There's a lot of difference between visiting a city as a tourist and living there. You can get caught up in the dream which is a lot different than the reality of living there day by day.
It's my suggestion that you ask more questions when you consider a city. Also consider the police force, fire dept. the strength of the city codes, both residential and commercial and how often the snows are cleared from the streets. You're in luck here, Golden's got a great volunteer fire dept., an outstanding police force, and a code enforcement policy that is regularly generating complaints.
I have lived in Golden for 30 years and have seen it change for the better. The main drive, Washington, is thriving and busy, whereas once it was noisy with motorcycles and empty shops. The city planners and city council have done a great job improving that area. Along with that have come increased housing prices and more of the cookie-cutter housing projects that you might be wanting to avoid.
Golden is very green and wants to continue to become more so. The family atmosphere is strong and the people who live there are young and wealthy. But when I read from brokers that Denver is 30 miles away, it's just not so. I live on Green Mountain and it takes me just as long to drive into Denver as it takes me to drive into downtown Golden. There are no malls and 2 grocery stores The area of Lakewood that butts up to Golden is blighted. Plus, the idea of a Western town is a tourist dream. The days of me seeing ranchers in their trucks and spats are long over.
Follow the advise of those brokers suggesting southwest Arvada. Stay away from the new highways being built and don't let anyone sell you a house near the old uranium testing area along Hwy. 93 that is now a wildlife refuge. Only those of us who have lived here for decades will tell you such things. And brokers will pooh pooh what I'm saying.
Oh, and if you live in Golden City proper, you have to love the smell of the brewery. There's no way of getting away from it. Nobody mentions that. Those brokers who are mentioning surrounding areas are making great suggestions.
CoSprings in another part of the state, a different lifestyle and a different growing climate.