Dubbed the “Switzerland of America” by President Theodore Roosevelt, the state of Colorado is known for its diverse landscapes of river canyons, arid desert lands, and picturesque mountain views. Home to the largest park system in the nation, the Centennial State is a haven for those longing for a more relaxed lifestyle of hiking, biking, and of course, skiing.
On this page we’ll provide you with the information you need to know before making the move to Colorado – from finding the ideal place to live to learning about the nuances of living here. Our goal is to make sure you have all the data you need to make the best choice for a smooth and stress-free transition to Colorado. Additionally, if you’re looking for movers to do the heavy lifting, we give you access to free moving quotes from top Colorado moving companies. Click the “Get Started” button and receive your quotes in just minutes.
Living in Colorado: What to Know Before Moving to Colorado
Before making the move to any new state, it’s important to gather as many facts and figures as possible. Here’s some information to get you started on your journey.
As of July 1, 2018, the population of Colorado was 5,695,564, making it the 21st most populous state in the US. Its land mass is 104,094 square miles, consisting of the Southern Rocky Mountains, northern portion of the Colorado Plateau, and the western edge of the Great Plains. Colorado’s diverse geography makes it a desirable playground for those who love the outdoors.
Pros and Cons of Living in Colorado
Here are a few pros and cons to consider as you make your move to the Centennial State:
- Year-round outdoor playground: From winter skiing to summer hikes, Colorado is an outdoor enthusiast’s dream.
- Medical care: Colorado consistently ranks as one of the top ten states in the country when it comes to the quality of health care.
- Low tax rate: While sales tax is high in some areas, Colorado’s property and income tax rates are relatively low.
- Strong economy: Colorado is one of the most business-friendly states in the country and boasts a diverse range of industries.
- Low unemployment rate: In addition to having an unemployment rate that’s below the national average, Colorado also has the 8th highest median household income in the country.
- High cost of homes: With one of the fastest growing housing markets in the country, demand is driving up home prices statewide.
- Cost of living: Along with higher housing costs, the state also has an overall higher cost of living. You can expect to pay more for necessities like food and gas than you might elsewhere.
- Overcrowding: With the influx of newcomers to Colorado, some parts of the state are experiencing overcrowding.
- Traffic congestion: The traffic problems in Colorado aren’t just limited to city-driving. Expect to encounter traffic issues even in more remote parts of the state.
Let’s talk about everyone’s least favorite topic – taxes. Overall, Colorado doesn’t fair too badly in the realm of taxes. Here’s a breakdown of the state’s tax rates:
- Property Tax: With an effective real estate tax rate between 0.55%-0.57%, Colorado ranks 4th lowest in the country, just behind Hawaii, Alabama, and Louisiana. The typical homeowner can expect to pay around $1800 in property taxes.
- Sales Tax: The state sales tax rate in Colorado is currently 2.9%, but the total rate can be as high as 11.2% depending on the local municipality. Colorado ranks 38th in the country for sales tax.
- Income Tax: The income tax in Colorado is a flat 4.63% regardless of income level. The standard deduction in Colorado for a single person is $12,200 and for a married couple it’s $24,400. Colorado ranks 15th for state individual income tax collections per capita.
According to Price Waterhouse Cooper’s 2019 Emerging Trends in Real Estate report, Colorado is one of the top 10 housing markets in the country. In fact, it’s the seventh fastest growing state in the country. The downside, however, is that buying a home in Colorado doesn’t come cheap. The median home price is $377,500 and rising.
Because of the high cost housing, the rental market in Colorado is red hot. The median rent on a 2-bedroom apartment is $1312 – slightly above the national median. Aurora and Colorado Springs have the fastest growing rents in the country. If you’re looking for a more affordable place to live in Colorado, check out Fort Collins. Voted one of the top places to live in 2017, Fort Collins is home to Colorado State University as well as high tech companies like Hewlett Packard, Intel, and National Semiconductor.
