Although they’re not geographically too far from each other, Denver and Dallas are actually very different cities that offer people who live there different comforts and conveniences.

Deciding which city to live in depends on what your hobbies are, what you’re looking for in an area, and other factors, such as the cost of living and the politics of the area.

Dallas vs Denver cities
Dallas vs Denver

Key takeaways

Dallas pros

  • Dallas has a warm climate year-round.
  • The average home cost is lower in Dallas compared to Denver.
  • No income tax.

Dallas cons

  • No mountain areas to enjoy hiking and camping.
  • Higher property tax.
  • More traffic and longer commutes.

Denver pros

  • Denver is great for outdoor activities like hiking and camping.
  • Apartments are less expensive.
  • Less traffic and shorter commuting time.

Denver cons

  • Denver has cold winters with plenty of snow.
  • The average home cost is higher in Denver compared to Dallas.
  • Has an income tax.
  • Higher population density compared to Dallas.
  • High altitude may affect people with breathing problems.

Dallas vs Denver cities

Climates

Dallas is located in north central Texas, near the Trinity River. Dallas has a warm, subtropical climate, and the area is known for its high humidity.

Summer temperatures are often in the mid to high 90s, and even during the winter months, daytime temperatures in the mid-70s are common.

Occasionally, the city sees freezing temperatures, which might be accompanied by freezing rain. Most days in Dallas, however, are sunny, and the city sees about 300 days of sun each year.

Denver, which is located almost in the middle of Colorado, sees much more defined seasons. Summers are warm, with temperatures in the high 80s or low 90s, and winters are quite cold.

Snow is also relatively common. Denver gets about 17 inches of rain each year, which is less than half the national average, but it also gets about 60 inches of snow.

shovel snow sign in a snowbank

Scenery

One of the biggest differences between Dallas and Denver is the scenery. Many people can choose between the two cities by deciding if they’re more of a city person or someone who prefers the great outdoors.

Dallas clouds over downtown

Dallas is located in a large metropolitan area that consists of Dallas, Fort Worth, Plano, and several other suburban towns and cities.

Anyone living in the city can enjoy incredible options for dining and shopping, and the city offers plenty of entertainment.

Dallas is known for its incredible, diverse food options, whether you want something quick or are looking for a fancier dinner out.

Denver is also a great place to catch a concert or enjoy a spectacular meal, but most people who live in Denver spend their free time enjoying outdoor recreational activities.

The city is located in a high-desert environment, but it’s also quite close to the Rocky Mountains. Hiking, camping, backpacking, fishing, skiing, mountain biking, and rock climbing are all very popular with most Denver residents.

City of Denver and rocky mountains
City of Denver and rocky mountains

Not everyone enjoys walking in the woods and exploring nature as much as window shopping on a city street. For some people, for example, spring and summer weather in Denver can be very uncomfortable, as an abundance of pollen can cause severe allergies.

You also don’t need to be interested in outdoor activities to enjoy all that Denver has to offer. However, most people in Denver spend their weekends outside or plan outings around hikes or bike rides, so you may find it a bit harder to make new friends if you don’t enjoy those activities.

The reverse is true for Dallas. If you enjoy hiking, you might have a harder time meeting like-minded people in the urban environment of Dallas.

Check out: Living in Oregon vs Washington – List of pros and cons

Cost of Living

The difference in the cost of living between Dallas and Denver is marginal. In Denver, a median home price is about $502,000, while an average home in Dallas costs about $408,000.

Renters in Dallas will spend about $1,600 on a two-bedroom apartment, while renters in Denver will spend about $1,500 on an apartment of the same size.

The cost of gas is slightly higher in Denver than in Dallas, on average, but essential items, such as groceries, are usually slightly less expensive than in Dallas. Healthcare is also a bit lower in Dallas.

Taxes

Texas does not have an income tax, so if you live and work in Dallas, you won’t need to pay any taxes on whatever you make. Colorado, on the other hand, has an income tax of about 5%. Texas, however, has a higher property tax.

If you purchase a home or a piece of land, you’ll likely spend as much or more on property taxes as you would on income tax.

If you don’t own your own home, though, you can sometimes save on taxes by living in Dallas. The rent you pay, however, might reflect the property tax paid by the landlord.

income tax word cut in half with scissors

Public Schools

When it comes to public school rankings, Texas is about average when compared to other U.S. states. However, Texas is very large, and the rankings take school districts of all sizes and from all over the state into account.

Many school districts in Texas are excellent, and this includes the Dallas ISD School District. This school district has many of the top-ranked schools in all of Texas.

Public schools in Colorado and Denver are very similar to those in Texas and Dallas. Overall, Colorado’s public schools are average when compared to those in other states.

Denver’s public schools are usually ranked above average. The Boulder Valley School District, which is located in the Denver area, has the number one ranking in the state.

Politics

Colorado is generally considered a swing state in presidential elections, meaning it is neither consistently conservative nor liberal. More recently, however, Colorado has leaned more toward liberal politics, and Denver is one of the most liberal parts of the state.

Elected officials in Denver tend to be Democrats, and the state as a whole is more likely to vote for liberal senators and representatives.

Texas is known as a much more conservative state. In presidential elections or when choosing representatives and senators, Texans are more likely to vote for Republicans.

Dallas, however, is one of the more liberal parts of the state. About half of the people living in Dallas identify as liberal or Democratic. Most elected Dallas officials are Democrats. However, some neighborhoods or even job industries are more conservative.

Democrat and Republican signs

Population Density

Denver has a population of about 716,000 people, while Dallas has a population of about 1.339 million people. However, Dallas is larger in size, so Denver actually has a higher population density by about 1,000 people per square mile. This can make the busier or more popular parts of Denver feel quite crowded.

Dallas vs Denver population infographic

Traffic

Population density can sometimes cause traffic problems in both cities, but, on average, because it’s smaller and more condensed, people living in Denver have commutes that are about 1.5% shorter than those of people living in Dallas. Most people also feel that the traffic in Denver is better than that of Dallas.

Marijuana Legalization

Marijuana has been legalized for recreational use in Colorado, and therefore Denver, but it is still illegal in Dallas.

For some people who experience chronic pain or require marijuana products for medical use, this makes Denver a much more attractive option.

Even people who simply enjoy using marijuana recreationally might prefer Denver, although anyone using these products will still need to enjoy them responsibly.

On the other hand, if you’re not fond of marijuana and don’t like the idea of being exposed to it, Dallas might seem like a better idea.

Dallas is known for its incredible, diverse food options.

howthingscompare.com

Altitude

Denver is known as the Mile High City, as it’s about a mile above sea level. This high altitude can cause issues for some people. High altitudes can affect stamina and breathing.

Many people feel short of breath and may have a much harder time accomplishing tasks that were once simple. Over time, most people get used to the higher altitude, but some people find they can never quite acclimate.

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