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Renter’s Guide to Parker, CO
Parker is a suburb of Denver, located in the southeastern corner of the metropolitan area within Douglas County. This self-declared town has become increasingly popular over the last decade and has seen growth transform it from a small town on the edge of the metro, to a major commuter town. It ranks as the 22nd best suburb to live in Colorado, and the 24th best suburb to raise a family in the state.
With a population of 51,125, Parker is the 19th most populous municipality in Colorado, and sits among several similar sized cities within the metropolitan area. It’s roughly half the size of nearby Centennial, in terms of both population and area, but if far larger than many of its neighbors, such as Foxfield, Cottonwood, and Stonegate. Compared to Denver proper, it’s around 12 times smaller.
Parker is located around 24 miles southeast of downtown Denver, which is a 30-minute drive away along interstate 25. The southeastern Denver beltway (E470) passes through the north of Parker, providing access in north, east, and west. There are several options when traveling south, with Castle Rock just 13 miles away.
Parker’s climate is classified as a tropical and subtropical steppe climate, which means hot, dry summers, and cold snowy winters. July is typically the hottest month with highs of 86°F, while January is the coldest, with lows of 15°F. With an average of 14 inches of rain per year, Parker receives far less than the national average of 36 inches, with May typically the wettest month. Snow is common between November and March.
Parker, CO Demographics
- Total Population51,125
Female 25,775Male 25,350
- Median Age35
Cost of Living in Parker, CO
Public transit in Parker is provided by RTD (Regional Transportation District), which operates several bus routes to downtown Denver and the surrounding metropolitan area. The P line bus route is a 45 minute direct connection from the Parker park ‘n ride to downtown Denver, running regularly Monday through Friday. Fares cost $5.25 for a 3-hour pass, $10.50 for a day pass, $50.50 for a 10-ride ticket book, and $200 for a monthly pass. If you own your own vehicle, you can expect to pay around $2.67 per gallon of gasoline.
When eating out, expect to shell out around $10 for a meal in an inexpensive restaurant, or around $7 for a combo meal at a fast food restaurant. A 3-course meal for 2 should cost no more than $75, though can be as little as $45. For beer, $3.75 is a normal price per pint, while coffee is generally $3.
A fairly standard price for your basic monthly utilities is $155, based on a 915 sq. ft apartment. This typically incorporates water, electricity, HVAC systems, and garbage disposal. To add an internet connection, expect to pay an additional $65 or so per month.
Average Rent in Parker, CO
- Parker, CO Average Rental Price, January 2020 $1,660 /mo
Parker, CO Apartment Rent Ranges
- > $2,00010%
Parker, CO Rent Trends
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Living in Parker, CO
Parker is a small town that got big quick. This has led to more amenities within the town, meaning you can find everything you need with 5 or 10 minutes. It’s still far smaller and less urban than Denver proper, and some larger suburbs, and there remains a sense of community among many neighborhoods, enriched by local events and initiatives. Indeed, some neighborhoods are so rife with plant life and open green spaces, it feels a long way from the city.
Growth has also had an impact on travel times, with roads becoming congested during rush hours, prolonging journey times. Regardless of this, Parker is still well located to reach several employment hubs, such as the Denver Tech Center (DTC), downtown Denver, and Centennial.
Low crime rates and good school systems make Parker a family friendly choice, with a number of parks, and proximity to the Rocky Mountains ensuring there’s plenty to entertain outdoor enthusiasts. Teenagers and young adults may find the lack of nightlife frustrating.
Things to Do in Parker, CO
With around 250 acres of developed parkland, and over 900 acres of open spaces, Parker is certainly far from an urbanized town. In addition, there are 10 trails, both paved and natural stretching over 33 miles throughout the town. These are ideal for cyclists, joggers, and dog walkers alike. The Cherry Creek Trail is among the most popular for cross-country skiing, cycling, and hiking. O’Brien Park is a charming little park, complete with sports facilities, playgrounds, picnic areas, and an outdoor pool.
The center of the town is dominated by shopping districts such as Parker Crossroads Shopping Center and the FlatAcres Market Center at Parker Pavilions. This area is home to a plethora of big box stores, restaurants, services, and smaller boutiques. Even more shops and restaurants can be found along highway 83 (South Parker Road). You’ll also find a number of bars and taverns in these areas, including 3 craft beer taprooms.
For a cultural experience, check out the Parker Arts, Culture & Events Center (PACE), which hosts regular live concerts, theater shows, art exhibitions, and even art classes. It’s also home to the Parker Symphony Orchestra, and the venue for the annual Nutcracker of Parker Christmas ballet in collaboration with the Colorado School of Dance.
Head for Discovery Park for summer and winter fun, where you’ll discover a number of free summer concerts, or ice skating during the winter. Parker Days is an annual festival that normally takes place in June and offers a parade, carnival, food stands, live music, and a fantastic, community driven spirit.
Employment & Economy in Parker, CO
With a median annual household income of $105,373, households in Parker earn well above state and national averages. The most common employment sectors are health care and social assistance (12.3%), retail trade (11.8%), and professional, scientific, and technical services (10.6%). Additionally, Parker is home to an unusually high number of people working within the information sector — up to 2.5 times more than other areas. The highest paying industry in Parker is mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction.
With 15.9% of the workforce working in management occupations, it’s the most common job group held by residents of Parker. Other common jobs include office and administrative support occupations, and sales and related occupations. The highest paid residents work in computer and mathematical occupations.
Parker, CO Households
- Total Number of Households17,447
Family 13,513Non-family 3,934
Children 8,579No Children 8,868
- Average People Per Household2.93
- Median Household Income$105,373
- Median Housing Costs Per Month$1,798
Education in Parker, CO
Parker is served by the Douglas County School District (RE-1), which operates 3 high schools, 5 middle schools, and 11 elementary schools within the city limits. Public schools in this district are well regarded, with students typically scoring 12-19% higher than the state average. The top-ranking high school is Chaparral High School, which ranks as the 6th best public high school in Douglas County, and the 46th best for Athletes in Colorado.
The Challenge to Excellence Charter School is the top-ranking elementary/middle school in Parkwood, accepting students from grades K through 8. It ranks as the 2nd best Elementary school in Douglas County, the 10th best charter school in Colorado, and the 24th best middle school, with students scoring well above average in tests. The North Star Academy is another notable charter school that accepts students from grades K through 8.
Colorado Early Colleges Parker (CECP) accepts students from grades 9 through 12 and enables them to start college courses and earn a degree as soon as they’re college ready. Tuition fees are covered by CECP, and enrollment is public and open to those students who are on track or excelling academically.
Parker, CO Education Statistics
- No High School1%
- Some High School18%
- Some College26%
- Associate Degree9%
- Bachelor Degree32%
- Graduate Degree15%
Tips for Renting in Parker, CO
Parker has lots to offer those looking to move into the growing suburb, but it’s worth bearing in mind that it’s a far-cry from the big city. While the town has grown in recent years, and older residents may say it’s just another part of Denver now, the truth is it’s still a small and quiet town. If you’re looking for wild nightlife, and plenty of cultural things to do, you might be disappointed. There are things to do in Parker, but if you’re more of a city dweller, you may find it too small.
Otherwise, it’s safe and quiet, with good access to a number of employment hubs. Properties are generally quite spacious, with a lot of open land to enjoy. If you're moving from a warmer state such as California, be prepared for higher altitudes and colder weather.
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