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These Are The 10 Best Places In Colorado

There is only one location that can be crowned the best place in Colorado, and we have the results.

Natalie Grigson

Staff Writer

155 articles, 0 comments

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Colorado is known all over the country as one of the most active, happy, safe, outdoorsy, and all around naturally beautiful states in the U.S. The Rocky Mountains cut a dramatic trail through the state’s center, there are rivers and lakes so blue they make the sky look washed out, and once you visit some of those unique Colorado cities, you may well just move there.

If Colorado as a whole sounds like an ideal place to live, just wait until you’ve taken a closer look at some of the state’s best cities and towns. In Movoto Real Estate’s efforts to uncover some of the best places to live in our country, we’ve already done just this in states like Missouri, Tennessee, and Montana, and today we are heading to the Centennial State.

Which Colorado place ranked the best? According to our analysis, it was the town of Superior. Even with a name like that, though, our winner faced some mountainous competition. Here are the 10 best places in Colorado:

1. Town of Superior
2. City of Loveland
3. Cherry Hills Village
4. City of Lakewood
5. Town of Estes Park
6. City of Evans
7. City of Boulder
8. City of Fort Lupton
9. Town of Wellington
10. City of Louisville

Why is our No. 1 place so Superior? And what’s to love about Loveland? We have all the answer and more. Keep reading to learn the method behind this analysis, and just why each of these places ranked so well.

How We Did It

As previously mentioned, Colorado may be one of the most naturally beautiful states in our country, but in order to determine which places were the best to live in, we needed some universally measurable criteria. Ultimately, we decided on the following seven, broken down into a total of 13:

  • Quality of life (Cost of living, median home prime, median rent, median household income, student-teacher ratio)
  • Total amenities
  • Total crimes
  • Tax rates (Sales tax, income tax)
  • Unemployment
  • Commute Time
  • Weather (Temperature, air quality)

Once we settled on these criteria, we took a look at the U.S. Census data for 74 places in the state of Colorado with populations above 5,000. Each place was ranked from one to 74 in the individual criteria, with one being the best possible score. These individual rankings were then averaged into an overall Big Deal Score, with the lowest score being the winner.

If your city didn’t make the top 10, you can hop down to the bottom where we’ve listed the rankings for Colorado’s top 50 places. For now though, let’s take a closer look at our winners, starting with No. 1, Superior.

1. Superior

Best Places In Colorado

Source: Flickr user Dave Dugdale

This Boulder County town may not be the cheapest city on our list, with a cost of living of 114, but hey—you get what you pay for, and here it seems residents are paying for a Superior quality of life. With one of the highest median rent prices ($1,275), home values ($389,300), and median household incomes ($96,130) on our list, Superior came in with one of the highest scores for overall quality of life.

Superior is also among the best when it comes to taxes. Colorado’s income tax is 4.63 percent nearly across the board, and so the sales tax of individual places played a major role in our rankings. Superior, for example, has a sales tax of just 8.21 percent, compared to say, Parker, with a sales tax of 8.81 percent.

Finally, this town is nearly unbeatable in the state when it comes to both weather and unemployment. During the summers, the average temperature is a perfect 74 degrees and the air quality is ranked an impressive 14 out of 100 (lower is best). It’s almost a shame that the unemployment rate is just 5.9 percent on such sunny days—but, hey, that’s what sick days are for, right?

2. Loveland

Loveland, CO

Source: Flickr user Dave Clark

Located in Larimer County, this city of nearly 67,000 ranked well in our study for a number of reasons—but most notably for its high median income of $81,015, its low unemployment rate of 5.9 percent, and just like our No. 1 city, a nearly perfect temperature and air quality score—a warm average of 74 in the summers and an air quality of 14 out of 100.

Loveland also has a relatively high number of total amenities—1,966 bars, restaurants, and coffee shops in the area—and a median home value of $361,200, making it the place on our list with the 15th most valuable homes, which is very good. The next city on our list though, makes these property prices look like nickels and dimes.

3. Cherry Hills Village

Cherry Hills Village, CO

Source: Flickr user kennarealestate

With a population of just 5,987, Cherry Hills was one of the smallest places on our list, but as you’ll soon see, that by no means indicates that it is lacking. In fact, this Denver suburb is one of the most affluent places in Colorado in general.

