Downtown Denver At Sunset

The 9 Best Places To Live In Colorado

Miranda Crace8-Minute Read
April 02, 2021

Colorado, the Centennial State – named so because it officially became a state 100 years after the signing of the Declaration of Independence – is quickly growing into one of the most popular places in the U.S. to settle down and plant one’s roots. With its view of the Rocky Mountains and abundance of nature trails, booming job market and hundreds of days of sunshine, Colorado could be the ideal place for outdoor enthusiasts, young professionals and retirees.

If you’re considering Colorado for a potential move, this article will help you start planning your move by highlighting some of the Centennial State’s top-ranking cities and municipalities. We’ve noted key features like population, median home prices and fun things to do, as well as best places to raise a family.

See if you can find the place where you want to live in the list below.

Best Cities To Live In Colorado

For young professionals or students craving adventure and something new in their lives, any number of the cities in Colorado can offer that and more. Read our list below of the most popular destinations for those seeking an exciting urban atmosphere with a side of nature.

1. Denver

Denver Colorado Downtown With City Park

Population: 749,103

Median home price: $480,000

Median rental price: $1,631          

The capital of Colorado, “The Mile High City,” is smack dab in the middle of the state – and the country, for that matter – with easy access to any number of different lifestyles. The Denver Art Museum regularly holds exhibits for classical artists like Monet and da Vinci, and the Denver Museum of Nature & Science can entertain and educate people of all ages. The Denver Botanic Gardens, too, are a gorgeous walk through various plants and trees native to the state.

The downtown area hosts a bevy of microbreweries and bars for beer lovers, and restaurants with great food to sit down and enjoy. Sports lovers, too, can enjoy living in the hometown of popular teams like the Denver Broncos, the Nuggets, the Rockies and the Avalanche. There is easy access to outdoor activities as well, with particularly great skiing. With this ideal blend of city amenities and nature, it’s easy to see why Denver is considered one of the best cities for young people, as well as a popular destination for people of all ages and lifestyles.

And if you need to jump on a plane and go out of state, the Denver International Airport is right there.

See available homes in Denver, Colorado.

2. Boulder

Boulder Pearl Street Mall Colorado

Population: 105,003

Median home price: $795,000

Median rental price: $1,911

Fans of Stephen King may recognize Boulder as the place where all of the main characters meet up in his bestseller “The Stand” – and this city truly does serve people from all walks of life. Home to the University of Colorado Boulder, it is a vibrant college town with notable bars and restaurants like The Sink and the Bohemian Biergarten. Boulder is also known for its Pearl Street Mall, a four-block beehive of retail shops, restaurants, bars and coffee shops.

Boasting over 30 art galleries and a long-running Shakespeare Festival, Boulder isn’t shy about the arts, either. Boulder Canyon, too, is known for its biking, hiking and general outdoor activity space. The city also hosts a thriving academic and tech community, and is considered one of the top cities to move to for STEM careers.

For one of the smaller cities on this list, Boulder is also on the higher end for cost of living. If everything else about the city sounds like a must-have, though, you may be getting your money’s worth in the end.

See available homes in Boulder, Colorado.

3. Fort Collins

Old Town Fort Collins At Blue Hour

Population: 174,081

Median home price: $450,000

Median rental price: $1,549                      

Another college town with a lot to offer in employment and entertainment alike, Fort Collins is a quaint and historic city home to Colorado State University. Fans of architecture won’t be able to get enough of the over 25 historically significant buildings in its downtown area, and Disney fans may notice similarities between Downtown Fort Collins and Disneyland’s Main Street USA, as the look of the city influenced the latter. Fort Collins’ claim to fame, of course, is being the beer capital of Colorado, itself producing 70% of all of the state’s craft beer. Popular craft breweries include New Belgium, Snowbank and Odell.

What really sets Fort Collins apart from other Colorado cities, though, is its laid-back nature. It also has its fair share of outdoor activity areas, such as the Cache la Poudre River for rafting and kayaking, and the Horsetooth Mountain Open Space for hiking, biking and horseback riding.

See available homes in Fort Collins, Colorado.

4. Colorado Springs

Rear View Of People Walking On Footpath By Rock Formation And Plants Against Sky At Colorado Springs

Population: 489,529

Median home price: $355,000

Median rental price: $1,281          

With lower real estate prices than Denver and Boulder, the smaller city of Colorado Springs – “The Springs” – has proven to be another popular choice for settling down in Colorado. With as vibrant a downtown life as our previous two entries, Colorado Springs is most impressive in its access to nature. The famous Garden of the Gods is a popular tourist spot where you can hike, bike or climb among beautiful rock and sandstone formations. It is also home to Pikes Peak, one of the most visited mountain peaks in the country.

A relatively low cost of living and a lively housing market – with many of the same amenities as the bigger cities in the state – makes Colorado Springs an ideal place for young professionals, families and retirees alike. The Old Colorado City district provides abundant restaurants, bars and coffee shops for the more social among us, too.

See available homes in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

5. Pueblo

Stock Downtown Pueblo Colorado During Summer

Population: 113,633

Median home price: $205,000

Median rental price: $850

Located in the southern “High Desert” region of Colorado, Pueblo offers an environment and culture unlike many other entries on this list. The community enjoys many warm summer days in a desert landscape with open plains and a fantastic view of the mountains. The residents of Pueblo, Colorado typically enjoy hot and spicy foods, as showcased in their annual Chile & Frijoles Festival, as well as the Colorado State Fair.

