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7 Best Places to Live in Colorado

By: Justin Chaplin
December 14, 2020

Considering moving to Colorado? You’re not alone. The state of Colorado is actually the 7th-fastest growing state in the country!

Beauty is all around you in Colorado. Take a look at your surroundings and you’ll see jaw-dropping scenes of the Rocky Mountains surrounding you. The booming job market, great weather, and outdoor activities make Colorado one of the best places to live in the U.S.

A few Colorado cities stand out from the crowd. If you are starting from scratch and eager to call Colorado home, these are the best places to live in Colorado.

Best Places to Live in Colorado

1. Denver

If you’re thinking of moving to Colorado, Denver is likely the first city you’d consider. With a growing tech scene and a low unemployment rate, young professionals flock to Denver for the job market. Denver is also a top place for remote working. It ranked #8 on our best cities for remote workers. Despite the growing population and rising rent costs, Denver remains affordable compared to other similar cities.

Looking past the job market, the weather in Denver is loved by locals. You might think Denver and immediately consider the snow... and there is a good amount of that. You may not know that the Mile High City gets a ton of sunny days as well. On average, about 245 sunny days per year.

If you can visit before moving, you’ll definitely want to drive or walk around the city. Each Denver neighborhood has its own look and feel. You’re sure to find a spot that suits you, whether it’s the posh Cherry Creek or the bustling LoDo. Denver is the capital of Colorado, and the downtown area will provide an abundance of top-tier entertainment, shopping centers, and dining. Not to mention the easy access to outdoor activities and great green space, like Washington Park.

Speaking of dining, don’t forget about the drinking as well. Denver is one of the best beer cities in the US, home to both global beer companies and craft microbreweries. Curious as to which breweries to check out? Check out Eater’s 38 Essential Breweries, there’s a ton of options in Denver.

2. Boulder

Looking for a town that personifies the Colorado nature and an outdoorsy lifestyle? Look no further than Boulder. Based in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, everywhere you turn is a gorgeous view of mountains with snow-capped peaks.

The city isn’t growing only because of the scenic views and outdoor recreation. Boulder is also a hotbed for entrepreneurship. The city dons the title of America’s Startup Capital and has created a strong economy and plenty of employment opportunities. If working in a startup environment excites you, you’ll have plenty of options in Boulder. The University of Colorado is also located here, a contributing factor to the startup culture. Business Insider even ranked Boulder their top college city in the U.S, largely due to the city's public transit, educated community, and bustling restaurant/bar scene.

Nice sunny weather, tons of outdoor activities, and hundreds of bike trails to explore, what does it all add up to? Well, Boulder has a lot of accolades that show the benefits of these amenities. Boulder was recently named the Happiest City in the US and the Fittest City in the US. Residents are surely benefiting from having the great outdoors at their fingertips.

The shopping and dining scene may not be as robust as Denver’s, but bigger isn’t always better. Boulder is home to some of Colorado’s top restaurants. You’ll find no shortage of new American fare and farm-table bites.  In Downtown Boulder you’ll find Pearl Street Mall, featuring a strip of great shops, restaurants, breweries, and even street performers.

All of this packed into a smaller, friendly community, still within commuting distance to Denver? It's clear to see why Boulder is one of the best places to live in Colorado.

3. Colorado Springs

Another popular choice from Colorado residents is the small city of Colorado Springs. If Denver and Boulder rent prices are scaring you away, perhaps Colorado Springs is a more suitable option. Even with the lower cost of living, Colorado Springs has the amenities and perks that rival Denver and Boulder.

On par with the above-mentioned cities, Colorado Springs boasts stunning nature and outdoor recreation activities. First of all, one of the largest tourist attractions in Colorado is the famous Garden of the Gods. This registered national natural landmark is home to 1,300 acres of picturesque sandstone formations, hiking, biking, and climbing. Lovers of outdoor sports will never get tired of exploring the Garden of the Gods.

Looking for more outdoor attractions? Pikes Peak, also known as America’s Mountain, is the most visited mountain peak in North America. Drive the winding roads and take in the stunning views. If you are experienced enough, take the challenge of hiking to the peak of the mountain if you dare. Novice hikers looking for a casual workout can explore the other moderate trails that don’t climb the peak. “America the Beautiful” was inspired by this mountain and its views, so it’s a must-see.

Colorado Springs isn’t all nature, and has a downtown area that features some cool coffee shops and local art galleries. If you are looking for a lively nightlife scene, Downtown Denver is your best bet. If you want to live in a large city that maintains a small-town vibe, Colorado Springs is perfect for you. Check out the best Colorado Springs neighborhoods!