Cost of Living
We’ve all heard the saying “you get what you pay for.” This applies to the cost of living as well. Colorado’s healthy lifestyle and unparalleled outdoor experiences come with an expensive price tag. The cost of living index in the Centennial State is 131.5 (measured against the US index of 100), primarily driven by transportation, housing, and grocery costs. While it’s on the expensive side, the cost of living here is still cheaper than states like California (index of 168.8) and Massachusetts (index of 139). The good news is that Colorado’s median household income is 13% above the national median, which makes it easier to pay the bills.
Weather and Natural Disasters
We all know that when it comes to skiing, there are few places that compare with Colorado. However, this doesn’t mean that Colorado is cold year-round. In fact, Colorado summers boast low humidity, with an average high in August of 86°F. Colorado’s climate varies by region, from semiarid conditions in the Eastern Plains to an alpine climate on the tallest peaks. In between, you’ll find several other microclimates. While the Plains see little rainfall, they experience dramatic temperature swings due to low humidity levels. The higher elevations experience colder temperatures and more precipitation. Vail, for example, has winter lows in the single digits and gets over 125 inches of cumulative snowfall and rainfall in a single year.
Although not completely immune, Colorado is one of the safest states when it comes to natural disasters. Thanks to the state’s location, it doesn’t experience ocean-related disasters like hurricanes and storm surges. Not totally out of the woods, Colorado does contend with hail and tornadoes, as well as wildfires, flooding, and the occasional earthquake.
Several prominent industries make up Colorado’s diversified economy, including manufacturing, energy, tourism, agriculture, financial services, and real estate. According to Coloradobiz.com, real estate and government accounted for the largest portion of Colorado’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) last year. Real estate accounted for 12.7% and government accounted for 12.3%.
When it comes to job searching, the top 5 industries in Colorado, according to Zippia.com career reports are:
- Architecture & Engineering
- Computer & Mathematics
- Legal Industry
- Life, physical, and social sciences
Some of the top places to live for jobseekers include:
Traffic and Transportation
Colorado’s largest public transportation system is found in Denver. Known as the Regional Transportation District, or RTD, this system provides bus, light rail, and commuter rail options to the residents of Denver and the surrounding areas. When traveling by car, the main north to south route in Colorado is the I-25 corridor. This route follows the Colorado Rockies and connects some of Colorado’s most populous cities, like Denver, Colorado Springs, Pueblo, and Fort Collins, along with other smaller cities. When tourists visit and want to see the vast mountain communities, they travel east and west on I-70, however, winter weather often forces the closure of I-70. While some communities, like Denver’s Capitol Hill and Five Points neighborhoods are extremely pedestrian and biker-friendly, you’ll need a car to get around most of the state.
Things to Do
There’s no shortage of things to do in Colorado. In fact, the better question may be, what CAN’T you do in Colorado? Sure, you won’t be able to beachcomb for seashells or ride the waves on your surfboard, but Colorado has year-round activities and destinations for everyone. Though the list is expansive, here are just a few of the must-see places to add to your list once you’re settled and ready to explore!
- Red Rocks Amphitheatre: Located just 15 miles outside of Denver, this naturally formed amphitheater is thought to have been used ages ago by the Ute tribe. Today its rock formations provide the ideal location and acoustics for live music.
- Mesa Verde National Park: Located in SW Colorado, this beautiful park has preserved ancient Puebloan cliff dwellings and is a must-see for history buffs, photographers, and nature lovers.
- Colorado Trail: If long walks and hiking are your passion, then lace up and hit the Colorado Trail. Spanning over 500 miles of the state, the Colorado Trail crosses the peaks of the Rocky Mountains and showcases some of the state’s most awe-inspiring landscapes.
- Vail: What would a “best things to do in Colorado” list be without talking about the best place to hit the slopes? Arguably the best ski resort destination in the country, Vail is the post-card worthy spot that all Colorado residents need to experience.
- Pro Sports: If you’re more of a spectator, then Colorado will not disappoint. Colorado is home to four major pro teams:
- NFL – Denver Broncos
- NBA – Denver Nuggets
- MLB – Colorado Rockies
- NHL – Colorado Avalanche
With all major pro sports represented, Colorado fans are sure to have a team to cheer on all year long.
