Whether you move to the west coast, stay in Denver, or try to enjoy the good life in Chicago, taxes will follow you! The sales tax in Illinois is 6.25%. The state sales tax in Colorado is 7.65%. Illinois has a flat income tax rate, meaning that no matter how much money you make each year, you will pay 4.95% in taxes. Colorado also features a flat income tax, and the rate is 4.4%.
Is Public Transportation Better in Chicago or Denver?
Both Denver/Chicago are known for their accessibility and public transportation infrastructure and services. The streets in both cities, including the downtown areas, are clean and well-managed. In Chicago, you can hop on the elevated train or ride a bus throughout the metro area.
The metropolitan area in Denver is serviced by buses and a light rail system, and if you want to travel to nearby Boulder, you can get there on the Flatiron Flyer! Basically, you don’t need a car to explore or live in either city!
Crime Rates in Chicago vs. Denver
Unfortunately, one of the most significant downsides to moving to Chicago is the crime rate in the city. Illinois, and Chicago in particular, is notorious for having high crime rates. As a matter of fact, Chicago has one of the highest crime rates in the United States, with an overall crime rate of 32.1 crimes per 1,000 residents.
Denver does not fare any better than Chicago, with an overall crime rate of 70.0 per 1,000 residents.
No matter where you decide to live in either city, do your homework and research each neighborhood and portion of the city. Chances are you will find a great place to raise a family. If you are considering moving to Chicago or anywhere in the United States and want to discuss the financial side of moving, contact Denver Moving Companies for more information.
So, Which City Should You Choose — Chicago or Denver?
Moving to a new state is never a decision to take lightly. You must always consider factors beyond what city is better on paper. When you are ready to make that final decision and if you decide to move, contact the professionals at Denver Moving Companies.
Our expert team can help you plan a stress-free move, whether you decide to relocate to Chicago or anywhere else in the country.
Ready to Plan Your Move To Chicago? Contact the Pros at Denver Moving Companies
From the cost of rent to public transport and the crime rates and school system, there is a lot you need to figure out before taking a lap and moving to a new state. Luckily, there is one aspect of moving that doesn’t need to add more stress: Hiring the right moving company!
Planning Your Move To Chicago Doesn’t Need to Be Stressful
You’ve decided it’s time to start a new adventure in Chicago – but the stress of moving makes you think twice. Moving doesn’t need to keep you up at night. Instead, in addition to hiring a fantastic moving company, there are several other ways you can plan a stress-free relocation, including:
Do not wait until the last minute to start planning your move. Instead, give yourself at least four to six months to hire a moving company, pack, and relocate to your new home.
Get the whole neighborhood involved
Instead of tackling the move on your own, bribe your friends and neighbors with a night out at Casa Bonita – if they help you pack and move. Remember, if you don’t have the time to pack, you can leave this time-consuming chore to the pros at Denver Moving Companies!
Obtain several moving quotes from moving companies near you
Contact several moving companies and obtain a free quote. The quote should include not only the overall cost of the relocation but also any additional fees, the estimated time of arrival at your current home, and when your household goods will arrive at your new house or apartment.
Prepare for moving day
Moving day will arrive before you know it. Make sure to create a box of essentials to get you through moving day and those first few days at your new house or apartment. Pack your medications, a few toys and books, and your coffee pot into a separate box to ensure that when you need these essentials, they are available right away.
Ultimately, the best way to plan a stress-free relocation is to take a break and enjoy moving to a new city!
Frequently Asked Question
Is it more expensive to live in Denver or Chicago?
As of my knowledge cutoff in September 2021, living in Chicago is generally more expensive than living in Denver. This is primarily because of higher costs for housing and certain services in Chicago. However, it’s essential to consider that the cost of living can vary greatly depending on personal lifestyle, neighborhood, and other factors.
Is Denver weather better than Chicago?
Denver and Chicago offer distinct climates, and whether one is “better” largely depends on personal preferences. Denver is known for its abundant sunshine, even in winter, and experiences a semi-arid climate. Snowfall is common in winter, but snow tends to melt quickly. Chicago, situated by Lake Michigan, experiences hot summers and cold, snowy winters. It is also known for its windy conditions. So if you prefer a milder, sunnier climate, Denver may be the better choice.
