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Living in Denver Colorado


Perhaps the greatest appeal of Denver is its proximity to great outdoor activities. With over 300 days of sun per year, there is no shortage of opportunities to head to the hills for any outdoor activity of your choosing. The Boulder Flat Irons, Jefferson County Open Spaces, Eldorado Canyon, Red Rocks, and Cherry Creek State park provide world class hiking, rock climbing, and biking within a 30 minute drive of downtown Denver. These are great places for a quick getaway. 

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Rocky Mountain National Park is a 60-90 minute drive from Denver and makes for a great day trip. You can ski Colorado’s famous champagne powder at Breckenridge, Copper Mountain, Keystone, Arapahoe Basin, Winter Park, Vail and Beaver Creek. Many residents rent ski cabins for the winter and invest in season passes or packaged tickets.






For more information on outdoor activities visit one of these sites:

Outdoor Activities


Ski Colorado

Colorado Parks

Colorado Outdoors






Colorado Rapids (Soccer)

Colorado Rockies (Baseball)  

Colorado Avalanche (Hockey) 

Denver Broncos (Football)

Denver Nuggets (Basketball)


Denver has a wide variety of cultural activities to sample. These include the Denver Performing Arts Center which brings in traveling Broadway musicals while providing a venue for local theater, symphony, and dance entertainment. The Denver Art Museum provides views into rotating national exhibits as well as an excellent Western Art exhibit.  

Other local museums include the Museum of Nature and Science, the Botanic Gardens, and the Museum of Contemporary Art. More laid back activities include Jazz in the Park at City Park or Swing in the Park at Cheesman Park. During the summers, Cherry Creek, and Pearle Street offer a Farmer’s Market on Saturdays, and Sundays.  Local art galleries offer regular showings with wine and cheese.

For more information on cultural activities visit one of these sites:




Denver Art Museum

Denver Center for the Performing Arts

Central City Opera




Most residents and interns within the Department of Medicine live in the city of Denver. Houses, condos, and lofts are in general affordable for renting or buying within the city.  There are many great areas of Denver with their own unique qualities.  LoDo (lower downtown) is west of the business district and is close to many restaurants, clubs, and lounges.  

Others prefer to live near the upscale shopping of Cherry Creek or near one of Denver’s large and vibrant parks such as Washington Park or Cheesman Park. The Highlands offers closer access to the mountains and dozens of boutique shops and restaurants. If you want more space and bigger yards the Denver neighborhoods of Mayfair, Park Hill, Lowry, and Stapleton are centrally located and close to all of the Hospitals.

For more information on Denver and Colorado Tourism visit one of these sites:


Denver Tourism

Denver Sidewalk

Colorado Tourism

Colorado Activities  

Because of the distance separating our three hospitals, residents at CU tend to live all over Denver and Aurora.  Keep in mind that your take home pay will be roughly $3400/mo your first year, and in general, the closer you live to downtown, the higher the rent will be.  Although Denver traffic can be very heavy during peak hours, in general you’ll be driving to/from work at non-peak times.  That being said, residents that choose to live outside of Denver (Boulder, Longmont, Castle Rock) often face very difficult commutes when winter hits (up to 2-3 hours one way).  As a result, we’re going to focus on some of the pros/cons of the popular neighborhoods around the city where a lot of residents choose to live.

How do I find housing?

The rental market in Denver is unfortunately very competitive, and rentals can go quite fast.  If you are planning a trip to look at places, it may be optimal to visit closer (<1 month) to your move in date.  If you come much earlier, most rentals on the market will have expected move-in dates within the month, as renters don't want their places to sit empty for more than a couple weeks.  If cutting it that close is too anxiety-provoking for you, looking at the larger commercial apartments may be your best bet, as they list their upcoming openings a bit further in advance. the way the majority of us found our first apartments.  Tends to be a focus on larger apartment complexes, but also has several houses for rent as well or Pulls from several websites (including craigslist) to come up with a searchable map- great if you know a specific location(s) where you’d like to live Best website to find houses to rent/buy. Also includes townhouses. Click on Resources--> Medlist (left side of the page): This is a new experiment by the residency program, sort of a Craigslist for residents.  There should be some housing posted here in the next few weeks, as residents who are moving post their apartments/houses here.  


For orientation purposes: Denver Health is located at Speer & 8th, the VA is at 8th & Clermont, PSL is at 18th & Franklin, and University is at Colfax & Peoria.

Greater Denver:


LoDo, or lower downtown, is located just North of downtown and South of I-25. LoDo is a broad though short section of town, borded by Blake and I-25. The South Platte River runs through the middle of it and it has several large parks along the shores. In terms of proximity to the hospitals, commutes via car to DH, PSL and the VA are approximately 5, 5 and 20 minutes respectively. Getting to the U means I-70, which is typically 25 minutes in the morning, and can unfortunately be >45 minutes if you're coming home with rush hour. LoDo is predominantly condominiums, though there are rare apartments (largest development would be the Manhattan). LoDo is a popular spot for younger folks, with many recent college graduates living in the area. LoDo has a very large bar scene including sports bars, brewpubs and wine bars. LoDo also hosts a number of restaurants and small shops.

