We recently noted that the Washington Post listed an astonishing sixteen Colorado counties among America's 100 best for climate and scenery.
The state made an equally impressive showing in Livability's Top 100 Best Places to Live ranking, predated to 2016.
The bad news: No Colorado cities made the second half of the list, from 51 to 100. And Denver didn't make the cut.
The good news: Seven appear among the first fifty. Actually, the first 44 — nearly 16 percent of the total for that portion of the list. And the winners are heavily weighted in favor of the letter "L."
Below, count down Colorado's top seven, featuring photos, Livability text and where each place fell among all cities. To see the original post, click here.
Number 7: Lafayette, Colorado
In recent years, Lafayette has experienced a rejuvenation of key commercial spaces that provide residents with more shopping and dining opportunities. Located in the rolling hills of the Front Range, Lafayette is just a short drive from both Denver and Boulder. Quality health-care facilities, varied housing options, and a politically and socially active population make Lafayette a great place to live. Residents have access to miles of trails and 19 parks.
Overall ranking: Number 44
Number 6: Loveland, Colorado
What’s not to love about Loveland? Sorry, couldn’t resist. But all kidding aside, this city - at the base of the Rocky Mountains - provides residents with quality health care, a strong economy and lots of things to do. Residents and visitors enjoy touring breweries, going on hikes, playing in the nearby lakes and checking out Loveland’s authentic arts community.
Overall ranking: Number 41
Number 5: Lakewood, Colorado
When they’re not admiring amazing views of the Rocky Mountains, residents of Lakewood enjoy a growing assortment of shops and restaurants, which is a result of the city’s strong economy. Among the largest employers in Lakewood is the Denver Federal Center, which has more than 7,000 workers. Lakewood schools perform well, and the city hosts Colorado Christian University. Outdoor attractions like the 2,600-acre Bear Creek Lake Park are easily accessible. See where Lakewood ranked on the 2014 Top 100 Best Places to Live.
Overall ranking: Number 26
Number 4: Littleton, Colorado
It seems like there’s always something going on in Littleton, a southern suburb of Denver. Nearly each week, residents can choose between art walks, concerts and festivals, including Western Welcome Week, an annual event that began in the late 1920s. A quaint downtown filled with shops and restaurants is surrounded by trails that lead to neighborhood parks, lakes, and the South Platte River.
Overall ranking: Number 24
Number 3: Longmont, Colorado
Located at the foot of the Rocky Mountains, Longmont offers not only easy access to spectacular hiking and mountain adventures but a thriving arts scene, great schools, affordable housing options, and quality health care. Longmont recently became a certified creative district for the state and features galleries, art exhibits and shops. A network of paved trails leads to more than 75 works of art located throughout the city.
Overall ranking: Number 23
Number 2: Fort Collins, Colorado
From its thriving microbreweries to its mountain views and hiking trails, Fort Collins has an enticing assortment of amenities that draw talented workers to the high-tech companies located here. Those companies include Hewlett Packard, Intel and National Semiconductor. Colorado State University plays a major part in the city’s economy and entertainment scene, while schools in Fort Collins rank high. It's been picked as one of the Healthiest Cities. Taking into account the city’s strong health-care options, diverse range of homes and recreational options, it’s easy to see why Fort Collins is one of the Top 100 Best Place to Live.
Overall ranking: Number 13
Number 1: Boulder, Colorado
Known as one of the best cities for liberals, Boulder spoils its 100,300 residents with pristine natural surroundings, a strong farm-to-table restaurant scene, and dynamic arts and cultural attractions. Each season brings more things to do in Boulder. Many of the city’s highly active residents plan their days around hikes, rock climbing, mountain biking and fishing. Schools in Boulder rank high, which has helped the city appear on the Top 100 since 2014.
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Overall ranking: Number 5