Renter’s Guide to Thornton, CO
Thornton is located in Adams and Weld counties, Colorado, and is a suburb of Denver. It ranks as the number one place to live in Adams County, the 8th most diverse suburb in Colorado, and the 37th best suburb for young professionals. With moderate crime rates and decent schools, it’s also popular with families.
With a population of 132, 310, Thornton is one of the largest of Denver’s suburbs, and the 6th most populous city in Colorado. It stretches out across an area of almost 37 sq. miles, sprawling almost 15 miles from south to north. It’s around 5 and a half times smaller than Denver proper, and despite its size, manages to retain something of a community spirit, due to a number of close-knit neighborhoods.
The center of Thornton is around 12 miles from downtown Denver, which can be reached by taking interstate 25 south, with journey times averaging out at around 23 minutes. Thornton is well-connected, with access to the northern Denver beltway in the north of the city providing travel in all directions.
Thornton enjoys a milder climate compared to other suburbs of Denver, with warmer summers and less snow in winter. July is typically the hottest month with highs of 90 °F, while January sees lows of around 18°F. Overall, there are around 245 sunny days per year in Thornton, more than the U.S. average of 205. The city also sees less rainfall, with around 16 inches of rain a year, and May being the wettest month. Snow is common between November and April, with annual snowfall of 46 inches — higher than the U.S. average, but much lower than other cities in the area, particularly to the south.
Cost of Living in Thornton, CO
Public transit in Thornton is provided by RTD (Regional Transport District), which operates several bus services to and from downtown Denver and the surrounding metropolitan area. Travel to downtown Denver is cheaper when using the Thornton Park and Ride service in the south of the city. A 3-hour pass costs $3, a day pass is $6, a 10-ride ticket book is $28, and a monthly pass is $114. You will pay more if you travel from the more northerly Wagon Road Park and Ride. Direct services run every 15 minutes Monday–Saturday. If you use a private vehicle, you can expect to pay $2.30 per gallon of gasoline.
Meals at inexpensive restaurants generally average out at around $15, while you should be paying around $7 for a typical combo meal at a fast food joint. A 3-course meal for 2 will cost around $70 at most mid-range restaurants, while a pint of beer will typically average out at $3. Expect to pay around $4 for a regular coffee.
For a 915 sq. ft apartment, basic monthly utilities average out at $119, including heating, water, electricity, cooling, and garbage disposal. To add an internet connection, expect to pay around $62 per month.
Average Rent in Thornton, CO
- Thornton, CO Average Rental Price, February 2020 $1,466 /mo
Thornton, CO Apartment Rent Ranges
- > $2,0003%
Thornton, CO Rent Trends
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Living in Thornton, CO
Thornton offers a balance of urban and suburban living, with many residential neighborhoods that feel a long way from the big city. You’ll find almost everything you need within the city limits and can enjoy the facilities and amenities of a larger city, without the hustle and bustle. The city is also home to a number of parks and green spaces, providing a wealth of trails.
With recent expansion however, congestion has increased within and around the city, which can lead to long commute times, especially to more southern parts of the metropolitan area, such as the DTC (Denver Tech Center). On the other hand, public transit options are well maintained. Due to the size of Thornton, many neighborhoods require the use of a private vehicle to make getting around easier.
Things to Do in Thornton, CO
Thornton has almost 2,000 acres of green space, including 81 city parks, plus 80 miles of trails, making it great for hikers, cyclists, and dog walkers. Carpenter park is popular among people from all walks of life, and offers fishing in the lake, kids’ playgrounds, trails, a carousel, paddle boats, picnic areas, various recreation and community centers, and sports facilities.
There are several shopping malls and districts in and around Thornton. In the south of the city, Thornton Shopping Center provides everything you need in one place, from the post office to groceries, as well as numerous restaurants and bars. Larkridge Outdoor Shopping Center is great for big box stores and restaurants, situated at the northern tip of the city just off the freeway, and is home to the largest liquor store in the world. Colorado Marketplace is centrally located, offering all you need in one convenient spot. For the freshest local fruit, veg, and much more check out Hill’s Harvest, a seasonal farm market located on East 124th Avenue.
Maize in the City is a great place to take the kids to learn about country living in a fun and exciting way. They offer a corn field maze, pick your own pumpkin fields, a haunted house, and a wealth of other seasonal treats, as well as fresh produce to take home. Alternatively, take in a play at the Prairie Playhouse, a community theater that showcases the productions of Broadway in a small-town setting.
Employment & Economy in Thornton, CO
Households in Thornton have a median household income of $73,517, well above county, state, and national averages. The most common industry for those living in Thornton is health care and social assistance, which employs 8,243 people or 11.8% of the workforce. Other common industries include retail trade and construction. The highest paying industry is mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction, which employs 2 times more workers compared to other areas in the country.
Over 15.4% of Thornton’s workforce work in office and administrative support roles, making it the most common occupation in the city. Other common jobs include management occupations, and sales and related occupations. The highest paid residents work in architecture and engineering occupations.
Education in Thornton, CO
Three different school districts serve Thornton; Adams County School District 12, Mapleton Public Schools, and Brighton School District 27J. Between them, they offer around 8 high schools, 11 middle schools, and 20 elementary schools. The Stargate Charter School accepts gifted students from grades K through 11 and requires an intelligence test to enter. It outperforms all other public schools in the area in terms of test scores, student progress, and college readiness.
Other notable schools include Horizon High School, ranked the 6th best public high school in the country, and rates consistently above average in terms of college readiness, test scores, and student progress. Rocky Top Middle School is ranked the 6th best public middle school in the county, and the 91st best in Colorado. Silver Creek Elementary School ranks as the 8th best elementary school in the county and performs above average in all areas.
Tips for Renting in Thornton, CO
When planning a move to Thornton, picking the right neighborhood for your needs is essential. For example, those commuting to downtown Denver or other areas to the south, such as the DTC will find commute times drastically reduced if they choose to live in southwest neighborhoods. Various apartment complexes are located close to the Thornton Park ‘n Ride station, providing easy access to public transit options, as well as the Thornton Shopping Center.
Many people move from California to Colorado, and it’s worth being prepared for the higher altitude, as well as the colder winters. You may find yourself short of breath at first, but it’s normal! Regarding the snow, it’s a good idea to take a winter driving course.
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