22 Best Places to Live in Colorado – Updated with 2022 Data

We’ve updated our list of the best places to live in Colorado in 2022 with the latest data on housing prices and livability to give you the best insights.

The Rocky Mountain State has become the place to relocate to out west, especially after the pandemic. It offers tons of space to spread out and beautiful scenery among its majestic mountains, lakes, and forests. It also features friendly people who enjoy a slower pace of life.

The numbers back it up. Colorado is one of the fastest growing states in the US and has welcomed almost 1 million new residents over the last 10 years.

It has also blossomed into a major market for employers looking for top talent. Many high paying job opportunities have been added as the state continues to expand.

In addition, Colorado is a bit more affordable than other comparable states in the area like California, Washington, or Oregon.

While it is true that home prices have been on the rise, Colorado still represents a decent value when you consider all it has to offer.

So, let’s take a look at the best cities to live in Colorado for 2022 so that you know where to make your next move.

Best Places to Live in Colorado – Our Methodology

To update our list of the best cities in Colorado, we considered several key aspects that make a place worth living.

For instance, we gathered all the latest data on cost of living for each city. We also compared it against the most recent crime rates from the FBI via AreaVibes.

On top of that, we looked at the housing prices that are provided by the real estate company Zillow.

Additionally, we made sure to only include cities that offer a wide range of entertainment and things to do for residents of all ages.

Then, we built a comprehensive database with all of these facts and figures and added up the scores of every city to arrive at this newest list of the best cities to move to in Colorado.

The biggest changes in rankings were primarily due to each city’s affordability, or lack thereof, due to rising housing costs.

So, we were forced to lower the rankings of some otherwise great places for 2022 due to their excessive cost of living.

The 22 Best Places to Live in Colorado in 2022

22. Steamboat Springs

best-places-to-live-in-colorado-steamboat-springs

Population: 12,336
Cost of Living Index: 25% Above Colorado Average

Location: Check on Google Maps

This beautiful mountain town starts off this updated list of the best cities to live in Colorado in 2022.

Steamboat Springs is located right in the heart of the Routt National Forest and is about 2 to 3 hours west of Denver and Fort Collins.

During the winter, it is a popular ski town, while the summer brings boundless opportunities for hiking and biking in the mountains or along the Yampa River that meanders next to the city.

There is also a quaint and walkable downtown area that is filled with great shops, art galleries, tasty restaurants, and lively bars.

21. Salida

Population: 5,430
Cost of Living Index: 2% Below Colorado Average

Location: Check on Google Maps

Salida is a small town that is nestled in the Rocky Mountains in Central Colorado. It is about 2 hours west of Colorado Springs and is one of the best cities to live in Colorado for those looking for a little more isolation.

The city offers a charming historic downtown region that is actually the biggest historic district in the whole state.

It is even designated as the first Certified Creative District in Colorado due to the wide range of art galleries, studios, and cafes that can be found downtown.

Salida’s location right on the Arkansas River also makes whitewater rafting and fishing popular sports among locals.

20. Aurora

Population: 351,131
Cost of Living Index: 5% Below Colorado Average

Location: Check on Google Maps

Aurora has become one of Denver’s most popular suburbs in the last few years since it features an excellent blend of family-friendly amenities and easy access to the great outdoors.

Its prime location just 30 minutes east of downtown Denver also makes it a top spot for families who want to balance affordability and excitement within the area.

Among the things to do around Aurora include its cultural arts district, hikes around the local Cherry Creek Reservoir, and multiple commercial districts that have transformed this suburb into a city that can stand on its own.

19. Aspen

best-places-to-live-in-colorado-Aspen

Population: 6,788
Cost of Living Index: 26% Above Colorado Average

Location: Check on Google Maps

The lavish ski town of Aspen is one of the nicest cities on this list of the best places to live in Colorado, but it is also the most expensive one as well.

For those who can afford it, Aspen can be a dream to live in all year round. 

It is located deep in the Rocky Mountains about a 3.5 hour drive from Denver and offers a seemingly unlimited number of things to do outside and around town.

Of course, it is well-known for the legendary Aspen Snowmass ski areas that provide excitement during every season.

But, there is also the bustling downtown district that welcomes residents and visitors with luxury shops, relaxing spas, gourmet restaurants, and cozy cafes.

We would have ranked Aspen a lot higher if not for its prohibitive cost of living. For instance, the average home in Aspen is currently selling for well over $2 million.

