The 10 Best Places To Live In Colorado For 2021


We used science and data to determine which places in the Centennial State are the cream of the crop.

Editor’s Note: We updated this article for 2021. This is our seventh time ranking the best places to live in Colorado.

Most people think that Colorado is just a bunch of boardin' Betties and rock climbers that sit around and drink Coors Light and smoke pot all day.

But, the good people from Colorado would beg to differ: it's a lot more.

Coloradans say it's one of the best states in the country. However, in order to be one of the best, we at HomeSnacks think that they should have the places to call home. And, folks, we think they do.

We ranked Colorado as one of the Best States to Raise a Family; and in our story, Best Places to Retire in Colorado, the state's cream really floated to the top. Coincidence that our best places to live list shares top cities with these other lists? We think not.

Now, it wouldn't be right if we didn't mention the love the good people of the Mile High City feel for their Denver Broncos. When residents aren't busy cheering on their local teams under the Friday night lights, they can be heard yelling for the orange and blue on any given Sunday.

Colorado's strong economy, gold star education rating, and average cost of living make its cities very desirable. So, one can imagine how difficult it was for us to narrow down the best places to live in Colorado.

We suggest you grab a Coors Light, throw on your favorite Broncos jersey, and read on to see how we ranked the best places to live in Colorado.

The 10 Best Places To Live In Colorado For 2021

  1. Louisville
  2. Parker
  3. Vail
  4. Superior
  5. Castle Pines
  6. Castle Rock
  7. Lone Tree
  8. Lafayette
  9. Windsor
  10. Erie

Yes, Colorado is every adrenaline junkies dream. The energy the residents of Colorado exude attract many people in search of its fountain of youth amidst the perfect Colorado mountain backdrop.

What does the perfect place to live in Colorado look like?

More importantly what city is the best place to live in Colorado 2021? Well according to the US Census and FBI data we crunched, Louisville is the best place to live in Colorado if you care about home values, low crime, and a high quality of life.

Take a look at the list below to find out. We give you a detailed look into the top ten best places to live in Colorado where, yes, you can have it all.

If you're looking for something more national, check out the best states in America or the best places to live in America.

For more Colorado reading, check out:

The 10 Best Places To Live In Colorado For 2021

Louisville, CO

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

7.5
/10

Population: 20,860
Rank Last Year: 1 (No Change)
Median Home Value: $587,000 (6th best)
Unemployment Rate: 3.7% (27th best)
More on Louisville: Real Estate | Cost Of Living

We don't suggest leaving your quality of life in the hands of just any Colorado place, but we do recommend that you leave it in the hands of the experts in Colorado's #1 best place to live, Louisville.

Located slightly southeast of Boulder, this 150 year old city of 20,860 residents has always been committed to fostering community pride, great schools, and a place where work and fun meet at the base of Colorado's Rocky Mountains. And after looking at Louisville's census and SnackAbility numbers, we think that this place is definitely succeeding. It has the lowest unemployment rate and its crime rate is far below the national average making it one of the safest places in the state.

Unfortunately, this level of excellence does come with a hefty price tag. If you want to keep up with the cost of living amongst Louisville's top dawgs, you're going to have to make at least $103,017/year. And if you want to buy a home here, be prepared to drop a cool $587,000.

Parker, CO

Overall SnackAbility

9.5
/10

Population: 54,352
Rank Last Year: 3 (Up 1)
Median Home Value: $420,000 (18th best)
Unemployment Rate: 2.9% (12th best)
More on Parker: Real Estate | Crime Report | Cost Of Living

This is the second year in a row that Parker is the 2nd best place to live in Colorado, but did you know that this city is also number one for the youngest median age at 34. And if you're 34 and single, you're in luck, Parker is one of the top cities in Colorado for singles, too.

There are a number of reasons why youngsters are flocking to this southwest Denver suburb and/or why its population has doubled in the last 15 years. For one, Parker's crime rate is well below the national average making it the 19th safest place on our list. Two, it crushed our SnackAbility scale with an emphasis on jobs, median home price ($420,000, and education. And, three, you can be in Denver and Colorado Springs in 45 minutes.

Simply put, when you mix a bunch of young, motivated professionals with a low cost of living great things can happen.

