Whether you’re looking to ski the world-famous Rocky Mountains, explore the many cities and towns or enjoy breathtaking natural beauty, you’ll find the best place to live in Colorado. The state’s four distinct seasons, 300 days of annual sunshine and great vacation values make this the perfect time to plan a trip.
Best places to live in Colorado
The crown jewel of this city might be the University of Colorado at Boulder, but there’s plenty more that living here offers. In fact, Boulder was named one of the best bike cities in North America by Outside Magazine. Eldorado Canyon State Park and Boulder Canyon are both in this city’s backyard and provide residents with ample space for climbing, hiking, biking, and simply enjoying the outdoors.
Bars, restaurants, shops, and coffee roasters line Pearl Street Mall and beckon locals to their doors. Along 13th Street is where you’ll find UC Boulder-friendly bars and restaurants like The Sink, which also happens to have some of the best grub in town, and Bohemian Biergarten, where their annual beer holding competition takes place. If you’re looking for love, Boulder might be your best bet; it took the number one spot on our Best Cities for Singles list, beating more than 300 U.S. metro areas.
2. Fort Collins
The northernmost city along the Front Range mountains in Colorado, Fort Collins is a college town by nature.nIt is home to Colorado State University and because of this, it is a great place for active families to flourish and travelers seeking adventure. Due to the city’s recent expansion, a lot of the buildings are newer and the city has a young but clean vibe. Fort Collins is full of history and has a historic feel while still remaining charming and quaint.Ever been to Disneyland? Then you’ll love downtown Fort Collins since Disneyland’s Main Street USA was modeled after the town!
Much like other cities in Colorado, Fort Collins is well known for all of the outdoor activities it offers. Popular ones include hiking and biking trails, camping, fishing, and kayaking on the Cache la Poudre River. The most popular water destination in the area is the Horsetooth Reservoir, which allows for boating, swimming, and other summer activities. It also has two public golf courses and loads of breweries for beer lovers.
This fast-growing Denver suburb is one of the most popular places to live in Colorado. Newcomers will find a particularly diverse population as well as dozens of parks and outdoor recreational spaces. Families and professionals working in and around the Denver area have a plethora of safe and beautiful neighborhoods to choose from in Aurora.
AreaVibes also gives the suburb an A+ rating for its many amenities and conveniences. Population: Aurora has an estimated population of 366,623, according to World Population Review. Median Home Price: The median listing price for a home in Aurora is $356,500, according to Realtor.com.
4. Colorado Springs
The second most populous city in Colorado is the stunningly beautiful Colorado Springs. The city is a particularly popular place to live for professionals, millennials, and families – thanks to its reasonably priced neighborhoods, low cost of living and beautiful outdoor parks. AreaVibes also gives the city high marks for its A+ amenities and affordable homes. Population: Colorado Springs has an estimated population of 464,474, according to World Population Review. Median Home Price: The median listing price for a home in Colorado Springs is $325,000, according to Realtor.com.
At the foothills of Pikes Peak is Colorado Springs, with an economy propelled by the military, tourism and high technology. Military instillations are Fort Carson, Peterson AFB, Schriever AFB and the U.S. Air Force Academy, while outdoor attractions include the Garden of the Gods sandstone formations. More than 5 million tourists visit Colorado Springs each year.
Vibrant culture, low crime, and high affordability is a great combination, and Greeley ranks high on all three measures. That could be why it’s one of the fastest-growing cities in the state. This college town is located in the high plains of Colorado with views of the Rocky Mountains. Like most cities in the state, there’s plenty of recreation available outside. But Greeley also plays host to events like the Colorado Farm Show and the Greeley Blues Jam. Agriculture and agritourism are big industries in the area, but there are also employers in the area focused on education, energy, manufacturing, and tech. The biggest advantage is culture and affordability, but the biggest limitation is education.
The largest city and state capital of Colorado is Denver, nicknamed “Mile High City” for sitting 5,280 feet above sea level. Denver has 78 neighborhoods and an active arts and music culture, plus 200 parks and other outdoor recreation choices. Pro sports teams include the Broncos, Rockies, Avalanche and Nuggets, and the city features several college campuses. If you’re thinking of moving to Denver, you’re in good company; in 2016, it ranked in the top 10 fastest growing cities in the country.
Young people are moving there in droves, so it’s no wonder we had a hard time picking its best neighborhoods for young professionals. Aside from those, Denver has some other great neighborhoods to choose from, too. The city is home to professional sports teams like the Rockies (MLB), Avalanche (NHL), Broncos (NFL), and the Nuggets (NBA). It’s also a mecca for arts and culture in Colorado. Denver has seven (seven!) arts districts, and each holds its own First Friday art walk. Plus, the stunning, completely outdoor Red Rocks Amphitheater is just 15-miles west and hosts some of the area’s best concerts.
7. Grand Junction
The largest city in western Colorado, Grand Junction lies along the Colorado River and has become a major mountain biking destination for adventurers throughout Colorado and surrounding states. A good education system exists along with top health care led by St. Mary’s Medical Center, VA Medical Center and Community Hospital.
Designated an All-America City, Lakewood features a diverse economy led by the Denver Federal Center with 8,000 employees, while private companies headquartered here include Einstein Bros. Bagels, FirstBank Holding Co. and The Integer Group. The city houses Lakewood High School (an International Baccalaureate school) along with Colorado Christian University, and shoppers can enjoy Colorado Mills mall.
The Belmar Downtown Shopping District, completed in 2004, is where Lakewood residents flock for shopping, dining, and entertainment options. The development is home to 80 shops, 20 restaurants and bars, and art, music, and seasonal festivals. The area is also stacked with a handful of well-manicured golf courses and is a short, 20-minute drive to Golden, Colorado, home of Coors Brewery. Be sure to catch a show at the Red Rocks Amphitheater; Lakewood is where the venue calls home.
On the south side of Denver is Littleton, a city with a quality of life that features several parks along with Littleton Symphony Orchestra and Littleton Chorale. A strong education system includes Arapahoe Community College and Collegiate Academy of Colorado, while Colorado Center for the Blind and the Denver Seminary are also headquartered here.
There are very few things far superior to Superior, Colorado; and now, with our list, they can add this title: 4th best place to live in The Centennial State to their repertoire. To truly know why Superior is one of the best, you have to look at its census numbers. This suburb of Boulder has seen an increase in population by 40% since 2000 making it one of the fastest-growing cities in the state. And, friends, this doesn’t happen by chance. Superior’s cost of living is competitive with the national average. To put this in perspective, Superior’s household median income of $126,430/year will help you get one step closer to Superior’s hot real estate market. You’ll be able to afford the city’s median home prices at $530,800 and still be left with a little change in your pocket to enjoy the fun things this city just outside of Rocky Flats National Wildlife Refuge has to offer: like cool biking and hiking trails and camping.