18. Grand Junction

Population: 60,630
Cost of Living Index: 7% Below Colorado Average
Location: Check on Google Maps

Grand Junction is the only city on this list located in the Western Slope region of Colorado and is just an hour away from the border with Utah.

It is most famous for being the heart of Colorado’s wine country and offers things to do for its residents throughout the whole year.

The mountains surround the center of town and offer epic biking and hiking trails along with opportunities for rock climbing.

Since it is located exactly where the Colorado River meets the Gunnison River, Grand Junction is a great place to enjoy whitewater rafting as well. 

Life out here is pretty affordable, too. In fact, Grand Junction offers the lowest average home prices out of any city on this list of the best places to live in Colorado, with prices around $350,000 to $400,000.

17. Idaho Springs

Population: 1,937
Cost of Living Index: 14% Below Colorado Average
Location: Check on Google Maps

Idaho Springs is a quaint little mountain town that is just 40 minutes west of Denver. This former mining town was the birthplace of the Colorado Gold Rush and is the smallest place on our list of best cities in Colorado, but it sure packs quite a punch.

Downtown Idaho Springs has recently experienced a revitalization and offers a handful of locally-owned restaurants, boutiques, and bars.

The surrounding nature also allows residents to enjoy outdoor adventures on nearby Pewabic Mountain or Squaw Mountain.

There is also the majestic Mount Evans nearby. It features the Mount Evans Scenic Byway, which is the highest paved road in the whole country at over 14,000 feet. 

16. Colorado Springs

best-places-to-live-in-colorado-Colorado-Springs

Population: 448,759
Cost of Living Index: 5% Below Colorado Average
Location: Check on Google Maps

Colorado Springs is the 2nd biggest city in The Rocky Mountain State and offers a great mix of entertainment, value, and location, especially for nature lovers.

It is situated about 1 hour south of Denver and is also just an hour from Pikes Peak.

This big city feels more like a small town, with numerous tight-knit neighborhoods all around Colorado Springs.

There is also the historic downtown Colorado Springs that offers a taste of everything, from excellent shops and restaurants, to a vibrant nightlife.

That is not a bad package considering the cost of living in Colorado Springs is a bit lower than the state average and housing here is still relatively affordable.

15. Woodland Park

Population: 7,180
Cost of Living Index: 2% Above Colorado Average
Crime Rates: 40% Below Colorado Average

Location: Check on Google Maps

Woodland Park is a proper mountain town and is one of the best places to live in Colorado for those who want to be high in the clouds.

It is situated over 8,400 feet above sea level and offers its residents stunning views of Pikes Peak, which is just 40 minutes away from town.

It is also known for the recently built Rocky Mountain Dinosaur Resource Center, which is a family-friendly science center, as well as its numerous festivals and events that are shared with Colorado Springs throughout the year, including the Cruise Above the Clouds, Mountain Arts Festival, and its own Oktoberfest.

14. Vail

Population: 5,363
Cost of Living Index: 34% Above Colorado Average
Crime Rates: 71% Above Colorado Average

Location: Check on Google Maps

Vail is a renowned mountain community that is located deep in the Rockies about 1 hour and 45 minutes west of Denver.

This beautiful ski resort town offers more than just skiing and snowboarding. In fact, it is home to some of the state’s best restaurants and luxury spas that are spread out across the storybook setting of downtown Vail.

The city also offers a strong sense of community for those who live here all year round. There are great festivals and cultural events that occur in every season that help to bring residents together.

But, it also has one of the highest costs of living on this list, so be ready to be able to pay for this paradise.

13. Durango

best-places-to-live-in-colorado-Durango

Population: 17,817
Cost of Living Index: 14% Above Colorado Average
Location: Check on Google Maps

Durango is one of the few cities from the southwestern corner of the state that made this list of the best cities in Colorado.

We think that this old railroad town is a great place for nature lovers and folks looking for a slower paced life.

But, don’t just take our word for it. Durango even appeared on one of USA Today’s recent 50 best cities lists as well.

What does it have to offer? First, there are over 300 miles of biking and hiking trails that surround Durango. Meanwhile, the city itself offers a tight-knit community with a charming downtown that features local restaurants and neighborhood cafes.

12. Golden

Population: 20,268
Cost of Living Index: 14% Above Colorado Average

Location: Check on Google Maps

Golden, Colorado is a city located right at the foothills of the Rocky Mountains and just 25 minutes away from downtown Denver.

This former gold rush community is now home to the Colorado School of Mines as well as the famous Coors Brewery.

Downtown Golden features a cute and walkable historic district with many specialty boutiques, diverse restaurants, and lively bars that make it a well-rounded place to live.

