Is Aurora, Colorado, your potential new home? Whether you’re relocating for work or simply because you love the area, this guide includes important things you need to know before your move.
If you’re seeking open spaces for yourself, your kids, or your pets, you’ll go wild for Aurora. In 2015, BetterDoctor.com named Aurora “The Most Active City in America” due to its 8,000 acres of open space. You can get into any outdoorsy activity, from biking around town to cross-country skiing. Renowned for both daytime amenities and a bustling nightlife scene, Aurora attracts adventurous professionals and young families.
Aurora is known for strong job growth, particularly in tech and the healthcare sector. The healthcare sector provides excellent facilities like The Children’s Hospital Colorado and the Anschutz Medical Campus. Plus, Aurora is only 10 miles east of Denver, so many residents feel they have the best of both worlds. They can enjoy everything Denver offers but still be far enough away to appreciate their distinct Aurora lifestyle. Being so close to a major city also offers advantages in relocation since many of the top moving companies also cover Aurora as part of the service area.
Living in Aurora, CO: What to Know Before Moving to Aurora
Aurora is Colorado’s third most populous city with 357,323 residents, according to Niche. Colorado offers suburban vibes and a terrific variety of amenities, including shops, parks, and extensive protected outdoor spaces.
Pros and Cons of Living in Aurora
Some of the best things about living in Aurora, Colorado include:
- Opportunities to see art and culture
- Mountains for some of the best skiing and boarding in the world
- Low humidity levels and plenty of sunshine
- High-quality medical care
- 5,000 acres of protected open spaces
- Plenty of brand-new amenities
What are the potential downsides of living in Aurora?
- Altitude adjustment with an elevation over 5,000 feet above sea level
- Crowding and growth are becoming area concerns
- Air quality can cause problems for sensitive individuals
- Challenging commute times and traffic
- Colorado’s cost of living is higher than most of the country
- The housing market is particularly difficult to enter, with average prices of homes being well over $330,000
- Property Tax: Colorado’s property taxes are lower than the rest of the country, according to Movoto.com. However, your property taxes are based on Colorado’s state tax rate, plus your county’s and Aurora’s property tax rate. Your unique property tax rate depends on home value as well as other factors like city tax rate, the school district tax rate, and the water and sanitation tax rate. So, while you start with a low state property tax, Adams County presents a hefty tax that makes the total tax rate higher than other locations throughout the nation.
- Sales Tax: Avalara states that Aurora’s sales tax rate is 8%. This rate includes a total of state, county, and city tax rates.
- Income Tax: The income tax rate in Colorado is a flat rate of 4.63%, according to Smart Asset. Everyone in all of Colorado pays the same percentage of their income, regardless of their income level.
Rent Café data shows that the average rent for an apartment in Aurora is $1,327, which has increased 3% over the past year. Westword completed a study based on the home prices and the rental costs of the Denver-Aurora-Lakewood area, and they determined that it’s cheaper to rent rather than buy. Biz Journals research shows that almost 40% of the residents in the Denver-Aurora area choose to rent. Although renting is cheaper in this area, more people still buy rather than rent. However, Aurora ranks 128th out of 400 of the largest U.S. cities for people who rent rather than own. Zillow reports the median home value in Aurora is $326,300. These values have increased 4% over the past year and are predicted to continue rising over the next few years.
Home Snacks has compiled a list of cheapest neighborhoods in the area for those who want to find lower costs and still enjoy the perks of living in Aurora. Some of these neighborhoods, starting with the least expensive, include:
- Norfolk Glen
- Sable Altura Chambers
- Chambers Heights
Cost of Living
Aurora can be a pricey place to live, and buying into a home can be a tricky venture. Best Places reports that compared to the rest of the country, the cost of living in Aurora is over 30% higher than the U.S. average. However, movers.com offers some positives when it comes to Aurora costs. They say the state taxes are reasonable and the economy is quite stable. Utility bills are also 12% lower than the national average, which helps lower your cost of living. The median income is $60,000. There are many apartments and homes to rent in the area, so living in Aurora can be possible even on a moderate budget.
Weather & Natural Disasters
Aurora, Colorado has a relatively comfortable climate based on a study completed by Best Places. Sperling’s Comfort Index ranks Aurora at 71/100, while the U.S. average is a 54. These rankings are the result of comfortable temperatures and humidity levels throughout the year.
