If you’ve ever had dreams of planting roots in Colorado, you’re not alone. Let’s take a look at 20 reasons why thousands of newcomers are moving to the Centennial State every year.
To many, Colorado is a fairly exotic destination. The mountains are picturesque, the weather is great, and the people are generally friendly, but the state often seems far from reach. Thousands of miles separate New York and Los Angeles from the slopes of the Rockies, which can make a move feel risky. Yet, the state keeps growing, and with so many people taking the plunge every year, it’s worth a deeper examination as to why.
1. Economic Opportunity
Colorado State Capitol dome. Photo by: Steve Snodgrass
From 2009 to 2019, gross domestic product (GDP), or the value of goods and services produced within Colorado, has been steadily rising. In fact, the centennial state produced $100 billion more in 2019 than in 2009. The population also grew in tandem, with more than 750,000 new residents added in the same time frame.
Both GDP and population growth took a hit due to COVID-19; a common thread in many locations worldwide. However, according to new research from CU Boulder, Colorado is set to make a full recovery in 2022. That means, despite the challenges of COVID-19, Colorado is as desirable now as it was before the pandemic.
As the state recovers, the value of individual expertise will continue to skyrocket. If you have a skill set that a growing mountain state needs, chances are, you’re going to be in high demand.
2. The Year-round Active Lifestyle
Hiking in the Great Sand Dunes. Photo by: Zach Dischner
Fitness is a critical aspect of Colorado culture. Denver, Fort Collins, Colorado Springs, and Boulder routinely make it into the top ten list for healthiest cities in the nation. And in a state with so many outdoor highlights, it makes sense to be fit enough to see them.
Since being active is so revered, there is no shortage of ways to tap into a health-conscious culture. Whether you’re into biking, yoga, or something else entirely, you’ll find tons of options in Colorado.
If you’re new to the state, it often helps to join classes and programs that distill the fitness lifestyle for you. With a helping hand and a body-positive attitude, Colorado can be explored to your heart’s content.
When the rest of the country thinks of Colorado, it’s usually related to snowy mountains and winter sports. And to their credit, winter is a huge selling point for the state, but that’s not the whole story.
Snow across the Colorado high country. Photo by: Timo Holmquist
Colorado has outdoor fun all year long. The spring is quieter but features snowmelt-fueled whitewater rafting, outdoor festivals, hiking, wildflowers, and backcountry skiing at the higher elevations.
While summer features a predictable influx of tourists, don’t discount Colorado’s 14.5 million acres of public lands. As the snow retreats, access opens up. So, whether it’s summiting 14ers, jumping into alpine lakes, backpacking, rock climbing, mountain biking, or hiking, options abound.
Looking down the Trough, a steep section of the scramble up Longs Peak in RMNP. Photo by: Timo Holmquist
Autumn, like spring, is often quieter but no less spectacular. If you’ve never seen the Aspens turn, get yourself to some prime leaf-peeping areas. And if you want to hold on to summer a bit longer, travel to where the desert meets the mountains; Great Sand Dunes National Park, Dinosaur National Monument, Black Canyon of the Gunnison, and the four corners region are all hits.
If you’re not into skiing or riding, winter can still provide exceptional experiences. There are many places where you can try cross-country skiing, take a dogsledding ride or snowshoe. For more adventure, consider giving ice climbing a try.
Now, if you are into skiing and riding, Colorado has…
3. World Class Ski Resorts
Admiring the steeper runs at Beaver Creek on a cloudy December day. Photo by: Timo Holmquist
When it comes to top ski destinations in the contiguous US, Colorado is always near the top of the list. Benefitting from light, fluffy powder, and 32 operating ski resorts, it’s hard to go wrong here.
Your options are as varied as the terrain. If you’re into no-frills skiing, you’ll find plenty to celebrate at A-Basin, Monarch, Wolf Creek, and Loveland. If you enjoy the fancy resort experience, head to Vail, Aspen, Telluride, or Beaver Creek. There are also hidden gems like Purgatory, Ski Cooper, Crested Butte, Powderhorn, and Eldora.
If you’re a veteran skier or rider looking for an extra challenge, head to Silverton Mountain or check out Bluebird Backcountry, the nation’s first in-bounds backcountry ski area. Whatever your flavor, Colorado’s got it.
4. Outdoor Events
Nestled between iconic geology, Red Rocks Amphitheater is a must-see venue. Photo by: Pete
Even though the mountains tend to steal the spotlight, Colorado has a ton of fantastic outdoor events all across the state.
