Boulder's performance in the report by the RewardExpert travel website isn't a tremendous surprise. After all, the community has been named the happiest city in the United States on multiple occasions, as well as America's best college town, and it's excelled on surveys about livability, tech jobs and more.
As for the other Colorado cities lauded by RewardExpert, Fort Collins's presence is also less than shocking, given its appearances on lists about the best cities for young families and the top places to live in Colorado, among others. But the same can't be said for Lakewood, Thornton and Arvada, all of which made the RewardExpert grade for great mid-size cities to visit.
Why did they score so well? The RewardExpert methodology offers the answers. The number-crunchers at the site analyzed cities with populations of between 100,000 and 300,000 based on four key metrics: affordability, safety, recreational activities and city profile, a catchall category that includes transportation and weather. The weighted breakdown is as follows:
Restaurant Price Index: Full Weight (7.7 percent)
Average Cost of a 3 Star Restaurant (7.7 percent)
Number of Restaurants per 10,000 residents (7.7 percent)
Number of Cafes per 10,000 residents (7.7 percent)
Number of Bars per 10,000 residents (7.7 percent)
Number of Museums per 10,000 residents (7.7 percent)
Number of Recreational and Amusement Activities per 10,000 residents (7.7 percent)
Crime Rate Index: Full Weight (7.7 percent)
Walkability Score: Full Weight (7.7 percent)
Public Transit Score: Full Weight (7.7 percent)
Number of Pleasant Days Per Year: Full Weight (7.7 percent)
Quality of Life Index: Full Weight (7.7 percent)
2017 Population (7.7 percent)
By these measures, Colorado's domination of the Mountain West region makes more sense — even if the prospect of people choosing Westminster (another place in the top 25) as a vacation spot may not compute for many folks beyond those who love living there.
Look below to see RewardExpert's top finishers in six U.S. regions, supplemented by text from the site. Then, on page two, view the complete Mountain West top 25, in order to see where all the Colorado cities landed.
Continue to see RewardExpert's 25 best mid-size cities to visit in the Mountain West, including nine in Colorado.