Cost of living -

7 things to do and know before moving from California to Colorado

Colorado has become one of the most desirable places to reside for many Californians. The beautiful views of Colorado’s state and hospitable culture have tempted many new residents. If you plan to leave California and move to Colorado, keep on reading.

In this article, we have covered everything you need to know before leaving California and moving to the city of heaven. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, around 16,537 people move to Colorado every day. Colorado has become one of the fastest-growing states in the US. The mixture of pleasant weather, beautiful views, better employment, and friendly people are the major reasons for migration.

Moving to Colorado from California: Everything to know and do

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1. First steps before moving to Colorado

Finding a job 

Colorado’s allure as a destination for employment is intricately tied to the breathtaking natural landscapes that envelop residents. This unique feature often prompts individuals to relish refreshing walks during their work breaks, embracing the picturesque surroundings. Colorado boasts an illustrious reputation as it has maintained one of the most robust and steady job markets since the mid-1990s.

Within this flourishing job market, certain professions remain particularly sought after. Registered nurses, customer service representatives, accountants, auditors, and construction workers find themselves in high demand. The availability of such positions and the chance to revel in Colorado’s stunning scenery make it a compelling choice for those seeking both career opportunities and a deep connection with nature.

Getting there 

Transportation from Los Angeles to Denver

When traveling from Los Angeles, California to Denver, Colorado, you can expect a total driving time of 14 hours and 51 minutes, covering a distance of 1,016.1 miles. Denver is located one hour ahead of Los Angeles. The estimated cost of driving this route is approximately $187.94, with a fuel cost per gallon estimated at $4.62.

For the most efficient route from California to Colorado, we recommend starting your journey in Ventura and driving non-stop for about 18 hours to reach Telluride. After a brief stop, continue on a non-stop drive to your destination in Colorado.

If you prefer a scenic route, consider taking the I-15 N and I-70 E, which covers a distance of 1,016 miles and typically takes around 16 hours of driving time.

In case you opt for a flight from California to Colorado, the average in-air flight time is approximately 1 hour and 50 minutes. The cheapest month to fly to Colorado from California is August, while November and December are considered high seasons with ticket costs averaging around $140. Plane tickets for this route can start from as low as $89.

If you’re planning a move from California to Colorado and need assistance with transporting your belongings, you can explore options from various long-distance moving companies.

Cost of Car and Boat Shipping from California to Colorado

When it comes to shipping a car or a boat from California to Colorado, you have several options at your disposal, including freight trains, shipping containers, ships, and even airplanes. However, the most popular and widely used method for transporting cars and boats is through car transporters.

Let’s break down the cost of shipping a boat and a car from California to Colorado using a car transporter:

For boat transportation from California to Colorado, the average cost typically falls within the range of $600 to $1000.

When it comes to shipping a car from California to Colorado, the average cost ranges between $530 and $840, with an estimated transit time of 3 to 4 days. It’s worth noting that the exact cost may vary based on factors such as the size of the vehicle, the chosen terminal for drop-off, and prevailing weather conditions.

Explore the best car shipping companies to ensure a smooth and cost-effective transportation experience.

Must dos before your arrival

  • Update Your Address: Changing your address is a crucial step when relocating. You can easily set up mail forwarding either online or in person before your move. Remember to update your address with various organizations, including the SSA, DMV, and home services. To ensure you don’t miss any important notifications, refer to our comprehensive change of address checklist, which covers all the places you need to update when moving.
  • Weather Preparedness: Be ready for Colorado’s diverse weather like the heavy snowfall in the winter. Check local forecasts and pack accordingly, especially if you’re unfamiliar with the region’s climate variations.
  • Apartment Hunting: Plan ahead by researching and scheduling apartment visits before your arrival. This proactive approach will help streamline your housing search process and ensure a smoother transition.

2.Upon your arrival in Colorado

Must dos right upon your arrival

  • Get familiar with your neighborhood, and make sure to take note of the important emergency numbers. 
  • Locate the essential facilities like the nearest hospital, police station, and fire department for your safety and in case of emergency.
  • Roaming around the city for work or just simply checking on it, it would be great to purchase a daily transit pass to save money.

How much does local transportation cost (Denver VS Los Angeles)

Public transport in Colorado is widely available. For example, Colorado’s Regional Transportation District (RTD) offers bus, rail, and light rail services to Denver, Boulder, and nearby cities.