With a median household income of $219,620, Cherry Hills is easily the best paid on our list, and with a median home price of $1,042,500, it is easily the most expensive in terms of real estate. Well, in terms of anything, actually—it has the second highest cost of living in the state, a score of 165 (second only to Castle Pines, with a score of 175.)

Cherry Hills is not only affluent, it is also incredibly safe, with just 755 crimes per 100,000 people, making it the third safest place in the state.

4. Lakewood

Lakewood, CO

Source: Flickr user ToddWCarpenter

Located in Jefferson County, this city of nearly 143,000 residents is easily the largest on our list, and one of the best ranked in terms of overall quality of life. At a closer look, this is mostly because of Lakewood’s low student to teacher ratio—just 15:1 (compared to some other places of 30:1 or higher!), and its median household income and rent prices. The median household income in Lakewood is $67,560 and the median rent is $1,066, which indicates a strong desire to live in the area. All of these combined rank Lakewood as No. 26 in terms of overall quality of life—beating out 48 of its competitors.

Just like Superior and Loveland, Lakewood also has a low unemployment rate of 5.9 percent, and a warm average summer temperature of 74 degrees. All of these factors combine to put Lakewood at No. 4 on our list.

5. Estes Park

Estes Park, CO

Source: Flickr user Zach Dischner

This stunning town in Larimer County may be one of the most popular summer resort and tourist towns in the state, but according to our research, residents have it pretty good here year-round. This small town of just under 6,000 people ranked well for its impressive median household income of $100,288, its median rent price of $1,316, and its high median home values of $341,400, indicating a strong desire to live in the area.

And why wouldn’t you want to live in the area? Estes Park is affluent, it is beautiful, the summer is a warm average of 74 degrees, and with a crime rate of just 504 crimes per 100,000 people, it is the safest place on our entire list.

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6. Evans

Evans, CO

Source: Google Maps

With a median home value of $346,700, Evans ranked among the top 20 when it came to high priced real estate, which is a good indicator of a place’s desirability. And what’s not to desire? Evans has a student to teacher ratio of just 14 to 1—the very best in our top 10. It also has one of the lower sales tax rates, at just 7.7 percent, compared to some cities which are over 8.8 percent.

Residents in Evans also have a much lower commute time than the average Coloradan, spending an average of just 17 minutes in the car. Of course a view of the Rocky Mountains might make any drive go by quicker; but as any Colorado resident knows, the less time in the car, the more time you have to enjoy the outdoors.

7. Boulder

Boulder, CO

Source: Flickr user Zach Dischner

Boulder is known across the country as one of the best cities in Colorado, and in many peoples’ opinions, in the U.S. in general. This city of just over 97,000 residents is known for its laid back attitude, liberal leanings, and of course, its natural beauty. It is a liberal outdoorsman’s dream come true!

But how did it rank in our study? Well, where it really excelled was in its unemployment rate of just 5.9 percent, its perfect summer temperatures, averaging at 74 degrees, and its low student to teacher ratio—just 16:1. Boulder also has some of the highest median home prices on our list—$475,200—79 percent higher than the overall median home value of the state.

8. Fort Lupton

Fort Lupton, CO

Source: Google Maps

Located in Weld County, Colorado, Fort Lupton scored a spot on our list for several reasons, but chief among them were its low cost of living and low taxes. With a cost of living of just 95, where the national average is 100, and with a sales tax of just 6.7 percent, Fort Lupton is easily the most affordable place in our top 10.

Fort Lupton also has an unemployment rate of just 6.2 percent, which is pretty good, considering Colorado’s overall unemployment rate is 8 percent, and the country’s, 9.5.

9. Wellington

Wellington, CO

Source: Flickr user Rob Lee

Another relatively inexpensive city, Wellington came in as our ninth best place in the state, largely because of its affordability. With a cost of living of just 96, where the national average is 100, and a sales tax of just 6.7 percent, Wellington residents have it pretty good—especially when you consider that the median household income of $66,524 is 10 percent higher than the rest of the state.

Wellington also scored an A Plus in education, with its low student to teacher ratio of just 15:1, and ranked as one of the safest cities on our list, with a crime rate of just 1,244 crimes per 100,000 people.

Affordable, well-paid, safe, and a good education system? No wonder this town is known as a “great place to grow.”

10. Louisville

Louisville, CO

Source: Flickr user Jeffrey Beall

Bringing our list to a close was Louisville. This Boulder County municipality scored points in our ranking for its unemployment rate of just 5.9 percent, its beautiful summer temperatures, averaging at 74 degrees, and its relative high rank in amenities, with 970 businesses  in the area.

