Cost of Living Index (100 is U.S. Avg., lower is better): 112
Civic Engagement Index (100 is U.S. Avg., higher is better): 124
Crime Rate (100 is U.S. Avg., lower is better): 56
Quality of Schools: 8/10
7. Louisville, CO
Louisville (pronounced LOO-WIS-VILL) is no stranger to our Best Small Towns list, ranking #6 on it in 2015. This picturesque town with a population of 18,000 is nestled in the Boulder Valley at the foot of the Flatiron Mountain Range. Good schools, small-town charm and an abundance of outdoor recreation options help place Louisville on this year's list of the 10 Best Small Towns.
Louisville families are served by the Boulder Valley School District which includes one high school, a middle school and three elementary schools, and all of the town's schools consistently rank among the state's best.
"The residents of Louisville have dedicated themselves to building and maintaining a community that is dedicated to a high standard of livability through planned development and wise, sustainable city management," says Boulder Valley Schools Superintendent Dr. Bruce K. Messinger. "A key element in making Louisville so livable is its commitment to its children through its strong support of five Boulder Valley School District schools – Coal Creek, Fireside, and Louisville elementary schools, Monarch K-8 School, and Monarch High School. These schools, with a total enrollment of more than 3,000 students are among the highest achieving schools in the Boulder Valley School District."
Housing options range from apartments and condos to charming bungalows and Victorians. Neighborhoods feature wide, winding streets and most are an easy walk to a park or open space. Boulder County is an outdoor mecca with an abundance of parks and open spaces, such as the fairly new Louisville Community Park and its adjacent trails, the par-72 Coal Creek Golf Course and the 1,700-plus acres of city-owned open space. Louisville's infrastructure makes it easy to walk or bike to your destination, and many people do.
"Louisville places a great emphasis on providing amenities that support the healthy, outdoor lifestyle that Colorado is so famous for nationally. Louisville has extensive bike and walk paths that provide exercise opportunities and contribute to environmental sustainability by reducing the need for driving," Messinger says.
What attracts many people to Louisville is the small-town charm. It's one of the few towns in Colorado that still has a Main Street lined with historic architecture, a variety of small businesses and shops, such as the State Mercantile, and locally-owned restaurants, such as the Blue Parrot and the Empire.
Founded as a coal mining town, Louisville now boasts a thriving economy that's a mix of big business and innovative entrepreneurs. ConocoPhillips, for example, chose Louisville as the site for its 400-acre research and education complex. The town also offers residents a high level of public services, including the Louisville Public Library, new police and fire stations and a new recreation and senior center. Louisville is surrounded by convenience. It's minutes from Boulder and the University of Colorado at Boulder, and just 20 minutes from Denver. Residents have quick and easy access to collegiate and professional sporting events, arts, music, theatre, festivals and a host of other culturally diverse activities.