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Guide to living in Highlands Ranch, CO

Moving to Highlands Ranch? ⛰️ | ULTIMATE Guide to Living in Highlands Ranch CO!

Have you always dreamed of living in a peaceful town in the Rocky Mountains? Then you should consider living in Highlands Ranch, CO. Highlands Ranch is a relatively new community outside of Denver that offers outdoor adventure, residential and retail development, and a great place to raise a family. Highlands Ranch, Denver is known for its picturesque setting and abundance of outdoor recreation.

The Denver metro area was settled in 1859, although it wasn't permanently settled until 1870. Highlands Ranch gets its name from the Highlands Ranch Mansion, a historic home constructed in the area between 1891 and 1904.

Today, Highlands Ranch is a good place to live for families and outdoor enthusiasts who want a suburban paradise with easy access to Denver. Here's everything you should know before moving to Highlands Ranch, CO.

Where Is Highlands Ranch?

Highlands Ranch, Colorado is in Douglas County within the Denver-Aurora-Lakewood metro area and Front Range Urban Corridor. It's a census-designated place and unincorporated community considered a major suburb of Denver.

Several other notable suburbs and Denver neighborhoods surround it, including Littleton and Centennial to the north, Acres Green and Lone Tree to the east, and Castle Pines to the southeast. Highlands Ranch also borders several parks and nature preserves, including BackCountry Base Camp and Chatfield State Park.

For those looking to do some shopping or check out attractions like the Denver Arts Museum, it's about 20 miles or a 36-minute drive from Highlands Ranch, CO to Denver, CO.

 

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Highlands Ranch Information

  • Highlands Ranch County: Douglas County
  • Highlands Ranch Area: 24.3 square miles
  • Highlands Ranch Zip Code: 80126, 80129, 80130 and 80163
  • Highlands Ranch Area Code: 303 & 720
  • Highlands Ranch Elevation: 5,817 ft
  • Highlands Ranch Time Zone: Mountain Standard Time (UTC -6 and -7)
  • Highlands Ranch Closest Airport: The Denver International Airport (DEN) is 40 miles away.

Highlands Ranch Population and Demographics

The population of Highlands Ranch, CO, is 103,444, making it the largest unincorporated community in the state of Colorado. The number of Highlands Ranch residents has increased dramatically since the 1990 census, when the population was only 10,181.

By 2000, over 70,000 people were living in Highlands Ranch, CO an increase of nearly 600%. The growth has slowed a bit, but the population has increased by 6.7% between 2010 and 2020. It has a fairly dense suburban/urban atmosphere with a population density of 4,278 residents per square mile.

Highlands Ranch is an affluent community popular among families and retirees. The median age is 41.3, although 25% of residents are under 18 and 15% are over 65. The median household income is $152,038, 42% higher than the amount in the rest of Colorado. Many notable residents have lived in Highlands Ranch, including actress Keri Russell and NFL running back Christian McCaffrey.

The racial and ethnic breakdown is 85.2% white (80% non-Hispanic), 9% Hispanic or Latino, 6.1% Asian, 1.1% Black or African American, and 5.8% two or more races.

Other Highlands Ranch Demographics

  • The population of residents living in Highlands Ranch, CO is exactly 50% male and 50% female.
  • It's a very well-educated community, and 99.1% of residents have a high school diploma, while 70% have a bachelor's degree or higher.
  • The foreign-born population is 8.7%

Transportation

Highlands Ranch is situated on Colorado State Highway 470 and US Route 85 also passes alongside the community's western edge. RTD Denver also operates a bus system that makes stops in Highlands Ranch. The light rail also stops in the nearby city of Littleton, which is accessible by bus from Highlands Ranch and offers access to downtown Denver.

The Denver Airport is located northwest of downtown, about 40 miles from Highlands Ranch.

Cost of Living in Highlands Ranch, CO

The cost of living is likely a significant concern if you're considering moving to Highlands Ranch. A good way to analyze an area's affordability is to consider the cost of living index (COLI). It compares the cost of living in Highlands Ranch CO to the rest of the country, with 100 representing the national average. The COLI for the Denver metro area is 113.5, indicating it's 13.5% more expensive than the rest of the United States.

The Family Budget Calculator created by the Economic Policy Institute shows that the average family of four with two adults and two kids needs to earn about $138,237 to comfortably afford the cost of living in Highlands Ranch, CO.

Typical Highlands Ranch Living Expenses:

  • Loaf of bread: $3.66
  • A gallon of milk: $2.29
  • Carton of eggs: $2.12
  • Visit to the doctor: $123.91
  • A gallon of gas: $3.40
  • Highlands Ranch's average monthly energy bill: $153.48

Source: Payscale

Taxes are another primary concern you may have if you're looking into living in Highlands Ranch, CO. Here is a breakdown of the major taxes you can expect to pay.