If you’ve never been to Red Rocks, find a time to see a show at arguably the prettiest outdoor venue ever created. If you like snow and Norse legends, head over to Breckenridge every December to celebrate UllrFest.
In the summer, consider a visit to Keystone to partake in the annual Bacon and Bourbon Fest. Durangos yearly Animas River Days is also a blast, featuring paddlers of all varieties, beer, and a street parade.
For a full list of Colorado’s outdoor events, head over to our events page.
5. Finding a work-life balance is easy
Downtown Denver. Photo by: James Hernandez
Life should be fun. Time spent outside of the office is meant to be refreshing. In such an outdoor-oriented state, finding a healthy work-life balance can be easier than you think.
Many of the state’s top employers realize that happy employees produce better work, so they often line up perks like discounted ski passes or generous PTO. Even if they don’t, a weekend is all you need to take advantage of spectacular outdoor scenery or encapsulating cultural events.
Much of the outdoor-centric and positive ethos of Colorado stems from a good work-life balance. If you nail that presentation on Friday morning, you could be skiing by the afternoon.
6. Breweries as far as the eye can see
Denver Beer Co. Photo by: Adam Bruderer
Beer isn’t just a beverage in Colorado; it’s become a lifestyle. From well-known favorites such as Coors to local gems like ODell, New Belgium, Ska Brewing, and more, there’s never a lack of new beers to try.
A classic Colorado pastime is brewery hopping on a warm summer day. Nothing beats a cold IPA on a sunny patio!
As always, drink responsibly, and try to remember, Colorado is the highest average state in terms of elevation. The higher the elevation, the less alcohol you need to get buzzed.
7. Job Options
The Downtown Denver skyline is expanding. Photo by: Dave Dugdale
Remember the economic opportunity we talked about before? Well, it’s positively affected the job market. According to the Denver Post, Colorado’s job growth is the “strongest and most consistent” it’s been since the mid-1990s.
Denver has also positioned itself as one of the best cities for the outdoor industry and for young professionals. Outside of Denver, the ski industry is booming, with billions of dollars in revenue generated every year and a revolving door of job possibilities from seasonal to full-time work.
In addition, the Airforce Academy and SpaceForce call Colorado Springs home, meaning there are a number of positions available to work for the armed forces. On the civilian side, aerospace design and engineering jobs are growing as well to support both military endeavors and Denver International Airport, currently the third busiest in the US and a massive employer itself.
Want to keep it local? Breweries, coffee shops, and even dispensaries are in constant need of dedicated employees to sustain their growth. Speaking of dispensaries…
8. Let’s talk about Cannabis
A commercial grow house. Photo by: Coleen Danger
We couldn’t get through a list of reasons why people move to Colorado without acknowledging marijuana. People flock to Colorado to enjoy legal cannabis. A lot of people came to get a slice of the burgeoning new business early on, and many families made the move to take advantage of breakthroughs in medical marijuana.
Marijuana growth taxes have also created extra revenue for the state to provide basic services to residents. Additionally, continuing research provides insights into the benefits of not only marijuana but hemp as well.
While legalization slowly chugs across the rest of the country, Colorado will always be seen as a forerunner of how to responsibly accept and regulate this industry.
9. It’s a great place to get right with Mother Nature
Chatfield Lake sunrise. Photo by: Michael Levine-Clark
It’s no secret that Colorado has an absolutely magnificent natural landscape. From the plains to the mountains, it’s beautiful through and through. It’s no wonder outdoor buffs near and far have set their sights on the southern Rockies.
Many people are quick to point out the number of mountain activities you can do here, but there are a number of different environments that make Colorado special.
One of a few Ancient Puebloan cliff-dwellings in Mesa Verde National Park. Photo by: Timo Holmquist
The eastern part of the state is dominated by the high plains, featuring expansive grasslands, prairie dogs aplenty, and a seemingly unending sky. Far western and southern Colorado flirts with the desert, where natural sandstone arches, canyons, and Native American history mingle. The high country not only provides the majority of outdoor recreation but also collects the critical snowfall needed to water the rest of the state.
And while our nearest ocean may be quite far, the abundance of alpine lakes can keep you entertained for decades. Taken together, the geographic diversity of the state allows you to truly get right with nature.
A large Elk grazes in Rocky Mountain National Park. Photo by: Christine Warner
Colorado is a big state with a lot of interesting wildlife. And while it is far from the only western state to feature fascinating animals, your access to prime viewing areas is quite good.
