No arguments with the comments so far. The main trade-off between downtown Denver (central Denver, Highland, Uptown, Capitol Hill etc) and Golden/Boulder is really going to depend on what kind of person you are. I recommend that you come and spend a little time in each place before you commit. All these communities have their quirks and charms. I really recommend that you avoid commuting by car for work. It's great living here if you aren't wasting time in your car. Check out rtd-denver.com/ to see what areas are supported by light rail and express bus service.
Boulder no - unless you can afford to live with the 1%.
About 1% of Boulder is in that 1%. But whereas usually there are 10% of the people claiming to represent "the 99%" and botching about the other half who has jobs and pays taxes not giving up enough... In Boulder it actually is closer to 99% complaining about it... and some of them are the 1%... It is a very liberal town. That's something to consider right there.
So I live in Erie, where you are legally allowed to OWN a dog, not just be it's care giver(*1). If I had a dog here, I'd be allowed to call it *MY DOG* from head to tail.
(*1) = Boulder passes resolutions such as that you don't own a dog, you are merely it's provider of care. They've also outlawed the Iraq war, as I understand it... Oh, and competition (such as a foot race) on OSMP (public) property. Afterall, you wouldn't want someone to not win(*2) and feel bad.
(*2) = I don't think they are allowed to say loose.
Hank- welcome to Yard Farming. I hope you are lucky enough to not have true Yard Farmers for neighbors. I'm surrounded by 'em. I also have a Toro 675 GTS self-propelled looking for a home with someone who doesn't mind working on the carburetor once a year or so.