  • Sales tax: The total sales tax rate in Highlands Ranch is 5%, which includes a 3% Colorado state tax, 1% Douglas County Tax, and 1% Greater Denver area tax.
  • Income tax: Colorado's Income tax is assessed at a flat rate of 4.4%, meaning everyone pays the same rate regardless of how much money they make.
  • Property tax: Property taxes in Douglas County are based on a percentage of the home value, known as the assessment value. Taxes are calculated by multiplying the tax rate by the property's assessed value. The tax rate for residential properties in 2023 was 6.765%. However, they are subject to change and determined every December.

The cost of housing is another major concern for those considering moving to Highlands Ranch. Highlands Ranch Colorado real estate expenses are generally higher than the national average. However, you'll find many exciting options, from modest bungalows to multi-million estates.

Highlands Ranch Real Estate

Redfin shows that the median sales price of homes for sale in Highlands Ranch, CO, is $661,438. The average price per square foot of Highlands Ranch homes for sale is $281.

Most residents living in Highlands Ranch, CO own their own homes, and only about 20% of the housing is rented out. However, those who are looking to rent will still find a range of enticing options. According to Rentcafe, the average rent in Highlands Ranch is $1755 per month, which is just slightly higher than the national average.

The ATTOM Rental Affordability Report shows that it's cheaper to rent than to buy Highlands ranch CO real estate. Residents would need to make about $1,601 per month to afford the area's housing cost.

Highlands Ranch Neighborhoods | Where to Live in Highlands Ranch

No matter where you look, living in Highlands Ranch, CO offers great weather, excellent schools, and quiet, well-maintained streets. However, like anywhere else, some neighborhoods are more sought-after than others. Here are a few of the best places to live in Highlands Ranch.

Northridge | A Historic Highlands Ranch Neighborhood in the Heart of the Community

Northridge is a neighborhood that occupies the northern central part of the community south of County Line Road. Home to the famous Highlands Ranch mansion, Northridge offers a rich history, multiple public parks, and a central location.

Indigo Hills | An Affordable Highlands Ranch Neighborhood with Exclusive Amenities

Indigo Hills is a popular neighborhood in the northwest corner of Broadway and Wildcat Reserve that offers affordable homes and access to exclusive amenities such as a swimming pool, tennis courts, and fitness center through its HOA.

The Hearth | A Quiet Highlands Ranch Neighborhood That is Perfect for Outdoor Enthusiasts

The Hearth is a community in the Southridge area of Highlands Ranch that offers beautiful homes, access to shopping and restaurants, and close proximity to the BackCountry Wilderness area and Daniel's Gate Park.

Highlands Ranch Weather & Climate

According to the Koppen Classification System, Highlands Ranch has a semi-arid high desert climate. That means four distinct seasons with warm summers and cold, snowy winters. The temperature of Highlands Ranch weather typically ranges from around 22°F up to about 86°F, although in the winter, it can get as cold as 6°F and in the summer, it can get up to 94°F. The best time to visit is typically from mid-June to early September.

Anyone considering moving to Highlands Ranch must come prepared for rain and snow. The area averages about 19 inches of rain and 78 inches of snow per year. So be sure to pack a parka and snow boots.

Highlands Ranch Restaurants

For a quiet, residential area, there are many excellent Highlands Ranch restaurants serving everything from comfort food to Indian cuisine. Here are a few of the best places to eat in Highlands Ranch.

Postino Highlands Ranch 

Postino is a chic wine bar with a location in Highlands Ranch, serving salads, paninis, charcuterie, and shareable plates in a hip setting with a wide selection of beer and wine.

1497 Park Central Dr, Highlands Ranch, CO 80129 (720) 410-8600

 

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Highlands Indian Cuisine

Highlands Indian Cuisine is the first Indian restaurant in the community. It serves a delicious selection of traditional South Asian dishes made with fresh ingredients.

9344 Dorchester St Ste#101, Highlands Ranch, CO 80129 (720) 420-9374

Mici Italian 

Mici is one of the best restaurants in Highlands Ranch, CO if you're in the mood for Italian, and it offers a wide selection of authentic dishes created with handmade dough and secret family recipes.

9245 S Broadway, Highlands Ranch, CO 80129 (303) 683-6424

Things to Do in Highlands Ranch

Living in Highlands Ranch CO also offers easy access to various exciting attractions, from craft breweries to recreation centers to state parks. Here is a complete breakdown of the best things to do in Highlands Ranch, CO.

 

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Top Highlands Ranch Attractions

  • K1 Speed is a 60,000-square-foot indoor go-kart course in Highlands Ranch that is fun for birthday parties and corporate events.
  • Southridge Recreation Center: A state-of-the-art recreation center in the Southridge neighborhood that features sports courts, indoor and outdoor pools, exercise equipment, and other amenities.
  • 3 Freaks Brewery: A local craft brewery serving a wide selection of home-brewed beers on tap, plus regular tours and events.
  • Links Golf Course: A professional golf club in northwest Highlands Ranch with an executive length course, PGA-certified instructors, a pro shop, a grille, and more.

Highlands Ranch Museums, Entertainment & Arts

  • Highlands Ranch Mansion: A historic mansion perched atop a 250-acre park that offers tours, educational programs, and rentals for weddings and other special events.

