Best Places to Live Colorado 2022 | Westword

Ten Best Places to Live in Colorado Now

One community on the list suffered a recent disaster.
A typical home in Holly Hills.
A typical home in Holly Hills. YouTube
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The 2022 list of the top ten places to live in Colorado from the Niche website offers an intriguing lineup led once again by Holly Hills, a community in Arapahoe County that's topped this particular roster each of the previous two years. It's also number one on several other Niche lists, including best Colorado suburbs, best places to raise a family in Colorado, best places to buy a house in Colorado, best places to retire in Colorado, and more, more, more.

But this year's best-places ranking come with a big asterisk. Finishing in third place for the state is the Town of Superior, which was devastated by the Marshall fire at the end of December. According to an official assessment conducted in early January, 378 structures there were destroyed in the conflagration and 58 were damaged, resulting in an actual value of residential loss estimated at $152,757,462.

Niche spokesperson Natalie Tsay confirms that the research leading to Superior's superior achievement was conducted prior to the blaze, "so none of that would've factored in," then adds: "What a horrible tragedy that is."

As for the top overall place in Colorado, Niche offers this: "Living in Holly Hills offers residents a rural feel and most residents own their homes. In Holly Hills there are a lot of bars, restaurants, coffee shops, and parks. Many families and retirees live in Holly Hills and residents tend to lean conservative. The public schools in Holly Hills are highly rated."

Holly Hills scored high nationally as well, coming in ninth among Niche's choices for the ten best American suburbs. Here's the rundown:
1. Chesterbrook (suburb of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)
2. Penn Wynne (suburb of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)
3. Ardmore (suburb of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)
4. Los Alamos, New Mexico
5. Carmel, Indiana
6. Great Neck Plaza (suburb of New York City, New York)
7. Okemos (suburb of Lansing, Michigan)
8. Richmond Heights (suburb of St. Louis, Missouri)
9. Holly Hills (suburb of Denver, Colorado)
10. Brookline (suburb of Boston, Massachusetts)
And these are Colorado's top ten places to live, dominated by sections of the greater metro area.
1. Holly Hills
2. Cherry Creek
3. Superior
4. Inverness
5. North Park Hill
6. Greenwood Village
7. Castle Pines
8. Highlands Ranch
9. South Park Hill
10. Centennial
Tsay, who consulted with Niche's data team in answering Westword's questions, says that Holly Hills attained its status both in Colorado and nationwide because it "performed very well across the board, but particularly in three factors that collectively make up 25 percent of the overall Best Places to Live ranking. It received high marks for the quality of its public schools, its suitability for families and also for housing."

She adds that the best Colorado communities all "had to have strong scores in cost of living, higher education rate, housing and public schools. There's a lot of competition within the state! Altogether, those four factors compose 45 percent of the final ranking." Click to read the complete methodology used for the best-places list; similar standards are applied to rankings for best cities, best suburbs and scads of subcategories.

As for the categories in which Colorado cities frequently came up short, Tsay acknowledges that many "did not score well in the affordability and housing factors. When you look at Niche's Best Places or even Best Cities in America, you'll notice some of the highest-ranking places aren't ones you'd necessarily predict. That's because our methodology is designed to celebrate places that have a lot to offer, but are also affordable."

Nonetheless, the majority of the Colorado areas earning salutes tend toward affluence. In explaining why things turned out that way, Tsay insists that "no factor is based solely on household income, but we are aware that many of the metrics that town and city rankings (including ours) use can be skewed by a town's wealth. That's why we not only look at Cost of Living, but actually weight it as one of two heaviest factors in the Best Places to Live ranking. Cost of living and higher education rate each account for 12.5 percent of the final ranking."

By the way, the town that ranked first in Colorado for affordability is La Junta, in the southeastern quadrant of the state. "The town ranked 73rd most diverse in the state and did very well on the housing front, too," Tsay points out. "La Junta is one of several great examples of a place that combines affordability and quality."
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