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New to Colorado? The full and complete checklist

From the DMV, to city data, to restaurants, to neighborhoods and more: Here's everything you need to know.
Credit: Doug Pensinger/Getty Images
Turbulent weather produced a spectacular sunset over the skyline of the Denver downtown.


If you’re reading this, chances are you or someone you know is lucky enough to have moved to Colorado. Welcome! There’s a reason why our state is growing so quickly, and we don’t want to brag, but it’s because it’s the best place to live.

Below you’ll find some resources for newcomers, from when and where to get your awesome Colorado license plates, to how to navigate school districts and neighborhoods, to the places to explore.

Navigating the DMV

Ok, going to the Department of Motor Vehicles might be the last fun part of moving here (as is the case anywhere), but it’s a necessary evil. 

The Department of Revenue says that you must transfer your driver’s license to Colorado with 30 days of moving here, and register your vehicle within 90 days. The only exception is if you’re moving to Colorado for school, at which point you’re exempt from both of these things.

One good thing about visiting the Colorado DMV to transfer over your driver’s license is that you can register to vote at the same time, as well as sign up to be an organ donor. 

For information about registering your vehicle in Colorado, click or tap here: https://bit.ly/2HIhXk4

To apply  for a Colorado driver’s license and to see what you need to do so, click or tap here: https://bit.ly/2FxhSiX 

For a list of driver’s license offices in the state, click or tap here: https://bit.ly/2RhQkQs. This site also shows wait times, which is handy! 

Picking a neighborhood

If you’re working in the Denver metro area, you have a choice to make between living in the city or one of the suburbs. Obviously, it all depends on your lifestyle. 

Visit Denver has a look at the unique neighborhoods in the Mile High City here: http://denv.co/2C1cKxW 

One thing worth mentioning is the neighborhoods are fairly diverse. If you’re looking for something more urban and want an apartment, check out places like Capitol Hill, River North or the Lower Highlands. 

Southeast Denver is a lot more residential, and you can get more for your money, albeit with a longer trip to downtown. 

The suburbs are equally diverse. 

For wide open spaces, check out places like Louisville or Parker. To be closer to the city, check out Glendale or Lakewood. And for cute downtowns, Littleton and Arvada are worth a look. 

You can find a heat map of real estate prices here: https://on.trulia.com/2Ot08qx 

9NEWS highlights a different community in Colorado every week. You can check out the places we’ve been here: 

Finding schools

Our partners at the Denver Business Journal have put together a list of the 25 best school districts in Colorado based on the work done by review company Niche, which evaluates SAT scores and graduation rates. 

You can find those rankings here, in addition to a list of the top 25 high schools: https://bit.ly/2CGqhxt 

For information about Colorado’s charter schools, click here: https://bit.ly/2IFmODJ 

For raw data from the Colorado Department of Education about accountability tests, click here: https://bit.ly/2UW5wFh

Dealing with the altitude 

Denver is at 5,280 feet and yes, the altitude is noticeable if you’re coming from somewhere closer to sea level. 

What does this mean? First off, if you’re imbibing alcoholic beverages, be aware they will hit you harder. Go easy until you’re accliminated. 

This also means that exercising will feel a little bit more difficult first, and that the sun will really feel brighter. Bring sunglasses and wear lip balm. 

Also, be sure to drink plenty of water. 

Find more tips here: http://denv.co/2FUUQ2n 

Finding things to do 

Every week, 9NEWS puts together a list of nine (it’s usually more … our producer is very ambitious) things happening over the weekend. You can find that list on Thursdays here: https://www.9news.com/colorado-guide 

This section of the 9NEWS website also includes a plethora of concert announcements and our very popular “Who is playing Red Rocks?” story. 

We also write about cool places to hike all the time! Here are nine kid-friendly hikes within a couple of hours of Denver: https://on9news.tv/2GGwiJH 

Here are some lesser-known hikes in Rocky Mountain National Park: https://on9news.tv/2I1Oxxs 

And since Colorado is known for its beer, here’s a list of all of the breweries in town: https://bit.ly/2Wyewka 


Yes, marijuana's legal here, but trust us: the novelty wears off pretty quick, and it's like just buying something from a liquor store. 

Medical marijuana is legislated differently than recreational marijuana, which is legal to buy if you are over 21 years old. Medical marijuana requires a prescription. 

For recreational marijuana, adults can only buy one ounce at a time. You can give up to an ounce as a gift, but can't sell it unless you're a retailer. 

Using marijuana publicly is not allowed. This means private property is your best bet. 

It's illegal to drive while high and yes, you can get a DUI. 

For more information about marijuana rules and regulations, go to: https://bit.ly/1SKy3Hx  

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