Why I Left New York City

For the last year or so, whenever I meet someone for the first time there’s inevitably one question that gets asked: “So, why did you leave New York City?”

Although there are many different things that went into my decision to move out of NYC, ultimately it boils down to one idea: I needed to start embracing the unknown.

UPDATE: So many of you have written in with more specific questions about what it’s like living in Denver after I moved from New York. I’ve compiled a list of your more frequently asked questions and answered them in a brand new living in Denver FAQ post.

UPDATE 11/2/2019: I’ve created a private Facebook group “I Moved to Denver” where you can join our community of transplants from major US and international cities to get advice and share stories about moving to Denver.

UPDATE 8/6/2021: My blog and my FB group were featured in the New York Times! Read the article.

The Unremarkable Decision to Move to New York City

Being born, growing up, and going to college in and around New York City, meant that “the City” was always an exciting place, but also something attainable and even familiar. For me, moving to New York was never a big leap of faith. In fact, it was a pretty safe path for me to take.

My move into my first NYC apartment was a pretty pedestrian affair – one weekend I packed up a U-Haul van, drove it 45 minutes from my mom’s house on Long Island into Manhattan, and bam – I was an official New York City resident.

It never felt like I was making a courageous decision like so others who move to New York from someplace else. I moved to Manhattan because that’s just what girls from Long Island do.

Seeds of Doubt Sowed

Granted, if you’re just going to move to the biggest city near your hometown, NYC is probably THE GREATEST place to move to.  Living in New York City as a young person IS awesome*. You brush shoulders with all sorts of interesting, brilliant, ambitious, awe-inspiring people in the world. You get access to the best in music, art, culture, and food anytime you want it!

There were definitely times when I felt like the coolest person in the world, living it up like post-makeover Andy from The Devil Wears Prada,  jauntily whipping my hair back as I dashed around the city hopping from work to dinner, then off to some neat event.

That said, because New York is such a fun place to be, it’s really very easy to overlook all the bad that comes with living there. A LOT of NYC living is just a complete struggle. Day-to-day life is filled with a never-ending string of tiny rage moments: pushing through a wall of bodies to get onto a subway car on your way to work, hauling groceries up to your sixth-floor walk-up apartment (which, by the way, is an overpriced shoebox), trying not to get hit by a super-aggressive cab driver while you merge into traffic for the umpteenth time because another car is double parked in the bike lane.

Live in there long enough, and you’ll understand why Pizza Rat is any real New Yorker’s spirit animal.

One day, probably after having been stuck on F train with “signal issues” for 20 minutes in a non-air conditioned car, a little part in the back of my brain quietly started to ask, “Is this what the rest of my life looks like?”

Watching Others Make the Leap

For a long time, “I guess so” was the answer to that question. I couldn’t even fathom the idea of living anywhere else. It was far too scary of a proposition. Being a New Yorker was a part of my identity. It was what I knew, what I could understand, and what felt safe.

But over time I watched a handful of friends start moving away — some headed West, others dared to move to far-flung foreign countries. I went green-eyed watching their new lives unfold via social media updates providing the details of their brand new life full of cute apartments and houses, the outdoors, and a renewed sense of purpose and freedom. In person, they seemed happier, more relaxed.  In my eyes, these brave souls were living The Dream. They did it. They had escaped New York! Good riddance, (Pizza) rat race.

“Lucky them, but that could never be me,” I thought.

Can I Really Do This?

It wasn’t until I got married and my husband and I started thinking about the type of life we wanted to build for ourselves that I was able to conceptualize the idea of living somewhere else. When he first brought up the idea of moving, I was kind skeptical. “Really, me leave New York?” I questioned.

To ease me into this idea, we created a matrix of a bunch of criteria of what was important to us in a place to live and ranked a bunch of U.S. cities we liked against each item on the list. Although there were many things we were looking for, access to the outdoors, nice weather, and affordable cost of living were at the top of our lists.

After looking at the cold hard facts I realized that New York City didn’t match up with our long term priorities, but a place like Denver, Colorado did.  Still, even after going through a pretty analytical, measured process and coming to a decision, I was racked with doubts and worries. Even though it made sense on paper, I wasn’t completely convinced that moving out of New York was a good idea.

