When most people think of calling it quits on a career, they immediately think of a move to Florida.
But not everyone wants to spend their golden years in Florida; some of us want to stay close to friends and family and within the great state of Colorado.
But where exactly in Colorado? Well, there’s only one place to go for the answer — data.
To that end, we have tried to identify the places in Colorado that are safe, affordable, and have plenty of things to keep you busy well into retirement.
What did we find after pouring through all the data? Let’s just say we hope folks in Littleton don’t mind us spreading the word.
Here are our top ten places in the Centennial State to retire for 2018:
- Littleton (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Louisville (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Montrose (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Loveland (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Lafayette (Homes For Sale)
- Windsor (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Denver (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Longmont (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Steamboat Springs (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Wheat Ridge (Photos | Homes For Sale)
How We Determined The Best Places To Retire In the Centennial State
To create our list of the best places in Colorado to retire, we first used Census data to find all places in the Centennial State with a population of at least 5,000 that aren’t townships.
This left us with 36 places from across the state.
For these 36, we looked at the following criteria taken from the Census, the FBI’s Crime Report, National Weather Service, and OpenFlights:
- Low cost of living as measured by rent
- Low crime
- Things to do (Museums, Colleges, and Libraries in town)
- Nice weather
- Distance to the closest international airport
- Other retirees (High median age)
We then ranked each of these places for each criteria from one to 36, with the lowest number being the best.
Finally, we took the average rank across these criteria. The place, in this case Littleton, with the lowest average rank was crowned the best of the best, a place for you to start your second careers.
Population: 45,072Median Rent: $1,066
Distance to Closest Airport: 26 miles
Crime Per 100k: 2,981
More on Littleton: Homes For Sale | Data
The city of Littleton’s history dates back to the 1859 Pike’s Peak Gold Rush, which brought not only gold seekers, but merchants and farmers to the community. Richard Sullivan Little was an engineer from New Hampshire who made his way out West to work on irrigation systems. Little soon decided to settle in the area at present day Littleton and brought his wife Angeline out from the East in 1862. The Littles, along with many neighbors, built the Rough and Ready Flour Mill in 1867, which provided a solid economic base in the community. By 1890, the community had grown to 245 people and the residents voted to incorporate the Town of Littleton.
Population: 19,016Median Rent: $806
Distance to Closest Airport: 195 miles
Crime Per 100k: 4,543
More on Montrose: Homes For Sale | Data
Montrose was incorporated on May 2, 1882 and named after Sir Walter Scott’s novel A Legend of Montrose. The Denver & Rio Grande railroad was built west toward Grand Junction and reached Montrose later in 1882, and the town became an important regional shipping center. A branch railroad line served the mineral-rich San Juan Mountains to the south.
Population: 73,360Median Rent: $1,018
Distance to Closest Airport: 43 miles
Crime Per 100k: 2,959
More on Loveland: Homes For Sale | Data
The city was founded in 1866 along the newly constructed line of the Colorado Central Railroad, near its crossing of the Big Thompson River. It was named in honor of William A.H. Loveland, the president of the Colorado Central Railroad. The city was founded one mile (1.6 km) upstream from the existing small settlement of St. Louis, the buildings of which were moved to the site of Loveland. For the first half of the 20th century the town was dependent on agriculture. The primary crops in the area were sugar beets and sour cherries. In 1901 the Great Western Sugar Company built a factory in Loveland, which remained as a source of employment until its closure in 1977. During the late 1920s the Spring Glade Orchard was the largest cherry orchard west of the Mississippi River. At that time the cherry orchards produced more than $1 million worth of cherries per year. A series of droughts, attacks of blight and finally a killer freeze destroyed the industry. By 1960 cherries were no longer farmed. In the late 20th century, the economy diversified with the arrival of manufacturing facilities by Hewlett-Packard, Teledyne, and Hach, a water quality analysis equipment manufacturer. A new medical center has added a substantial amount of employment in that sector as well.
On September 12, 2013 a historic flood affected numerous areas in Colorado. It rained heavily for 4 consecutive days, causing most rivers and creeks to overfill their banks. Estes Park received 8-12 inches of rain, causing Lake Estes to overfill its banks. This prompted a lot of water to be released out of the dam causing the Big Thompson River to swell. The flooding River caused sections of U.S. Highway 34 to collapse. Route 34 is the main highway from Loveland to Estes Park. The Big Thompson caused major flooding in Loveland, and caused numerous road closures because of flood waters. The Loveland/Fort Collins area received about 4 inches, which is relatively less significant compared to the amount of rain other places received. This flood is said[according to whom?] to be worse than the Big Thompson Flood of 1976. It also being called a 500-year flood. Five people were killed in the floods from the Cedar Cove neighborhood in the Big Thompson River Canyon.
Population: 27,053Median Rent: $1,260
Distance to Closest Airport: 24 miles
Crime Per 100k: 2,679
More on Lafayette: Homes For Sale | Data
Lafayette was founded in 1888 by Mary Miller. She and her husband, Lafayette Miller, had moved to the area to farm land acquired via the Homestead Act in 1871. In 1874 the Millers moved to Boulder. Lafayette Miller ran a butcher shop and was a town trustee. Lafayette Miller died in 1878, after which Mary Miller moved back to the farm with their six small children. In 1884 coal was discovered on the Miller farm, and in 1887 John Simpson sank the first shaft, thereby starting the coal mining era. In 1888 Mary Miller designated 150 acres (0.61 km2) of the farm for the town of Lafayette, which she named after her late husband. In July 1888 a second mine, the Cannon, went into operation and the first houses were built. On January 6, 1890, the town of Lafayette was incorporated. As stipulated in the original town deeds, no alcohol was sold east of what is now known as Public Road.
