I find that I often get asked (mostly jokingly) by my friends to join them in the suburbs. After living in both, I much prefer living downtown. Here’s why:
- I’m a five to ten minute walk from a huge variety of restaurants, entertainment, grocery stores, parks, and a bunch of other stuff. This is pretty important to me. I really only ever have to drive when I visit friends in Lakewood or Littleton.
- I work remotely at Automattic. This means I can choose to work at home, at a coworking space, or really anywhere I like with wifi access. Living downtown gives me a variety of places to work with new scenery every day. It’s also a central meeting place for a few of my other coworkers so I get to see their awesome faces every once in awhile.
- I’m very close to many of my friends. I’m also in a central point between many of my friends who live in the suburbs.
- Living downtown encourages spontaneity for me. When someone messages me to see if I want to wander over to Rooster Cat or any of the zillions of bars/restaurants around, it’s no big deal for me to drop whatever I’m doing and wander down. I don’t have to move a car and park. Transit is usually only a brisk walk. There’s wifi at nearly every place so if I am still working, I can bag up my laptop and wander over anyway. Also, when we’re out at night, we can go from hangout spot to hangout spot quickly and often.
- There are some awesome transit options available.The light rail goes to many of the suburbs. The free mall ride goes from one end of the city to the other. Uber is everywhere. Lyft is everywhere. Car2go is amazing and everywhere.
- People downtown are extra awesome every day. There are some pretty unique people wandering around with some wonderfully eccentric attire. I don’t bat an eye anymore when I see a herd of skateboarders cruising down a hill or when a unicyclist is doing laps around the disco robot.
- Delicious food is everywhere. When I’m meeting someone to grab a bite, we rarely plan ahead. We just pick a direction and walk until we get to something that smells amazing. This is another of my favorite things about being downtown.
- There are some pretty awesome events downtown. There are weekend markets, music festivals, and even crazy cool light shows. Two awesome ones running right now are Tuesday/Thursday food trucks in the park and the full street arcade, Oh Heck Yeah. I’m also pretty close to the Convention Center. I walked to Comic Con. 8)
- There are people downtown! Lots of them! I have no desire to wall myself up behind a fence and be forced to drive somewhere to see friendly faces.
To be fair, there are some downsides.
- It’s far less expensive for far more space in the suburbs.
- The suburbs tend to be much quieter. Police, fire truck, and ambulance sirens are pretty common downtown. People also can be noisy when drunk downtown.
- For the most part, there aren’t backyards. This means no personal grill (although many apartment complexes now provide a community grill).
- Theft and vandalism is a real concern. I have yet to have anything stolen or broken into downtown. When I lived in Greeley, I had a car broken into and a locked up bike stolen. However, the skeletal remains of bikes perma-chained to fences is a pretty blatant reminder that you have to be wary of theft.
- Many people are wandering around drunk at night. It’s not as bad it sounds. Most of the time I just see a group of wobbly loud people walk by. Sometimes I am in that group.
- Parking is shit downtown. It’s a pain in the ass to park any car anywhere downtown. The two-hour spots are often full. The lots run $8-16 for a few hours. Oh, and Denver’s got a top-notch parking ticket staff. Make sure you feed that meter or move your car before the two hours is up.
I’m not saying city living is better than suburb living by any means. It just appeals to me.
Is there anything else I’m missing? Where do you prefer to live?