Colorado is home to some of the most beautiful landscapes in the country. From its snow-capped peaks to its lush state parks, Colorado is a dream for outdoor enthusiasts. Home to great museums, sports teams, and music venues, Colorado has something for everyone, whether you’re raising small children or settling in as a retiree. If you’re building a new home in the Centennial State, we’ve compiled a list of the top 10 best places to call home.
1. Colorado Springs
Housing cost to income ratio: 5.30%
Average childcare cost to income ratio: 1.70%
Violent crime index: 23.6
Nonviolent crime index: 52
Cost of living index: 104.5
Colorado Springs lands as the best place to live in Colorado. This beautiful city lies along the foot of the Rocky Mountains, making it a great city to live in if you want easy access to the Rockies. Famous destinations include the Garden of the Gods, Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, and the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Training Center. Colorado Springs leans politically liberal and sees up to 57 inches of snow per year. Dog lovers will be glad to know that Colorado Springs is canine-friendly; with 165 pet-friendly restaurants and many outdoor spaces welcoming dogs, your furry best friend will never feel left behind. The city is home to 13 hospitals and 59 schools, and popular nearby suburbs include Woodmoor, Monument, and Gleneagle.
Housing cost to income ratio: 5.75%
Average childcare cost to income ratio: 1.94%
Violent crime index: 20.9
Nonviolent crime index: 43.9
Cost of living index: 105.9
If you’re looking for a big city with small-town charm, look no further than Greeley. Home to more than 100,000 residents, Greeley is one of the more populated cities on our list. Spend your time walking through the Greeley Creative District, which features performance venues, museums, and art galleries, or try the newest drink at one of the local breweries (most of which are dog-friendly!). While Greeley receives 41 inches of snow and 15 inches of rain per year, the 244 sunny days are perfect for having a family picnic or hike at Island Grove Regional Park. Greeley leans politically conservative and has 25 hospitals and 65 schools. If you prefer suburban living, check out popular suburbs like Glenmere/Cranford, Downtown, and Kelly Farm.
Housing cost to income ratio: 6.18%
Average childcare cost to income ratio: 3.16%
Violent crime index: 47.3
Nonviolent crime index: 90.4
Cost of living index: 85.2
Located 45 miles south of Colorado Springs, Pueblo is another big city with the heart of a small town. With 13 inches of rain and 25 inches of snow per year, Pueblo experiences less precipitation than other nearby Colorado cities, making it a good choice for those seeking a drier place to call home. The 259 sunny days can be spent walking down the Historic Arkansas Riverwalk of Pueblo (bring your dog!), visiting the local farmers’ markets, or venturing west to Lake Pueblo State Park. Pueblo leans politically liberal and is served by seven local hospitals. Families will love the diverse educational opportunities for their kids; with 65 schools, you can make the best academic decision for your child. Popular nearby neighborhoods include Vineyard, Rye, and Blende.
4. Grand Junction
Housing cost to income ratio: 7.09%
Average childcare cost to income ratio: 2.84%
Violent crime index: 21.5
Nonviolent crime index: 62.8
Cost of living index: 95.9
Located in western Colorado, Grand Junction is one of the warmer, drier areas of the state; folks here can expect only around 10 inches of rain and 16 inches of snow per year. Grand Junction is known as the gateway to Colorado Wine Country, where over 20 vineyards thrive and welcome folks for taste testing. There’s plenty to enjoy within this conservative leaning city. Visit the botanical gardens, art and science museums, or catch a race at Grand Junction Motor Speedway. On warm days, cool down at one of the parks along the Colorado River. Grand Junction is pet friendly, with a dog park and 27 restaurants welcoming your furry friend. The city contains four hospitals and 45 schools. Popular nearby suburbs include Orchard Mesa, Redlands, and Fruita.
5. Fort Collins-Loveland
Housing cost to income ratio: 7.41%
Average childcare cost to income ratio: 1.47%
Violent crime index: 16.2
Nonviolent crime index: 37.1
Cost of living index: 116.7
Fort Collins and Loveland are about an hour’s drive north of Denver. In addition to easy access to the capital city, the metropolitan area offers residents plenty to see and do; whether you prefer to jog through the vast open spaces, picnic along Boyd Lake, play fetch with your dog at one of the dog parks, or hit up the art museums, there’s something for everyone here. Fort Collins is home to Colorado State University, providing a local post-secondary education option for students. With 85 schools in the metropolitan area, parents have their pick of education opportunities for their children. Fort Collins and Loveland are politically liberal. Residents receive an average of 233 days of sunshine annually. If you’d prefer to live in the suburbs, check out Lyons, Timnath, and Severance.
