Aurora, CO aerial view

2021 Top 100 Best Places to Live In America Sponsored by: See homes for sale on Movoto by OJO

liv score
How We Calculate Our Data
Civics 38
Demographics 67
Economy 71
Education 48
Health 58
Housing 57
Infrastructure 44

#36. Aurora, CO

There’s a meme that circulated a while back that went something like this: “I just want to be loved the way people in Colorado love Colorado.” It’s true; there’s a lot to swoon over in the Centennial State, and Aurora, CO offers that covetable Colorado lifestyle. It’s a neighbor to Denver, close to the Denver International Airport and an hour’s drive west will put you to the mountains.

Aurora ranks high in the demographics category as a minority-majority city, with a diverse population of Latino, African American, Asian and foreign-born residents. The economy is solid, with a medical campus, Air Force base and aerospace businesses providing many job opportunities. Of course, weekends are for exploring, whether that’s the 103 miles of trails or the unassuming strip mall restaurants with food so good you’ll become a regular.

Top Colleges/Universities: The University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus and Aurora Community College

Top Industries & Employers: You’ll find jobs galore in Aurora, with industries spanning several sectors. Buckley Air Force Base, University of Colorado Hospital, Children’s Hospital Colorado are all located here. Plus, there are several aerospace companies and government contractors, including Northrop Grumman, Lockheed Martin and Raytheon.

Weekend Plans: Book a staycation at the Gaylord Rockies Resort and Convention Center. Indoor waterslides and pools mean you can have a pool day even when it’s snowing outside. The Gaylord is a year-round destination, but the holiday programming is magical. We’re talking about Cirque shows, cameos by Santa, an outdoor adventure park with ice bumper cars, tubing, and an ice skating rink. 

Favorite Place to Feast: The Stanley Marketplace, an airy, made-over factory building that’s home to several restaurants. Some favorites are New York-style bagels from Rosenberg’s Bagels and Delicatessen, as well as griddled tacos and spicy margaritas from Comida. For a memorable meal, make a dinner reservation at award-winning Annette, a sweet restaurant built around a wood-fired grill that roasts fish and chicken to perfection.

Beloved Beverage: Craft beer culture pours over from Denver into Aurora. Lady Justice Brewing Company is a local favorite. This Latina-founded, queer-and-woman-owned brewery creates tasty IPAs and partners with nonprofits.

Outdoorsy Activity: You’ve got options. Aurora has 8,000 acres of open space. Shoot around at Hoops Park, go paddleboarding at Cherry Creek Reservoir or enjoy a peaceful walk through the Jewell Wetlands, with a stop in the butterfly garden. 

Why Your Pet Will Love It, Too: When it comes to dog parks, the one at Cherry Creek State Park is top dog. Dogs can run around in a 107-acre open space bisected by a creek. So it’s no wonder 250,000 dog lovers visit this area each year.

Remote Work Perk: Glorious mountain views from your home office — enough said. 

One More Thing … Reflecting its diverse population, there are more than 250 ethnic eateries in Aurora

– Brittany Anas

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