On one hand, moving somewhere else felt really exciting. A brand new start! A new adventure for the two of us to experience together!  But on the other hand, it was something completely unknown to me.  New York was pretty much where I’d lived my whole life. How would I handle living somewhere else? Would I be able to adapt to a slower pace of life? What if I hated this new city? I cringed at the idea of having to make new friends — seriously, too old for that kind of thing! Maybe we’d be making a big mistake and we should just stay.

Doing the Scary Thing

But then I started asking myself if I didn’t start taking chances now, when would I?  After a while, the fear of NOT taking a chance was scarier than actually doing the thing that scared me. I started to worry that I would look back on my life and regret never having the courage to do anything remotely risky.  

One day I decided even though I couldn’t predict the outcome, and I wasn’t sure what would happen, we should at least give it a go.  I told my husband.  The next day we called our landlord and told him we wanted to break our lease — which he agreed to.  GULP!  Now we had no choice but to move!

When I told my family and longtime friends, most of which still lived in New York or Long Island, the majority were shocked and surprised. After all, I’d been a pretty hard-core New Yorker nearly all of my life and this was where my roots where. But the wheels were already set in motion, and we were headed to Denver or bust. Our move happened pretty quickly, and before I knew it, all our worldly belongings were packed up in boxes and piled on a moving truck headed West and I was on a plane with a one-way ticket from JFK > DEN. I was really doing this!

Happier for Having Tried

Looking back on that decision so many months ago, I now know that it was the right one for me.  I love my new life in Denver. I love all the friends I’ve made here and exploring a brand new city. Moving somewhere new hasn’t turned out to be as scary or difficult as I thought it would be.  

Leaving New York hasn’t burdened me with some deep down longing that haunts me day and night. Pulling myself out of the NYC-bubble has made me realize there are so many great places to live that might not be the same as New York but have different things to offer that are just as good (and sometimes better) than my hometown.

I think of all that time I spent fretting and debating over the decision to leave New York and I can’t believe how worried I was — it’s probably one of the best decisions I’ve ever made because on a personal level it forced me to face some of my fears and has made me much more willing to take chances.

For anyone contemplating moving to a new city (may I suggest Denver?), or worried about doing something that scares them, I say DO IT!  Even if things don’t work out perfectly, you know you at least tried and you will probably learn a lot about yourself in the process!

Have you ever struggled with self-doubt when debating whether to do something that scared you? What did YOU end up doing?

Has this post helped you decide whether or not to move to Denver? Please leave your story in the comments!

Still have questions? Don’t forget to check out my new post answering your FAQs about what it’s like being a New Yorker living in Denver.

Also, if you’ve just recently moved to Denver (or are looking to visit), check out my city guide to a perfect weekend in Denver. It lists some of my favorite places to visit and eat!

Just moved or are seriously thinking of moving to the Mile High City? I’ve created a private Facebook group “I Moved to Denver” where you can join our community of transplants from major US and international cities to get advice and share stories about moving to Denver. Please join us!

* Some of my youthful indiscretions as a music blogger were officially documented Lizzy Goodman’s amazing new book Meet Me In the Bathroom about the New York music scene between 2001-2011. Be sure to check it out!

Pin this! Why I moved out of New York City

57 replies on “Why I Left New York City”

Leaving NYC was the best thing I ever did. Grew up in Manhattan, went to college there (Columbia) and never left the island. I hated every minute of it, always depressed and miserable. Weird thing is I thought it was me the whole time, but in reality it was NYC. It’s a toxic, dark, filthy place. There is zero quality of life and the weather is horrid at best. In contrast, the Bay Area in California has everything. Blue skies, clean air, nature, nice people, opportunities, less density… the list goes on and on. It is a thousand times better than anything NYC has to offer, which in retrospect is nothing. I won’t ever return to NYC not even for a visit. If my family wants to see me, they can come here to beautiful California. The few that visited me have also decided to leave NYC for good. Can’t blame them.

