Nicknamed the "Gateway to the Rockies," Aurora, CO, has long welcomed explorers, visitors and relocating families to the Centennial State. While some consider Aurora a suburb of neighboring Denver, residents know the city holds it own, with a vibrant arts scene, ample outdoor recreation opportunities and access to the highest quality health care. With these quality of life amenities, it's no wonder Aurora ranked in the top 50 on our list of Best Places to Live. Here are eight reasons you should move to Aurora.
1. It's "The Most Active City in America"
The city of Aurora boasts some 100 parks and more than 5,000 acres of protected open space that encourage residents to enjoy a healthy and active lifestyle. In fact BetterDoctor.com named Aurora the country's most active city in 2015. The 1,800-acre Aurora Reservoir, for example, offers a wide range of outdoor recreation opportunities, from kayaking, sailing and windsurfing to biking, jogging and rollerblading.
2. It's a great place for raising your future pro athletes
Youth sports are a big part of life in Aurora. From volleyball and football to soccer and lacrosse, families can choose from a number of activities. Both the city and private organizations host youth leagues, and thanks to the 220-acre Aurora Sports Park, the city also plays host to a number of youth sports tournaments and competitions. The sports complex boasts 12 baseball/softball fields and 27 soccer and multi-use fields.
3. Their golf courses are on par with the best
Wide open spaces, a moderate climate with 243 days of sunshine and awesome mountain views combine to make Aurora a golfer's paradise. It also doesn't hurt that Aurora's mile-high elevation gives a golf swing a little more lift and distance. The city's golf trail includes nearly a dozen courses, including six award-winning municipal courses open to the public.
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4. And then there's the culture...
Anchored by the Aurora Cultural Arts District, the city's arts community – which includes the Aurora Symphony Orchestra, the Art in Public Places program and several galleries and museums – offers residents myriad performance, visual and public arts experiences. The Aurora Fox Arts Center, for example, presents an annual calendar of musical and theatrical performances as well as theater classes for the kids.
5. They have lotsa great hospitals
Access to high-quality health care is a top reason to relocate to Aurora. The Children's Hospital Colorado is consistently ranked one of the best pediatric medical centers in the country, and the University of Colorado Hospital – the primary teaching hospital for the University of Colorado School of Medicine – was ranked among the top 50 hospitals by U.S. News and World Report. Aurora is also home to the Anschutz Medical Campus, a state-of-the-art research, education and patient care facility.
6. They have a long, fascinating history
One of the longest commercial streets in America runs straight through Aurora. Historic Colfax Avenue stretches for nearly 27 miles through Aurora, Denver, Golden and Lakewood. During the Colorado Gold Rush, Colfax Avenue was known as the Golden Road, welcoming miners from the east. Today, the street is still a commercial center for the city.
7. They offer diverse, delicious cuisine options
Aurora is known for its ethnically diverse restaurant scene. Whether you're in the mood for curry or sushi, you can find it in Aurora. But the city is also home to great classic American fare, such as the food at Sam's No. 3, an old-fashioned diner known for its burgers and one of the oldest restaurants in the region.
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8. It's a retail paradise
In addition to a mix of national chains and mom-and-pops, Aurora is also home to Southlands, one of the region's major retail hubs. The Southlands center features 1.7 million square feet of retail, dining and entertaining space, including a movie theater and full-size ice skating rink.