Type of fare


Single ticket


10-Ride Ticket Book


Weekly pass


Monthly pass


RTD Denver (Sept 2023)

Exchanging your driver’s license

Procedure for New Driver’s License and Vehicle Registration in Colorado

When moving from California to Colorado, you have 30 days from the time you arrive to obtain a Colorado driver’s license. You can easily apply for a driver’s license online. If you have just moved to Colorado and you have brought your vehicle with you, you need to register it within 90 days of establishing residency in Colorado. Don’t wait till the last minute and register your vehicle online. You might also be required to fill out an emission inspection form if it is applicable in the county you’re residing in.

Documents Needed for Colorado Driver License and Vehicle Registration

  • Application for Change of Address Form
  • Your new and old address
  • Credit card for payments
  • License plate number
  • Last four digits of your VIN and SSN
  • Proof of U.S. Citizenship or, if you are not a U.S. Citizen, evidence of lawful presence.
  • SSN and I.D.
  • Proof of Colorado residency
  • Current vehicle registration
  • Proof of liability insurance 
  • Proof of inspection
  • Proof of ownership
  • Application for Colorado Title and/or Registration

Setting up a bank account 

When moving to Colorado from California, it’s essential to establish a local presence by setting up a bank account. This state follows the same procedures and regulations as in other states. Wells Fargo Bank has more than 100 branch locations in Colorado, and it is convenient for every local because it is accessible.

Getting health insurance

Getting health insurance is an excellent way to get peace of mind when it comes to your health. With health insurance, you will not have to worry about spending a ton of money in case of a health-related emergency. Healthcare is regulated by the state in the US and so the state of Colorado proposes a website to help you with your health insurance search. Simply choose Colorado as your state and create an account.

3. Best places to live in Colorado

Best places to live in Colorado

Choosing to move to Colorado often means considering Denver. It is the fourth-best city in the United States for business and careers with a vibrant economy. It has so many high-paying jobs and a low unemployment rate. 

The city has something for everyone to enjoy, from arts and entertainment to sports and food. As one of the most livable cities in Colorado, Denver features unique neighborhoods offering exceptional qualities such as a low crime rate, affordable housing, top-notch education, and access to public transit. If you are planning to live in Denver, here are the 8 best neighborhoods in Denver.



Capitol Hill

Best for walkability

City Park

80% of the area is a park

North Park Hill

Best for families


Best for safety

Washington Park

Best for the outdoorsy families

Cherry Creek

Best for a sophisticated & luxurious lifestyle

South Park Hill

Best for large families

LoDo (Lower Downtown)

Best for downtown living

Why Californians are moving to Colorado

Lower cost of living

Colorado is a state of magnificent natural views surrounded by fresh and clean air. But it is important to know that Colorado is one of the most expensive states in the United States. It is ranked one of the top 20 most expensive states to live in. The cost of living in Colorado is 31 % higher in comparison to the national average. However, it is still 35-40% cheaper than California

Rent and utility costs are much more affordable in Colorado. Also, they have a well-developed healthcare system with lower costs. Colorado has been ranked by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services as one of the top 10 providers of medical care in the United States. The state also has the lowest income and property taxes in the country. 

Better climate

Colorado has an ideal temperature. It experiences all four seasons. With plenty of sunshine and low humidity levels, the days are usually cool and pleasant. The locals enjoy exploring the outdoor activities, all thanks to the beautiful weather of Colorado. During winter, people of Colorado enjoy skiing and snowboarding whereas the spring is a perfect time to enjoy hiking. Climbing and whitewater rafting are common outdoor activities for residents during summers. While the foliage in autumn is incredibly beautiful. 

Job opportunities: aerospace, high-tech & start-ups

Colorado is a fantastic place to find a job. The growing job market offers great opportunities for professionals. Denver is the headquarters of many big companies like Pepsi Center, RE/MAX, JBS USA, DaVita, Chipotle Mexican Grill, and more. The city is ranked Nº1 for aerospace job opportunities, Nº 3 for high-tech and Nº4 for start-ups.

Los Angeles VS Denver

Los Angeles, California the most famous city in the United States. The city has a population of more than 17 million people making it the second most populated city in the country. Denver, Colorado is the 19th most populated city and 5th most populated state capital of the United States. The Globalization and World Cities Research Network ranked Denver as a Beta world city.

Setting up home services 

To set up electricity, you can either contact or visit the website of Xcel Energy. It’s a reliable option for setting up electricity when you move to Colorado. To set up a water supply, you can contact Tri-County Water. For natural gas supply, you can contact Colorado Natural Gas by submitting a request on their website.