Hi Chris. Wow, thanks for sharing your views of moving out of NYC. Although I still very much love NYC and do like to visit, understand how the Bay Area offers some of the lifestyle and weather that you value. Amazing that your family agrees with wanting to leave NYC!

Hi Laura,
I’m not sure if this was asked already, I can’t seem to find it in previous posts but what were the other US cities that you considered when creating your matrix? What was the ah-ha moment that made you choose Denver as opposed to your second, third, fourth option? I currently work in Finance living in NYC, the salary is what is keeping me here with the thoughts of retirement in Denver.

Hi Claudia! Thanks for reading my post. These are great questions. I’m actually writing a few follow-up post that talks more about what it’s like living in Denver and some of the more nitty-gritty of moving. I’d definitely encourage you to subscribe to my newsletter so you get an email notification when the post is up!

Some of the other cities we were looking at were San Francisco, DC, Austin, Seattle, Miami, Nashville. From a job prospect perspective our options were better in Denver, also it really had everything (well, except the ocean) we were looking for. Truth be told, it probably was only ever really between Denver and SF and SF is just as expensive (if not more) than NYC.

Hi Laura,

What a great perspective on Denver. My wife and I, who are probably about your parents’ age, moved to Denver about six months ago after 36 years in NJ, close to the city. We love it here and have no regrets so far. We followed our son, who moved here 7 years ago, got married and won’t be returning to the northeast. What we didn’t realize is that we were more the norm than the exception. We have met so many parents of adult kids who arrived here the same way we did, that I am considering starting a social/ networking group to help us all feel more at home. If you know anyone else in that situation, I’d love to meet them, and if anyone reading this wants their parents to consider the move I’d be happy to help. Thanks.


My boyfriend and I are seriously considering Denver! We currently reside in NYC and are originally from Florida so we are also considering moving back to the sunshine state. Would love to hear your current thoughts now that you’ve been in CO for some time. Has any homesickness set in? Has your quality of life drastically improved?

Hi Erin! Thanks so much for taking time to ask these questions. I think I should do a follow-up post – I get asked these questions A LOT. Short answer: No, I don’t really get that homesick. I do have the good fortune of going back to NYC several times a year to see family. Yes, my quality of life has drastically improved moving from NYC > DEN. Mainly the housing is more affordable. People who aren’t from NY or SF will tell you it’s expensive, but coming from NYC, you’re getting a LOT more for your money and the lifestyle is way more chill.

Rosalie (the lady who commented just before me), I hope you see my comment. We are on such a similar wavelength.

We are in the Lower East Side and have working toward moving to a much smaller city in Montana for the last month. I’m 46 and have lived in NYC for 27 years and am so done with it! Fingers crossed that everything works out and we move by spring.

Thank you, Laura for this encouraging and motivating post!

I lived in the country and small towns until I graduated high school so I have experience living in nature and can’t wait to return to it, far from NYC and the northeast in general!

Simply said, I fell out of love with NY. It was a wonderful and exciting place to live when I was in my twenties and thirties but the city is no longer for me. It is for the young. I never thought I’d have this perspective but am glad I arrived at it. 🙂

Hello, Laura and thank you for sharing your perspective. It’s New Year’s eve and I’m writing from the Upper West Side of Nyc, in a Coop apartment where my husband and I have resided over 20 years. We’re born and bred in Brooklyn and have lived there and have lived there and in Manhattan all our lives. We’re heading out to Birdland soon to ring in 2019. That and celebrating the decision to relocate to Boulder. Next week, Mayflower movers will pick up the dozens and dozens of boxes and our furniture. We’ll follow in a week, to live in a lovely townhouse with a garage, patio, hot tub, the sky and the light, the air and the Rocky Mountains, the quiet and the dignity. I love NY and always will but I feel the erosion of the spirit and dignity and humanity of its’ inhabitants. I notice everything here has changed. We want a better quality but also to get out of our routines. It’s a monumental decision and there are a few vulnerabilities. We’ll do our best!!! It’s also exciting and adventurous to learn new ways, new routines, and work opportunities. We visited Denver and Boulder. We loved the mountains and low humidity. Didn’t hear a car honk once. Not once. Every vendor we called picked up the phone right away. We got appointments with brokers, home inspectors, right away. Felt like another world. We are excited about the stress relief and joys of ‘the lightness of being’ and grateful for this gift. Happy New Year!!!

