Colorado is one of the fastest-growing states in the nation, with a population that has expanded by nearly 2 million during the past 20 years. The appeal of the area is understandable, as the state affords the ability to enjoy expansive mountain views and year-round recreational opportunities. The winter months provide ski opportunities at world-class resorts, including Breckenridge and Vail. Hiking is popular in the spring, and summer and fall allow for water activities.
The state has an average of 300 sunny days annually and is known for its microclimates, so if you don’t like the weather in your immediate area, you can likely drive somewhere relatively nearby to find an improvement. Additionally, the state ranked No. 3 on the U.S. list of top 10 providers for medical care and is commonly listed as one of the healthiest places to live. If you’re planning a move to Colorado, you might be overwhelmed by the choices. Consider a few options to help with your decision.
Fort Collins is consistently ranked among the best places to live in the United States. The city is known for its excellent schools and is ranked as the number one Colorado city to raise a family. Fort Collins has a variety of family-friendly activities, including the Fort Collins Museum of Discovery and other cultural and educational sites. Additionally, it was ranked among the 25 happiest cities in America.
Living in Fort Collins allows you to live close to Denver without being in the city. While the city has a population of roughly 160,000 people, it still maintains its “small town” vibe. It’s also known as one of the greenest cities in the country and recently developed the Pitkin Bikeway, which creates five miles of biking corridors through Colorado State University. The median home listing price in Fort Collins is $435,000.
Colorado Springs is located against the backdrop of the Rocky Mountains and has an altitude of about 6,000 feet. It’s home to the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Training Center, and its abundance of snow is one of the most common reasons why people gravitate to the city. Living in the city allows you to be close to world-class ski resorts, with easy access to Vail, Crested Butte, and other famous ones too. Colorado Springs is listed as one of the best places to live in the United States.
The cost of living in Colorado Springs is low compared to other popular areas in the state. The median home price is about $30,000 lower than many other areas in the state. The average home value in the city is $343,302, and the median household income is $54,228 annually. Those seeking employment in the Colorado Springs job market will likely be working at a small business, as they make up about 92% of the local economy.
If you like a “big town” feeling but still want to be close to the mountains, Denver may be a good choice. The city is the largest in the state. Interestingly, it’s about 100 miles away from where the song “America the Beautiful” was written, one of the most patriotic songs written about the United States. The city is surrounded by panoramic views of the mountains and has roughly 300 sunny days each year. This metropolitan area is among the fastest-growing in the nation, with a population of about 3 million.
The median home value in Denver is $474,000, and the average household income is $68,377. If you prefer to be close to the city but not in it, consider the suburbs of Stapleton, Arvada, Englewood, or Wheat Ridge.
Greeley has become popular due to its excellent schools, cultural attractions, and easy access to recreational opportunities. Greeley has a population of around 107,000 and is located roughly an hour’s drive from Denver and Cheyenne. It’s within a few hours’ drive of popular resorts known for skiing and snowboarding. Residents can easily access the Rocky Mountain National Park, Roosevelt National Forest or Arapaho National Forest to enjoy hiking, biking, and picnicking.
Greeley is home to the University of Northern Colorado, which has about 12,000 students who support many startup local restaurants, bars, and coffee shops. A benefit of living in Greeley compared to other cities is the low cost of living. The average home value is $345,203, and the median household income is $55,007.
Boulder is home to one of the most educated populations in the nation. The city has amazing views of where the Great Plains meets the Rocky Mountains, and it sports a unique vibe often described as “one part rugged mountain town and one part hippie counterculture.” Residents can enjoy access to hiking, outdoor sports and year-round recreation. The city is home to CU Boulder as well as a variety of industries, including aerospace, bioscience, cleantech, software, and more. Its status as a college town and booming job market make Boulder a desirable place for young professionals.
The city experiences frequent snow showers yet still enjoys plenty of sunshine-filled days. It’s known for its low crime rate, small-town feeling, and friendly culture that make it a good place to work and play. Living in Boulder, however, does require a larger cost-of-living budget. The median home price is $736,600, and the median household income is $83,755 annually.
Moving forward with confidence
One main benefit of living in Colorado is that you have choices. You can live in the heart of the bustling city of Denver or you can live in a smaller town, such as Greeley, and still enjoy the beautiful mountain-related and other recreational opportunities. Finding the right city will depend on your priorities, and what you personally need most to achieve your version of optimal livability. It may be that cost of living is centrally important, or it may be that you need to live near certain industries for employment purposes. Regardless of your needs, Colorado provides a variety of options to help you find the best choice for your circumstances.