What makes Boulder so special?
By Scott Franklund
Colorado’s Front Range, which encompasses both the Boulder and Denver real estate markets, is a hotbed of opportunity for a multitude of reasons. The area averages 300 days of sunshine per year, second only to Miami. But that’s just the beginning.
Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magazine recently ranked Boulder, Colorado, No. 4 on its list of “10 best cities for the next decade.” Why? Because this thriving community is more than a town. It’s an experience. From the jagged rock formations known as the Flatirons that rise dramatically from Boulder’s western foothills to the Spanish-tile roofs crowning the timeless architecture of the University of Colorado campus, Boulder is a community that has masterfully merged natural beauty with institutional tradition, artistic expression and a zest for innovation.
Boulder’s physical splendor makes it a playground for cyclists, hikers, climbers and runners of every ability level. It was recently named the third best bike city in America by Bicycling magazine and last year was ranked fourth best running city by Runner’s World magazine.
As a college town, Boulder boasts a highly academic population that helps feed the entrepreneurial spirit that largely defines much of the area’s business environment. Boulder is home to more than 6,600 small businesses and corporations and the city was just named America’s best city for tech start-ups in a Bloomberg Businessweek report. Boulder is a unique market because its inherently appealing characteristics— recreation, fine dining, the arts, business, technology, academics, family life and many more — make it highly desirable to so many walks of life. But the common denominator is that people are happy in Boulder and it shows.
As a native, I have watched Boulder’s superb quality of life earn the city countless top rankings on national “best of” lists. Consider these recent media accolades:
- Happiest and Healthiest City, Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index
- Top 25 Destinations in the US, TripAdvisor
- Top Ten Best Places to Live in America, RelocateAmerica
- America’s Smartest City, Forbes magazine
- West’s 20 Best Small Towns, Sunset magazine, 2009
- Top Ten Best Midsize Metropolitan Areas, bizjournals.com
- America’s Top Town to Live Well, Forbes.com
- Ten Top Wine Destinations, Food & Wine
- No. 1 City to Raise an Outdoor Kid, Backpacker magazine
- Best Cities for Gen Ys, BusinessWeek.com
- America’s ‘Greenest City’ (multiple awards)
Adding to Boulder’s allure is its close proximity to Colorado’s state capital, Denver, which is just 35 minutes southeast of Boulder. Nicknamed the “Mile High City” (its altitude is 5,280 feet … one mile above sea level), Denver is a vibrant metropolis with the professional sports teams, major music venues, extensive park system, great restaurants, shopping districts, a thriving arts community, night life and the overall ‘hip factor’ expected of a major American city. And it’s located just an hour from the world-class ski resorts that draw millions of snow-seeking tourists from around the globe.
Denver has become a major hub for business due to its equidistant location between the west and east coasts as well as easy access from Denver International Airport to Canada and Mexico. Like Boulder, Denver’s diverse attributes and superior quality of life have helped it weather the economic storm better than many cities its size. In May 2009, Denver was featured on the Today Show/MSNBC as the No. 1 city in the nation where the housing market is most likely to recover, calling Denver “the perfect real estate success story.” The rating was based on eight recovery potential characteristics: job growth, growing population, good weather, first-time buyers, no overbuilding, vital downtown, educated populations and foreclosures that occurred earlier in the recession time frame.