Wow, Rosalie! Congrats on your big move! Boulder is a great town. I know so many people who have moved there over the last few years. I’d be glad to give you food recommendations on places to eat in town once you get settled! 🙂 Who knows, you’ll probably be giving ME recommendations sometime very soon. 😉

I’m reading this as I sit in my hotel room in Denver. I am born and bred New Yorkers but can’t imagine living my whole life in the rat race that it is. Working to live. This was an awesome blog. What area of Denver do you live in ? I find it’s still a bit expensive in terms of real estate.

Hi Jennifer. Thank you so much for your kind words! I live in LoDo, currently renting. I agree, the real estate market here is expensive. The market has been hot for the last decade or so, although recently there are some signs that it is starting to cool down in terms of YoY growth. I really struggled with deciding whether to buy or not when we first arrived here, it was expensive then and seems even more expensive now. There are a lot of real estate developers, so it’s hard to get a good deal, but hoping one day when I’m ready I might be able to settle down with a nice little home.

I moved to NYC from Oklahoma after college — made it a year, then had to leave. A couple years later and I’m a Denver resident! It’s nice to see others who have come here from New York (albeit, you all lived there much longer than I did). If you ever do start a club, I’d be all for it. I’ve only been in Denver since July, so meeting new people is slow-going!

Hi Becca!

Thanks so much for sharing your story. Hope you are loving it so far in Denver. Maybe starting a club will be my new year’s resolution! If I do finally go ahead and create a club, I’ll probably announce it on my instagram (@newdenizen), so keep an eye out! 😉

Hi Laura,

Thinking about moving from NYC to Denver. What are the winters like? Thinking about moving to the lofts on Inca St. Any thoughts on that area? Have you met many New Yorkers?

Thank you for the article – super helpful!

Hi Sara! Denver has temperate weather all year long. It does get colder in the winter – we can have days that are below freezing, but because it’s a semi-arid climate, the humidity is lower so you don’t get that type of cold where the wind just cuts right through you and chills your bones. We do get snow, but again, because it’s semi-arid, the snow evaporates quickly (no piles of dirt snow hanging around for weeks), and there will be days where it will snow and then the next day is 75 degrees and sunny – even in February!

Inca St. is in a section of LoDo where it’s a little quieter. There are a number of restaurants near those developments – like the very good Whiskey Tango Foxtrot. That area’s slightly less walkable than other parts of downtown only because you have to walk across a section of 20th Street that gets congested due to its location near the highway, so it’s not pretty, but you’re also very close to King Sooper’s supermarket, so it’s easy to get groceries from the supermarket in a pinch. You’re also across from a large park, so if you have a dog, it can be a good location as well.

I’m always running into people who moved here from New York. At times I thought maybe I should start a club for former New Yorkers who now live in Denver. You will find many people who have moved from all over the country coming to Denver. It’s a very vibrant city with lots of younger people and tons of creative energy.

Hope this helps!

Hi Laura,

I just came across this article and this really speaks to me, so I’m glad glad to have see this!

I’m 25, grew up in NJ, went to uni. in NYC and lived in Brooklyn after that (so I’ve been in NYC area for all of my life), and have never felt really happy in New York. It’s weird, because it has SO MUCH to offer, but I just don’t like it. It’s too loud, too busy, too stressful, and really quite lonely. I need something more laid back and with trees, and have had Denver in my mind for a while. The scenery is amazing, and the way of life just seems so dramatically different than the hectic energy of NYC.

What was it like to move away and leave your relationships behind? That’s the one thing that is stopping me from taking the leap. I have great small group of friends, but I can’t ignore this feeling of wanting a different environment.

Thank you very much for your time, and for writing this article! It was really helpful for people like me taking into consideration starting over somewhere else.