The best internet providers in Colorado will have bundling options, various speeds, and multiple package options at reasonable prices.

Should you rent or buy?

In Colorado, the cost of owning a house averages around $562,400. When it comes to renting, a 1-bedroom apartment typically goes for approximately $1,645.50 in the state. Colorado has more than 2.5 million housing units, so the state offers plenty of options. For the beauty that Colorado offers, the housing costs are relatively fair. Learn more below.

Cost of rent in Colorado


1-bed apartment

3-bed apartment

Denver (Outside of Center)



Numbeo (Sept 2023)

Cost of buying a property in Colorado


Average home price 



Zillow (Sept 2023)

Pros and Cons of Living in Colorado



  • One of the best healthcare systems
  • Low property tax
  • A lot of winter activities (26 ski resorts)
  • Experiences all 4 seasons
  • Low unemployment rate
  • The public transport system in Colorado is less established than California
  • Extremely dry climate
  • Snow-covered roads make driving dangerous during winter (as they don’t use salt)

Why people regret moving to Colorado

Here are a few reasons some people regret moving from California to Colorado:

Regret #1

Some people regret moving to Colorado because the state is low on water for quite some time. The citizens are facing a huge drought, which increases their water bills due to lack of supply. Also, if you like water activities, Colorado is not for you as the outdoor recreations also lack water. The city has very few lakes and small beaches. The lack of water is also affecting the agriculture of the state. 

Regret #2

The outdoor recreation space is particularly crowded by residents and tourists of the state. In Colorado Springs, for example, parking at trailheads became an issue. Some spots even require advance reservation to camp. 

Regret #3

Many people who have moved to Colorado complain about the effects of high elevation. Indeed, Colorado is the highest American state, therefore some residents deal with altitude sickness. 

4. Cost of living in Colorado


Monthly cost

1 bed apt rent outside city center



Numbeo’s grocery list ($69.28 multiplied by 4)



Electricity, heating, cooling, water, garbage


Internet with 60 Mbps


Transit pass



Meal, taxi, movie


Gym membership 




Numbeo (Oct 2023)

5. The weather in Colorado

The climate of Colorado is much more pleasant in comparison to California. Colorado has a semi-arid climate. The temperature is usually cool due to low humidity. The winters in Colorado are usually dry. Summer temperatures are usually between 80-90 °F, while California has hot sunny days. However, the ocean breeze plays an important role in cooling the temperature during the day.

6. What to do as a local in Colorado

The breathtaking landscapes of Colorado offer a myriad of outdoor activities that cater to the diverse interests of its residents. From skiing and hiking the majestic 14,000-foot peaks to rock climbing and fishing, there’s something for everyone to enjoy in this picturesque state. Mountain biking is a common pastime among the locals, allowing them to embrace the serene beauty of the mountains.

For the more adventurous spirits, hunting and camping are easily accessible, providing ample opportunities to embrace the great outdoors. Additionally, the people of Colorado are passionate sports enthusiasts, particularly when it comes to supporting the Broncos.

7. Fun facts about Colorado

Fun Fact #1

Denver is nicknamed the “Mile High City” because it sits exactly one mile above sea level (at an elevation of 5,280 feet).

Fun Fact #2

Colorado is the only place in America where the corners of four states meet. The southwest corner borders Arizona, New Mexico, and Utah.

Fun Fact #3

Grand Mesa has the world’s largest flat-top mountain.


Colorado’s allure as a destination for Californians is evident, with its breathtaking natural landscapes and a welcoming culture that has enticed many new residents. If you’re considering leaving California for the beauty of Colorado, this article provides invaluable insights. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Colorado is one of the fastest-growing states, driven by factors such as pleasant weather, stunning scenery, and robust employment opportunities. 

Whether you’re seeking a career change or a deeper connection with nature, Colorado offers both. Additionally, the state’s diverse climate allows for year-round outdoor activities, from skiing to rock climbing, making it a paradise for adventure enthusiasts. Colorado is a place where you can truly live life to the fullest. Are you moving soon? Discover the best movers for your move to Colorado.


Widgets Magazine


Widgets Magazine

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Selina Cifelli

The author

Selina is a motivated marketing intern with a keen interest in developing engaging content related to moving experiences and city life. With a passion for fashion and traveling, she brings a fresh perspective to our readers. Her talent for crafting innovative written material effectively positions MovingWaldo as a trusted resource for hassle-free and efficient moves.

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