The Best Places to Live in Colorado in 2021

Denver is already a well-known destination city for mountain lovers and city dwellers alike. But it isn’t the only place people are flocking to in Colorado.

Fresh mountain air, unparalleled scenery and friendly faces are abundant across The Centennial State. The best places to live in Colorado are distinct enough that, no matter what you’re looking for, you could find a place to call home.

Below is the list of the top ten best cities in Colorado:

Blue skies over Aurora, CO.

  • Population: 356,455
  • Average age: 38.9
  • Median household income: $65,100
  • Average commute time: 35.5 minutes
  • Walk score: 47
  • Studio average rent: $1,342
  • One-bedroom average rent: $1,472
  • Two-bedroom average rent: $1,734

If you love Denver but hate the rent prices, you may not need to read any further down the list. No longer is Aurora Denver’s up-and-coming little sister; Aurora is here.

The so-called Gateway to the Rockies is less famed as a place to live, but it’s appealing in its own right. Aurora is the third most populous city in Colorado, but to locals, it’s an eastern suburb of Denver that no longer feels so suburban.

Don’t miss Cherry Creek State Park, an ideal spot for biking that offers some much-coveted shoreline in this landlocked state in the form of the Cherry Creek Reservoir.

You’ll also find Stanley Marketplace, a dazzling new shopping and food mecca built into a formerly deserted airport facility.

Mountains in Boulder, CO, one of the best places to live in colorado

  • Population: 105,115
  • Average age: 38.5
  • Median household income: $69,520
  • Average commute time: 23.7 minutes
  • Walk score: 63
  • Studio average rent: $1,953
  • One-bedroom average rent: $2,174
  • Two-bedroom average rent: $2,485

Boulder is about as picturesque of a college town as they come. Just 30 minutes northwest of Denver, this is the home of the University of Colorado and some of the best food you can find in the state.

It’s a tight-knit little community, and you’ll find excellent education, an abundance of arts and culture, an incredibly bikeable city layout and a surprising amount of traffic despite the low commute times.

The U.S. News & World Report recently named Boulder number one on its list of best places in America to live thanks to the gorgeous Chautauqua Mountain backdrop and focus on wellness. It’s also been called the happiest place to live by National Geographic.

The hippy state of mind has grown on a lot of people drawn to this hamlet. You can’t go wrong living in Boulder, as long as you can afford the high rent prices.

Downtown Colorado Springs.

  • Population: 445,686
  • Average age: 40.5
  • Median household income: $64,712
  • Average commute time: 26.4 minutes
  • Walk score: 37
  • Studio average rent: $1,044
  • One-bedroom average rent: $1,241
  • Two-bedroom average rent: $1,499

Even higher than the Mile High City, Colorado Springs sits at the base of Pikes Peak, and the mountain views are hard to escape here. Colorado Springs has plenty of city offerings but a slightly slower pace and lower price point than Denver.

Garden of the Gods Park remains startlingly attractive no matter how many times you visit. However, this city isn’t ideal for anyone who prefers to live somewhere that’s very walkable or bikeable; you will want a car to get from A to B.

Colorado Springs’ quirky next-door neighbor, Manitou Springs, is a fun weekend getaway full of mineral springs, advanced hiking trails and Anasazi cliff dwellings.

Plus, Denver is around an hour away if you aren’t traveling during peak traffic times.

Downtown Denver, CO, one of the best places to live in colorado

  • Population: 677,202
  • Average age: 40.3
  • Median household income: $68,592
  • Average commute time: 30.8 minutes
  • Walk score: 71
  • Studio average rent: $1,644
  • One-bedroom average rent: $1,877
  • Two-bedroom average rent: $2,548

Denver is a renowned destination because it has just about everything — entertainment, nightlife, arts and culture to spare. The city consistently ranks as one of the best and healthiest places to live, and the quality of life here is bar-none. It also ranks as the most walkable city on this list.

Good-looking yet still humble, the Colorado capital boasts loads of outdoor activities within the city limits, but the day trips are impressive as well. Plus, it has all the major sports teams, competitive colleges, world-class museums and mountains for those who want to scale them or prefer to spectate.

Denver is a mecca for tech, healthcare and aerospace companies alike, which is a huge draw for young professionals and entrepreneurs.

This well-loved city is a bit pricey due to its popularity, so make sure you pick the neighborhood that ticks all your boxes.

Aerial view of Fort Collins, CO.

  • Population: 158,143
  • Average age: 37.9
  • Median household income: $65,866
  • Average commute time: 24.4 minutes
  • Walk score: 42
  • Studio average rent: $1,188
  • One-bedroom average rent: $1,430
  • Two-bedroom average rent: $1,691

An hour north of Denver is another college town: Fort Collins.

This town has a more rural and Old West feel than Denver or Boulder, and it’s often called the Craft Beer Capital of Colorado. While the views spotlight more foothills than in-your-face mountains, it is heavy on the western charm.

Ski resorts aren’t in close proximity, but Fort Collins is better suited for lacing up your boots and going for a horseback ride.

The Horsetooth Reservoir is one of Colorado’s most Instagrammable places, and the Cache la Poudre River Canyon isn’t far behind.