Aurora receives 17 inches of rain and 62 inches of snow each year. Colorado gets a lot of sunshine with an average of 243 sunny days per year, significantly higher than the U.S. average of 205 sunny days. The summer high in the area is 88 degrees, and the winter low is 18 degrees. You’ll enjoy four distinct seasons with wonderful opportunities for outdoor activities during each of them.
Thunderstorms during the spring and summer can pose a natural disaster threat, especially when hail and high winds accompany them. Heavy winter blizzards with high winds are also problematic, mostly because they destroy roads and cause accidents and traffic. Earthquakes and their aftershocks, flooding, and wildfires are other threats Aurora residents have dealt with in the past. Be prepared and insured for these possibilities.
Economy & Job Market
Aurora employs 195,000 individuals. The largest industries in the area include:
- Health Care
- Social Assistance
- Retail Trade
- Food Services
- Customer Service
Are you curious about the highest paying industries in Aurora? Look into Public Administration or Technical Services. The median household income has grown by six percent over the past year, according to Data USA. Best Places reports that job growth is positive in Aurora, with a recent growth rate of 2.75%. Some of the city’s largest employers are:
- Aurora Economic Development Council
- The Children’s Hospital
- Raytheon Company
- Kaiser Permanente
Westword.com states that Colorado employers are looking for younger employees with fresh talent, so Aurora shows great potential for recent college graduates. The same Westword article suggests that job seekers should utilize Glassdoor or LinkedIn because Aurora employers use modern technological methods to find their workforce.
If you’re looking for work in Aurora, research your potential new workplace and try to learn about their history, priorities, management style, and benefits before you apply.
Traffic and Transportation
What kind of public transportation options does Aurora provide its residents? According to movers.com, the Regional Transportation District offers a modern light rail transit system that connects Aurora with Denver. There are also small networks of buses in the southern part of the city.
Major highways in the area include east-west Interstate 70 that connects Aurora to Denver, north-south Interstate 225, and the E-470 toll road. The Denver Channel shows a ranking from WalletHub, which names Aurora the 20th worst US city to drive in. This study is based not on traffic, but instead on the cost of owning a car, gas prices, road quality, accidents, and other factors. Aurora is known to have bad traffic and commute times, especially for those who go into Denver for work.
Walkscore gives Aurora an average walk score of 43, which narrowly places the city in the “car-dependent” category (meaning most errands require a car). The public transportation ranks at 38, and it is a somewhat bikeable city with a score of 53. Aurora hopes its bike-ability will increase after the launch of a bike-share program. Walkscore says the most walkable neighborhoods in Aurora include Northwest Aurora, Dayton Triangle, and City Center.
Denver International Airport (DEN) is 26 miles northeast of Aurora and connects to the city via light rail.
What to Do
Aurora is home to 113 acres of parks and open spaces, three large reservoirs, plus 98 miles of trails to enjoy. Golf lovers are crazy about Aurora’s links, with nine public golf courses to try. Of course, Colorado mountains provide some of the best skiing, hiking, climbing, snowboarding, and snowmobiling in the world.
If you like to spend time indoors, rest assured Aurora is teeming with opportunities to do exactly that. Residents enjoy learning local history at the Aurora History Museum, which features ever-changing exhibits; shopping at boutiques or retail stores; and dining out at numerous diverse options. The nightlife scene offers popular local cocktail bars like the Kasbah or the Stampede where you can enjoy cocktails, a beer, and some boot-scootin’ on the dancefloor.
Arts and culture aficionados will appreciate the Aurora Cultural Arts District, the Aurora Singers, The Aurora Fox Arts Center, Vintage Theatre Productions, and the Aurora Symphony Orchestra. Plus, Delaney Farm Historic District, Centennial House, Babi Yar Park, and more landmarks appeal to history buffs. If that’s not enough to keep you busy in “The Most Active City in America,” head to Denver, only a 20-minute drive west where you and your family can easily enjoy every sport and cultural activity Denver offers.
Schools and Universities
Aurora’s government website says this Colorado city is a great place to find opportunities for lifelong learning, from programs in recreation to medical school.
You’ll find some sources claim Aurora has highly-rated, excellent public schools. Great Schools reports some of the best schools in Aurora include Indian Ridge Elementary and Rolling Hills Elementary, both with ratings of 7/10. Other posts like Chalk Beat’s indicate that Aurora’s school districts are lagging behind other public school systems.