Housing cost to income ratio: 7.79%
Average childcare cost to income ratio: 1.86%
Violent crime index: 30.7
Nonviolent crime index: 50.8
Cost of living index: 128.7
Colorado’s capital offers residents urban delights and opportunities to enjoy the great outdoors. The Rocky Mountains lie just west of Denver, providing plenty of hiking and scenic driving avenues. Further into the liberal city, you’ll find hosts of attractions like the Denver Museum of Nature & Science, the Denver Zoo, and no shortage of breweries (most of which allow your dog to come along). Denver folks can expect up to 60 inches of snow per year, so don’t forget to pack your snow shovel! Spend the 245 sunny days strolling downtown or visiting the northern Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge. For medical care and education, Denver residents have their choice of 13 hospitals and 49 schools. If the big city feels too big, try local suburbs like Holly Hills, Cherry Creek, or Superior.
Housing cost to income ratio: 8.16
Average childcare cost to income ratio: 2.78%
Violent crime index: 16.3
Nonviolent crime index: 48.1
Cost of living index: 119.2
Located in southwestern Colorado, Durango is a liberal-leaning city with plenty to offer. Science museums, railroads, ice skating rinks, and riverside parks await you! The Animas River Trail and Colorado Trail Trailhead are excellent opportunities to hike and enjoy Colorado’s beauty – and don’t forget to bring your dog along! If you have a green thumb, you’ll enjoy the Ohana Kuleana Community Garden, where folks are welcome to grow food and share it with the community. Durango experiences a mixture of snow and sunshine throughout the year, and you can expect 260 days of sunshine and 67 inches of snow annually. Five hospitals are available to provide medical care, and 15 schools welcome your children. Popular nearby suburbs include Falls Creek, The Cliffs, and Timberline View Estates.
8. Steamboat Springs
Housing cost to income ratio: 10.74
Average childcare cost to income ratio: 2.01%
Violent crime index: 15.6
Nonviolent crime index: 34.9
Cost of living index: 144.8
If you dream of living in a winter wonderland, look no further than Steamboat Springs! Located in northern Colorado, this liberal city is home to Steamboat Ski Resort, which includes six mountain peaks. Other local attractions include Yampa River Botanic Park, Steamboat Creates Historic Art Depot, and Old Town Hot Springs, featuring eight spring-fed pools. Steamboat Spring hosts 13 restaurants that welcome your dog. This winter resort town is blanketed with a hefty amount of snow every year – an average of 154 inches, to be precise. There’s plenty of sunshine, too; 299 sunny days will leave you feeling refreshed after the blizzards. If you require medical care, the city has three hospitals. Steamboat Springs includes 10 schools as well. If you’d like to live near the resort without living in the city, try suburbs like Cimarron Hills, Woodland Park, and Stratmoor.
Housing cost to income ratio: 13.02
Average childcare cost to income ratio: 1.84%
Violent crime index: 13.5
Nonviolent crime index: 40.9
Cost of living index: 167.4
The Boulder-Longmont metropolitan area is located just north of Denver. Spend your days at the unique breweries and shops of Longmont, or the museums and outdoor mall of Boulder; whichever you choose, you’re guaranteed to have a good time. The metropolitan area is ultra-liberal, and the presence of the University of Colorado Boulder campus gives the city a youthful feel. Between Boulder and Longmont, there are over 140 restaurants that are dog friendly, not to mention plenty of parks and trails where your dog can tag along. Never worry about where you’ll receive your medical care or where your children will attend school; 20 hospitals and 56 schools have you covered on both fronts! Enjoy 245 sunny days annually but prepare for cold winters that yield upwards of 82 inches of snow per year. For suburban life, check out neighborhoods like Superior and Louisville.
This list was compiled using statistics for cost of living, average housing costs, average childcare costs, and crime indices.
Sarah graduated from Trinity University in 2012 with a degree in International Relations and Political Science. She writes blogs on new homes, decor, communities, and more for NewHomeSource. When she’s not writing, you can find her spending time with her three cats.