Louisville also ranked well with its cost of living of 99, compared to the national average of 100. Considering all of this, it is no wonder Louisville was named one of CNN Money and Money Magazine’s 100 best places to live in the U.S (and of course, now, our No. 10 best place in Colorado!)

Oh Colorado, We Love You

With all of the rankings we do at Movoto Real Estate, we can’t exactly play favorites, but considering Colorado’s natural beauty, its variety of activities, and now, what we know about the places on our list, well, it’s hard to argue with this state’s greatness—particularly that of our winner, the most Superior place of them all.

Best Places in Colorado Table

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posted on: January 28, 2014
1,005,791 views, 26 comments

26 Comments

  1. T

    I find it funny that Superior, Louisville and Boulder have drastically different “weather” scores, yet all three towns border one another and have virtually identical weather.

    Also, how can a town with very little job infrastructure (i.e. Superior or Cherry Hills) boast a low unemployment? Saying it’s resident are employed is a bit misleading, when you have to commute in either of these cities. Your likelihood of finding a job by moving to one of these towns is not because of the jobs available in the town. It might say something about affluence, but that would be better measured in property values.

    Hard to give this list a lot of credibility, when common sense can easily disregard it’s so called facts.

    • Kim in response to T

      Laughing at Superior being number one… PLEASE… Superior does not have a high school.. they continue to build new houses while shipping all their high school students to Monarch. Which was already over crowded when it was finished. Superior has very little comercial base. But since the town is full of commuters. They can grocery shop on their way home.. AS the other person above me said.. Superior, Boulder, Broomfeild and Louisville which is directly across 36 border each other.. so your idea of better weather in superior is silly! Have you looked at Greatschools.org and checked the states rating on the schools in the towns you listed? Doubt it.

  2. Mina Lehti

    I have to agree. I live in Louisville and most ppl do commute quite a bit either to Denver, North Boulder, etc. And the weather is the same or very close in all three locations. I find the chart not very accurate, either. Still interesting. Although I like Superior and some of my friends live there, I personally wouldn’t want to live there. There is no downtown area to speak of, most houses are huge which leaves a tremendous carbon footprint, the grounds are not stable (driveways are sagging, bumps appear, etc), no really old trees. Louisville has a nice downtown with many restaurants and shops, an iceskating park in the winter, life music in the summer, old neighborhoods with smaller houses, etc. Both places are not cheap to live in, granted, but I believe Louisville is more affordable to live in.

    So, I will take the above chart with a grain of salt.

  3. Alplily

    According to your criteria, Estes Park is a great place to live only if you are a real estate investor. If you are an average worker, permanent jobs are hard to come by, as is affordable housing (noted as a significant challenge by local realtors). The median age is also quite high. If you want to be the youngest person in the room (by decades) at age 45, this is the place to be. This is where retired wealthy people come to live, and they generally don’t vote to support services for youth and families.

  4. Brenda

    I guess some towns just don’t rate a mention at all, I live in Telluride which I tend to think is a pretty nice place… just like many ski towns pricy conditions may exist but all in all I think the towns has done a good job of keeping the glitz down to a low roar i.e., no lit signage no Mickeky D’s etc. but I guess we don’t rate a rating with these joes. The town has also tried hard to make housing available to “real” folk with dead restricted housing required in every project, although even that is getting to be $$.

  5. Jen

    This is so wrong.. lol Evans is the ghetto. Loveland is meth land. Who can afford to live in Superior or Louisville? Heck what is there to do in Estes for that matter to afford one of their homes (you would have to drive hours daily to work)? Not a very good representation of Colorado imo, my friend.

  6. E-Mil

    This list also fails miserably in the ‘creepy’ amount factor. Yes, I am talking about the hundreds of homeless dregs that walk the streets of Denver and Boulder alone. That’s enough to keep me away. Yikes!

  7. Jeff

    This is the most ridiculous list I have ever seen. Evans is an absolute shithole and is on the list. Seriously, Evans is on this list, but Fort Collins isn’t?

  8. Bryan

    Thank you Natalie, I enjoyed your article – very helpful! I see a lot of bashing going on about the article, yet it looks to be written based on specific statics which aren’t based on personal opinion. We each know that two people could live on the same street and have completely different experiences based on personality and individual experience. How about instead of writing about what is wrong with it, why not express the areas you like and why you like them, rather trying to justify the reasons you disagree with what was written? I would love to hear some of your favorite places in Colorado and why! To inspire another visiting the area what would you want him / her to experience?