Schools and Universities
In 2018, USA Today ranked Colorado right in the middle at 25 for public education among all 50 states. With a high school graduation rate of 78.9%, Colorado students have one of the lowest graduation rates of any state system. However, students in grades four and eight are more likely to be more proficient in math than other students, nationwide.
According to the Denver Business Journal the top 5 best public school districts in the state are:
- Aspen District No.1, Aspen, CO – Overall Score: A+
- Cheyenne Mountain School District No. 12, Colorado Springs, CO – Overall Score: A
- Lewis-Palmer Consolidated District No. 38, Monument, CO – Overall Score: A
- Boulder Valley School District, Boulder, CO – Overall Score: A
- Littleton Public Schools, Littleton, CO – Overall Score: A
With 17 colleges, universities, and community colleges from which to choose, Colorado has one of the more notable higher education systems in the country. In its 2019 listing of the Best Colleges in Colorado, US News and World Report ranked the following as the top 5 in the state:
- Colorado Mesa University, Grand Junction, CO
- Regis University, Denver, CO
- Colorado College, Colorado Springs, CO
- United States Air Force Academy, Colorado Springs, CO
- University of Colorado, Colorado Springs, CO
How to Become a Colorado Resident
To become a resident of Colorado, you must establish physical residency and be at least 23 years old. That is, you must have a physical address with proof that you live there (i.e. deed, rental agreement, or a utility bill with your name on it). You must also show commitment to full time residency by obtaining a CO driver’s license or identification card, and a voter registration card. All documents must show the address submitted when establishing residency.
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How to obtain a driver’s license
Once you’ve made the move to Colorado, you’ll want to be able to zoom around to see all the sights. Your driver’s license from your old home state is fine for a while, but you must obtain a valid Colorado license soon after establishing residency.
- After you claim residency, you must obtain a Colorado license within 30 days.
- The good news is, if you have a valid license from another state, you’ll normally not be required to take a written exam or driver skills test, but you’ll likely be required to take a vision test. Before going to the DMV, you can begin the process online by filling out the DMV application form. Once you’re ready to head to the DMV office, make sure you have the following items with you to speed up the process:
- Your valid out-of-state license. Make sure it has your full legal name.
- If you’re under 18 you must bring an Affidavit of Liability or Guardianship form. This form must be signed by a parent or guardian and can be found online.
- Proof of your Social Security number
- Two documents showing proof of your current physical Colorado address (i.e. utility bill, mortgage agreement, deed, or rental agreement)
- Proof of lawful presence in the US.
- Application fee
Registering to Vote
While you’re visiting the DMV office, you can register to vote and get your license all in one trip. If the thought of spending one more minute than necessary at the DMV gives you anxiety, then you have a few options. If you already have your valid Colorado driver’s license or state issued ID card, you can register to vote online at www.GoVoteColorado.com. Or, you can get a voter registration form at the county clerk and recorder’s office, or post office. Once completed, you can mail, fax, or scan and email your completed form to the county clerk and recorder’s office.
After becoming a resident, you have 90 days to register your vehicle with the Colorado DMV. To register your vehicle, you must:
- Change the title on your vehicle to a Colorado title.
- Get an emissions test, if applicable, in your county of residence.
- Provide proof of insurance, along with payment of title and registration fees.
Best Places to Live in Colorado
With amazing things to do and beautiful landscapes nearly everywhere you turn, it’s not hard to find a great place to live in the Centennial State. Here are some of our top choices:
Median Home Value: $426,200
It’s no surprise that when Katharine Lee Bates wrote the iconic “America the Beautiful” she was sitting atop Pike’s Peak, just 100 miles from the “Mile High City” of Denver. The capital city of Colorado has been on the list of the fastest growing cities in the U.S. since 2010, with a population that’s rapidly approaching three million residents. Sitting between the Rocky Mountains to the west and the High Plains to East, Denver gives urban dwellers proximity to weekend adventures in Keystone, Colorado Springs, Vail, and dozens of other mountainous destinations.