However, all signs seem to point to Aurora making rapid improvements and genuinely caring about the quality of student education, with recent improvements to student test scores and high school graduation rates. Five of the school districts that serve the area are:
- Aurora Public Schools
- Cherry Creek Public Schools
- Douglas County School District
- Bennett Public Schools
- Brighton Public Schools
Post-secondary schools and universities near the area include:
- Columbia College-Aurora
- Regis University
- University of Colorado, Denver
- Community College of Aurora
- Pickens Technical College
Colorado doesn’t seem to host the safest cities in the nation, and Neighborhood Scout only ranks the area a 12/100, meaning Aurora is safer than only 12% of US cities. However, Aurora’s government website claims the city ranks as the safest large city in Colorado and is one of the top 20 safest cities in the United States. The fact is that large cities often show higher crime rates than smaller cities, but Aurora has less crime per capita than Denver or Colorado Springs.
A month before your move, set up your new utility accounts and arrange for service to start a few days before your move-in date. This step is especially important in the winter when you want to get your home heated up so it will be comfortable when you move in.
- Electricity and Gas: If you’re moving to Aurora, you’ll want to learn more about Excel Energy. You can contact them and set up services by calling (303) 571-7511, or at this link. This provider is an electric and gas utility company that strives to lower and monitor Colorado’s usage.
- Phone and Internet: Ting Internet, DISH, Aerux Broadband, CenturyLink, and other servers provide telephone, television, and internet service. We recommend calling them and asking about their unique services and prices based on your address. By calling for a few quotes, you can determine which company provides the services that make the most sense for you.
- Water and Waste Management: For water services, contact the Aurora City Water Utility Administration Department. You can visit their website here or call them at (303) 739-7370. For waste management, contact Waste Connections of Colorado or Pro Disposal.
To learn more about getting started with your utilities, we recommend you visit the Aurora government utility page by clicking here. The city can help you get set up with services like water and waste disposal as soon as you know your new Aurora address.
Best Neighborhoods in Aurora, CO
The city of Aurora is divided into North Aurora and South Aurora, according to movers.com. To help you get started with your search, here’s a list of our top picks:
Pheasant Run is a smaller Aurora neighborhood that appeals to young professionals. With 5,421 residents, it has an affordable median home value of $196,325 according to Home Snacks. A hospital, vet clinic, and lots of employment options for college graduates cluster in Pheasant Run, according to movoto.com.
Pheasant Run is south of Quincy Avenue, northeast of East Smokey Hill Road, and west of South Buckley Road. The homes are charming and suburban. Rental prices average $1,138, based on data from apartments.com.
Schools in the area include:
- Independence Elementary School
- Sagebrush Elementary School
- Smoky Hill High School
The elementary schools receive a 3/10 on Great Schools, and Smoky Hill High School gets a 6/10.
One popular summer activity in Pheasant Run is the outdoor swimming pool, with a slide and lots of fun for young families.
Saddle Rock Golf Club
Saddle Rock Golf Club is home to high rollers, with a median home value of $335,600 and a median income of $90,766, according to Home Snacks. Many homes overlook the green hills of the adjacent Saddle Rock Country Club. The neighborhood is bordered by E-470 on the south, making daily commutes easier.
What else is there to do in Saddle Rock besides play incredible golf? You’re not too far from Cherry Creek State Park where you can bike, walk, run the trails, or enjoy the park with the kids and dogs.
You can find 3-5 bedroom ranch style homes or tri-stories with basements and 2-3 car garages, according to Joan Cox. The median rent in the area has increased over the past month, according to Zumper, and is currently $1,346 for a one-bedroom house.
Schools in the area include:
- Thunder Ridge Middle School, receiving a 6/10 on Great Schools
- Antelope Ridge Elementary, receiving a 7/10 on Great Schools
- Cherokee Trail High School, receiving an 8/10 on Great Schools
Seven Hills has a median home price of $203,000, according to movoto.com and offers residents a healthy variety of local amenities and a great vibe for young professionals. Most of the businesses in Seven Hills are near the corner of Hampden Avenue and Tower Road. This area is full of grocery stores, restaurants, retail outlets, and more. Home Snacks places the population of the area at 6,964.
There are some nice homes for sale in the area with multiple bedrooms, but it can be difficult to find homes or apartments to rent.