4. Fort Collins

Home to Colorado State University, Fort Collins is another great option. People are big CSU Rams fans in this town, and the University is one of the city’s top employers. This city is a definite college town.

Like Colorado Springs, Fort Collins is just over an hour away from Denver. Commuting is an option but is far from convenient. Fort Collins has a lot of similarities to Boulder. It’s a growing, vibrant city that’s also a bonafide college town. Similar to Denver, Fort Collins is also a great place for remote workers, ranking #2 on our list! The college’s sports teams create the biggest rivalry across Colorado. If college game day is your favorite day of the week, both towns will be rich in festivities. Similar to Boulder, Fort Collins also has a solid tech job industry.

But what makes Fort Collins special, and what sets it apart from the crowd? The city has an enticing small-town feel, and plenty of people will consider this city to be the friendliest. It’s also more affordable, and actually one of the cheapest options in Colorado. Median rent for a 2-bedroom apartment comes in at a modest $1,170. In Boulder and Denver, you’ll be paying much more.

Life in Fort Collins is laid back, plain and simple. Crowds don’t flood the popular hiking and biking trails. The city is also massive, and not urbanized like Denver or Boulder. This means tons of open space to go out to explore that’s also easily accessible. Outdoor recreation is still abundant in Fort Collins, but not as nearby as you’ll find in a city like Boulder.

5. Castle Rock

Not to be confused with House Lannister’s Casterly Rock, this city has its own rocky characteristics that make it unique. In fact, there is a massive rock in the middle of town that offers panoramic views of the city. This formation, called a butte, is the centerpiece of Rock Park. Plenty of hiking trails lead to a beautiful scenic overlook.

Castle Rock is also one of the fastest-growing cities in the United States. The small-town, friendly atmosphere is one of the city’s main selling points. A mix of rural and residential living offers the best of both worlds. Add in the 6,000+ acres of open space and 265 acres of parks, the outdoor recreation opportunities are endless.

Many will say Castle Rock is where the Denver region ends, and where Colorado truly begins. With that being said, it really is in a great area. It’s close enough to nearby cities so everything is within easy reach. However, it’s also far enough to feel away from the big city chaos. Castle Rock is about 30 miles away from Denver, making catching a concert or sporting event an easy journey. Want to hike up some of the mountains in Colorado Springs? It’s a short 40-minute drive to do so.

The proximity is a perk Castle Rock residents love. The great shopping is another! The city is home to the “largest open-air outlet center in the State of Colorado.” The Outlets at Castle Rock have over 100 outlet stores to choose from. It’s a shopper’s paradise! Great location and shopping paired with a low crime rate also make Castle Rock a great city for families.

6. Littleton

Littleton is another suburb of Denver that is a great place to call home. The city is far from the hustle and bustle of downtown Denver but still within prime commuting distance. This makes it a great spot for young families with parents who work in the downtown area. Speaking of commuting, the RTD light rail makes trips into Denver even easier.

Downtown Littleton offers its own unique look and feel. This area will take you back to a different time with its historic atmosphere. The shops and restaurants match the ambiance as well. Boutique clothing, antique stores, and quaint eateries line the streets.

It wouldn’t be a Colorado city if the outdoor activities were lacking. Roxborough State Park is the place to be for a run or a hike. 4,000 acres of trails and nature all surrounded by stunning red rock formations make up this state park.

7. Longmont

Longmont is a suburb of Boulder County that has tons to offer. Boulder gets a lot of love in the media, but Longmont is definitely on the rise. Many say it’s actually becoming Boulder’s sister city.

If you’re a recent graduate on the hunt for a career in tech, many startups have moved to Longmont. STEM majors, in particular, will find plenty of opportunities here. Speaking of tech, if you’re a gamer or an internet power user, this is the city for you. Longmont has the fastest internet speeds in the country, ranked by PC Mag. It actually has its own fiber optic internet service, called NextLight. This is a perk you likely won’t find anywhere else.

Longmont also has a plethora of outdoor recreation to explore. Robert Mountain is the go-to hiking destination for Longmont residents. You’ll find trails of all difficulties here, making it a great destination for both experienced hikers and families. Rocky Mountain National Park is also right around the corner. This world-renowned national park is one of the most scenic and jaw-dropping locations in the country.

Now that you know the best places to live in Colorado, it's time to search for your perfect home. Just get started with our quiz to find your dream colorado apartment!

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Justin is a Content Manager and contributing author at Apartment List, helping people navigate the world of renting. Justin previously spent his time earning his BBA in Marketing from Boise State University. Read More
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