Vail, CO

Overall SnackAbility

7.5
/10

Population: 5,479
Rank Last Year: 12 (Up 9)
Median Home Value: $773,700 (best)
Unemployment Rate: 2.1% (5th best)
More on Vail: Real Estate | Crime Report | Cost Of Living

Everyone knows Vail as the home to Vail Ski Resort, a foundational institution in the town's history. Today, it's home to 5,479 permanent residents and another 5,000 or so part-timers with vacation properties.

The fact that people pay for the most expensive homes in Colorado only to live here part-time tells you something about how truly special Vail is. And while the median home value in Vail is $773,700, the town's cost of living scores for things like groceries, utilities, and services are basically on par with the rest of the country.

Vail has the 5th lowest unemployment rate in Colorado, your average household earns $80,987, and get ready for some stiff competition on pub quiz night, because 65% of Vail's adult population is highly educated.

Don't worry if you're not into winter sports at all. Vail offers all sorts of heady entertainments, like the Vail Film Festival, Bravo! Vail, and Taste of Vail.

If you can't find a way to have fun in Vail, you're doing something wrong.

Superior, CO

Overall SnackAbility

7.5
/10

Population: 13,077
Rank Last Year: 4 (No Change)
Median Home Value: $576,800 (8th best)
Unemployment Rate: 2.5% (7th best)
More on Superior: Real Estate | Cost Of Living

There are very few things far superior than Superior, Colorado; and now, with our list, they can add this title: 4th best place to live in The Centennial State to their repetare.

To truly know why Superior is one of the best, you have to look at its census numbers. This suburb of Boulder has seen an increase in population by 40% since 2000 making it one of the fastest growing cities in the state. And, friends, this doesn't happen by chance. Superior's cost of living is competitive with the national average. To put this in perspective, Superior's household median income of $127,292/year will help you get one step closer to Superior's hot real estate market. You'll be able to afford the city's median home prices at $576,800 and still be left with a little change in your pocket to enjoy the the fun things this city just outside of Rocky Flats National Wildlife Refuge has to offer: like, cool biking and hiking trails and camping.

Castle Pines, CO

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 10,591
Rank Last Year: 7 (Up 2)
Median Home Value: $615,400 (5th best)
Unemployment Rate: 2.4% (6th best)
More on Castle Pines: Real Estate | Cost Of Living

What does your Colorado version of paradise look like? A bunch of golf courses with mountain views? Cost of living that won't break your bank? Great schools? If you answered "yes" to all of these, then you build a life in Colorado's 5th best place to live, Castle Pines.

Castle Pines has four first class golf courses within its city limits--not just any golf courses, two hold five star ratings and attract the likes of https://thevillagecastlepines.com/golf-in-the-village/">Jack Nicklaus on the regular. However, don't worry if you're not pro golf material--the job market in Castle Pines is strong and the unemployment rate here is 2.4%. A word to the wise, you're going to want to make at least $163,819/year so that when you're not hitting the links, you can hit the couch in the home that you just paid the 5th lowest median home price in the state. It doesn't end there--golf tends to attract smart people and Castle Pines is filled with some of the smartest: currently 45% of Castle Pines' residents hold a Bachelor's Degree.

Castle Rock, CO

Overall SnackAbility

9.5
/10

Population: 62,417
Rank Last Year: 6 (No Change)
Median Home Value: $422,100 (16th best)
Unemployment Rate: 2.9% (11th best)
More on Castle Rock: Real Estate | Crime Report | Cost Of Living

If you favor quality over a bargain, then it shouldn't matter that the home prices here are $422,100 or that you will have to earn $109,700/year to offset your cost of living. Castle Rock is after all one of the wealthiest places on the list; so, if you want to live in Colorado's 6th best place, you're going to have to pay for it.

The good news-Castle Rock has the 11th lowest unemployment rate in Colorado, so finding a good job should be easy. And if you have kids, transferring them into Castle Rock's school system that scored a 9.5/10 for education on our SnackAbility scale should be a piece of cake as well as a blessing. You'll also be happy to know that Castle Park's crime rate is 40% below that national average making this Douglas County town of 62,417 residents one of the safest in the state.

Basically, we can't find one solid reason to not call this place home.

Lone Tree, CO

Overall SnackAbility

8.5
/10

Population: 12,923
Rank Last Year: 10 (Up 3)
Median Home Value: $634,000 (4th best)
Unemployment Rate: 2.8% (10th best)
More on Lone Tree: Real Estate | Crime Report | Cost Of Living

Don't be fooled by the name "Lone Tree" if it's in reference to its rank as Colorado's 7th best place to live. It's actually quite the opposite. There are currently 12,923 friendly residents who live here and there are a multitude of opportunities for meet and greets. In fact, groups of Lone Tree residents love to get together to bike and hike Bluffs Regional Park Trail. Incidentally, don't be surprised if you get asked to have a beer at one Lone Tree's breweries afterwards.....Coloradans really like their craft beer.

