Why Aurora, CO, Is One of America's Best Places to Live
Can we talk about how awesome Aurora is?
The Colorado city of Aurora has a laid-back vibe that appeals to just about everyone — from millennials to veterans to immigrants to retirees.
Located on the southeast side of Denver, Aurora is less than an hour away from the Rocky Mountains, so you’ll have ample opportunity to hike, ski, snowboard and explore on the weekends. Plus, the city is actually just far enough away from the mountains to give you some pretty incredible views (the sunsets here will regularly inspire you to stop what you’re doing and snap a photo).
You don’t have to leave town to take advantage of Colorado’s mild weather, either. Aurora is home to six public golf courses, plenty of lakes for fishing and standup paddleboarding and miles of trails for horseback riding, hiking and biking.
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Aurora also puts you just a short drive away from Denver International Airport, where you can connect to nearly 200 destinations with non-stop flights (including 30 international locales), which makes it the perfect home base for retirees, business travelers and families who love to vacation.
With more than 360,000 residents, Aurora is the third largest city in Colorado — and it’s becoming increasingly diverse. Aurora is now a minority-majority city, with a sizeable population of Latino, African American, Asian and foreign-born residents. It’s also appealing to Coloradans of all ages — both Baby Boomers and millennials are flocking to Aurora.
Intrigued by this inclusive Colorado city? Here are eight reasons Aurora is a great place to live.
1. Arts And Culture
Think Aurora is just a boring, cookie-cutter suburb of Denver? Think again. Here you’ll find Vintage Theatre, an intimate venue with edgy shows and a vibrant youth theatre program. You can also catch live theater and other performances at the Aurora Fox Arts Center, a 1940s-era movie theatre that reopened as a performing arts center in the 1980s (you’ll find theatre education classes for kids here, too). The 1,100-acre Plain’s Conservation Center gives you a window into what life was like in Colorado in the mid-1800s, while the Aurora History Museum has rotating exhibits on topics like the city’s craft beer scene and prominent local families.
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Though it’s getting more challenging every day to buy a home along the Front Range, Aurora is one city in the Denver metro area where it’s still possible. In fact, Aurora has one of the healthiest housing markets in the nation, thanks to its relative affordability when compared to wages. Median home values for Aurora are around $320,000 right now, which is high compared to some parts of the country, but fairly affordable for this area of Colorado.
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3. Top-Notch Medical Care
Aurora is home to the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, a highly rated medical school where roughly 4,700 students learn the ins and outs of medicine, dentistry, nursing, public health and more. It’s also home to University of Colorado Hospital and Children’s Hospital Colorado, the top hospitals in the state (they also regularly earn high marks nationally).
4. Awesome Family-Friendly Activities
While the mountains will definitely tug at you to go hiking and skiing on the weekends, you don’t have to leave Aurora to have a good time. Case in point: your family will love a staycation at the new Gaylord Rockies Resort and Convention Center, an absolutely massive resort with an indoor and outdoor pool (complete with a lazy river) and a 75-foot screen for watching the Denver Broncos or Colorado Rockies. You’ll also want to check out Stanley Marketplace, a quirky, repurposed factory building that’s home to more than 50 businesses, including lots of restaurants, food stands, breweries, wineries and other places to try delicious goodies.
5. Craft Breweries
And while we’re on the subject of beer, you should know that Aurora is home to some seriously awesome breweries and taprooms (hey, if you’re moving to Colorado, you’ll want to become well-versed in craft beer). There’s the southern location of Dry Dock Brewing Co. (which makes a mouth-puckeringly delicious sour apricot beer), the nautical-themed Pilothouse Brewing Company, Launch Pad Brewery and Ursula Brewing, just to name a few.
Don’t drink beer? Haykin Family Cider is also located in Aurora and, if you’re lucky, you’ll get to pet the cidery’s official four-legged mascot, Soba Schnoodle, when you visit the tasting room.
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6. Jobs Galore
If you’re thinking of relocating, you should know that Aurora has tons of public and private employers located within its boundaries. There’s Buckley Air Force Base, University of Colorado Hospital and Medical Campus, Children’s Hospital Colorado, to name a few of the largest employers in Aurora. There are also a number of aerospace and bioscience companies located here, including Northrop Grumman, Lockheed Martin, Raytheon Company and Kaiser Permanente.
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7. Cherry Creek State Park
One of the absolute best places to take your four-legged friends in Colorado is located in Aurora, at the off-leash dog park at Cherry Creek State Park. You’ll have to pay the $3 off-leash area entry fee, but it’s so worth it (just ask Daisy below). Cherry Creek is unlike the small, fenced rectangular patches of grass you’re accustomed to when it comes to dog parks — it’s a 107-acre open space with a creek flowing through the middle. You can spend hours exploring the off-leash dog area, but if you splurge for the $10 daily park admission fee, you can also check out the rest of Cherry Creek State Park, which is incredible in its own right. There are 35 miles of multi-use trails, tons of species of birds and a giant reservoir for fishing, boating, sailing, swimming, jet-skiing and more.
If diversity is important to your family, Aurora Public Schools may be right up your alley. Students in the district come from more than 130 countries and speak more than 160 languages. The district’s staff is also diverse, with roughly 34 percent of employees identifying as Hispanic, African America, Asian or Native American. Plus, the district boasts an 18-to-1 student-to-teacher ratio across its 63 schools.