Why is Denver the best city to live in?
Denver has been growing in popularity for many reasons. Its strong economy, outdoor recreational opportunities, and the appeal of its vibrant cultural scene are some reasons many find it attractive. The city is nestled at the foot of the Rocky Mountains, offering breathtaking landscapes and easy access to hiking, skiing, biking, and other outdoor activities. Denver also boasts a healthy job market and a young, dynamic population. Remember, though, that “the best city” is subjective and depends on individual preferences and needs.
What are the pros and cons of living in Denver?
Living in Denver has its pros and cons. On the plus side, Denver has a vibrant downtown, abundant outdoor recreational opportunities, and a strong job market, especially in technology and healthcare. The city is also known for its microbreweries, music scene, and sporting events.
However, the cost of living in Denver has been rising, with housing costs being a particular concern. Some residents also find the city’s rapid growth and associated urban sprawl less appealing. Moreover, although Denver has a lot of sunny days, it also has a high altitude, which may pose health challenges for some individuals.
How much do you need to make to live comfortably in Denver?
A common rule of thumb is that your annual income should be around 30-40 times your monthly rent if you’re renting. If you’re buying a house, a commonly advised annual income is three times the home’s price. However, these figures can vary based on factors like lifestyle, debts, and personal savings goals. Keep in mind that Denver’s housing market has been experiencing rising prices.
Why is Denver so popular?
Denver’s popularity can be attributed to its strong economy, natural beauty, outdoor recreational activities, and vibrant cultural scene. Its sunny weather, despite its snowy winters, is also a draw. Additionally, Denver has a reputation for being a friendly and welcoming city with a high quality of life.
Are winters harsh in Denver?
Denver winters can indeed be cold, and snowfall is common. However, Denver is known for its sunny winter days, and the snow often melts quickly. Also, because of its dry climate, the cold may not feel as harsh as in more humid climates.
Is Denver a booming city?
Yes, Denver has been experiencing significant growth. The city has seen a steady rise in its population and economy, fueled by its robust job market. Industries such as technology, healthcare, and cannabis have seen substantial growth in Denver.
Is Denver one of the most expensive cities?
While Denver is more expensive than many U.S. cities, it wasn’t typically considered among the most expensive cities like New York or San Francisco. However, costs, particularly housing costs, have been on the rise in recent years.
How much does Denver pay compared to Chicago?
Pay can vary significantly by industry, role, and individual qualifications. However, in general, salaries in Chicago tend to be higher than in Denver, reflecting the higher cost of living. But it’s essential to take into account that although you might earn less in Denver, your money might also go further due to the lower cost of living.
Are people in Denver friendly?
Denver is often reported as a friendly city. Its residents are known for their active lifestyles, love of the outdoors, and welcoming nature. Of course, everyone’s experience can vary, but many people find a strong sense of community in Denver.
Is it a good idea to move to Denver?
Whether it’s a good idea to move to Denver depends on your personal circumstances and preferences. If you value outdoor activities, sunny weather, a vibrant cultural scene, and a booming job market, Denver could be a great fit for you. However, it’s essential to consider factors such as the increasing cost of living and whether you’d enjoy the lifestyle and climate that Denver offers. As with any move, it’s recommended to visit the city first to see if it feels like a good fit for you.
Moving Doesn’t Need to Cost A Hefty Sum Either!
Whether you are moving from Denver to Chicago, Seattle, or Washington D.C., you don’t need to spend a small fortune to work with the best moving company in Denver, CO. When you contact the pros at the Denver Moving Company; you can rest assured you are truly working with the best Denver movers in the business!
A Full-Service Long-Distance Moving Company That Can Meet All Needs
At the Denver Moving Company, we are more than just one of the best long-distance moving companies in the greater Denver area. We also offer local and office moving services too! Don’t want to spend the last few weeks and days in Denver packing up your house?
Our team of expert packers will come armed with everything required to safely move your entire home or apartment. A family-owned business since 2008, the Denver Moving Company is your one-stop shop for all your packing and relocating needs.
Contact Us Today For a Free Quote!
Ready to make your dreams of moving a reality? Whether you live in Denver, Brighton, Castle Rock, Arvada, Boulder, or Colorado Springs, we are ready to help. Contact our team today for a no-obligation moving quote.