But, you're going to need to get a couple of things in order before you make the Lone Tree leap, and those things look like: a secure job (one that pays $120,392 so that you can offset LoneTree's median home price of $634,000), a great bike or hiking shoes so that you can enjoy the outdoors like the rest of "the Trees," and a good car because Denver is a solid 45 minutes away. And if you were worried about Lone Tree's job market, don't be. The unemployment rate here is 2.8% and the percentage of people living in poverty is the 3rd lowest in the state.

But, if we were betting people, we'd bet that Lone Tree is more than ready to take Colorado into the future.

Lafayette, CO

Overall SnackAbility

7.5
/10

Population: 28,742
Rank Last Year: 15 (Up 7)
Median Home Value: $422,000 (17th best)
Unemployment Rate: 3.3% (18th best)
More on Lafayette: Real Estate | Crime Report | Cost Of Living

Situated just east of Boulder and north of Denver, Lafayette offers the perfect vision of suburban life. We named it one of the best places to raise a family in Colorado, after all.

31.35% of households have children, but the median age in Lafayette is only 39, so think young, professional couples. And with an Homesnacks education score of 9/10, you know your kids are getting off on the right foot in Lafayette.

Waneka Lake Park is a favorite recreation spot for locals, with fishing, sports fields, trails, grills, and really anything you could want out of a park. As for nightlife, your toughest decision will be whether to finish your day with a pint from Liquid Mechanics or Odd13 Brewing.

The crazy thing? The overall cost of living in Lafayette is barely higher than Colorado's average, making this one of the most affordable spots listed here. The median home value in Lafayette is $422,000 and rent typically goes for around $1,495.

Windsor, CO

Overall SnackAbility

7
/10

Population: 26,806
Rank Last Year: 5 (Down 4)
Median Home Value: $406,100 (24th best)
Unemployment Rate: 3.2% (17th best)
More on Windsor: Real Estate | Crime Report | Cost Of Living

Windsor might not have the guards that keep Windsor Castle protected, but this city is doing something right: the crime rate here is 75% (yes, you read that right) below the national average making this Northern Colorado town the 9th best place to live in The Centennial State.

Located 45 minutes north of Denver, this Fort Collins suburb has all of the bells and whistles: a low unemployment rate (3.2%), a strong job market, great schools, and a bunch of cool stuff to keep the entire family entertained. So, we were not surprised when Windsor ranked one of the best places to raise your family in the state.

Windsor's best practices have also kept its household median income high and its median home prices low which, in turn, keeps a little extra in your bank account to spend a long weekend in Steamboat Springs crushing the blue runs with your family or a day relaxing at one of Windsor's many spas. We call this a Windsor Win!

Erie, CO

Overall SnackAbility

7
/10

Population: 24,223
Rank Last Year: 8 (Down 2)
Median Home Value: $468,600 (13th best)
Unemployment Rate: 3.8% (34th best)
More on Erie: Real Estate | Crime Report | Cost Of Living

There's nothing eerie about Erie, Colorado. Matter of fact, it's the 10th best place to live in the state. Yes, Erie has been redefining what it means to live your best life for years, and have proven that it starts with a city's ability to provide a low cost of living, great schools, and endless possibilities.

Erie's overall SnackAbility score and its individual scores for safety (8.5/10), affordable homes (9.5/10), and education (9.5/10) have catapulted this city to the forefront of what makes Colorado great. Erie is the 13th best place to buy a home with median home prices upwards of $468,600. And you can sleep well at night knowing that Erie is one of the safest cities in the state with its current crime rate 50% below the national average. You can also rest easy knowing that Erie spends a large chunk of change on each student--almost $2,000 more than the state average--the state test scores are proof positive that it's working.

Mapping The Best And Worst Places To Live in Colorado

The Pressing Question: Size

Before we even started to collect data, we had to answer a tough question: Is it fair to pit Denver with a population of 705,576 against places with a population of 18?

We firmly decided no, that just isn't fair.

So to create our ranking, we broke places to live into three tiers:

  • Cities -- Populations over 5,000
  • Towns -- Populations between 1,000 and 5,000
  • Small Towns -- Populations below 1,000

This left us with 74 cities, 101 towns, and 184 small towns.

