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Moving from Denver to Chicago: A Comprehensive City Comparison and Moving Guide

ou have loved your time exploring everything the Mile High City has to offer – but you are ready for a new adventure in a new city. Chicago, IL, is at the top of your “maybe” list, so naturally, you would compare Chicago to Denver before making any final decision.

Here is the definitive guide for anyone considering packing up and moving from Denver to Chicago. If you are also considering relocating from Chicago to Denver, you will find this guide just as helpful and informative!

denver vs chicago comparison
A tale of two cities. From stunning mountain views to an iconic skyline.

The Mile High City Vs. The Windy City

Denver, which was initially founded in 1858 and called Montana City, lies at the base of the Rocky Mountains and is Colorado’s capital city. Chicago, IL, is also Illinois’s capital and the third largest city in the United States. Before you take the leap, pack up, and move your entire life to Chicago, there are several important factors you need to take into consideration:

Cost of Living

The cost of living in Denver and Chicago is comparable, with Denver having a 6% higher cost for a single person than Chicago. Several factors must be considered while determining any city’s overall cost of living.

Factor Denver Chicago
Cost of Living 6% higher Lower
Groceries Slightly higher Slightly lower
Healthcare Slightly higher Slightly lower
Miscellaneous Slightly higher Slightly lower

For example, several basic necessities – including groceries, healthcare, and other miscellaneous expenses – are slightly higher in Denver than in Chicago. There aren’t many Denver cons, but you should consider the higher overall Denver cost of living when determining if you should relocate.

grocery shopping

Job Market

Both Chicago and Denver have a thriving economy, and a massive part of that is because of the favorable job market. The potential job growth in Denver is higher than in Chicago. Additionally, the unemployment rate in Chicago is also higher than in Denver, with a rate of 9% and 7.1%, respectively. Both unemployment rates are slightly higher than the national average of around 6%.

Job growth in the Denver metro area is steadily growing in several particular industries, including the healthcare, telecommunications, and finance sectors. Several colleges and universities in the Denver area also provide several employment opportunities.

Factor Denver Chicago
Job Growth Higher Lower
Unemployment 7.1% 9%
Major Industries Healthcare, telecommunications, finance Healthcare, corporate jobs

Chicago is an excellent option if you are one of the many young professionals seeking a corporate job. Several major corporations have offices in the Chicago area, including Nestle, United Airlines, and the Ford Motor Company. Several other sectors are also hiring in Chicago, including the healthcare industry.

Crime Rates

When moving to a major metropolitan area, the crime rates are always a consideration, especially if you have children. On average, the rate of violent and non-violent crimes is higher in Denver than in Chicago. The average crime rate in Chicago is 1,075 per 100,000 residents. The rate of crime in Denver is 5,507 per 100,000 residents. This is a factor to consider, and the lower crime rate is definitely one of Chicago’s pros.

Factor Denver Chicago
Crime Rate 5,507 per 100,000 1,075 per 100,000

School System

The school systems in both Denver and Chicago are thriving. There are several outstanding private and public schools for your younger children and teens. Both cities have several private and public universities, as well. Chi-Town is home to the University of Chicago, Loyola University, Northeastern University, and DePaul Universities.

Factor Denver Chicago
Top Universities University of Denver, Regis University, University of Colorado: Denver University of Chicago, Loyola University, Northeastern University, DePaul University

There are several other top-tier universities and post-secondary educational options in the Denver area, as well. This includes the University of Denver, Regis University, and the University of Colorado: Denver. Help your child do their homework to determine which university is the best value and offers the program of study that interests them.

property prices and interest rates
Rent or buy? Analyzing the cost of mortgage and rental in Denver and Chicago.

Mortgage and Rent Prices

The economic prosperity of Denver and Chicago’s citizens has translated into higher housing costs. The median sale price for a single-family house in Denver is approximately $570,000, which is steadily rising. This is compared to the much lower median sale price for a home in Chicago, which is $335,000.

The median monthly mortgage payment for the average home in Denver is approximately $2,300. In Chicago, the average mortgage payment is roughly $1,900. However, like in every city, some neighborhoods are much more expensive to purchase a house than others. In Denver, Cherry Creek, Country Club, Capitol Hill, and Congress Park are some of the most expensive neighborhoods to call home.

Factor Denver Chicago
Median Home Price $570,000 $335,000
Monthly Mortgage $2,300 $1,900
Monthly Rent $1,967 $2,215

If you are living in Chicago, you can expect to pay for your monthly mortgage payment in Dearborn Park, Streeterville, and the downtown Chicago area.

The same holds true for the average rental costs in both cities. On average, a month of rent costs approximately $1,967 in Denver. If you live in Chicago, you can expect to pay $2,215 monthly for your rent.

The Population

If you love the idea of living in a massive city with several excellent amenities, Chicago is a better option for you. Chicago is massive and is the third largest city in the United States, and Chicago’s population is around 2.75 million. The city is also a massive 234 square miles.