Along with offering outdoor enthusiasts easy access to Colorado’s many playgrounds, Denver boasts a strong economy and hip, urban lifestyle which has helped make Denver one of the most popular cities in the U.S. If you’re looking for a fast-paced, but relaxed vibe, neighborhoods like The Highlands, RiNo (River North) and Capitol Hill are some of the most desirable places to live in Denver. If a more suburban, “under-the-radar” feel is what you’re looking for, then neighborhoods like Harvey Park, Platt Park, and Sunnyside might be right for you. And it isn’t just housing that’s booming in Denver, big name companies like Google and HomeAdvisor also call Denver home.
Median Home Value: $293,500
Colorado Springs is home to the United States Air Force Academy, and its economy is driven by both the military and high-tech industries. Located at the base of Pike’s Peak and the Rocky Mountains, Colorado Springs is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the state. And it’s no wonder, with sites like the Garden of the Gods, Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center, and the U.S. Olympic Training Center, Colorado Springs has something for everyone.
This city sits at an elevation of 6,000 feet, so you might need to take a moment to catch your breath after first moving here. Because the air is thinner at higher elevations, you might find yourself feeling lightheaded or short of breath. This is normal, and your body will adjust.
Home costs in Colorado Springs are priced at about half of what you’d pay in Denver, so you’re sure to get more home for your money here than in other parts of the state. Some of the most desirable neighborhoods include Downtown, the Westside, and Shooks Run.
Median Home Value: $740,300
Located 25 miles northwest of Denver, Boulder, Colorado, is no stranger to accolades. Frequently receiving high rankings in art, health, well-being, quality of life and education, the Boulder lifestyle comes with a hefty price tag. The cost of living in Boulder is 65.5% higher than Colorado Springs.
However, many residents believe living in Boulder is worth the expense. From Pearl Street Mall to 300 days of sunshine and a booming economy, there certainly isn’t a shortage of Boulder highlights and “best of” features.
Median Home Value: $392,000
Located 56 miles north of Denver, Fort Collins is home to Colorado State University. Like many of its neighboring cities, Fort Collins boasts 300 days of sunshine each year, yielding the perfect backdrop for its large number of college-aged residents to enjoy the local music circuit and frequent festivals held in the city each year.
With a mix of manufacturing and service-related businesses, Fort Collins has seen an influx of high-tech companies moving into the city. However, it’s better known as the Colorado’s Craft Beer Capital. You can enjoy knocking back a pint at one of the more than 20 breweries scattered across town.
Median Home Value: $472,600
Boasting a small-town feel with hospitality and charm, Castle Rock is one of the most desirable places to live in the state. With over 400 acres of state parks and canyons, it’s the perfect place for growing families to call home.
Thanks to its central location, many high-tech workers in northern Colorado Springs and the Denver Technological Center commute from Castle Rock, just 20 miles away. The cost of living in Castle Rock is lower than that of Boulder’s but is still slightly above the national average.
Median Home Value: $410,500
The 5th most populous city in the state, Lakewood is home to the Red Rocks Amphitheatre which hosts numerous bands and musical acts throughout the year. Lakewood is just a short drive to Denver, but with options like the Belmar Downtown Shopping District, you’ll have little reason to leave town if you don’t want to.
Lakewood is a young city compared to its neighbors, having been incorporated in 1969. Over the last 50 years, Lakewood has grown in population and popularity, thanks to its location near the Rocky Mountains, excellent schools, and high number of diverse activities available.
Median Home Value: $586,000
One of the state’s less populated areas, Louisville, Colorado, is a small city just outside of Boulder. Louisville has low crime and unemployment rates, but housing in this small town is pricey.
Even with its small-town persona, Louisville is home to several high-tech companies, including software development company, Rogue Wave Software, and the Space Systems component of Sierra Nevada Corporation.
Median Home Value: $475,500
Parker Is a family-friendly suburb located 23 miles southeast of Denver. Douglas County School District serves Parker and niche.com gives the district a B+ rating. More good education news is that 96% of Parker high schoolers graduate.