The city is a popular place for families and college students, where excellent schools and relatively quick commute times collide.

Grand Junction, CO, one of the best places to live in colorado

  • Population: 60,402
  • Average age: 42.7
  • Median household income: $52,504
  • Average commute time: 21.3 minutes
  • Walk score: 49
  • Studio average rent: N/A
  • One-bedroom average rent: N/A
  • Two-bedroom average rent: N/A

On the western slope, you’ll find Grand Junction, a smaller city teeming with nearby wineries, hiking and biking trails and respite from the Denver crowds.

The city is home to the Colorado National Monument and Grand Mesa, the world’s largest flat-topped mountain.

This small town has mild winters, too, compared to the rest of Colorado. If you’re into skiing or snowboarding, Powderhorn Mountain Resort is less than an hour away.

What it lacks in mountain views, it makes up for with competitive pricing and expansive outdoor recreation. Plan on much more affordable rent prices than the bigger cities, with jealousy-inspiring day trips to places like Moab, Ouray and Telluride.

Aerial over Lakewood, CO.

  • Population: 151,835
  • Average age: 43.7
  • Median household income: $66,740
  • Average commute time: 32.1 minutes
  • Walk score: 51
  • Studio average rent: $1,342
  • One-bedroom average rent: $1,453
  • Two-bedroom average rent: $1,750

Another idyllic suburb is Lakewood, just a few miles west of Denver. With popular concert venues like Red Rocks Amphitheatre and the scenic town of Golden nearby, Lakewood offers a lot to love with quick access to Colorado’s capital.

Downtown Lakewood is home to Belmar, a quaint shopping and entertainment hub focusing on arts and kid-friendly appeal.

The Lakewood stop on the light rail will get you to Union Station in just under twenty minutes, making the commute tolerable.

The city is an ideal spot for families, affording a break in rental prices for the budget-conscious and ample outdoor activities for the kiddos.

Littleton, CO, one of the best places to live in colorado

  • Population: 45,740
  • Average age: 45.4
  • Median household income: $76,015
  • Average commute time: 30.8 minutes
  • Walk score: 47
  • Studio average rent: N/A
  • One-bedroom average rent: $1,707
  • Two-bedroom average rent: $2,174

Just south of Denver is Littleton, a cute suburb with tree-lined roads and unfettered mountain views that offers quiet parks and natural spaces.

The schools here are even more competitive than those in Denver or Lakewood, making this suburb a popular place for families. It’s also one of the safer cities in Colorado.

Hudson Gardens hosts summer concerts, beer festivals and countless outdoor weddings.

Plan on a bit of a commute if you are working in Denver, but the light rail stop in the heart of Littleton makes traffic less of a headache. Plus, the more affordable rent prices may make up for your time spent on the road.

Loveland, CO.

  • Population: 73,199
  • Average age: 44.7
  • Median household income: $68,592
  • Average commute time: 30.4 minutes
  • Walk score: 38
  • Studio average rent: $1,250.95
  • One-bedroom average rent: $1,487
  • Two-bedroom average rent: $1,818

Between Boulder and Fort Collins lies Loveland, a small town in northern Colorado.

Known as the Sweetheart City, Loveland is heavy on Valentine’s Day celebrations. They have an international Valentine’s re-mailing operation so that you can have your Valentine postmarked from this romantic city.

Though it’s a bit less fussy than its neighbors, Loveland has parks, quaint shops and views that tend to fall under the radar. The Loveland Fire and Ice Festival is a can’t-miss event for fans of music, fireworks and snow sculpture.

The city is an easy choice for someone who wants to live the Colorado lifestyle without paying the most devastating Colorado prices.

Pueblo, CO, one of the best places to live in colorado

  • Population: 109,273
  • Average age: 43.0
  • Median household income: $40,450
  • Average commute time: 23.7 minutes
  • Walk score: 39
  • Studio average rent: N/A
  • One-bedroom average rent: $695
  • Two-bedroom average rent: N/A

Pueblo brings a lot to the table, including a diverse community and a small-town feel. Not quite an hour south of Colorado Springs, the city provides an almost unbelievable combination of affordability and central Colorado location, ideal for large families.

Pueblo offers unparalleled access to fishing, boating and camping for those who love the great outdoors but don’t want to fend off the frenzied crowds.

If you prefer sunglasses to ski masks, Pueblo might be the perfect place for you, as it is one of the least snowy areas in Colorado.

The food and entertainment here are underrated, too. Enjoy the Pueblo Riverwalk, Lake Pueblo State Park and a plethora of family-run cafes.

Find your own best place to live in Colorado

Colorado is an attractive place to call home, whether you’re seeking all-season outdoor activities, big-city polish and amenities or a small mountain town with unpretentious people. If you’re ready to make the move, start here.

Rent prices are based on a rolling weighted average from Apartment Guide and Rent.com’s multifamily rental property inventory of one-bedroom apartments in March 2021. Our team uses a weighted average formula that more accurately represents price availability for each individual unit type and reduces the influence of seasonality on rent prices in specific markets.
Other demographic data comes from the U.S. Census Bureau.
The rent information included in this article is used for illustrative purposes only. The data contained herein do not constitute financial advice or a pricing guarantee for any apartment.

Source: rent.com