  • Play Street Museum: A children's museum designed to provide a safe, imaginative place for kids to play with art studios, interactive exhibits, and other family-oriented activities.
  • AMC Highlands Ranch: A local movie theater showing new releases with comfortable seating, concessions, a bar, and more.

Highlands Ranch Parks and Outdoors

  • Chatfield State Park: A state park centered around the Chatfield Reservoir that makes it a popular destination for hikers, bikers, fishermen, campers, picnickers, and other outdoor enthusiasts.
  • Civic Green Park: A lush outdoor space covered in trees that features gardens, public restrooms, and a pavilion that can fit up to 100 people.
  • Paintbrush Park: A small community park next to the Highlands Ranch Rec Center that offers walking trails and multipurpose fields that are great for dog walking, family outings, and more.

 

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Shopping in Highlands Ranch

  • Highlands Ranch Town Center: A 164,000 town center next to Civic Green Park with popular retailers and restaurants like Home Depot and Cold Stone Creamery.
  • Highlands Ranch II: Another one of the top shopping centers located on the opposite side of Highlands Ranch, offering a mix of local service businesses and large retail chains.

Map of Highlands Ranch Things to Do

Discover all the fun things to do in Highlands Ranch, Colorado, with this map.

Sports

Highlands Ranch does not have any major sports teams. However, there are plenty of pro sports teams in Denver. Denver is home to the Nuggets in the NBA, the Broncos in the NFL, and the Colorado Rockies in the MLB. For those in search of amateur and community leagues, the Highlands Ranch Community Association hosts several exciting sports for children and adults, such as archery, basketball, fencing, and martial arts.

Highlands Ranch Crime Rate

Living in Highlands Ranch, CO is just as safe as any other city in the US. However, it does experience a slightly high rate of property crime. The total Highlands Ranch CO crime rate is 2,419 crimes per 100,000 residents, which is 4% higher than the national average. However, the violent crime rate is 327 crimes per 100,000 residents, making it 12% safer than the average US city.

The property crime rate is slightly higher at 2,092 incidents per 100% residents, which is 7% higher than the rest of the country. So, if you plan on moving to Highlands Ranch, you may want to install a security system. Otherwise, you should be fine.

Here is a look at how the Highlands Ranch CO, crime rate compares to other Colorado cities:

  • Denver: 102% higher
  • Lakewood: 87% higher
  • Littleton: 36% higher
  • Boulder: 35% higher

So, compared to other major cities in the surrounding areas, Highlands Ranch is very safe. The Highlands Ranch Substation of the Douglas County Sheriff's Department handles community safety with the assistance of 10 officers and three civilian staff members.

Jobs in Highlands Ranch

Highlands Ranch has a strong economy supported by many top companies. Douglas County has an unemployment rate of 2.6% which is lower than the rest of metro Denver, Colorado and the United States.

The main industries in the area are professional and business services, education and health services, financial activities, retail trade, hospitality and leisure, and construction. Notable companies headquartered in Highlands Ranch include UDR Inc., UCHealth Highlands Ranch, Peterson's, and Visa's Operations Center. The Denver Tech Center is also just a quick drive.

Major employers in Denver South include:

According to Payscale, jobs in Highlands Ranch, CO, pay an average salary of $79,000 per year. Employment seekers will find a range of great Highlands Ranch jobs available, ranging from dental assistant to preschool teacher.

Highlands Ranch Schools

Living in Highlands Ranch also offers access to some of the best schools in Colorado. The Douglas County School District serves the community, which has more than 20 elementary schools, seven middle schools, and six high schools in Highlands Ranch.

El Dorado, Heritage, and Stone Mountain are generally considered the best elementary schools. STEM School Highlands Ranch is the top Highlands Ranch high school and ranks within the top 100 charter schools in the US. According to US News and World Report, it also ranks #1 in Douglas County, #6 in the Denver metro area, and #12 in the state of Colorado. It has a graduation rate of 93% and an AP participation rate of 73%.

Mile High Academy, Arma DEI Academy, and Cherry Hills Christian School are a few notable private schools in Highlands Ranch, CO. The Metropolitan State University of Denver and Emily Griffith Technical College are also close by in downtown Denver. If you're looking for a library in Highlands Ranch, there is a branch of the Douglas County Library system on Ridgeline Blvd.

Planning on moving to Highlands Ranch? Let our experienced Highlands Ranch movers make your journey easy and affordable. Call (303) 587-6200 for a free, custom moving quote.

Toby Martinez
Toby and all of our staff are Colorado natives, hence the name Homegrown Moving and Storage Company. Toby has been active in the Denver Metro business community for over 20 years. He has been in the moving industry since 2010 and brings great experience to the daily operations of this 5 star rated local moving company. He and the Homegrown Moving and Storage Company team are committed to offering outstanding service at a reasonable cost. As Denver has grown dramatically over the past several years, so have our moving services and capabilities in order to keep up with the changes of our city. We hope to speak with you soon about how our team can help meet your moving needs here in Colorado.
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