Are you planning on moving to Colorado Springs, CO, but need some helpful advice on how to survive here? I’ve got you covered!
When we moved to Colorado Springs a few years ago from Brooklyn, New York, we also had absolutely no idea what to expect. All we knew was that it was going to be “beautiful there,” as many other service members had gone before, and that’s what they all said. Moving from a large city like New York City (there’s a reason it’s called the City That Never Sleeps) to a smaller “country-like” city, on the other hand, is a significant change.
If you’re looking for some tips on surviving Colorado Springs or Colorado in general, these are things I wish I had known or someone would have told me beforehand.
The Altitude is No Joke
If you’re not used to living at a high altitude, it can most definitely take some time to get acclimated. I remember the first few months here, I would be out of breath just from walking up a flight of stairs or going for a run. It’s not uncommon to feel lightheaded or have a headache when you first move here too. Just give yourself some time and eventually, your body will adjust.
Give Yourself Time To Acclimate
Remember that we’re at very high altitudes, as I like to say, we’re literally under the sun. It’s going to take some time to acclimate to living at such a high altitude. Drink lots of water while you do so, and remember if you drink, alcohol affects you differently in higher elevations, so take it easy at first. Even the US Army gives you 30 days, but as a civilian, you might need more.
The Air Is Dry
Again, coming from a place like New York where there’s so much humidity, the dryness here is definitely something that took some getting used to. The air is literally drier than the Sahara desert, or so I like to think, and many others would say the same. My skin and hair were not happy with me when we first moved here! Be sure to invest in a good humidifier and some heavy-duty moisturizers. Drink lots of water and keep body lotion and lip balm with you at all times.
The Sun is Intense.
If you’re not used to living in a place with such strong sunlight, you’ll definitely need to take precautions and protect your skin. I’ve gotten more sunburns since moving here than I ever did in Brooklyn! I even had to tint my vehicle to protect myself from the intense sun. Make sure you wear sunscreen (even in the winter) and hats whenever possible.
Be Prepared To Drive Everywhere
In Colorado Springs, public transportation is almost non-existent, so if you don’t drive and have never considered getting your driver’s license, now is the time to do so because you’ll need it. While there are a few buses, many routes lack them entirely, and you’ll almost certainly have to drive to work, the store, get a haircut, and so on, because nothing is within walking distance of many homes.
It’s ok to turn right on red unless otherwise posted. And if you’re driving on I25 slower than 75 miles an hour, be prepared to be honked at, so please drive in the right (or slow) lane. Drivers are very aggressive on I25. I’ve personally seen someone overtake someone on the shoulder and stopped suddenly in front of the other person because they were driving “too slow” in the fast lane.
Don’t expect to get home at 4:30 pm after getting off work at 4 pm. Rush hour generally starts around 3:30 pm and goes until 6 pm or later. And despite Colorado being called “Ski Country,” Colorado Springs residents DO NOT KNOW HOW TO DRIVE in snowy conditions, so be prepared for a usual 30-minute trip to take closer to 2 hours.
Never Trust The Skies
Colorado is a bi-polar weather state. Do you know the phrase “if you don’t like the weather, wait five minutes”? They were speaking of Colorado. If it’s beautiful outside, be a skeptic and walk with your rain gear, snow gear, you name it. It can be 80 degrees one minute and snowing or raining the next. I recommend dressing in layers because you never know what the weather will be from one minute to the next.
Be Prepared For Hail
If you’ve never experienced hail, then you’ll be pleasantly (or not) surprised. While it never lasts for long, it can be devastating to homes, vehicles, and even yourself. Not recently, there was baseball-sized hail that destroyed many homes and totaled numerous vehicles. So stay indoors and certainly don’t drive in it. Find shelter and wait for it to pass. If you’ve never added natural disasters to your insurance policy, now is a good time to do so.
Purchase A Home That Faces The South
While the snow generally doesn’t last more than a day, if you’d prefer not to shovel, a home with a driveway facing the south gets more direct sunlight and will help you with that. Otherwise, it’ll take forever to melt, forcing you to actually go outdoors and shovel. It’s not something that I’m overly fond of and something I wish I’d known before purchasing my home. However, because we haven’t had much snow in the few years that I’ve lived here, the snow usually melts by late afternoon or the next day.
If you’re in need of a realtor for a home in Colorado Springs, I highly recommend Jin Wick. She was my realtor, and not only is she amazing, but she also keeps in touch with me even after I’ve owned my home for many years.
There are some really fantastic family restaurants, and some hole-in-the-wall places to eat at. Skip the chain restaurants and ask for recommendations. However, if you’re looking for seafood, Colorado Springs is NOT the city for that. Remember, we’re a landlocked state, so not only will the seafood be expensive, but I couldn’t recommend a decent place that serves it. No pizza either!
If you want to make your own desserts, make sure to follow baking instructions for high-altitude environments.
Eat Fruits Right Away Or Save Your Money
I’m not joking, but fruits spoil within hours in Colorado, so don’t purchase a lot. Instead, buy what you need to eat in a day, no more than two, or save your money because you’ll literally be throwing it away.
However, with all that being said, there are a few pros to living in Colorado Springs. Such as…
It’s A Military Town
If you or your spouse are in the military, Colorado Springs is definitely the place for you. There are tons of other military families here, and they have created their own community. This can be really helpful when you’re new to a city and don’t know anyone yet. Be sure to ask for your military discount when shopping in stores (including restaurants), although not every store offers one.
There Are Tons Of Things To Do Outdoors
One of the best things about living in Colorado Springs is all of the outdoor activities that are available. You can go hiking, camping, fishing, kayaking…the list goes on and on. So if you love being outdoors, this is definitely the place for you.
The Cost Of Living Is Pretty Low
Compared to other big cities like New York or Los Angeles, the cost of living in Colorado Springs is relatively low. This includes rent, groceries, and gas prices, which, while rising in tandem with the rest of the world, are still relatively low. I recently paid $4 for premium gas. So if you’re looking to save some money, Colorado Springs is a great place to do it.
The People Are Friendly And Welcoming
One of the best things about Colorado Springs is the people. They are some of the friendliest and most welcoming people I have ever met. So if you’re looking for a place with a great community, Colorado Springs is definitely it.
And last but definitely not the least.
It’s a Great Place to Raise a Family
One thing that really surprised us about Colorado Springs was how great it is for raising kids. There are so many parks and outdoor activities to keep them busy, not to mention the amazing schools. If you’re looking for a family-friendly city to move to, Colorado Springs would be a great choice.
Moving to a new city can be a daunting task, but hopefully, these tips will help make your transition to Colorado Springs a bit easier. Just remember, it takes time to adjust to a new place and everyone experiences it differently. So don’t beat yourself up if you’re not adjusting as quickly as you thought you would – just take it one day at a time! And who knows, you might even find that you love it here as much as I do!
Welcome to Colorado Springs, Co.!