Other outdoor activities include the Arkansas Riverwalk, which hosts boat rides, art shows and other public events, and the Pueblo Reservoir, which is popular for summer getaways, swimming, boating, and is reputed to be a fishing hot spot.

For affordable home prices and a culture unlike many others in the state, Pueblo could be your perfect opportunity for something new and exciting.

See available homes in Pueblo, Colorado.

Best Places For Families To Live In Colorado

City life is exciting for young professionals and college students away from home for the first time in their lives, but finding a place to settle down and raise a family comes with a whole other list of considerations. Look at these smaller areas that can be an escape from city life and a peaceful spot to grow old in.

1. Castle Rock

Sun Rays Shining Through Storm Clouds In Castle Rock Colorado

Population: 75,452

Median home price: $513,000

Median rental price: $1,611          

Not to be confused with the fictional Maine town from the titular Hulu show – yet another Stephen King property – Castle Rock has all of the small-town feel without any of the horror. The town earns its name from a castle-shaped butte atop a hill at its center, and has been found to be an ideal place for families and young people alike. For those wanting to visit a big city often, Castle Rock is located between Denver and Colorado Springs, and less than an hour’s drive from either.

Castle Rock offers a lot for the whole family. For frequent shoppers, there’s The Barn, home of over a dozen antiques and specialty shops, and the Miller Activity Complex provides two stories of recreational features and activities. Outdoorsy folks should look no further than the Mitchell Creek Canyon Trail and the Ridgeline Open Space for hiking or peaceful walks through nature. There is plenty of activity to stay busy – and more space to spread out and relax.

See available homes in Castle Rock, Colorado.

2. Lakewood

aerial view of autumn colors in denver suburb of lakewood colorado

Population: 160,441

Median home price: $430,000

Median rental price: $1,493          

Close to Denver and with easy access to the Rocky Mountains, Lakewood has enough to offer from itself to satisfy those with families and people wanting a home away from city life. Lakewood is known for having great schools and job opportunities, and enough entertainment options to keep one busy during the day.

The Belmar Shopping District hosts many of the city’s retail, dining and entertainment options. For nature enthusiasts, we recommend the Bear Creek Lake Park, home to over 2,000 acres of campground and hiking and horseback riding trails. The lake itself is a quiet and peaceful place to swim or just dip your feet in the water. The view of the mountains from the park can’t be beat, either.

Lakewood is also home to the Red Rocks Amphitheatre, a well-known music venue that hosts various concerts from a range of big-name artists for one to enjoy.

See available homes in Lakewood, Colorado.

3. Louisville

fall at the rokies first early snow in mid october louisville colorado

Population: 20,148

Median home price: $695,000

Median rental price: $1,647          

Louisville is a suburb of Denver and offers the benefits and amenities of the bigger city in a smaller and safer setting. The little city features highly rated schools and a short drive to either Denver or Boulder.

Like many Colorado cities and towns, Louisville is a historic city and features a lively downtown area with breweries like Gravity Brewing. Those more seriously interested in Louisville’s history can also check out the City of Louisville Historical Museum. The Louisville Farmers Market is also a great opportunity to try unique and healthy food products. Then there’s the Davidson Mesa Open Space, offering trails for hiking and biking, and a fenced-in dog park to visit with your furry friends.

With its family-friendly vibes and picturesque views of the mountains, Louisville is considered one of the best places to raise a family in not only Colorado, but the whole country.

See available homes in Louisville, Colorado.

4. Littleton

arrowhead golf club with large rock formation in green field

Population: 48,171

Median home price: $475,000

Median rental price: $1,678

Littleton is tucked into the foothills of the Rockies, far from the city atmosphere of Denver but still within driving distance. There is also the option to ride the RTD light rail into the city for an even easier commute.

Public schools in this small city have been rated highly year after year, and the Bemis Public Library offers numerous educational services and activities to children and families. Outside of school, children and their families can visit the Littleton Museum to see animals and watch historical reenactments – and there is also the SeaQuest Littleton wildlife exhibit, where children can meet animals of the sea, rainforests and the desert and learn about nature.

Speaking of nature, Littleton has the Roxborough State Park, with over 4,000 acres of trails surrounded by gorgeous red rock formations, and the Hudson Gardens & Event Center, which is free to visit. With educational opportunities abound and that easy commute to Denver, there isn’t a lot for a family not to like about Littleton.

See available homes in Littleton, Colorado.

Neighborhood trends at your fingertips.

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Final Thoughts

The Centennial State has a lot to offer in the way of vibrant urban culture and breathtaking nature trails. Depending on where you’re at in life, there may be a lot to consider before you pack your bags and move. Do you want an energetic downtown scene? Are you an outdoors enthusiast who just wants to hike or bike until the sun goes down? Is it time for you to settle down and find a place to raise a family or retire? Think about what you want out of this move and use our guide to decide.

Once you think you’ve reached your decision, check out our Home Buyer’s Guide for when the time comes to find your new home.

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    Miranda Crace

    The Rocket Homes blog is here to bring you all you need to know about buying, selling and making the most of your home. Whether you’re thinking about becoming a homeowner, selling your current home or looking to keep your place in tip-top shape, our writers and freelancers bring their experience and expertise to meet you right where you are.