Pros: close to Denver Health, within walking distance of great restaurants/bars/baseball stadium

Cons: $$, long commute to University, not very kid friendly


The Highlands and its neighbor, the Lower Highlands (or LoHi) are located just North and West of downtown. Highlands is somewhat amorphous in terms of what boundaries technically define it, though generally it is W 29th Avenue to W 38th Avenue and Zuni to Tennyson. LoHi is even more amorphous; though it is generally considered to be bounded by Zuni, W 32nd Avenue and I-25. These are two of the most rapidly developing neighborhoods in Denver. In terms of proximity to the hospitals, commutes via car to DH, PSL, and the VA are approximately 5, 10 and 20 respectively. Getting to the U means I-70, which is typically 25 minutes in the morning, and can unfortunately be >45 minutes if you're coming home with rush hour. The Highlands generally consists of single-family houses with scattered condos and apartments. LoHi is more of a condominium development though both houses and apartments exist there as well. They are both known for excellent restaurants and a number of good bars and breweries. Access is very easy to downtown either by bike or foot.



Just north of downtown, an up and coming neighborhood is RiNo (short for River North). It has the reputation for being a very artsy neighborhood. There are lots of hip restaurants and bars. Several of the best local breweries also call this neighborhood home (River North, Epic, Blackshirt, Our Mutual Friend). It was traditionally an industrial area that is now being repurposed. There are several nice apartment buildings in this area. Commutes to the hospitals are the same as you would experience if you lived in LoDo. 


Pros: Close to downtown but more reasonably priced, lots of fun things to do

Cons: Long commute to University


Five Points


One of Denver's oldest neighborhoods, it has recently been experiencing a major revitalization. Things are changing and it is now one of the hottest places to live. If you're looking to buy a house in the city of Denver, this may be a reasonable place to look. Interestingly it has been called the "Harlem of the West" due to its jazz history (90% sure no one has ever called it this). The neighborhood is north of Uptown. 


Pros: Close to downtown and Uptown, possibly an affordable house, super close to PSL, pretty close to Denver Health and VA

Cons: Again, pretty far from University


Congress Park:

South of Colfax and north of Cherry Creek, Congress Park is a mostly residential area with a few pockets of restaurants/grocery stores/etc. and multiple green spaces (including the Denver Botanic Gardens). Centrally located--equidistant between VA/DH, a little farther away from UH. Very close to Gov Park/Cheesman/Capitol HIll (see below)

Capital Hill/Governor’s Park/Cheesman:

Capitol Hill is a fun neighborhood just east of downtown Denver. It is a densely populated area with a great selection of bars and restaurants.  Three of Denver’s most popular music venues, The Fillmore, Bluebird and Ogden theaters can be found on the northern border of Capitol Hill. Average rent ranges from $800-1100 for a one bedroom apartment.   Street parking is limited after 6pm, but most available apartments have spots for rent.  This neighborhood is central to Denver Health  (5 minutes via car),  VA Hospital (5-10 minutes) and PSL (5 minutes).  The University Hospital is a 20-25 minute drive on average.

Cheeseman Park is a large urban park and neighborhood that forms the eastern border of Capitol Hill.    Average rent ranges from $800-1200.   It is primarily residential but its central location means plenty of access to restaurants, bars, etc.   Also, the park itself is huge and a great outlet for dog walking, frisbee and other activities.

Pros: Central location puts it within reasonable distance of all hospitals. Great for dogs, kids

Cons: Difficult to find an affordable single family houses here, most are larger houses that have been divided into apartments

City Park:

City Park is just north of Colfax, and is the biggest park in Denver and contains the Zoo and the Museum of Nature and Science.  Most places within walking distance of City Park are very central to the hospitals and great places to live.

Pros: Central location puts it within reasonable distance of all hospitals. Great for kids given walking distance to zoo/museum

Cons: Difficult to find an affordable single family houses here, buying a house in this neighborhood will cost you well over $500,000. Most places that are within budget of residents will be apartments

Park Hill/ Mayfair/Hale

Great neighborhood to walk around in, good small parks, good local schools.  Very close to the Zoo, the Museum of Nature and Science, and City Park.  Moreover, a great central location to all 3 hospitals.  Typically has very easy parking and fairly quiet streets.  Also, there are many great neighborhood strips of shops (such as off of 23rd) which have many local restaurants.  The restaurants aren't quite as rambunctious at those on Capitol Hill or Downtown, but are great places for families.  Some places right along Colfax are a little bit sketchy, so try to stay a block or two north or south of it.  If you're looking to buy, these may be out of the price range, but you can usually find a good place to rent for not too much.


