Folks in Denver often refer to the area just south of downtown as LoDo, short for Lower Downtown. And while that certainly is one of the most popular places to work and play in the Denver area, one of the Best Places to Retire is 10 miles south of that, in the suburb of Littleton. With a population of less than 45,000, Littleton provides small-town ambience – including a crime rate that is about half the national average – with easy access to nearby big-city amenities. Residents get to enjoy the changing of the seasons, from toasty summers to snowy winters. All of this apparently has an appeal to retirees, since the median age of Littleton is approximately five years older than Colorado overall.
Littleton is not an inexpensive place to live. Median home prices are in excess of $300,000 and the cost of living is greater than the national average. In addition, Colorado taxes Social Security benefits, and the overall tax rates are among the highest-third in the nation. But Littleton also is a well-educated city (approximately 94 percent of the adult residents are high-school graduates and nearly half have a college degree) with an average income well above the national average, so the city tends to attract more prosperous retirees.
Walking is encouraged in Littleton, especially along the downtown Main Street, which is lined with historic century-old buildings that house more than 200 shops and businesses. Art galleries, antique stores, clothing boutiques, charming restaurants and trendy bars are all within easy walking distance. And of course, being in the shadow of the Rocky Mountains, there are plenty of outdoor recreational opportunities, as well. The downtown area connects to a series of hiking and biking trails that lead to parks, lakes and the nearby South Platte River. One of the most popular routes is the 2.7-mile Deer Creek Canyon Park trail, which provides scenic views of the Denver skyline.
The proximity to Denver – with its abundance of entertainment, sports and dining options – certainly is part of the appeal of living in Littleton. But residents don’t necessarily have to venture into the big city to have a good time, since special events take place in Littleton nearly every week. The highlight is Western Welcome Week, a 10-day-long series of events that has been held every year since the 1920s. Music lovers have options ranging from the Littleton Symphony Orchestra to the Littleton Rocks outdoor concert series. The city kicks off the December holiday season the week after Thanksgiving with the annual Candlelight Walk and Tree Lighting ceremony.