Hi Forrest,

If you are looking for a place that is more laid back than NYC/Brooklyn, then Denver definitely fits the bill. I will say, in the city itself we do have trees, but because of the climate, they are not the huge old leafy trees you get in a place like London where there is more humidity. If you go out into the mountains, definitely lots of trees, but again, you’re more likely to come across pines, spruces, or aspens as opposed to huge forests of oak trees etc. I think of Denver and Colorado as having lots of nature and beautiful scenery, but not necessarily lush like a place like Portland.

In terms of what it was like to move, it was difficult to move someplace where I didn’t have a large network of friends or family, but I was lucky because I was moving as one part of a married couple (you always have a buddy to hang out with) and we had one relative living in the Denver area already – so that was a start. However, what I think you will find about Denver is that people are very friendly. Lots of people from all over the US (I don’t meet a lot of internationals) move to Denver from places like New York, Texas, California, the Midwest, and since many people don’t have established roots, they are very friendly and welcoming. I recently met a woman who moved here from Florida just a few months ago and she was marveling about how many new friends she had and how much she loved living here. People are very outdoorsy here and it’s easy to find hiking, rock climbing, cycling, clubs and groups you can join and meet people with similar interests. There’s still a spirit of the West that runs through Denver, so people are also pretty independent – I don’t really feel like people move around in pre-determined herds. It’s kinda a do your own thing, drop in and out of groups kind of place!

Hope this helps!

Hi Laura!

Thank you so much for writing this article, it was just what I needed to read! I too am in NYC and thinking about throwing caution to the wind and moving to Denver. It’s very comforting hearing your experience as your same worries are similar to mine. Looking forward to reading more blogs and maybe our paths will cross in the Mile High town!

Sunny wishes,

Hi Laura, I’m on the verge of being Denver bound like you and others. I’m from Long Island and moved to Texas for 20 years and now back to Long Island, two years in. My son goes to CUB, and I would like to move to Longmont. I’ve been to Denver/Boulder more times than I can count over the years. I’ve got interviews lined up and would like to head back to the west where I’m not suffocating from the cost of living here. What do you think of Longmont? I bet you live in Denver itself right? My interviews are in the suburbs so no need for me to live in Denver. It sounds like Houston transplants everywhere. FYI, I’d much rather have Mexican food than Italian any day. Thanks Laura!

Hi Suzanne – I live in downtown Denver. I’ve been to Longmont once to do SUP yoga at the reservoir, so I don’t know a ton about that town. It’s obviously more low key then Denver or Boulder. If you love the great outdoors, then it is a great place to live – so much to do outside. Best of luck!

Hey Laura,
It’s funny because my experience is a little different – I grew up in Colorado and went to college in Boulder but moved to NYC to pursue my career aspirations in the film industry. NYC was a quite a culture shock and although I feel adjusted and appreciate things about it, with my lease ending I feel a draw to move back to Colorado and explore Denver. I have been having anxiety that I’m just being a wimp and want to move back to just ‘move back’ for the comfort but I know I also love the quality of life in Colorado, the friendly people, the outdoors and everything about it. Thank you for easing my anxiety about making a decision, reading about how you love Denver has made me feel more at peace and made my love of Colorado feel more validating as it’s own thing versus the feeling that “ Ijust can’t hack it in NYC”.

What a great story, Rea. Look, life in NYC is HARD – even for those of us who had lived there our whole lives. Just be at peace with wanting to make a change in your life. Anyone from NYC will fully admit it’s CRAZY living in NYC. 😉

Hi Laura! This was a great article and I’m glad I came across it. The idea of moving to a new city sounds completely daunting but it seems like you adjusted well. Do you have any advice on how to make friends or meet people in Denver? Though I would be moving with my wife, my concern with moving to a new city is being unable to make dependable friends. Thanks!

Hello Sarah, Thanks so much for reading my post! Denver is a very friendly city – most people who live here come from somewhere else so I find people are more willing to make friends. Obviously, if you work somewhere with coworkers, the workplace is always a great place for meeting like-minded people. The other thing that really helped me was being active on social media. I have met so many people through my Instagram account and blog. Also, I found going to events that spark your interest (check out you’ll run into people who have similar hobbies and lifestyles. Best of luck!

Hi Laura,

Really enjoyed the energy of your article ! My wife and I are also thinking of moving to Denver from Boston. We actually both grew up in NYC. I’m wondering what specific things your considered as you ended up choosing Denver ?