Ripped from a description from Sunset Magazine,  “one of Denver’s hippest 'hoods, with lively new restaurants, chic shops and a cheery, progressive vibe.” Centrally located (very close to PSL, decently close to DH/VA and a bit further from UH) with a mix of apartments/lofts and older homes. Great place to go out in and very close to downtown (you could walk to Rockies game in the summer) with lots of different housing options.


It's actually a separate city from Denver, and it boasts many stores such as the biggest Super Target in town, Home Depot, and probably the nicest King Soopers (a Safeway-like supermarket) you'll ever go to.  It also tends to be a quite ethnically diverse neighborhood.  Some of the apartments are a bit old, but many have been renovated, and could be a great fit.  It's just a short drive to the Cherry Creek Shopping Center or the VA.  Of note, there are a few clubs such as the famous "Shotgun Willie's" which may attract interesting patrons, but if you stay a few blocks away from places like that, it's not a bad place to live.

Pros: Close to the VA, 10-15 min to DH

Cons: Traffic along Colorado can be difficult

Cherry Creek:

Cherry Creek is a neighborhood west of Colorado and south of 6th that is still very central to all 3 hospitals (and potentially walkable to the VA). It's anchored by a large upscale mall, several blocks of local restaurants/boutiques/bars (home to probably the best burger in Denver at the Cherry Cricket) and a mix of houses and apartments. A good "middle ground" with a vibrant feel but an easy neighborhood to live in.

Pros: close to downtown, many restaurants and stores

Cons: one of the more expensive neighborhoods. Further to University (20-25 min).  As lots of business lives here, it can be crowded with heavy traffic during the day.

Washington Park:

A little further south and west, but a great area that surrounds a large park that has great running/biking/walking/picnic-ing/general recreational space. Your dogs will appreciate living here. Also had a few different cute strips of restaurants/stores. Slightly longer commute but could give your more green space to play.            


This family friendly neighborhood is located in the eastern most portion of Denver and has attractive school districts at all levels as well as a short commute to the University.   There are multiple options for housing including new build homes, apartments, condos, and lofts.  Almost all of the housing options are new developments with upscale amenities.  There is a main town center with an outdoor mall that has the typical chain stores, a grocery store, and multiple parks.  Incoming residents looking for access to the heart of the Denver cultural, restaurant, and night life scene may find that Stapleton is removed and has a suburban vibe.  The drive time to the University is 5-10 min, 10-15 min to the VA, and 20 min to Denver Health.  The technical cross streets for Stapleton are: North 56th ave, South –Montview blvd, East – Peoria st, and West –Quebec St

Pros: new construction, lots of greenspace, good for dogs/kids, not as expensive as Denver proper

Cons: removed from downtown


Similar to Stapleton, Lowry is an eastern Denver neighborhood that boasts a family friendly atmosphere with a mix of older housing and new development.  There is a local town center that has a major grocery store, 24hr fitness as well as other gyms, and multiple shops and chain restaurants easily at hand.  Housing consists of new build homes, multiple apartment centers with deluxe amenities, lofts, and older neighborhood homes.  Drive times are 10 min to both the University and the VA and 20 min to Denver Health.  The nice thing about Lowry is that rush hour traffic does not greatly impact your commute times.  Incoming residents looking for access to the heart of the Denver cultural, restaurant, and night life scene may find that Lowry has a somewhat removed and suburban vibe.  The technical cross streets for Lowry are: North - 11th Avenue, South - Alameda Avenue, East - Uinta Way, West - Quebec Street.

Pros:  Newer construction.  Close to both University and VA (10-15 min).  Will get more space for your money here than in more central neighborhoods.  Plenty of outdoor green space and parks.



Drive to Denver Health around 25 minutes during resident driving hours.  Less restaurants / bars / shopping than other neighborhoods.  Drive to downtown and mountains longer than others.


Outside Denver:

Aurora/Centennial/Englewood: The cities south and east of Denver.  Very suburban feel, with a lot of affordable single family homes. 

Pros: Closer to University Hospital, affordable housing prices (with fenced yards!) If you live in South Aurora, Centennial or Englewood, access to an excellent school district

Cons: Older construction, long commute to the mountains/downtown, far from Denver Health (>45 min in rush hour traffic), be wary of living within 2 blocks north or south of Colfax in north Aurora for safety reasons.  Also, most neighborhoods in Centennial and Englewood have HOA fees that will have to be factored into housing prices

Lakewood: City west of Denver.  Very easy access to the mountains.

Pros: Close to mountains, relatively short commute to Denver Health and downtown. Excellent school district (JeffCo)

Cons: Long commute to University hospital (where you will spend the majority of your intern year).  I’m actually not aware of any residents that live in Lakewood.​​​