We then decided, no matter how much anyone loves their town, the best cities to live in Colorado have more of everything and therefore you need to have over 5,000 people to truly be 'the best'.

Now we also realize that city living might not be your cup of tea, so we ran the following analysis on towns and then again for small towns.

You can see those two top tens at the bottom of the post.

How We Calculated The Best Cities To Live In Colorado

Now that we had our set of cities, it was time to rank them.

We ranked each place in Colorado across a number of criteria from one to 74, with one being the best.

We then took the average rank across all criteria, with the city posting the lowest overall score being crowned the winner of the title "Best Place To Live In Colorado".

The criteria we looked at were:

  • Median Home Values
  • Median Income
  • Population Density (Higher better)
  • Unemployment Rate
  • Commute Time
  • Crime
  • Education Levels
  • Health Insurance Coverage
  • Poverty rates

Sources of criteria include the New Census Data and FBI Crime Data. You can download the data here.

After the dust settled, what was the best place to live in Colorado? That would be Louisville.

If your city or town isn't among the top 10, jump down to the bottom of the post to see a detailed chart of the best places in Colorado.

Otherwise, buckle up for a ride down good living lane with Louisville at the end of the cul-de-sac.

Wrapping Up The Best Places When It Comes To Living In Colorado

If you're looking at areas in Colorado with the best economic situations, where there's lower than average crime, and a lot to do, this is an accurate list.

Louisville made a strong showing to take in the overall number one spot for the best place to live in Colorado for 2021.

Best Towns To Live In Colorado

  1. Bow Mar (Pop. 1,047)
  2. Niwot (Pop. 4,588)
  3. Acres Green (Pop. 2,926)
  4. Meridian (Pop. 3,327)
  5. Columbine Valley (Pop. 1,190)
  6. Castle Pines Village (Pop. 4,518)
  7. Pine Brook Hill (Pop. 1,091)
  8. Frisco (Pop. 2,909)
  9. Inverness (Pop. 1,189)
  10. Lyons (Pop. 2,027)

Best Small Towns To Live In Colorado

  1. Sawpit (Pop. 31)
  2. Saddle Ridge (Pop. 63)
  3. Morgan Heights (Pop. 360)
  4. Bark Ranch (Pop. 224)
  5. Woody Creek (Pop. 272)
  6. Valmont (Pop. 55)
  7. Rock Creek Park (Pop. 57)
  8. Tall Timber (Pop. 173)
  9. Sunshine (Pop. 177)
  10. Crisman (Pop. 402)

If you're curious enough, here are the worst places to live in Colorado according to the data:

  1. Delta (Pop. 8,829)
  2. Alamosa (Pop. 9,441)
  3. Trinidad (Pop. 8,080)

For more Colorado reading, check out:

Where Are The Best Places To Live In Colorado?

Rank City Population Unemployment Rate Home Value
1 Louisville 20,860 3.7% $587,000
2 Parker 54,352 2.9% $420,000
3 Vail 5,479 2.1% $773,700
4 Superior 13,077 2.5% $576,800
5 Castle Pines 10,591 2.4% $615,400
6 Castle Rock 62,417 2.9% $422,100
7 Lone Tree 12,923 2.8% $634,000
8 Lafayette 28,742 3.3% $422,000
9 Windsor 26,806 3.2% $406,100
10 Erie 24,223 3.8% $468,600

How Is Your Town In ?

About Chris Kolmar

Chris Kolmar has been in the real estate business for almost ten years now. He originally worked for Movoto Real Estate as the director of marketing before founding HomeSnacks.

He believes the key to finding the right place to live comes down to looking at the data, reading about things to do, and, most importantly, checking it out yourself before you move.

If you've been looking for a place to live in the past several years, you've probably stumbled upon his writing already.

You can find out more about him on LinkedIn or his website.

22 thoughts on “The 10 Best Places To Live In Colorado For 2021

  1. Maybe you should add one more metric to your criteria … Ask people in Stonegate (or Columbine, or Highlands Ranch, or …) would they rather live in Vail (or one of OUR awesome suburbs), or where they currently live.

    I’ll betcha …

  2. This isn’t science. This is data mining and running an algorithm. And congrats, your top 10, it is basically a list of places native Coloradans hate. You found the highest concentration of Chili’s and malls. Maybe out east that’s your idea of a good time, but not here. As a Denver native, there is nothing I love more than open space, not the horrid burbs of Highlands Ranch.

