Boulder Flatirons. (Photo: Jeff Burak, Unsplash).


Tom Kalinski, RE/MAX of Boulder

Even in difficult times, it’s fun to talk about good stuff – like when Boulder is noticed for being a great place to live. And this accolade is especially noteworthy – and makes second-best worth talking about.

Preceded only by Lausanne, Switzerland, Boulder is the next-best small city in the world, according to Britain’s Monocle Magazine.

Calling the 2020s the “decade of the small city,” Monocle asked its global network of correspondents, editors and researchers to measure livability in the world’s smaller-scale cities with a population under 200,000.

They set out to find cities that offer harmonious balance between rich cultural experiences, business opportunities and space to breathe and landed on the beautiful Lausanne, Switzerland as the No. 1 small city in the world.

Home to 140,000, the Swiss city ranked high for its global outlook, diverse population, natural setting and business environment. Monocle loves that its “small enough to feel familiar, big enough to live in … and has something to offer at every stage of life…”

No. 2 ranked Boulder is heralded for its “jagged rock faces,” city vistas and Flatirons landscape that never fades in the city’s 300-days per year of sunshine.

Monocle notes that a love of the outdoors pulses throughout the community, rightfully calling Boulderites “an outdoor tribe.” Boulder’s beauty and exceptional livability are made possible by decisions made in decades past, but still supported today – including the building height ordinance and thousands of acres of open space citizens funded with tax revenue.

The city’s foodie-pleasing restaurant scene earned mention with establishments such as Corrida, Frasca and Cured.

Monocle nailed its description of Boulder with observations such as:

“Almost all native and adoptive Boulderites say the sense of community and talent pool were decisive factors in staying.”

“There’s something fascinating about the currents moving through this place, from tech start-ups to regenerative farming projects via health-food brands. Boulder punches above its weight because it seems to have perfected the work-life balance…”

With all it has to offer, correspondents still noted that Boulder needs to solve its growing pains and make it easier for people to commute and avoid congestion on the road.

The top 25 cities were ranked on factors including quality of public transport, rail and air connections, lively metabolism and progressive local government. Rounding out the top five are Bergen, Norway; Hobart, Australia; and Chigasaki, Japan.

Here’s the full list of Monocle Magazine’s top 25 small cities in the world: 
1. Lausanne, Switzerland
2. Boulder, Colorado, USA
3. Bergen, Norway
4. Hobart, Australia
5. Chigasaki, Japan
6. Bolzano, Italy
7. Bordeaux, France
8. Innsbruck, Austria
9. Porto, Portugal
10. Aachen, Germany
11. Reykjavik, Iceland
12. Savannah, Georgia, USA
13. Potsdam, Germany
14. Basel, Switzerland
15. hiang Mai, Thailand
16. Victoria, Canada
17. San Sebastián, Spain
18. Eindhoven, Netherlands
19. Bath, UK
20. Aalborg, Denmark
21. Wiesbaden, Germany
22. Trieste, Italy
23. Haarlem, Netherlands
24. Annapolis, Maryland, USA
25. Salzburg, Austria

Read the full story at

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