Factor Denver Chicago
Population 720,000 2.75 million
City Area Smaller 234 square miles

Denver still provides you with the big city feel but with a much smaller population than Chicago. Denver’s population is approximately 720,000, making it by far the biggest city in Colorado.

chicago winter

The Weather

You will experience all four distinct seasons in both Chicago and Denver. However, because Denver features a more continental semi-arid climate, the summers tend to be much hotter. The temperatures in Denver typically rise to around 88 degrees Fahrenheit in summer and 22 degrees in winter. Chicago is slightly cooler, and summer temperatures usually reach about 83 degrees Fahrenheit.

Factor Denver Chicago
Summer Highs 88°F 83°F
Winter Lows 22°F Similar
Snowfall Substantial Substantial

If you want to escape the snow and cold, you will be disappointed if you move to Chicago from Denver. The winters in both cities can be brutal, but this means there are also several opportunities for winter activities and winter sports in both cities!

Property Taxes and Sales Tax

One of the most significant advantages to staying in Denver, including the Denver metro area, is that the property taxes are typically much lower in Denver than in Chicago. Denver has some of the lowest property tax rates in the entire state of Colorado. The property tax rate in Chicago is approximately 6.7%.

Once again, where you live in the Chicago area will significantly impact your property tax rates. For example, the property tax rate in some of the most desirable neighborhoods in Chicago and the Chicago suburbs is nearly 9%.

Factor Denver Chicago
Property Tax Lower 6.7% average
Sales Tax 8.61% 10%

The minimum combined sales tax in Chicago is 10%. This includes a local sales tax of 1.25% in Chicago. The combined sales tax in Denver is a minimum of 8.61%.


The public transportation in these two cities is both very extensive. Both Denver and Chicago have extensive bus lines. However, Chicago also features a light rail and commuter rail that makes it easier for people to travel to the city for work while enjoying their suburban neighborhood’s tree-lined streets.

Chicago public transport

Denver and Chicago are both massive cities, so the Denver drivers and Chicago drivers are on par with one another. Luckily, as stated above, there is an extensive public transportation system, which means you can keep your car in the driveway in both cities.

Factor Denver Chicago
Public Transport Extensive bus lines Extensive bus lines, light rail, and commuter rail
Major Airports Denver International Airport O’Hare International Airport

There are major airports in both cities, as well. The Denver International Airport and O’Hare International Airport in Chicago both have several flights each day and allow you to travel by all the major airlines, including Delta, American Airlines, and Frontier Airlines.

Pros of Moving to Chicago

Are you ready to take a leap and move to Chi-Town? There are several excellent advantages to calling Chicago home.

The Food Scene in Downtown Chicago

You already know about Chicago deep-dish pizza and the incredible hot dogs at Wrigley Field. However, did you know that Chicago is home to several hip bars and world-class restaurants and is basically the ideal place for a party animal to call home, especially in the lower downtown area?

deep dish pizza

Chicago is the Perfect City for Any Sports Fan

Cook County is the home to several major sports teams, including the Chicago Bears, Chicago White Sox, The Chicago Cubs, and the world-renowned Chicago Bulls. If you have young kids, moving to Chicago for sports alone might be worth it!

Fun in the Summer

It’s no secret that the winters in Chicago can be brutal. However, once the snow melts and the sun comes out, the city of Chicago comes alive. There are several unforgettable festivals and concerts in Chicago each summer. If you want a laid-back afternoon, rent a kayak and explore Lake Michigan.

Reasons to Stay in the Mile High City

You enjoy Denver and all it has to offer, but the Chicago pros are making you think twice about calling the Mile High City home. However, before you contact long-distance moving companies and receive the average relocation prices, realize there are several reasons why you should stay put.

The Excitement of Downtown Denver

In addition to the nightlife, restaurants, bars, and city parks, there are several other unique sites to visit in downtown Denver, including the Denver Botanic Gardens, Denver Museum, Denver Zoo, and the Denver State Capitol.

playground activities family

A Family-Friendly City

There are several green spaces, bike paths, paved trails, and other kid-friendly activities to enjoy throughout Denver and the surrounding areas. If you want to remain in the city, you can take your kids to the Denver Children’s Museum. Confluence Park and City Park are well-kept and perfect for enjoying the outdoors with your kids.

The Outdoor Activities

In addition to the Rocky Mountain National Park, there are several other ways you can explore and enjoy the outdoors in and around Denver. Vail Mountain Resort is one of Denver’s oldest and most well-established ski resorts. On your days off, you can also explore Washington Park, Red Rocks Park, and Winter Park.

Don’t Stress – The Denver Moving Group Will Help You Plan a Successful Move

After much consideration and extensive research, you are ready to relocate out of the Denver area. Whether you are moving to Chicago, San Francisco, Seattle, or Boston – The Denver Moving Group is prepared to help you plan a successful, stress-free move.

If this is your first experience hiring a moving company in Denver, here are a few simple moving tips to help you plan a relocation that won’t leave you tearing your hair out and stressing over every detail:

Obtain Several Moving Quotes

As a general rule, you should contact several moving companies nearby and obtain at least three to four free moving quotes. The quote should include the overall cost of the relocation, the moving timeline, and other costs associated with the process. Look for a moving company with an excellent reputation and transparent pricing.

moving to chicago from denver
Professional packing services for your move from Denver to Chicago.

