Chicago vs. Denver: Which is Better? (2023)

Chicago is the third largest city in the United States with more than 2.7 million people. Denver is Colorado’s capital city and the most populous state, with just over 700,000.

Both cities are exciting places to live and work, but some key differences between Chicago and Denver could make one city more suitable for your needs.

Let’s check whether it is better to live in Chicago or Denver.

Is it cheaper to live in Chicago or Denver?

In both cities, you’ll need about $6,000 to maintain the same standard of life.

The cost of living in Chicago is just 2.1% higher than that of Denver, so it’s not much of a difference.  

The answer depends on your priorities and how you choose to live.

If you love city life, then Chicago is the place for you. The Windy City has a vibrant arts scene, a dynamic restaurant scene, and plenty of cultural attractions to keep you busy at night. It’s also one of the most walkable cities in the country.

Colorado’s capital is your best bet if you’re looking for more outdoor activities.

Denver has plenty of parks and hiking trails within its limits, and it’s only an hour away from some of the country’s best skiing resorts.

The cost of living in both cities is higher than most other major U.S. metro areas, but not prohibitively, especially if you’re willing to trade off some creature comforts for cheaper rent or a smaller mortgage payment.

Is Chicago or Denver better for Families?

Denver has many great neighborhoods that offer affordable housing options for families.

The city also has many parks and playgrounds, which makes it easy for families with children to find places where their kids can play safely outside.

If safety is important to you, then this would be one reason why Denver would be a good choice for you as there are many safe neighborhoods in Denver.

Is public transportation better in Chicago or Denver?

In Chicago and Denver, public transportation is available through multiple agencies, including bus systems and light-rail trains.

Both cities have a variety of routes and schedules, making it easier for residents to find a route that works for them.

But Chicago’s public transportation system is second to none. The “L” rapid transit put Chi-Town on the map, and it’s so highly regarded that it’s often held up as the gold standard for other cities to emulate.

Is moving to Chicago a good idea?

If you’re considering moving to Chicago, here are some reasons why you should consider making this one of your top choices for relocation:

Friendly Community

Chicago has a reputation as being a little rough around the edges, but that’s simply not true.

This city welcomes people from all walks of life and will embrace you as much as you embrace it.

If you want to move to Chicago because of its friendly community and strong sense of community, look no further than this great city.

Recommended: Philadelphia vs Chicago: Pros, Cons & differences

A Plethora of Cultural Activities

When people think about Chicago, they tend to think about sports teams like the Chicago Bulls or the White Sox baseball team.

But if you want something more cultural than sports and entertainment, then Chicago is the place for you!

There are so many museums and galleries in this city that you’ll have trouble keeping track of them all!

And if museums aren’t your thing, why not check out some theater performances or live music concerts? There’s something for everyone in this great city!

Great food scene

Chicago has one of the best food scenes in the country, and many publications have named it America’s third-best food city.

The restaurant scene offers everything from upscale restaurants with Michelin Star chefs to inexpensive carry-out joints that serve authentic ethnic cuisines worldwide.

The city is also home to several beer gardens, where visitors can enjoy their favorite brews while watching sporting events on TV or listening to live music.

Great Public Transport and Education System

The public transport system in Chicago is one of the best in the world.

The metro rail and bus services are excellent, and they connect all parts of the city and suburbs seamlessly.

Most major roads have dedicated bus lanes, making traveling easy for commuters even during rush hour traffic jams.

Chicago also has a fantastic air transport system, with O’Hare International Airport being one of the busiest airports in the world.

It is located just 15 minutes from downtown Chicago and offers direct flights to almost all major cities around the globe!

Another reason moving to Chicago is a good idea is that it has an excellent education system too!

Many schools in Chicago offer high-quality education at affordable pricing, and you can choose from private or public schools depending on your budget and needs!

Why live in Denver?

Denver is a great place to live for many reasons. 

Excellent Job Market and Great Education opportunities:

The first reason is the job market. Denver has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the country and is quickly becoming a hub for technology companies.

The second reason Denver is a great place to live is its educational opportunities.

Dozens of colleges and universities in the area offer programs from high school diplomas to PhDs, and these schools can help you get educated to land that great job in Denver!

Affordable Living and Great Neighborhoods

Denver, CO is generally less expensive than Chicago, IL across multiple categories. The cost of living is 8% lower in Denver.

In Denver, the median 2-bedroom apartment rent is $1,770 compared to Chicago’s $2,754. Median home prices are also slightly cheaper in Denver at $556,350, as opposed to $613,455 in Chicago.

Fuel and food items like eggs and milk are cheaper in Denver, although bread is almost the same price in both cities.

Fast food items like a 12-inch Pizza Hut pizza and McDonald’s Quarter-Pounder with cheese are also marginally cheaper in Denver.

Great Weather All Year Round

Denver’s mild climate means you can enjoy outdoor activities year-round, from hiking in the foothills to skiing on one of our many nearby slopes.

And when the weather does turn cold, residents can cozy up indoors for some seasonal shopping at Cherry Creek North or explore downtown shops and restaurants.

Low Crime Rate

Denver has a low crime rate compared to other major cities and ranks among the top fifteen safest cities nationwide.

This makes it ideal for families who want to raise children in a safe environment. Take a look at our list of the safest places to live in Colorado.

Conclusion

Denver and Chicago both have their pros and cons. If you’re trying to decide between them, consider your priorities.

Is climate a key factor? Value? Opportunities? Culture? “Livability” is a relative term, but it’s fair to say that both cities will serve you well in certain areas, depending on what matters most to you.