Best Places to Live

Fort Collins, CO

Population: 170,243
LIV
SCORE
760
iStock/RiverNorthPhotography

No surprise here — set against the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, Fort Collins is a vibrant and growing city that’s overflowing with opportunity. Families with small children, creatives, outdoor enthusiasts and high-tech entrepreneurs all feel at home in Fort Collins, the largest city in northern Colorado. With Colorado State University in the middle of town, innovation and enthusiasm course throughout the city, which is also a hub for craft beer innovation. Plus, when you move here, you’ll instantly feel connected – Fort Collins has a friendly, welcoming culture with tons of groups, spaces and activities designed to bring people together, no matter your interests.

Top Industries: Education, manufacturing, high-tech and healthcare

Best Coffee Shop: Bindle Coffee, a hip spot within Jessup Farm Artisan Village, which is home to lots of other makers, artisans and food and drink purveyors.

Best Local Beer/Brewery: Fort Collins is one of America's premier craft beer cities. It has so many awesome craft breweries, big and small, why pick just one? One of the best ways to experience the beer scene here? Hop on a bike and cruise to all the breweries around town — New Belgium, Odell’s and Horse & Dragon, just to name a few.

Must-Have Meal: Anything on the menu at the Rio Grande, a beloved Colorado restaurant chain that started in Fort Collins in 1986.

Best Co-Working Space: The Articulate, which has all the amenities you need to get your work done (including craft beer on tap!). It’s also home to a professional photo and video studio.

Best Meetup Spot (When Meeting Up Is a Thing Again): You’ll find Fort Collins professionals hiking, running or cycling after work during the warmer months, when the sunset is later. Otherwise, you might find them at The Exchange, an open-air plaza with cocktails, craft beer, food and donuts served out of repurposed shipping containers.

Creative Hub: Wolverine Farm, a nonprofit community gathering space that doubles as a publishing house. Events range from a social justice book club to poetry open mic nights to open craft sessions. They also have a monthly “drink and draw” meetup, if having a few beers while filling your sketchbook is your jam.

Favorite Weekend Activity: Hiking around or boating on Horsetooth Reservoir, the long, skinny body of water on the far west side of town. Or browsing the racks at CSU Surplus Property, which is like a thrift shop on steroids. Here, you’ll find all sorts of gently used items owned by Colorado State and its students — computers, sports gear, weird laboratory equipment and more, all being kept out of the landfill.

Free Way to Have Fun: Exploring the more than 36,000 acres and 100 miles of trail encompassed within Fort Collins’ 50 protected Natural Areas.

Read More: 
Why Fort Collins, CO is One of the Best Places to Live 
How to Delight All Your Senses in Fort Collins, CO 
6 Reasons to Move to Fort Collins, CO

- Sarah Kuta

“We are a friendly city that has many things to offer, including natural areas, bike trails and a vibrant downtown. Being a university city means there is an evergreen freshness of youthful energy and a vibrant business community anchored by high-tech companies and breweries.”

Wade Troxell
Mayor of Fort Collins

Fort Collins, CO Ranking Data

Civic
72
Demographics
42
Economy
65
Education
71
Health
69
Housing
62
Infrastructure
67