Thank you

Hello Alberto. So glad you found my post useful. My husband and I considered a number of things – we even built out a weighted matrix of things that mattered to us and ranked each city we were considering. Some of our top criteria were cost of living, access to the outdoors, culture (arts, entertainment, theater), and public transportation.

You are to late. Denver has become a very expensive place to live. I moved here from Glendale Queens 24 years ago because it was affordable. I could not afford to live here now if I was was starting out. Colorado is absolutely the best place to live. I kid you not. Bring your check book.

Hi Wilhelm! Colorado is not the cheapest place in America to live, but it is certainly less expensive than many coastal cities that are similarly great places to live. It’s definitely cheaper than New York these days. Neighborhoods near Glendale – like Bushwick and Ridgewood have gotten substantially more expensive over the last 10 years. If you look what it cost to live there now, you’d be surprised!

Hello Laura,

Absolutely loved this post! I’ve been living in NYC for the last 6 years and is in need of a major change for self growth. I feel super lucky to have gotten a degree at my dream college and to have worked nearly 2 years with a great company, but I want more and better. I need to be with nature and in an environment where being healthy mentally, physically, and emotionally is a priority for people.

So with careful consideration, I’m choosing to not be comfortable and to be brave in moving to Denver by myself at the age of 24 in May! However, the biggest challenge I’m facing currently is the fact that I don’t have a license, just a NYS permit.

I understand that I can move and receive driving lessons, but I can’t help and feel this will limit my chance of landing a job. Ouf, trying to land a job before I move has already been a struggle. Pretty much no one wants to interview me, unless it’s in person and my current work schedule is demanding. I’m planning to share this news with my boss next week and is also considering if working remotely is an option. How should I go about this?

Any advice is appreciated, thank you so much!

Hi Angela. Thank you for the kind words. Congrats on being brave and taking the leap.

Driving is kinda a thing here – most people drive, but increasingly I’m meeting people who don’t own cars like me! Just like any major city, we’ve got ridesharing like Lyft and Uber. We also have public transportation that works really well if the train line or bus route goes to where you are going, but there are definitely limitations. Riding bikes is a great way to get around when it’s not too cold. If you end up getting a job downtown, it will be pretty easy for you to get around and do all your normal things without a car.

Finding a job without being here can be difficult. I’ll reach out to you directly on that stuff – look out for an email!

Hi Laura,

I also grew up on Long Island, escaped to So Cal after college for grad school and stayed there…until 2013 when I moved to Italy for 3 1/2 years. I came back to NY w a 3 year old little boy and I’m thinking nooo way. I have to get outa here. It’s a toss up between Colorado or back to So cal. Hard decision but NY isn’t even close.
Great article…!

Hey girl. 🙂 Here I am. Born and raised Brooklyn girl unexpectedly moving to Denver, like very soon too. I made the choice without having ever been to Denver, or doing much researching. (Not the smartest thing to do LOL). But now that it’s all really happening.. I have found myself googling “Should I move to Denver” although I already am. Anyway, came across this motivating article of yours and simply have to say thanks. Reading this felt SO reassuring, especially because it’s almost like you took the words that I have been saying to myself straight from my mind, but reading them made me really listen. Much love. Much light.

Hello Sarah! Glad my post was reassuring to you. I love that you’re taking this big leap (especially big since you’ve never even been here before)! Hope your move goes smoothly and reach out with any question when you make it out to Colorado! Best of luck!

Hi Sarah!! I am totally with you. I literally googled “moving from NY to Co” and got this incredible awesome article. I don’t believe in luck, it’s the universe shouting at me to go! I had the same sentiment and headed to Denver early 2019! Did you end up moving?

I love your post!! Nyc is definitely a never ending rat race: crazy commutes, disgruntled passengers, and super expensive. And this is all from the Bronx. Lol. I don’t know how people do it every day in manhattan. I went to visit Denver in June 2017 and I loved it! Other than Seattle, I’ve seriously considered moving to Denver every day since. Luckily, I have a job in Healthcare where I can work anywhere… But I still worry about moving to a place a new place without family or friends. And I love how diverse nyc is. But it’s good to know that I can always come back to nyc or move to somewhere new if it doesn’t work out. Glad denver is working out for u. I’ll definitely check out the rest of ur posts. 🙂

Hi Yani – If you’re ever thinking of moving, Denver definitely has a lot of healthcare jobs. 😉 Thanks so much for your kind words. I’m glad you liked the post!