    1. I’m not from Colorado, but we’re thinking of moving. This list and the one of the worst 10 places in Colorado is of no help at all. Darren, I agree completely with your opening statement – this is NOT science. This is using a personal opinion to analyze data. It’s biased, and it’s absolutely not science. The data itself is scientific, but the analysis is pure opinion, there is no objectivity at all.

      Almost no one likes a high crime rate and almost everyone wants good schools, sure, but high housing prices and high population density? Who actually likes that? I want to move to Colorado for it’s landscape, not to cram myself into another city. I can do that here in Atlanta.

      1. Rachel,
        My wife and I moved here from D.C. in 2014. You’re right, the metrics are not going to give you a clear picture. By and large, it’s hard not to view the scenery as impressive almost anywhere in the state, especially if you’re coming from a coastal area at sea level. You’re giving up ocean for mountains and sunny blue skies. My suggestion is to look for an Air BnB deal that allows you to visit for one or two weeks so that you can explore, not only Denver, but both Front Range towns and those on the Western Slope. We love Denver, but we’ve visited Louisville, Lafayette, Nederland, Buena Vista, Ahlamosa, Palisade, Grand Junction, Parker, Golden, Glenwood Springs, Leadville, and others. There’s something wonderful in each, but it’s a big state, and you’ll want to see it for yourself.

    1. I agree. And how do consensus areas even count? Plus you must be wealthy to live in any of them. I grew up in Boulder and all the people who have moved in over the last decade or two have ruined it and the Front Range.

  3. Seriously? Your #1 (Stonegate) is a subdivision in your #9 (Parker). That’s how well thought out this piece is.

  4. Also … there is no “downtown” Columbine. Columbine is a sub-division in western Littleton. The “downtown” is a busy intersection of stores and restaurants.

  5. Acres Green isn’t a town…it’s a subdivision in unincorporated Douglas County. This article was clearly NOT written by anyone who lives in the state. Several other errors, too, as others have stated….

  6. Fourth generation Coloradan who just left my beautiful state because it has become just like what all the transplants want it to be from where they came from… politicized, crowded, over-taxes resources and infrastructure, etc.). Kansas native and former governor Roy Romer threw the door wide open (he said he would) and for that we will pee on his grave when he dies (age 90).

    I’ll be back soon when the economy crashes and it will because Colorado grew up on oil and gas. It will be to a special place… where the original, read… real Colorado people know they can still go. Hopefully the land-rapers haven’t completely depleted the water resources to feed the greedy Front Range.

    And to you Kolmar, you’re right… you don’t live there, have no idea of the real pulse of the state, and yes we are fiercely protective of our beautiful home (even the crap like Commerce City and Globeville and developer wet-dream locales like Apartmentfield – formerly Broomfield). Obviously you were too lazy to do good research.

    Don’t go away mad… just go away.

  7. Pagosa Springs is an awesome southern Colorado selection for a great town to consider ( 45 minutes from Wolff Creek Ski!

  8. At 10 that’s not Eagle, that’s a picture of the Matterhorn peak between Switzerland and Italy.

    1. After living in Colorado for over 30 yes I must say that Buena VISTA is the worst place to live in Colorado it has more no sign’s than Denver they say no to anything that the church’s don’t like no pot no ohv no e bicycles no liquor except in a liquor stored no only one drive through food stopes really as long as you just want to go to church it’s very boring dump.

  9. I love Colorado and the people here have made it my home but we are done. My son worked his way up to supervisor at his company but they are telling him he needs to make 3 times his income to afford a house. He already works 12 hours a day. His wife is going to school and they have 3 kids. They live in a 2 bedroom apartment. Time to move. They found out that living in another state, his trade pays double and the housing is half of what it is here. We all have to do what it takes to survive.

  10. Whoever did this article doesn’t know their geography. The picture of the mountain for Eagle Colorado is actually the Matterhorn in Switzerland.

  11. Your information is informative but exactly true.
    1. Lone Tree is not 45 minutes from Denver. More like 14 miles from DOWNTOWN Denver (about 20 min) and about 5-10 minutes from the Denver City line. I drive it everyday.

    PARKER is no way 45 minutes from Denver. Maybe 25-30 minutes and only around 19 miles DOWNTOWN.

    There are other mistakes but I’ll stop here.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *