The population of Colorado is reaching a Rocky Mountain high. The state’s population increased to 5.84 million in 2022, a roughly 1% bump compared to 2020. The percentage growth is the 18th-largest in the U.S. over that time period.
If you want to live in a safe and vibrant state with a diverse economy, you should consider living in Colorado. But don’t pack your bags just yet. You need to learn about the best cities to live in Colorado and what each one has to offer.
What are the most popular cities in Colorado, and what are their neighborhoods like? What are some good cities for college students, families, and entrepreneurs? Where can you find affordable housing and real estate opportunities?
Answer these questions and you can make your decision about where to live in Colorado in no time. Here is your comprehensive guide.
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When people think of the best Colorado cities, Denver comes to mind right away. Denver is the capital of Colorado and its most populous city. If you’re moving to Colorado cities from a large city like New York, Denver should be your first choice.
Most neighborhoods have commercial hubs with restaurants, museums, and educational institutions. If you want a quieter and more residential place to live, you can move to the Highlands. The neighborhood has a couple of clusters of bars, but it has numerous options for homes and apartments.
Congress Park is another residential neighborhood. The neighborhood has many different bus stops and bike lanes, so it’s easy to commute to work. You can find many options for single-family homes, and you can sell your home to interested families easily.
Aurora is a suburb of Colorado. But it is a city in its own right. If you want the amenities of Denver without the hubbub, you can move into Aurora.
As with Denver, Aurora has dozens of different neighborhoods. One reason why Aurora has so many neighborhoods is that it is a hub for military personnel.
If you want to work for the military or if you are a service member looking to move to a quiet area, you can pick a few different neighborhoods. Buckley Space Force Base is near Keystone, a community of families with many different duplex-style homes.
Besides military communities, Aurora serves families. Meadow Hills is a safe and friendly neighborhood that is popular amongst families with young children. The neighborhood has many parks where children can play and meet with their friends.
Lakewood is a suburb of Denver that lies directly to its west. It is smaller than Aurora, but it is still home to more than 150,000 people.
Lakewood offers a very diverse economy, making it easy for you to find a new job. The Denver Federal Center employs several thousand workers, and it posts many job offerings on its website. You can also find work with Jefferson County Public Schools or the state government.
The public school system supports several different high schools and International Baccalaureate schools. If you have children in high school, you should prioritize Lakewood.
4. Colorado Springs
Colorado Springs is Colorado’s second-biggest city, but it is not part of the Denver metropolitan area. The city is growing rapidly, with a population of 491,000 in 2023.
Defense contractors like Lockheed Martin have branches open in Colorado Springs, and they are actively hiring new employees. Verizon Business, Apple, and Intel also have facilities in Colorado Springs where they produce and sell electronics.
If you’re an athlete, you can work for one of many different sports governing bodies in Colorado Springs. The United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee has its headquarters in the city. You can also train in sports gyms and stadiums alongside Olympians.
Outside the city center, you can find residential areas and public parks. Garden of the Gods is a National Natural Landmark, and you can pursue recreational opportunities like rock climbing and hiking year-round.
Boulder is Colorado’s best college town, home to the flagship campus of the University of Colorado. It’s 25 miles northwest of Denver, so you can drive to Denver if you want a night out. But Boulder has many different things to offer in its own right.
You can find a number of eclectic public events to take part in. The Bolder Boulder is a 10-kilometer run with tens of thousands of participants. If you want something more intellectual, you can listen to panel discussions at the Conference on World Affairs every year.
The city has 45,000 acres of open space. Eldorado Springs is an unincorporated community south of the city that is the home of dozens of rock climbing routes. You can also travel to Boulder Canyon and go for hikes or fishing expeditions.
Scientists can work at dozens of different science institutes. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration as well as the National Center for Atmospheric Research have offices open in the city.
Aspen is a small city, yet it is one of the most popular cities in Colorado for its skiing destinations. The city is in a remote part of the state, surrounded by snow-capped mountains. It’s the perfect place to live if you’re a photographer or an artist looking for inspiration.
Like Boulder, Aspen has a reputation for being an eccentric and vibrant city. Many people travel to Aspen to ski in the winter, and you can attend public events like the Aspen Music Festival and School.
Aspen is one of the most expensive cities for single-family homes in the United States. The median home sale in Aspen in 2023 was $2,875,000. Home prices are expected to go up, so consider buying a home and eventually selling it so you can turn a profit.