Thank you so much, Amy! I guess this story of people escaping NYC never gets old. Again, no regrets moving and love that it’s given me an opportunity to meet awesome people like yourself!

Thank you for posting this! I’ve been a New Yorker for 13 years but really my entire life (33 years) as I had grown up in NJ across the bridge.
Constantly in the back of my head I dream about moving and trying a new city but I am plagued by fear, FOMO, and self doubt.
That said, just yesterday an opportunity to move to Denver (and as a single woman, I’ve heard it being called MENver), came up as a position within my organization’s office there opened up.
While I am excited about this opportunity , I am freaking out. Can I really do this? Do I even want to? I am such a New Yorker!
Your post has enabled me to really start thinking about it. If not now, when?

Hi Erica! Glad you found my post useful. LOL. Yes, Denver is known as “MENver” — although some of my single friends complain about the “quality” of the men. 😉 But honestly, if you are from NYC, it is most definitely not worse than what you’re dealing with there.

Yes, you CAN do this! If your work is willing to transfer you, this could be life’s way of telling you to try something new. Although Denver is not a huge compact city like NYC, it has a lot to offer and if you are looking for a more laid-back style (and fantastic weather – shhhh don’t tell anyone), then this might be the perfect opportunity for you! People are VERY friendly here.

Best of luck in your decision-making process.

Hi Laura,

This was SO helpful for me! My husband and I are currently weighing the option of moving to Denver. Or rather, he’s ready to rent the U-Haul and I’m hemming and hawing. Much like you, I grew up in an NYC suburb (in CT) and moved into the city right after graduating college. After 10 years here I still ADORE this place, but will admit the prices and overall rat race (also, literal rats, racing, outside my garden apt door :(() has made the idea of moving (slightly) less outrageous.

I’ve got a number of fears that you mentioned – I love the food scene in NYC, I love the culture, and more than anything I love the energy. But I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t intrigued by the idea of being 20 minutes from hiking and nature. Any words of advice in terms of quelling some of these fears? I should also mention my husband’s company is based there and so there would be a little bit of leeway in the event my job didn’t let me work remote.

Thanks again for this insight, it has certainly given me some more to consider! 🙂

Hi Nicole,
First off, thanks so much for taking the time to read my blog post – I’m so glad you found it helpful.

To address your question about quelling some of your fears about moving: You definitely have a leg up over others based on the fact that your partner could easily transfer his job to Denver. That definitely alleviates some of the (financial) pressures that a big move could have on your psyche.

I know what gave me a lot of pause when I was still living in NYC was that I wasn’t able to conceptualize what my life would be like if did move to Denver. I talked a lot with my husband about this – also acknowledging that the questions I had about moving to Denver were THE VERY SAME QUESTIONS I had when I was contemplating a move from Manhattan to Brooklyn several years prior (e.g. “What will I do with my time? Will I be bored when I get there? Will I no longer know what’s going on? Will I like living there?”). After a while, I realized that no amount of imagining or predicting would every truly give me the answers to those questions. Moving to a new city really is one of those things that you won’t know for sure until you’ve tried it.

Something we did before moving here was to spend a few days in Denver to see how we liked the city. We stayed a few days in Denver, but then headed out to the mountains and other areas of the state to see how we might spend our weekends. I don’t think I came away convinced either way after our trip, but it definitely made me feel more comfortable with the idea of moving now after I got a little taste of what my life could be like. I would definitely recommend doing something like this so you at least have something “real” to project all your “what if” questions onto.

Also, my husband promised me that if we moved and we didn’t like it, we could always move back. Somehow someone else verbalizing that it was OK to move back “home” if it didn’t work out put my mind at ease. Ultimately, I decided that NOT moving because I was afraid would be a bigger regret than having tried. After all, say you move and you don’t like it – at least you’ve learned a bit more about yourself in the process.

