Need Colorado Info Please
June 27, 2009 8:27 PM   Subscribe

I need advice/info about the best neighborhoods/school districts in Boulder/Denver Co.

Hi all, my good friends are making a quick move from GA to the Boulder/Denver, Co area. They have a high schooler and elementary age children. This is happening really fast and they need some advice about where to look to rent for a year. They want a nice area for families and a good school system. They want to buy after they sell here in GA so they need advice on a neighborhood that they can stay in for a while. Any advice about where to look would be appreciated. They have job possibilities in both cities so all info on both areas appreciated. Thanks all!!
posted by pearlybob to Human Relations (9 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I just moved to Denver myself.

I planned on moving to Boulder, but when I got there, I couldn't find any reason to stay. The rent (and real estate) is sky high. I've been back a few times since and still can't figure out why its so expensive to live there. The best explanation I got was that there's a development moratorium (no new development) as the population continues to grow, but not sure if that's the case. Someone jokingly said it's "the Democratic Republic of Boulder, taxed to keep you out."

Boulder is only a 25-30 minute drive from downtown Denver, so it's not that far of a commute if you live near the freeway. The traffic is great compared to other places I've lived, so I wouldn't be bothered if I had to make that commute. It took me twice as long to get across one of the bridges in Seattle.

I can't help on family-oriented neighborhoods, but Denver metro is overbuilt on rentals and there are some rather sweet deals on nice, new buildings all over.
posted by foooooogasm at 8:43 PM on June 27, 2009

Scope out the town I live in and it's neighbors. I live in Lafayette and Louisville and Erie are nearby. All three offer easy commutes into both Denver and Boulder and a cheaper than Boulder.

I can't really say much about the schools as my child is too young for them.
posted by Confess, Fletch at 9:14 PM on June 27, 2009

I live in downtown Boulder, and love it. Yes, the rents and real estate are sky high, but to me it is worth it. It all depends on what you can afford, and if it is worth it to spend they money on what will probably be a smaller, older home. So, I can only talk about my town. Where I live my kids will walk to elementary, middle AND high school. Most things are accessible via foot or bike with bike paths all over, and a public bus system that covers the town. (Note: they don't regularly use school buses here, you are expected to transport your child to school unless you live a certain distance away...) Boulder County has open enrollment programs, meaning you can send your kids to any school in the county. Even if you are across the street from one school, you can choose any one you wish. It does lead to the "shuffle" in the AMs as parents drive their kids all around the city. It is hard to say which is the best, because people have different priorities. My local elementary school is called "Whittier International Elementary" because many professors from CU send their kids here, so the classes are more diverse. Note though, it is supposed to go under construction sometime in 2010, not sure how that will effect the classes. Also, diversity leads to kids where english is not their first language, and test scores might not be ask high as others. So some people send their kids elsewhere. Casey Middle School is also downtown, and is currently under construction to become a beautiful state of the art school, but won't be done for another year or two, and until then all kids are going to a different school in east boulder and having class in trailers...Now that I think about it many schools in town are currently undergoing construction or will be soon as all the bonds that got passed a few years back come to fruition. The Boulder High School just completed construction...

Boulder is full of affluent, outdoorsy, dog-loving, mostly white, "green" thinking, liberal folks who enjoy the beauty of the area, a college town, proximity to the mountains and living in a city unlike any other. And, we pay to live here. To me it is worth it, and I choose a small house and small yard to be close to everything. To others, being able to buy a home twice the size, 20 minutes away in a neighborhood for 1/2 the cost makes much more sense!
posted by boulder20something at 9:20 PM on June 27, 2009

foooooogasm: " Someone jokingly said it's "the Democratic Republic of Boulder, taxed to keep you out.""

Come on now don't be so polite.

The prevailing joke in Denver as I hear it from everyone over the passed 15 years or so is that Boulder is 40 square miles surrounded by reality.


You don't have to worry about your neighbors bothering you because their too busy kissing their own pretentious ass's.

This guy has pretty much summed up for me on how I feel about Boulder.

This thread backs up my thoughts on Boulder also.

I am a South Metro Denver guy honestly. Everything North of Downtown sucks, everything to the East of Downtown sucks, and everything west of Downtown sucks (not including the mountains). So what I am saying is tell your friends to look in Arapahoe County (incorporated and unincorporated) or look south of C470 in Douglas County. Good schools, nice homes, reasonable price for what you get.
posted by Gravitus at 11:52 PM on June 27, 2009

A couple of links your friends might find helpful are the forums at City Data (lots of great advice from parents who live in the area), Great Schools, and Rate My Teachers.
posted by LuckySeven~ at 5:47 AM on June 28, 2009

Boulder is a great city despite its many faults, but it's not really where it's at if you're looking to buy an affordable home. However, I have heard horror stories about the Denver public school system, so take people's DENVER. NOW. shrieks with a grain.

Middle ground is probably a good idea here. Louisville, Lafayette, Westminster, Longmont, Broomfield.
posted by mynameisluka at 8:10 AM on June 28, 2009

Tangent, but...

If you really want to see the Boulder valley, Broomfield is the place to be.

You can't even see the beauty of the mountains when you're in Boulder because you're butted right up against them, are right on top of them.

When driving to Boulder from Denver, the "oh my gawd, this is beautiful" reaction happens around Broomfield. That's when the valley comes into view. When you're in Boulder, you have no vantage of that at all.

I wouldn't live in Broomfield, mind you, as it's part of the vast Suburbianland that surrounds Denver. Blech!
posted by foooooogasm at 8:20 AM on June 28, 2009

Niwot High (just outside Boulder) has a good rep I think. Not sure about the elementary school.

The best explanation I got was that there's a development moratorium (no new development) as the population continues to grow, but not sure if that's the case.

Correct. And the 'low income' qualification for affordable housing in Boulder was $50k when I was there. boulder20something, perhaps you give pearlybob a ballpark of what you paid for your house (sq. ft., beds/baths, price etc.) so he can get an idea if it would be affordable for his friends or not.
posted by carter at 8:20 AM on June 28, 2009

We paid $415K for an 1100 SF house with a bad foundation about 5 years ago. These are hard to come by now a days, since most similar houses are snatched up by builders, doubled in size and sold for a million before they even hit the market. You are looking at a half million probably to live in town and have less than 1500 SF. There are tons of family friendly rentals out there though that might go for around $2K / month available on craigslist.

I have friends in Lafayette, Lousiville, Broomfield, Westminster...all the towns between Boulder and Denver and none are worried for a second about the quality of their schools. These towns spend alot of money on their open spaces, rec centers, schools and infrastructure and are all gorgeous and planned communities (meaning developers have been responsible for parks and schools when building the newer neighborhoods and thus have been well thought out). I think alot of young teachers move here after college because it is so beautiful and so there is no shortage quality educators.

Not sure about Denver area and their schools.
posted by boulder20something at 9:45 AM on June 28, 2009

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