But you can find more affordable places to live outside the city limits. Snowmass Village is a small neighborhood that some families live in. If you want to earn money through real estate, you can run an Airbnb or another rental property in Snowmass for skiers.
7. Fort Collins
Fort Collins is just south of the Colorado-Wyoming border. This makes the city a convenient place to move to if you are a Wyoming resident.
Fort Collins is a college town, but it’s more compact than Boulder. If the University of Colorado is too big or doesn’t have the services you need, you can attend Colorado State University instead.
The culture of Fort Collins centers around brewing and bicycle running. Many microbreweries have set up their operations in the city, with most of them catering to college students. Some brewing companies organize bicycle rides and public events, and you can go on different bicycle trails in and around the city.
In addition to college students, the city is great for high school students. The school district runs eight separate high schools as well as four charter schools. Many realtors and housing agencies serve families, so it will be easy for you to bring your family to Fort Collins.
8. Castle Rock
Castle Rock is a town, not a city. Yet it is home to more than 80,000 people, giving the town an urban vibe and plenty of amenities.
The Douglas County School District has set up its headquarters in Castle Rock. The district supports ten elementary schools, making the town great for families with young children.
Douglas County Libraries runs seven libraries in and around Castle Rock. Besides books, you can take out passes to go to state parks at low costs. You can also receive services from the library system to pass GED and citizenship tests.
9. Grand Junction
If you’re looking to move to the western part of Colorado, you should consider Grand Junction. It’s the biggest city in western Colorado, with more than 69,000 people living in town.
Transportation employees can find a lot of opportunities in Grand Junction. Grand Junction Regional Airport runs flights to Los Angeles, Chicago, and Dallas. Amtrak runs Grand Junction Station, which connects to California and Illinois.
But the city has a very diverse economy. Oil shale reserves lie just outside the city, so oil and natural gas companies have set up offices in Grand Junction. Ski resorts draw tourists during the winter, so you can find a seasonal job at a tourist attraction or resort.
Between 2022 and 2023, 151 homes sold, +2.0% year over year in Grand Junction. Demand for homes has risen steadily over the years, so you should move quickly if you want to live in the city.
Durango is one of the best Colorado cities for arts and culture. Small shops, cafes, and historic buildings line Main Avenue. The avenue is home to many festivals throughout the year, including the Cowboy Poetry Gathering, which supports poets and musicians.
If you’re looking to go to a small liberal arts college, you can take classes at Fort Lewis College in Durango. Indigenous students can apply for a tuition-free college education, and all students can take 30 different bachelor’s programs.
Durango is in southwestern Colorado, and it is an easy spot to move to from Arizona and New Mexico. You can drive to it on U.S. Highway 160 and U.S. Highway 550, and you can fly into the city at Durango-La Plata County Airport. The city government runs bus loops throughout the area, so you can get from location to location in a few minutes.
11. Glenwood Springs
Glenwood Springs is another small city in western Colorado. Its eponymous springs are a tourist destination, so you can meet many different people and find opportunities for seasonal work in town.
Despite its small size, Glenwood Springs is a hub for Amtrak. The Glenwood Springs station lies on the Amtrak line between Chicago and San Francisco. The city is also a destination for Greyhound Lines, and you can take buses from Glenwood to New York and Las Vegas.
Glenwood is a rural area, lying in the Roaring Fork Valley. This limits the economic potential of the city, but it allows you to explore many outdoor recreational activities. You can go kayaking, whitewater rafting, and horseback riding through the mountains.
12. Steamboat Springs
Steamboat Springs is in northern Colorado, and it’s one of the biggest hubs in the state for winter activities. The city has hosted several skiing competitions, bringing in competitors from all around the world.
Yet the city is more than just a home for ski resorts. The Yampa River runs near the town, and many residents go kayaking and boating through its rapids. You can also visit hot springs on the peripheries of the city and bathe in the waters.
Besides outdoor activities, Steamboat offers restaurants, hotels, and small businesses. Many of these businesses are looking for workers, so you should be able to find a job after you move into town.
The best cities to live in Colorado
The best cities to live in Colorado may surprise you. You can move to Denver, but you should consider its suburbs, especially Aurora and Lakewood.
Colorado Springs is popular amongst millennials for its diverse economy while Boulder is one of the nation’s best college towns. If you like a quirky culture, you can move to Aspen or Fort Collins. If you want a small town with great services, you can live in Castle Rock or Grand Junction.
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