Parker, like much of Colorado, has outdoor space galore with about 250 acres of developed parkland and over 900 acres of open space to explore. Hike the Cherry Creek Trail that starts in Denver, meanders through Parker, and ends south at Castlewood Canyon State Park. Once you’ve had your fill of outdoor adventures, relax with some lovely music from the Parker Symphony Orchestra which performs at the Parker Arts, Culture, and Events Center.
The cost of living in Parker is 23% higher than the nation’s average, but with a median household income of $101,969, Parker residents are pulling in healthy incomes. Jobs focus around healthcare, professional services, technology, retail, and education.
How to Move to Colorado
Congratulations on your upcoming move! We’ve put together a checklist to help you prepare for your move to the Centennial State.
Two Months Before Your Move
- Ideally you should schedule your movers at least two months before your move date. Great Guys Moving can help you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, connecting you with the best moving companies at the best prices. Our insured and vetted moving services will take the stress out of scheduling and planning for your big move to Colorado.
- Along with hiring your movers you should set a budget. Make a list of everything you need to buy or pay for before and during your move. Need a new sofa? Add that to the budget. New dog bed for Fluffy? Add it to the budget. If you’re going to require lodging before making it to your destination, you should add that to your overall budget as well. Establishing a budget will reduce the risk of being surprised with unexpected expenses after your move.
- If you have children who will be changing schools, be sure to contact both their current school and their new school to find out what information each one needs before you move. If you’re nearby, schedule a tour of your child’s new school so they don’t feel anxious and overwhelmed on their first day.
- If you aren’t going to be changing job locations, be sure to ask for time off work for the day of your move. If you’re not able to move on a Friday or over the weekend, it may be a good idea to ask for an extra day off to get settled, if possible.
- Purge, purge, purge. As Marie Kondo would say, if it no longer brings you joy, let it go! Go through everything – drawers, closets, attics, garages, those secret hiding places only you know about. Collect anything that’s collecting dust or hasn’t been touched since your last move, then put it in a pile for an epic garage sale. Now’s the time to downsize and maybe make a little extra spending money at the same time.
Six Weeks Before Your Move
- If you’re moving to Colorado from another state, contact your doctors to have your family’s medical records sent to your new provider. If you don’t have a new provider yet, that’s OK. Giving your old provider a heads up will let them know they’ll be expecting a records request.
- Contact your insurance agency. Whether you have renter’s insurance or homeowner’s insurance, find out what steps you need to take to ensure your new home and belongings are covered from day one.
- If you aren’t changing jobs, let your human resources department know of your new address and find out if your move will affect your medical or dental insurance.
- Take photos or make diagrams of how your electronics were connected before disconnecting them. This will help when it’s time to reconnect them after your move. Use twist ties to gather and organize lose wires, then pop them in labeled zip lock bags.
- It’s a good idea to have your vehicles serviced before your move, especially if you’ll be driving them long distance to Colorado. If you’re using one of our automotive shipping companies to have your car shipped to Colorado, it’s highly recommended that you have your vehicle serviced before it goes on the truck.
- If you’re packing your items yourself, start by doing a little each day. Don’t leave everything to the last week. Go room by room, a little at a time, so that you can stay organized and keep stress levels in check.
Four Weeks Before the Move
- Start contacting your utility companies. Make sure your current utility companies turn off your services the day after your move, and have your new utility companies turn on your services the day before your move. You don’t want to get stuck in your current location without power or water right in the middle of your move. At the same time, you want to make sure that your new home has everything in working order before you get there, so it’s turn-key ready. Be sure to find out about deposits for new utilities ahead of time as well.
- Change your mailing address. Visit www.usps.org or stop by your local post office to fill out a change of address notification.
Two Weeks Before the Move
- Contact your moving company and confirm pick-up date, time, and location as well as drop-off date, time, and location. Make sure they have your cell phone number.
- Have your carpets and floors cleaned. Now is a great time for that deep carpet cleaning you’ve been meaning to get done.
- As funny as it sounds, make sure you return library books, and pick up dry-cleaning. There’s nothing worse than realizing your absolute favorite suit is at a dry-cleaners 900 miles away the day before your first day at a new job.