  9. Mary

    I live in Iowa, and was looking to move to Colorado. I’m a country girl and I dont care for the city or big towns.Does anyone know of a good area in Colorado to live without bashing it?

  10. ray

    i live in Minnesota and I’m looking to move some place south i have about 8 states that I’m thinking and Colorado is one of them. i have noticed that every time i look at any reviews all the comments are very negative i will like to know where is a good place in Colorado to see if its an option for me and my family. i do agree with Bryan. is there some one that can share or provide some positive info on regards any cities that are good to move?

  11. kimberly

    Hello, Colorado!

    My family and I are planning to move to Colorado in the next couple of years. We currently live in Columbia Missouri and we hate it! The crime rate is bad. Its a horrible college town with a very poor quality of life and over populated. I would like to know the best areas to raise a family in a smaller town. A place where there are good business jobs and great schools a good quality of life and a place where people recognize you for your greatness! Please someone respond! Thank you!

  12. Tim

    As a Colorado native…. Something is very wrong with this list. I’m going to have to assume this has something to do with legalization of something. Wrong. Very wrong.

  13. wanda

    My husband and I are wanting to move to colorado from Georgia.We have two children 20 and 14,looking for a good college but affordable.My husband does medical insurance and I work doing customer service for hotel,any help will be appreciated.We are going to rent so anything less than $1000 for a 3 bedroom and near the public transportation.Commuting to Denver is fine with us.

  14. Wesley

    “ANALYSIS” what exactly do you do to get points and detailed examination of the elements or structure of something like this?

    Is there a survey? how are they conducted? can i do one for my area? i can see that Natalie Grigson has made a lot of “BEST PLACES ARTICLES” for this movoto.com and had a high rank in google but i see no conclusive validity to your chart unless cited properly

  15. Jennifer

    The reason why there’s a lot of negativity is because we’re a swing state. Some cities/towns and counties are more red or blue than the others. So that’s were all the bickering is coming from.

    My advice-shop around. If you’re moving here find out where your job is going to be and then search around the areas near by. There’s different pockets of communities even within neighboring neighborhoods.

    Also if you have kids great schools.org is good- read the reviews by parents and students. Most schools will let your child shadow for the day or if you call a faculty member might be able to show you around. Schools are an excellent microcosm of the district/county.

    The two big state universities are Colorado State University (CSU) and University of Colorado- Boulder (CU). CSU is in Ft. Collins. This school has the one of the best veterinary programs in the country. Leans right.

    CU is in Boulder so obviously it leans left.

    Front Range Community College has several locations and an Associates Degree program- if you complete it you get a guaranteed transfer- first two years of under division done for both ALL Colorado universities.

    I’m biased here I went to CU and am from Louisville so I would recommend the Boulder County area.
    The schools throughout are good academically (next to Denver) and the neighborhoods are safer.

    But again SHOP AROUND. I’m from the burbs so what suits me my might not suit you.

    After note: Think about weather- we get piles of snow in the spring and sometimes depending where you live it (i.e. mountain towns) it can be dangerous to get out of the neighborhood.

    And snow isn’t necessarily an indication of the roads- what determines schools closing more often than anything else is ice on the roads.

    Look at 5280 Magazine online- it’s a state magazine and you may be able to get a feel different areas around the state ( schools, activities, job market, etc.)

    Rule of thumb- Boulder and Denver are blue and as you move out you get more and more red.

    Liberal center with conservative edges. Explore the whole state- you’ll find something that will be a good fit.

    http://www.5280.com/magazine/2013/09/deans-list?page=full

  16. Tim

    Hey can anyone tell me what it’s like in Colorado Springs? I have a job opportunity there and am thinking of moving from California. I have kids and want good weather and decently priced homes, Thanks!

