Boulder ranks the No. 1 place to live of the 150 most populous metro areas, due to its high marks on value, desirability, job market and quality of life, according to a U.S. News report on their “Best Places to Live” analysis.
Colorado prevailed in the U.S. News analysis with four cities in the top seven best places to live – leading with Boulder, then Denver at No. 2, Colorado Springs fourth and Fort Collins fifth.
The top seven places to live are rounded out by Austin, TX, in third position, Charlotte, NC, sixth and Des Moines, IA, seventh.
Boulder had an overall score of 7.8, due in part to the Rocky Mountains foothills and protected open spaces providing an uninterrupted backdrop that pleases.
The spectacular landscape starts at the crest of the hill when driving north on U.S. Route 36. The Boulder Valley unfolds its glory with the iconic Flatirons sandstone slabs rising in the west, interrupting the vast expanse of the Great Plains.
Boulder is home to world class athletes and others seeking outdoor lifestyles and active living. But it doesn’t stop there. Free meditation sessions and marijuana dispensaries, spas, yoga practices and alternative health care options are plentiful.
The town is long known for its offerings of ‘weird’ like Tube to Work Day, where residents jump into an always frigid Boulder Creek and commute to their place of work.
The eclectic mix attracts young professionals, families, academics, scientists and transplants from both coasts. And with 40,000 acres open to the public in Boulder County, the supply of outdoor enjoyment is never ending. After a day of engaging, you can enjoy a choice of foodie options in restaurants or do-it-yourself cooking after shopping for excellent fresh foods.
U.S. News reports that the cost of living can be high, and buying a home is competitive, but for those who want the lifestyle Boulder offers, it’s well worth it.
Boulder’s overall score is 7.8, quality of life is 8.3, and value is 6.3, according to the U.S. News Best Places to Live index.
Denver is the No. 2 best place to live in the 2020-21 U.S. New report. With an overall score of 7.4, quality of life of 7, and value of 6.6, Denver is a close second to Boulder. Again, outdoor spaces help Denver score high, with more than 5,000 acres of parks, trails, golf courses and playgrounds. And proximity to the Rocky Mountains enables mountain living benefits like close-by skiing, snowboarding, hiking and mountain biking. Top it off with an active restaurant and music scene and breweries galore and the allure is clear: it’s the best of urban and mountain living. All of that goodness has resulted in a population boom and the cost of living and housing costs has increased.
Colorado Springs is the fourth best place to live, says U.S. News. Overall score is 7.4, quality of life 6.9 and value is 6.5. Known locally as “the Springs,” the area offers all of the goodness of close by mountain fun and a strong job market coupled with a lower cost of living than other Colorado metro areas. That said, compared to the rest of the U.S., the cost of living and housing are higher than the national average.
Fort Collins offers the charm of a college town – with Colorado State University at its hub – along with some of the best craft beer around, known to many nationally as the Napa Valley of craft beer, along with great restaurants and retail. Once again, access to the outdoors with nearby Rocky Mountain National Park adds to the quality of life score of 7.6. Value score is 6.0.
The full list of top seven places to live includes:
No. 1 Boulder, CO
No. 2 Denver, CO
No. 3 Austin, TX
No. 4 Colorado Springs, CO
No. 5 Fort Collins, CO
No. 6 Charlotte, NC
No. 7 Des Moines, IA
U.S. News & World Report’s Best Places evaluates metro areas with data from the U.S. Census Bureau, the FBI, the U.S. Department of Labor and U.S. News’ own internal resources. This data was categorized into job market, value, quality of life, desirability and net migration and weighted based on a public survey in August 2020 in which people from across the country voted for what they believed was the most important factor to consider when choosing where to live.
Read the full report at realestate.usnews.com/places/rankings/best-places-to-live.
By Tom Kalinski. Tom is the broker/owner of RE/MAX of Boulder, the local residential real estate company he established in 1977. He was inducted into Boulder County’s Business Hall of Fame in 2016 and has a 40-year background in commercial and residential real estate. For questions, e-mail Tom at
[email protected], call 303.441.5620 or visit boulderco.com.