Contributed by Lindsay Shugerman, Catalogs.com Top 10 Guru
With the beautiful mountains all around, incredible skiing within driving distance, and some of the best outdoor recreational areas in the country, it might seem like any where in Colorado is a great place to live.
But the state of Colorado is actually more diverse that most people outside of the state realize.
Cost of living, lifestyle, interests and business opportunities are all factors that might affect your choice of which places to live in Colorado. Here are our top 10 choices for your new Colorado home.
10. Fort Collins
Home to the nation’s only zoo without a single live animal (all the beasts in residence are sculptures, mostly made from scrap and found objects) Fort Collins is a friendly choice for your new Colorado home.
The city, which is home to Colorado State University, is also known for its outstanding microbreweries and the abundance of bike trails both on and off road. The population is younger than in most Colorado city, with over 40% never married and a median age of about 30.
This college town is also more affordable that some of the other cities in Colorado, with the average single family home listing at $264,290.
Median resident age: 29.6 years
Median household income: $50,652
Median house or condo value: $248,500
Located on the outskirts of Denver, Broomfield lets you live close enough to Denver and Boulder to enjoy their cultural and educational benefits while finding a little more room to breathe. Crime is low, and tech jobs are one of the most common among Broomfield residents.
Housing is slightly less than in Denver proper, and well below Boulder prices with an average single home price of $294,035.
Median resident age: 36.4 years
Median household income: $76,380
Median house or condo value: $262,904
Around Valentine’s Day, the Loveland post office is inundated with requests for special postmarks for romantic message. The rest of the year, it’s one of the top 10 places to live in Colorado.
Located within easy commuting distance of several universities, this family-focused town is known for its highly-educated population and laid back Colorado lifestyle. A single family home here will cost about $236,000 on average.
Median resident age: 38.7 years
Median household income: $51,967
Median house or condo value: $199,600
7. Highlands Ranch
If luxury and a comfortable life are what you’re craving, Highlands Ranch outside of Denver might be your first choice.
Largely populated by high tech professionals, this unincorporated area includes over 8,000 acres of open space, 22 beautiful parks and access to world class hiking, biking, tennis and golf. Surprisingly, this wonderful area doesn’t come with the high price tag you might expect. Single family homes average only $362,922.
Median resident age: 36.3 years
Median household income: $109,700
Median house or condo value: $333,500
6. Grand Junction
Known as Colorado’s Wine Country, Grand Junction is a unique mix of quaint shops, cutting edge galleries and larger-than-life outdoor adventures.
Located in easy driving distance of Grand Mesa National Forest, Utah’s Canyonlands National Park and mountain bike paradise Moab, Grand Junction offers a completely different Colorado lifestyle from the more familiar Denver area experience. This is the perfect place to live in Colorado if year round outdoor activity is your first choice.
Another plus…housing in Grand Junction is lower than in many parts of Colorado, with an average single family home listed at $251,184.
Median resident age: 36.7 years
Median household income: $47,761
Median house or condo value: $241,873
5. Estes Park
This is the Colorado made famous by the songs of John Denver and those scenic mountain images that graced posters, notebooks and school folders in the 70’s and 80’s. Soaring white-capped peaks and enticing mountain meadows abound around Estes Park.
Located at the entrance to Rocky Mountain National Park, it’s hard to find a more picturesque location in the U.S. Crime is low, educational levels are high, and spending time outdoors is the number one activity. But there is a price to be paid for this alpine wonderland … single family homes averaged $392,858 in 2009, and continue to climb.
Median resident age: 51.5 years
Median household income: $50,841
Median house or condo value: $345,113
4. Steamboat Springs
In the winter, this is ski heaven, with excellent runs and near-perfect powder. In the summer it’s home to hikers, artists, writers and people escaping the heat of summertime in lower elevations. Expect summer mornings in the 60’s under that perfect Colorado sky.
There’s plenty of hiking nearby, with spectacular alpine fields and tempting climbs. But Steamboat Springs isn’t for the faint of pocketbook … the average single family home here will set you back $591,922.
Median resident age: 36.5 years
Median household income: $63,698
Median house or condo value: $482,914
3. Colorado Springs
Home to the Air Force Academy, Colorado Springs has been known as a center of education and culture since its founding.
Colorado Springs has a milder climate than much of the state, with less snowfall and an abundance of sunny days. Residents enjoy the numerous museums, outdoor festivals and world-class arts. Hiking, biking and other outdoor activities are also popular with locals and visitors alike.
Housing is reasonable compared to the other parts of Colorado, with single family homes averaging $250,187.
Median resident age: 34.9 years
Median household income: $52,984
Median house or condo value: $213,800
I’m almost sorry to put Boulder on my list of the best places to live in Colorado. Not because it’s not wonderful, but because it is! If I could, I would keep this unique city all to myself. Boulder is the right choice for people who value books, art, music, spirituality and a sense of community.
The one factor that might keep you from choosing Boulder as your next hometown is the cost of housing. Single family homes in Boulder average about $516,076.
Median resident age: 28.7 years
Median household income: $47,967
Median house or condo value: $477,700
Big city amenities, Rocky Mountain attitude. That’s what you’ll find in Colorado’s capital city. Denver’s early rough-and-tumble reputation has given way to one of the most livable cities in the U.S.
Accessibility to skiing, hiking and biking is a big draw for outdoorsy people looking for a city life. As with most of Colorado, weather is often unpredictable here. I’ve seen August days in the 30’s and the next year the same day is well over 90.
Housing is relatively affordable with single family homes averaging $299,983.
Median resident age: 33.7 years
Median household income: $46,410
Median house or condo value: $244,600
Source: all statistics from city-data.com