Colorado is a magical place to live. If you like sunshine, physical activity, nature, beer, adventure, history and exploration (and who doesn’t!), you will love living in this state. From the Mile-High City of Denver and more than 230 craft breweries to 4,200 meters of ski terrain, there is never a shortage of things to do or beauty to behold in Colorado.
With its unparalleled Rocky Mountain beauty, Colorado is a year-round haven for outdoor enthusiasts and ranks annually among the healthiest states. In addition, the state is rich in the culture of the American West and has a welcoming business climate.
The Four Temperate Seasons
An average elevation of 6,800 above sea level – the highest of any state – keeps temperatures and humidity moderate year-round for most of the state. Local weather is affected greatly by varying elevation. Although much of the state is rugged mountain terrain, the eastern region is more akin to the neighboring plains of Kansas and Nebraska, with hotter summer temperatures. Denver, for example, has an average 300 days of sunshine per year (That’s more sunshine than San Diego, CA), and during the winter months, temperature highs can reach up to 75 degrees. Colorado’s annual snowfall totals, among the highest of western states, fuels the state’s world-renowned ski scene.
The Outdoor Recreation
Names like Vail, Aspen, Steamboat Springs and Breckenridge are almost synonymous with downhill skiing. Rocky Mountain National Park, with 77 mountains taller than 12,00o ft and more than 350 miles of hiking trails, is about 70 miles northwest of Denver. Colorado also has dozens of hot springs, including Glenwood Springs, home of the historic Hotel Colorado, which was a favorite of President Teddy Roosevelt. Mesa Verde National Park, in the southwest corner near the Four Corners of Colorado, Utah, Arizona, and New Mexico, is known for its Puebloan cliff dwellings and archaeological sites. And don’t forget the Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs with its rock formations and spectacular views. For music in an open-air setting, check out Red Rocks Amphitheater about 10 miles west of Denver for big-name concerts by the likes of Jason Isbell, Paul Simon, and Tom Petty.
If you’re a skier, Colorado is a powder lover’s dream. With 54 peaks and over 4,200 meters of ski terrain, you have many options to choose from for a ski weekend. Top-rated ski towns include Aspen, Vail, Breckenridge and Telluride, just to name a few. Even if you don’t dare strap on a pair of skis, there are still plenty of great restaurants and bars to frequent in each ski town, not to mention many fireplaces to keep you cozy.
If you’re an adventure seeker, you should certainly move to Colorado. Besides the endless opportunities for hitting the slopes, you can participate in white water paddling, mountain biking, hiking and rock climbing.
When you move to Colorado, the opportunity to spot a moose, elk or bald eagle in your lifetime significantly increases. The wildlife watching opportunities in Colorado are plentiful, with many wildlife viewing locations and refuges to choose from across the state.
The Training Ground for Athletes
Colorado is known as the training ground for athletes from around the world. Colorado Springs is home of the 35-acre US Olympic training center. The Colorado Springs complex accommodates 120-125 invited resident athletes from a variety of Olympic sports, including swimming, men’s gymnastics, wrestling, shooting and triathlon racing, as well as Paralympic swimming, shooting, and cycling. In a given year, the complex typically hosts 1,200-1,500 additional overnight athletes participating in short-term training camps. Denver, sitting exactly 5,280 feet above sea level, has the highest elevation of any major U.S. city.
The Mile High City also is home to the state’s major professional sports teams – the Broncos, Rockies, Avalanche and Nuggets. This gives the teams who call it home an invisible edge that’s all too real for opponents.
The Many Great Places to Live
Denver, the state capital and largest city, is comprised of a collection of neighborhoods from historic to hip. Other communities that receive high marks include Boulder, Longmont, Aurora, and Fort Collins. Looking for affordability? Greeley earned that distinction and is considered the best affordable place to live in Colorado. The other strong contenders are Fort Collins, Loveland, Longmont, Westminster and Thornton.
The Strong Business Climate
Colorado ranks high among best states for business in a wide range of surveys, including Forbes. Tourism is a cumulative industry. In 2015, Colorado opened its Outdoor Recreation Industry Office (OREC), one of only two such offices in the nation.
The Major Employers
Major employers include Lockheed Martin, Google, and several healthcare entities, including Health One Corp., Centura Health and SCL Health Systems. Colorado also ranks high in the niche market of outdoor recreation employers by industry observers. The state’s largest employer is Denver International Airport, which is the 2nd largest airport in the world in terms of size with 35,000 employees and the capacity to double in size.
The City Living
In Colorado, you can be at one with nature one minute and experience big city living the next minute. The “big city” most folks associate Colorado with is Denver, however Boulder is a close second and is consistently ranked among the top twenty of best places to live in the United States on sites like Livability and Niche.
The Delicious Craft Beer
More than 10 percent of the nation’s craft breweries can be found in Colorado, which equates to nearly 230 established breweries. The Breweries Association is located in Boulder, Colorado, and consists of popular brands including New Belgium Brewing Company, Great Divide Brewing and Breckenridge Brewery, to name a few. Interested in trying a few? Check out the famous “Great American Beer Festival,” which features 400 craft brewers and 1,800 different brews.
The Health & Wellness
The seemingly never-ending opportunities to bike, ski, run and walk, not to mention the ongoing sunshine, make Colorado a perfect place to live if you’re looking to lose a few pounds or live a healthier life all together. This state has the lowest adult obesity rate of all 50 states.
Colorado has a 90 percent high school graduation rate—which is above the national average—and is the second highest state with aerospace engineers. Colorado School Grades, a coalition of 18 non-profit community organizations, offers an annual statewide ranking of high schools, middle schools and elementary schools. In addition to the flagship University of Colorado, other universities include Colorado State, University of Denver, Northern Colorado, Colorado College, and Colorado School of Mines. The U.S. Air Force Academy is located in Colorado Springs. The Colorado Community College System oversees 13 two-year colleges.