U.S. News analyzed the 150 most populous metro areas to find the best places to live. To make the top of the list, a place had to have good value, be a desirable place to live, have a strong job market and a high quality of life. For more information on how we rank, read the Best Places to Live Methodology.
What’s it like to live in Boulder, CO?
Snug against the foothills where the Great Plains give rise to the Rocky Mountains, Boulder is nothing if not a looker. This city reveals its spectacle at the crest of a hill on U.S. Route 36 from Denver with its iconic sandstone slabs rising from the mountains, prefaced by pine-clad mesas and cradled within the backdrop of the snow-capped Indian Peaks.
For residents seeking wellness, Boulder has opportunities from forest bathing and free meditation sessions to an abundance of marijuana dispensaries, spas and alternative health care studios. The full spectrum of yoga disciplines is represented here, as well as a plethora of fitness options to ignite your curiosity, including parkour, aerial dance and “Animal Flow” ground-based movement classes. People looking to bring balance to their work life can find job perks that include participation in the city’s annual Tube to Work Day. Had it with the 9 to 5? Make like Boulder’s climbers and live in a van, work odd jobs and become a fixture at the area’s legendary crags.
This blissed-out enclave attracts young professionals, families, academics, scientists, transplants from both coasts, old guards who insist it was way cooler in the 1970s and, above all, lovers of outdoor recreation. Trail runners, hikers, climbers, cyclists and more move here to live in this perpetual playground, where the answer to “What do you do?” is often one’s activity of choice, not occupation.