Start Planning and Packing At Least Six Months Before the Move

Nothing creates a recipe for disaster like waiting until the last minute to start planning your move. The first step is to hire a moving company – and you should take this step at least three to six months before your proposed moving date.

From there, start organizing and packing right away. Remember, no matter what the size of your home and apartment, you can expect to spend anywhere from two to four months packing.

Happy, Distracted Kids = A Smooth Move

For many parents, providing a better life for their children is the primary motivation for moving. However, chances are your kids will also be the most significant source of stress and a major hindrance throughout the moving process. When in doubt, provide your kids with a distraction.

For example, turn packing up your child’s bedroom into a game. Set a timer and give your kids 30 minutes or one hour to fill as many boxes as possible. The kids will be distracted, and you can start organizing and executing your relocation.

Plan Extensively For Moving Day

Moving day will arrive before you know it. It is just as important to successfully plan for the day the moving crew arrives as packing up your belongings and finding a new house in a new city. The best strategy is to keep your kids and pets out of the area.

Next, make sure there is a clear path to the moving truck, and whenever possible, move the boxes from the second floor to the area near the front door. This will definitely speed up the moving process, and you can avoid extra stair fees.

make the most of your moving day
Ready, set, move! Tips for a successful moving day from Denver to Chicago.

Need Help Planning Your Long Distance Move? Contact The Denver Moving Group

With several decades of experience helping the fantastic people of Denver plan their long-distance moves, The Denver Moving Group is available to answer all your questions and provide a no-obligation, stress-free moving quote.

A Professional Moving Company That Provides Unparalleled Service

At The Denver Moving Group, we place a high value on honesty, integrity, and providing transparent pricing. Unlike the other moving companies in the Denver area, we will always put more emphasis on creating happy customers. Our highly trained staff is eager to help you save money on all your moving-related costs.

Services We Offer

In addition to our long-distance moving services, we can help you plan other types of moves and handle every aspect of your relocation.

Local Movers. Are you moving to Evans, Loveland, or another city within 50 to 100 miles of Denver? We can help you plan your local move, including if you are moving to Denver itself. You can see for yourself just what makes Denver unique and what makes The Denver Moving Group different than the other movers in the area.

Storage. Whether you are planning a long-distance or local move, it is not uncommon to require temporary or long-term storage. We offer several storage options, allowing you to bundle the storage cost with your other moving costs.

Packing Services. If you aren’t looking forward to packing, and who is, you can leave this monumental chore to us. With packing supplies in hand, our team will come to your home and help you expertly pack up all your belongings. In addition to saving you time, you might be pleasantly surprised to learn that, in many cases, securing packing services can even save you money!

packing and loading to transportation and unloading
Experience the Denver Moving Group’s Difference

FAQs that People Ask When Moving from Denver to Chicago

Is it cheaper to live in Chicago or Denver?

Chicago is generally more affordable than Denver, with the cost of living in Denver being about 6% higher. While both cities have their own set of expenses, it’s important to consider factors like housing, groceries, healthcare, and other miscellaneous costs when comparing the two cities.

Is it better to live in Chicago, IL, or Denver, CO?

The decision of whether it’s better to live in Chicago or Denver ultimately depends on your personal preferences and lifestyle. Chicago is a bustling metropolis with a diverse cultural scene and excellent public transportation, while Denver offers a more laid-back atmosphere with easy access to nature and outdoor activities. Consider factors like job opportunities, climate, and cost of living when making your decision.

How much do movers cost for Chicago to Denver?

The cost of hiring movers for a long-distance move from Chicago to Denver can vary greatly, depending on lots of factors such as the size of your home, the time of year, and the moving company you choose. On average, expect to spend between $2,500 and $9,000 for a full-service move. Be sure to obtain multiple quotes and research moving companies before making a decision.

The cost of moving from Denver to Chicago
What to expect? From the distance and size of your household.

Is it a good idea to move to Chicago?

Moving to Chicago can be a great idea for those seeking a diverse, bustling city with plenty of job opportunities and cultural experiences. The city offers a rich art scene, world-class dining, and a wide range of neighborhoods to suit various lifestyles. Keep in mind factors like cost of living and climate when deciding if Chicago is the right fit for you.

Is 50k a good salary in Chicago?

A salary of $50,000 per year can be considered a reasonable income in Chicago, allowing for a comfortable lifestyle depending on factors such as your housing choice, transportation preferences, and personal spending habits. However, it’s essential to create a budget and consider expenses like housing, groceries, utilities, and entertainment to ensure you can maintain a good quality of life with your salary.

Contact Us Today For a Free Estimate

Whether you are moving north, south, east, or west of the Denver area – The Denver Moving Group is ready to help you plan a move to your new hometown. Contact us at (720) 370-3523 for a free moving quote.

Picture of John Brikertalli

John Brikertalli

John is a mover since he can't remember when. As a son to a family of movers, John has experience in all moving aspects. Contact us and ask John about your next move.

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