All the best in your decision making!

Laura, thank you so much for this! You have an awesome perspective. I absolutely agree that generally speaking, people are less materialistic, less superficial, and more down-to-earth in Denver. One of the many things I loved about it that was so refreshing. I’m going through a huge career crisis as well, so I’m trying to take how I feel about NY right now with a grain of salt, since I’m still only back here a few months.

However, if I can get into a good place in my career and still have the same feelings about NY, I’m going to seriously consider going back. Like you said, there are sacrifices both ways, and eventually I’m going to have to accept certain things in whatever place I end up in. It’s tough because in Denver I felt so different (apparently there are very few loud, NY Italians out there? haha), but also felt very at home. And in NY, I feel so out of place sometimes and yet this is where I’m from and most of the people I know and love are here. What I’m really struggling with at the moment is the quality-of-life aspect…again, I didn’t have the best jobs in Denver, but once you experience the quality-of-life in Colorado, it’s SO hard to come back to the East Coast. It’s been pretty jarring.

Long story short, I have a lot of things to figure out! The only thing that’s making me feel better at the moment is the knowledge that the door is not closed for me on Denver. Thanks so much for your response, I really appreciate it!

Hi Laura! Similar to you I am a LI girl and (former) life-long New Yorker until I moved to Denver in Dec. 2014. Even though I absolutely loved it there, I had my struggles as well, and made the decision to move back to NY 2 months ago to be closer to my family. But I think I made a huge mistake! There are a lot of details that I will spare here, but I’m back commuting into the city and just hating everything about NY. It’s hard to find someone with a NY perspective in Denver, so what I’m getting at is, do you think it’s worth being so far from your family and friends for the better quality of life that you have in Colorado? Or any advice in general about the pros/cons of NY versus Denver!

Hi Nicole, wow! Crazy how similar our stories are. When it comes to moving to be close to family it is a very personal decision and I’m sure you weighed all the different factors carefully.

I think NYC and Denver are very different places. I generally don’t even try to make comparisons, that’s how different I think they are.

The one thing I have noticed recently is whereas in places like NYC and San Francisco there is a major class and status undercurrent, in Denver I feel like that isn’t there. People really don’t seem to care where you live or how much “stuff” you have here. It’s much more down-to-earth, which I like.

In general, I think it’s a lot easier to be a newbie in Denver than in a city like NYC. Since it’s a city of transplants, people are very welcoming. Also what I find is that most people move to Denver because they WANT to be here, not because they HAVE to be here and with that brings a freedom to do things not out of obligation, but because you like them and want to do them.

NYC can be a very rewarding place to live (and I think everyone who is able to should live there at least once in their life), but it definitely takes a certain level of energy, commitment, and tolerance for pain (seriously). However, NYC can be downright depressing if you don’t want to be there.

The best advice I can give you is to evaluate what are the most important priorities in your life to be right now and figure out how your current lifestyle does or does not fit into that vision you have for yourself. It’s very rare you can get everything you want – there will be sacrifices and compromises, but you can always look for ways to supplement the things you feel you’re missing or mitigate the things that are bothering you.

All the best!

I agree! Why struggle when you could live a better life? The only thing I get nervous about when pondering my escape is my career. Did you happen to be working at a company that had an office in Denver and you just transferred?

Hey Julia! I was lucky enough to arrange to continue working at the same job but do it remotely from home. However, if I wasn’t able to work something out with my company, I was willing to start all over and find a new job.

I have friends who have moved to Colorado without any work lined up, and just made it work. I also know people where if they were in a couple/married and one person already had a job lined up, then the other found work later. Doing it that way certainly eases the burden if you have the good fortune of being in that situation.

Thanks for your comment Melissa. If opportunity allows, take the plunge. Yes, there’s life outside of NYC. If you need any advice on moving to Denver, let me know! 😉

Hello! My name is John and I’m 19 living on Long Island. I now go to Farmingdale State college and am looking at Colorado state university and was looking for some insight from you. How hard was it to move so far away from your family?. Also do you like the way of life more out west or the east coast!?.

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