Niche reports the top A-rated schools serving the area are:
- Challenge School, which gets an 8/10 on Great Schools
- Cherry Creek Charter Academy, which gets an 8/10 on Great Schools
- Eaglecrest High School, which gets a 7/10 on Great Schools
Sterling Hills has a population of 4,932 and a median home value of $227,567, according to Home Snacks. Brand new single-family homes, condos, and apartments are attracting families and young professionals. The Plains Conservation Center and parks are nearby.
The public districts include The Aurora School District, Cherry Creek School District, and Denver County 1 District. Side Creek Elementary School is rated 4/10 on Great Schools.
Sterling Hills, located in south Aurora, is outlined by East Jewell Avenue on the north, South Tower Road on the west, East Villanova Place on the south, and the Plains Conservation Center on the east, according to DMH Homes. Trulia says the median rent per month for apartments in Sterling Hills is around $2,237.
Residents enjoy the convenience of shopping at Southlands Mall, grabbing a bite at Noodles World Kitchen, and watching a current film at the AMC movie theater.
Prides Crossing is east of the Pheasant Run neighborhood, so many of their amenities overlap. The median home price is $192,200, according to movoto.com, and residents have access to the Valley Plaza Shopping Center, a library, a post office, and other handy perks.
Prides Crossing is a master planned community with attractive landscape-bordered streets. The population of the area is 11,226, and there are a total of 546 beautiful homes in the neighborhood. The median rent on Area Vibes is $1,030, which is slightly lower than other Aurora rent prices.
The best schools in Prides Crossing include:
- Grandview High School ranked #6 ‘Best Public High Schools in Colorado’ on Niche
- Challenge School, ranked #3 ‘Best Public Elementary Schools in Colorado’ on Niche
Something to try in Prides Crossing: Explore the beautiful natural surroundings at Quincy Reservoir.
Heritage Eagle Bend
Heritage Eagle Bend is in Southeast Aurora at E-470 and Gartrell. This neighborhood is for residents aged 45 and older, which gives it a resort-like feel. Heritage Eagle Bend has a great location on 600 acres of an 18-hole championship golf course, according to Fred-Smith.
You can find attached patio homes, townhomes, and single-family ranch-style homes in Heritage Eagle Bend. The population of the neighborhood, according to Area Vibes, is 2,526, and the median home value is $505,500. Median rent prices are $2,350.
Schools nearby this neighborhood, according to Trulia, include:
- Coyote Hills Elementary, earning a 7/10 rating on Great Schools
- Fox Ridge Middle School, earning a 7/10 rating on Great Schools
- Cherokee Trail High School, earning an 8/10 rating on Great Schools
Park Villas is a great neighborhood in Aurora on the west of Highway 83, with its southern edge bordering Cherry Creek State Park. Park Villas hopefuls can find condos and homes for purchase and rent.
The Park Villas population is 1,740, and the neighborhood has a suburban feel with outdoor spaces and parks. This community is an optimal neighborhood for young families with children, or for people who enjoy spending time outdoors.
Park Villas is on the pricey side, with a median home value of $468,000 but an affordable median rent of $1,202. The top public schools serving this neighborhood, all receiving A ratings, include:
- Challenge School
- Cherry Creek Charter Academy
- Smoky Hill High School
Some of the best places to explore in Park Villas are Washington Park and Heather Gardens. For golf fans, the Meadow Hills Golf Course is a quick three-minute drive from the center of Park Villas.
The Conservatory neighborhood is east of Seven Hills, on the easternmost end of Aurora, and is home to 1,195 residents. The median home value is $430,500, according to zillow.com, and the area is full of single-family homes both for sale and rent.
Houses in Conservatory are desirable due to their lovely outdoor views and quiet streets. This is a popular area, and it can be difficult to snatch up a home. The median rental price is $2,595.
Some schools serving the Conservatory area include:
- Sagebrush Elementary School
- Laredo Middle School
- Smoky Hill High School
Smoky Hill receives high ratings, but Sagebrush and Laredo are rated below average in school quality compared to other schools in Colorado. However, Conservatory is still a desirable location for families.
Residents have access to grocery shopping, restaurants, and plenty of retail shopping. The neighborhood is brimming with pools and parks, and according to Active Rain, it’s easy to access the E-470 and Denver International Airport (DEN) for added convenience.
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