Rocky Mountain National Park in, particular, is a mecca for wildlife viewing, and when Trail Ridge Road is open, provides countless opportunities to see them. If you’re lucky, you can see Ptarmigans, Coyotes, Black Bears, Moose, Pikas, Marmots, Bighorn Sheep, and Elk. Estes Park, located on the park’s eastern fringe, is world-famous for its autumn Elk rut.
A curious Pika, one of many fascinating species in Colorado. Photo by: Don Owens
Less frequent but more intimidating are the big cats. Colorado has a few thousand mountain lions, lynx, and bobcats. These big cats are relatively elusive, but encounters do happen, especially in the more remote, western slope areas of the state. If you end up moving to an area with a lot of wilderness nearby, consider setting up a trail camera to see what’s out there.
Wolves used to frequent the centennial state but went extinct due to overhunting in the early 1900s. However, in 2019 a wolf migrated into the state from neighboring Wyoming. Others followed, and there are currently a handful of wolves calling Colorado home with at least six pups among them.
11. Access to neighboring states is a major perk
Yellowstone’s Old Faithful erupts. Photo by: Partha Chowdhury
Colorado’s position within America is unique as well. Once you’ve settled into your centennial state life, break out the maps.
Only an 8-11 hour road trip separates you from the magnificent geological beauty of Utah’s deserts and the timeless marvel of Wyoming’s National Parks. Heading south, you can be in romantic Santa Fe within six hours or at the edge of the Grand Canyon within 11. To the northeast, another six-hour drive puts you in the Black Hills of South Dakota, where you can admire the famous presidents of Mt. Rushmore.
There’s endless access to nature’s splendor not only within Colorado but next door as well. It’s a camper’s dream!
12. Interesting Museums
Red t-rex at the Denver Art Museum. Photo by: Thomas Hawk
Are you into dinosaurs? There’s a museum for that. Trains? There’s one for that too. Giant bugs? Believe it or not, there’s a museum for that as well.
Some of our favorite museums in Denver include the Denver Art Museum, the Museum of Nature and Science, Forney Museum of Transportation, and Wings over the Rockies Air and Space Museum.
Outside the capital, make sure to check out the Colorado Springs Pioneer Museum, Buffalo Bill Museum and Grave in Golden, Colorado Ski and Snowboard Museum in Vail, and the National Mining Museum in Leadville.
The point is, Colorado is loaded with interesting museums ready to fill your noggin with knowledge.
13. Professional Sports!
Mile High Stadium – home of the Denver Broncos. Photo by: Heath Alseike
Being the fitness-focused state that we are, it should come as no surprise that there are always sporting events to attend.
Denver is the epicenter of major league sports action in Colorado, and the city has a little bit of everything. Whatever your fancy, the capital has you covered: Denver Broncos football, Colorado Rockies baseball, Denver Nuggets basketball, Colorado Avalanche hockey, and Colorado Rapids soccer.
The pro teams here are also quite competitive. The Broncos have won the Super Bowl three times, the Avalanche have won the Stanely Cup twice, and the Denver Nuggets have made the playoffs with regularity the last few years.
Elevation = 1 mile. Photo by: Al Case
There’s also NASCAR racing action at Colorado National Speedway and pro golf (PGA) tournaments held at Castle Rock’s Castle Pines Golf Club. Naturally, there are plenty of minor league teams in the state, too. Watch from the sidelines or get involved with community sports as a player or a coach.
And while all the major league teams in the state call Denver and its suburbs home, the mountains have a lot to offer as well. The Winter X Games occur in Aspen every January, along with the World-Cup ski races held at Beaver Creek in December. Colorado is also home to famous ultramarathons, bike races, skijoring, and a ton of recreational leagues for residents to explore.
Sports fans will find a perfect home in this action-adventure culture.
14. There are so many amazing cities to explore
Old Town Fort Collins. Photo by: Christopher Rosenberger
Colorado is more than just Vail and Denver. And while both of them are great, expanding your horizons will take you to some incredible places.
There’s Durango and Telluride to the southwest, Fort Collins to the north, and Colorado Springs smack in the middle. Grand Junction gets you closest to the state’s best wine region, and Steamboat Springs has skiing and hot springs.
A couple of paragraphs doesn’t even scratch the surface of what’s out there. And knowing there’s more to uncover makes exploring new places a lot easier!