Of course, residents here can also take a short trip into the Rockies and enjoy the traditional mountain life. Or, you can head in the other direction and easily enjoy a night out in Denver.

11. Boulder

Population: 105,420
Cost of Living Index: 30% Above Colorado Average

Location: Check on Google Maps

We think that Boulder is one of the best cities to live in Colorado for those who want the thrills of a bustling, urban region alongside some quiet suburban neighborhoods.

This city that is known as the “Gateway to the Rockies” offers a wide range of entertainment and amenities for its diverse and inclusive residents.

It is home to the University of Colorado at Boulder, which gives the city a youthful energy. That is undoubtedly aided by the city’s 20+ craft beer breweries as well as its reputation as one of the best biking cities in the US.

There is also the famous Pearl Street Mall, a popular pedestrian-only street lined with shops, restaurants, and bars in downtown Boulder.

The only reason why Boulder has slipped out of our top 10 ranking of the best places to live in Colorado is due to its ever-increasing cost of living.

The average price for homes is now around $1 million in Boulder.

10. Breckenridge

best-places-to-live-in-colorado-breckenridge

Population: 4,732
Cost of Living Index: 20% Above Colorado Average

Location: Check on Google Maps

Breckenridge is another traditional ski town that is nestled in the Rocky Mountains. It is located about a 1.5 hour drive from Denver and 45 minutes southeast of the slightly pricier Vail.

It offers world-class skiing and family-friendly events throughout the whole year. It even calls itself “The Most Social Mountain Town.”  

Don’t miss events like the Breckenridge International Festival of Arts in the summer or the International Snow Sculpture Championships in the winter.

There is also a charming downtown area around Main Street that offers an old town feel and numerous places to shop and eat.

9. Niwot

Population: 4,588
Cost of Living Index: 33% Above Colorado Average
Location: Check on Google Maps

Niwot is a small, historic town that is conveniently located about halfway between Denver and Fort Collins and just 15 minutes from Boulder.

Its main attraction is the delightful Old Town, where you can stop by at a local boutique or restaurant and enjoy a relaxed pace of life.

Niwot also features lots of calm, tree-lined neighborhoods that make it one of the best places to live in Colorado for families, especially since its prime location provides its residents access to the job markets of many major cities in Colorado.

Don’t miss Niwot’s annual community events, such as their Holiday Parade or Oktoberfest celebration.

8. Louisville

Population: 19,972
Cost of Living Index: 19% Above Colorado Average
Location: Check on Google Maps

Louisville, Colorado is another suburb of Denver and offers a well-rounded way of life that is great for families, young professionals, and even retirees.

It is located in the expanding tech corridor between Denver and Boulder. The city is about a 30 minute drive from downtown Denver and 20 minutes from Boulder.

Louisville, Colorado offers small town vibes but enough amenities to always make life interesting.

There is Main Street in Old Town Louisville that offers new dining and shopping establishments as well as the large Dutch Creek Park that is close to the center of town.

Residents here can easily reach the mountains and tons of hiking trails as well.

7. Denver

best-places-to-live-in-colorado-Denver

Population: 663,303
Cost of Living Index: 5% Above Colorado Average
Location: Check on Google Maps

No list of the best places to live in Colorado can be complete without Denver. It is the largest city in the state and is the epicenter of world-class entertainment, arts, and leisure.

The Mile High City has it all. There is a thriving downtown with an excellent array of shopping, dining, and nightlife options alongside museums, art galleries, and performing arts.

Of course, there are also Denver’s sports teams, including the Denver Nuggets and Colorado Rockies that have their stadiums right in the heart of the city.

Meanwhile, Denver offers tons of excellent suburbs that surround the city that cater to virtually every demographic, including young professionals, families, and retirees.

Its proximity to the Rocky Mountains also allows its residents to enjoy nature while also indulging in the big city life.

6. Evergreen

Population: 8,580
Cost of Living Index: 20% Above Colorado Average

Location: Check on Google Maps

Evergreen, Colorado is a small city that is perfect for those who want to get back in touch with nature and enjoy the whimsical personality of a mountain town.

It is located about 40 minutes west of Denver in the foothills of the Rockies and is known for being a beautiful place filled with parks, lakes, trails, and, of course, mountains.

This rustic town also offers a historic downtown area that features locally-owned boutiques, restaurants, and bars.

All of these amenities makes Evergreen one of the most livable places in the state and a great option for those who want some distance from the big city.

5. Loveland

Population: 73,360
Cost of Living Index: 5% Below Colorado Average

Location: Check on Google Maps

Loveland is a mid-sized city that sits about 30 minutes south of Fort Collins. Many folks relocate to Loveland just for its sheer beauty. You can get views of the breathtaking Rockies landscape from many parts of the city.

The city itself also features tons of nature, including numerous lakes, public parks, and trails.

Meanwhile, the Loveland Downtown District is a dynamic commercial area that offers restaurants, shops, and lots of family entertainment. There are also over 60 events during their annual One Sweet Summer program.

The best part about it is how affordable it is given how many great amenities it provides. The cost of living in Loveland is about 5% lower than the rest of the state and home prices are around $450,000 to $550,000.

4. Telluride

best-places-to-live-in-colorado-telluride

Population: 1,972
Cost of Living Index: 57% Above Colorado Average
Location: Check on Google Maps

We think that Telluride is the best ski town to live in Colorado due to its excellent amenities and wonderful feeling of community.

It is located in the southwest corner of the state roughly 2 hours from Arizona, New Mexico, and Utah.

While it is best known for world-class skiing and other winter sports, Telluride offers its residents a wide range of things to do in every season

The town itself is also exceptionally attractive and features Victorian-style architecture with an old world feel on its beloved Main Street

Here, you can find plenty of boutique shops, top-notch restaurants, and energetic bars.

Telluride also hosts many events throughout the year, including live music and film festivals that help to bring the community closer together.

3. Castle Rock

Population: 53,789
Cost of Living Index: 10% Above Colorado Average
Location: Check on Google Maps

The fast growing city of Castle Rock is located about 35 minutes south of Denver and is known for its close-knit community and wonderful outdoor amenities.

It combines small-town charm with the entertainment options of a larger city. For instance, Historic Downtown Castle Rock offers many family-owned shops, great restaurants, and even some outlet malls.

There are also tons of public parks all across the city, large reserves like the Mitchell Creek Canyon Trail, and easy access to the nearby Rockies.

Overall, Castle Rock is one of the best places to live in Colorado for families as well. Its low crime rates and high scores for its school system, which earned an “A” rating from AreaVibes’ latest review, make it a very appealing place to raise kids.

2. Centennial

Population: 107,862
Cost of Living Index: 13% Above Colorado Average
Location: Check on Google Maps

Centennial, Colorado is a large suburb of Denver that stretches across southern Denver and is only 25 minutes from downtown.

Locals rave about the area’s down-to-earth vibes, excellent school system, and easy access to virtually everything they need.

Since it was incorporated in 2001, Centennial has been thriving and has become the state’s 10th biggest city.

One major attraction in downtown Centennial is the Streets at SouthGlenn, which is a massive retail center that offers a huge variety of shops, restaurants, and a movie theater.

The city’s proximity to Denver also makes it a great place to settle for those who want access to the job market of a big city, but prefer more space in a more relaxing and livable environment.

1. Fort Collins

best-places-to-live-in-colorado-Fort-collins

Population: 157,251
Cost of Living Index: 0% Above Colorado Average
Location: Check on Google Maps

Fort Collins tops our list as the best place to live in Colorado for 2022. This dynamic city offers a bit of something for everyone.

Located about 1 hour north of Denver, Fort Collins has developed its own reputation as a complete place to live, with a great blend of nature, entertainment, and culture, all in an affordable package.

Let’s start with nature. Fort Collins features tons of trails, lakes, and public parks as it sits right at the foothills of the Rockies. Rocky Mountain National Park is also just 1 hour from the city.

Meanwhile, the city is filled with some of the region’s best amenities. Downtown Fort Collins features Old Town Square, which offers over 80 eateries, as well as many other commercial districts with excellent shops and dining experiences.

Fort Collins is also home to Colorado State University, which helps to inject an energetic spirit into the city.

What gives Fort Collins the edge in 2022 is its relatively affordable cost of living. While its costs are the same as the Colorado state average, it is clear that the city is far from average.

Its median home prices of $500,000 to $600,000 may also seem high, but those values are actually inline with the state average.

Best Places to Live in Colorado – Summary

We hope that this updated list of the best cities in Colorado has given you the right insights to make your next move to the Rocky Mountain State.

Colorado offers a plethora of top caliber towns and cities, so now it is just up to you to choose which one suits your needs.

This diverse list has given you options for big cities, small towns, and ski resort communities that all offer a balanced lifestyle and easy access to the wonderful outdoors that make Colorado so famous.