  17. Tess

    Tim-I have lived in Colorado Spgs for decades…when I came it was WAY smaller. It is a military town, that being said, if you aren’t military, you get to pick up the tab for not being military. They get discounts on EVERYTHING. And the town’s attitude caters to that element-for lack of a better term. It is a beautiful place to live, but you will hear you “pay” for the view, as it can be very BOOM or BUST, so if you don’t have a military job, stability in the workplace can be a serious issue. We attract businesses, but they don’t seem to have staying power, lots of downsizing occurs, and they love to pay LOW wages but expect more than they pay for. Our government does WACKY things, and doesn’t really follow public opinion, there is a good ole boy network that controls much of what goes on here. There are good schools, and not so good schools, lots of private schools. Housing is goofy, find a good seasoned realtor who knows the area well, because today’s new housing addition can be tomorrow’s bust neighborhood. Houses are medium range, but watch the builders, some are QUITE shady, they come build and LEAVE and people have been burned. I moved from CA, bay area, yrs ago, and the attitude is WAY different, but I wanted that, I hated growing up in CA. If you want progressive, it isn’t here, it is quite conservative and slow to change. Weather is glorious here if you like 4 seasons, growing season is SHORT, and gardening is always a challenge. But most days offer sun, not much rain anymore. If you like the outdoors, lots to do to be out and about in it. Traffic is becoming pesky as more people enter our city, and winter days with inexperienced drivers, ROUGH. Lots of BAD accidents year round now from people not paying attention.

  18. Jeff T

    I just moved northern Colorado this year from Los Angeles.

    You’ll have good weather, and you’ll also have four seasons.

    A lot of people have moved into the Front Range in the past 20-30 years, so don’t expect home and rental prices to be rock bottom. But in general, they are less than CA and the cost of living in general is less.

    From what I gather from coworkers and friends, Colorado Springs is known from the outside as being VERY conservative. So if you’re cool with religion and neo-conservative politics you may really like Colorado Springs. It may not be a big deal if you aren’t religious or conservative, I don’t know personally — I myself don’t care as long as it’s not up in my face.

  19. Jonathan

    This is is actually awful if you live in Colorado and know some of these places. Stats don’t tell the whole story.

  20. Cheryl

    Hi ! I’m looking to leave Florida within 8 months ! Children are grown & getting a divorce after 28 years ! Just hit 55 & I’m still alive & I have a friend that wants to leave Tn. So we thought with our health issues Colorado would be a great place to live 😉 need help finding a nice clean low crime affordable rental house for the 1st year ! I’ve looked at some of the places I really like but it seems the smaller more quite is for the elite ! Could somebody recommend a few communities outside of Denver that would be affordable 55 & 60 year old but no retirement homes ! Lol ! $1000. to $1500. a month rent for at least 2 possibly 3 bedrooms / 2 bath/ 1 car garage Fenced yard a plus !! Thx for anybodies input for us 😉

  21. wondering girl

    I’m planing to move to Colorado but not sure where to look.My fiance and I love the outdoors so CO seems perfect for us. My concern is that we have four small dogs, they’ve been part of our family for years.Can anyone shine some light here and guide me in the right redirection. I need an affordable place us with all this doggies.

  22. Kelly

    I am moving to Colorado from MA but can’t seem to make a decision on where to live. An ideal place would have the convenience of the outdoors,safe neighborhood and short work commute. Also walkable/ easy to get around. And affordable! Definitely liberal. Was leaning towards Grand Junction. Anyone have any ideas? Could use all the help I can get! This is kind of a mid 20s life changing move and don’t really know what I’m getting myself into!!

  23. Savannah

    Pueblo ranked above Castle Rock? WHAT?!? Castle Rock is an amazing town to live in, especially if u have children or are semi-retired or retired. Very friendly people, great dog parks, low crime rate, trails everywhere, bicycle friendly town and once the Promenade is complete, u really won’t need to leave town for anything, unless u work outside of Castle Rock.
    We’re south of the Denver metro craziness but have easy access to I-25.
    Several of the towns on the list are just suburbs of Denver. And including Cherry Hills Village…? Please. It’s basically a gated community for the wealthy.
    Colorado is a wonderful state to live in. You get 4 seasons and over 300 days of sunshine. Anyone can find just the right place for them anywhere in Colorado.
    Good luck to all in their search.

  24. Jennifer

    so….to keep it real…what is the best city, more southeast with good jobs and good colleges with a median income and yes, a gay couple…and a cool laid back couple. My daughter is moving to Austin, TX but to hot for me but eastern area might have opportunity? But I need some good advice…lost what cities to look for. and please no negative comments…struggle is real in my life :) thank you!!

  25. Kristi

    Help! Wanting to move to CO very soon but very confused by all the reviews. I am 46, married and have 3 children. We love the outdoors and are looking for privacy and scenery, but want to be close to a town with good education, shopping and activities to do. I need the sunshine to feel good and we need a safe place to call home. Any suggestions?

 

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