15. Dog owners fit right in
Colorado dog pups. Photo by: Deborah Lee Soltesz
There’s arguably no better place to raise a pooch than in the Centennial State! In some places, it seems dogs outnumber people.
Between all the outdoor adventures you can take them on and all of the dog-friendly establishments, your pup will be in heaven. Each town boasts a plethora of dog parks and nearby open space to get some play in with your pups.
Keep in mind that dogs are not allowed in national parks, aside from campgrounds and a few paved areas; however, national forest land, BLM land, and open spaces are all dog friendly.
16. There’s a great shopping and dining scene
Outlets at Castle Rock.
There’s a surprising amount of great places to shop in Colorado, especially in the largest cities such as Denver and Colorado Springs. Those areas are loaded with shopping malls and centers. But smaller places have a lot to offer too!
Fort Collins, for instance, has a great boutique and consignment store scene, and Castle Rock, Silverthorne, and Loveland have terrific outlet malls. Find the bargain brands for less at the factory stores and then go explore the mountains in your designer fashions.
For those looking to do more ritzy transactions, head to Cherry Creek North in Denver. Or perhaps take to the alpine town of Aspen for upscale shopping at high elevation…now that’s a workout (on your wallet).
17. The people are nice and welcoming (for the most part)
Nightclub crowd. Photo by: messycupcakes
Hands down, one of the best parts about Colorado is the people that call it home. This state is chock-full of kind, warm-hearted residents.
Of course, there are a few bad apples and an annoying “please stop moving here” vibe, which is ultimately ironic since it usually comes from transplants. Nevertheless, true Coloradans are laid back, adventure-happy, and easy to get along with.
If you do decide to make the move to Colorado, rest assured, you’ll find your people.
18. Real estate values are (relatively) reasonable
Cozy front range home. Photo by: Lee Stonehouse
Colorado is a desirable place to live, so real estate values here certainly aren’t as low as they are in other parts of America. On the other hand, the cost of homes in Denver and other Colorado cities isn’t nearly as high as in places like New York City or San Francisco.
The median average cost of a home in Colorado is currently over $500,000, according to Zillow.com. If you buy after your move, you may anticipate a great return on your investment, as real estate values have risen by over six percent during the past twelve months and are expected to rise by another 8.8% within the following twelve months. Getting on the property ladder in Colorado now may lead to big dividends later on when you decide to sell.
A nice perk to Colorado is its lower property taxes. It ranks third lowest out of fifty states.
19. Low Humidity and Sunny Days
Blue skies and lots of sunshine in the Centennial State. Photo by: Timo Holmquist
For anyone who’s lived in a rainy area, this is always a selling point. Many communities from the front range to the western slope can claim roughly 300 days of sunshine a year.
The metric is used loosely, however, and a day when the sun pokes its head out for about an hour counts as a “sunny” day. Even still, the chances to have a lovely snowstorm one night and blue skies the next are pretty high in Colorado.
Another big reason Coloradans thrive here is the relative absence of humidity. With less moisture in the air, the temperature readings are closer to what you feel on a day-to-day basis. In areas with high humidity, the actual temperature can feel a lot hotter or colder than what’s displayed because the air is so saturated.
Additionally, 300 days of sunshine means Colorado sees a whole lot of…
20. Crystal Clear Night Skies
A dazzling array of stars and galaxies above eastern Colorado. Photo by: Bryce Bradford
If you live in a large city, stargazing isn’t usually that spectacular, but in Colorado, a little drive can make a big difference. In order to see layers upon layers of stars, all you need to do is position a few mountains between you and city lights; or travel into the sparsely populated eastern part of the state.
There are several locations in the state that serves as dark sky parks, including Dinosaur National Monument. In those areas, not only can you see hundreds of stars, but the whole arc of the Milky Way Galaxy and shooting stars aplenty.
Some meteor showers and shooting stars can be so bright that many mistake them for UFOs. Not surprisingly, Colorado has recorded over 2,000 UFO sightings. And while the jury’s out on extraterrestrial life, with skies as clear as Colorado’s, it’s easy to feel like there may be alien life out there.
Ready to Relocate Yet?
Tunnel on Highway 160. Photo by: Scrubhiker
The Centennial State is a land of opportunity, thanks to robust economic growth and more natural beauty than one lifetime can experience. If you’re interested in moving to Colorado, as many are, start with a scouting trip to see if you like what we have.
When you commit, plan out your move, use our tips on relocation, analyze the pros and cons, and then prepare to enjoy everything that Colorado has to offer.