- Fill any prescriptions you might need for the next few weeks. It’s always a good idea to have a week or two of your medications handy in case there’s a delay in transferring your prescriptions once you get to Colorado.
One Week Before the Move
- Pack a bag of essentials for the day of your move. You don’t want to be ripping through boxes trying to find your toothbrush or prescriptions the night before you move. Pack items like shampoo, conditioner, soap, deodorant, toothbrush, toothpaste, and an extra set of clothes and a towel for each family member to have the day of your move. This will keep you from scrounging around through boxes looking for your pajamas just so you can finally crawl into bed.
- Keep the family’s passports, valuable jewelry and documents ,and prescriptions with you before and during your move.
- Make sure you have cash on hand for any unexpected expenses (which you probably won’t have because you made a budget!).
- Say good-bye to family, friends, and your old neighbors.
- You need to eat. If the thought of going out in public after packing all day long is both frightening and exhausting, call to have a meal delivered to your door and enjoy a celebratory picnic to say goodbye to your old home.
Quality Moving Services from Colorado Movers
Whether you’re moving from out of state or out of town, we want to help make your move to Colorado an experience you’ll fondly remember. Our moving companies provide expert services — from studio apartment moves to long-distance car shipments — and everything in between. Learn how we can help take some of the stress out of moving to Colorado.
Moving to a new state can feel overwhelming. Our CO cross country movers will use their experience and expertise to help make your Colorado move as smooth as the snowy mountain tops. From packing to shipping, a moving company will take the stress out of your interstate move.
Whether you’re moving to the other side of town or across the state, our local Colorado moving companies are here to help. With years of experience moving Colorado families and businesses, our professionals are ready to assist with any kind of local move.
Small Load Moves
Just because you aren’t moving a 5-bedroom house doesn’t mean you don’t deserve a little help. Our small load moving services are experienced with the ins and outs of apartment and studio moves and are ready to lend a hand so you can get comfortable in your new home.
Just need help with the heavy lifting? Our Colorado furniture movers will handle long or short haul moves of your furniture with the care and attention they deserve, ensuring your belongings are delivered on-time and damage free.
A piano can be one of the most delicate items you move. It’s important to find a moving service that has experience and expertise in moving these intricate musical instruments. From the right handling to the right equipment, our moving companies will take the time to make sure your piano makes it to you damage free and sounding sweet.
Art & Antiques
Moving treasured items such as art and antiques takes patience and experience. Packing your delicate art and antiques with newspaper and old T shirts might not be the best idea. Let our professional art movers package and ship your valuables the right way so they make it to your new home ready to be displayed and admired.
Let’s face it, things don’t always work out exactly as we plan. Sometimes the timing is just a bit off. If you find you need your items stored for a bit after they make their way to Colorado, don’t worry. Our moving and storage services will make sure your items are held securely in temporary storage.
Other than your home, your car is your biggest asset. Don’t trust your vehicle relocation to just anyone! Our auto shipping professionals will handle your car with care as it makes its way to Colorado. You can be sure that once it’s in your new driveway it will be ready to hit the open roads of the Centennial State.
Boxes, and tape, and newspaper, oh my! The list of supplies required to pack up an entire house can be daunting by itself. Instead of taking your time to pack up and tape up, let our residential packing services do the organizing for you. Our companies will make sure to pack and label your items so when the time comes to unpack, you’ll know where everything is and that everything is in one piece.
Moving into a new home is one of the most exciting times in your life. New adventures and new memories await. Don’t let one of those memories be of a bad moving experience. Let our household experts help with the heavy lifting so you can enjoy your new home in Colorado.
Commercial and Office Moves
The goal of any office or commercial move is to get up and running as soon as possible. Our professionals know that your time is valuable. They’ll organize, move, and assemble your items and equipment quickly and efficiently to get you back to work as quickly as possible.
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Ready to start planning your move to Colorado? Request your free moving quotes now, by clicking “Get Started!”. Whether you’re moving from Colorado Springs to Boulder, or from Seattle to Denver, our expert moving companies are committed to making your entire relocation experience a happy and pleasing one.