Population: 21,154Median Rent: $1,234
Distance to Closest Airport: 44 miles
Crime Per 100k: 1,143
More on Windsor: Homes For Sale | Data
In 1873, a settler named J.L. Hilton built a small house situated half-way between Greeley and Fort Collins. The ?half-way? house, as it became known, directed travelers along a route, which was soon adopted by the Greeley, Salt Lake and Pacific railway. The railroad brought investors and farmers to Windsor in increasing numbers. Windsor?s rich alluvial plains lent themselves to extensive wheat production and the establishment of one of the town?s first commercial enterprises, a flour mill, which through a subsequent fire in 1899, was rebuilt and became the Windsor Milling and Elevator Company.
Population: 663,303Median Rent: $1,035
Distance to Closest Airport: 13 miles
Crime Per 100k: 4,477
More on Denver: Homes For Sale | Data
In the summer of 1858, during the Pike’s Peak Gold Rush, a group of gold prospectors from Lawrence, Kansas established Montana City as a mining town on the banks of the South Platte River in what was then western Kansas Territory. This was the first historical settlement in what was later to become the city of Denver. The site faded quickly, however, and by the summer of 1859 it was abandoned in favor of Auraria (named after the gold-mining town of Auraria, Georgia) and St. Charles City.
On November 22, 1858, General William Larimer, a land speculator from eastern Kansas Territory, placed cottonwood logs to stake a claim on the bluff overlooking the confluence of the South Platte River and Cherry Creek, across the creek from the existing mining settlement of Auraria, and on the site of the existing townsite of St. Charles. Larimer named the townsite Denver City to curry favor with Kansas Territorial Governor James W. Denver. Larimer hoped the town’s name would help make it the county seat of Arapaho County but, unbeknownst to him, Governor Denver had already resigned from office. The location was accessible to existing trails and was across the South Platte River from the site of seasonal encampments of the Cheyenne and Arapaho. The site of these first towns is now the site of Confluence Park near downtown Denver. Larimer, along with associates in the St. Charles City Land Company, sold parcels in the town to merchants and miners, with the intention of creating a major city that would cater to new immigrants. Denver City was a frontier town, with an economy based on servicing local miners with gambling, saloons, livestock and goods trading. In the early years, land parcels were often traded for grubstakes or gambled away by miners in Auraria. In May 1859, Denver City residents donated 53 lots to the Leavenworth & Pike’s Peak Express in order to secure the region’s first overland wagon route. Offering daily service for ‘passengers, mail, freight, and gold,’ the Express reached Denver on a trail that trimmed westward travel time from twelve days to six. In 1863, Western Union furthered Denver’s dominance of the region by choosing the city for its regional terminus.
Population: 90,719Median Rent: $1,063
Distance to Closest Airport: 30 miles
Crime Per 100k: 2,857
More on Longmont: Homes For Sale | Data
Longmont was founded in 1871 by a group of people from Chicago, Illinois. Originally called the Chicago-Colorado Colony, the men sold memberships in the town and with the proceeds purchased the land necessary for the town hall. As the first planned community in Boulder County, the city streets were laid out in a grid plan in a square mile. The city began to flourish as an agricultural community after the building of the Colorado Central Railroad line arrived northward from Boulder in 1877. During the 1940s, Longmont began to grow beyond these original limits.
During the 1960s the federal government built an air traffic control center in Longmont, and IBM built a manufacturing and development campus near Longmont. As agriculture waned, more high technology has come to the city, including companies like Seagate and Amgen; Amgen closed its Longmont campus in 2015. In April 2009, the GE Energy Company relocated its control solutions business to the area.
9. Steamboat Springs
Population: 12,336Median Rent: $1,172
Distance to Closest Airport: 121 miles
Crime Per 100k: 2,675
More on Steamboat Springs: Homes For Sale | Data
The area surrounding Steamboat Springs was originally inhabited by the Yampatikas Utes, who hunted in the valley during the summer. Trappers began to move through the area during the first decades of the 19th century. James Harvey Crawford, the founder of Steamboat Springs, first arrived in the spring of 1874. The Crawford family moved there in 1876, and for the first five years were the sole permanent residents of the town. The native Utes were forcibly removed from the area to a reservation in Utah by the U.S. Army starting in 1879. Milestones in the development of the pioneer town included the first sawmill in 1873, incorporation of the town in 1900, and the arrival of the railroad in 1909. The economy of the region was originally based on ranching and mining, which still have a large presence in the county.
10. Wheat Ridge
Population: 31,044Median Rent: $901
Distance to Closest Airport: 23 miles
Crime Per 100k: 5,153
More on Wheat Ridge: Homes For Sale | Data
Although Wheat Ridge is a relatively young incorporated city, it has a history based on agriculture and the community?s location along regional travel routes. It grew from a popular rest stop for travelers during the Gold Rush of the late 1850s to an agricultural and suburban community known as the ?Carnation City? in the mid 1900s. As the residential areas of unincorporated Jefferson County grew to provide housing to the Denver workforce during the 1950s, the major transportation corridors extending from Denver developed with commercial services. During that era, the formation of numerous utility and fire protection districts provided these unincorporated areas with urban services. Eventually, due to the increasing annexation pressure from nearby municipalities, Wheat Ridge incorporated in 1969.
Maybe You’re Not Ready To Retire Yet…
So there you have it, the best place to retire in Colorado goes to Littleton.
If you’re not ready to hang up your office apparel yet, then these places might be up your alley:
- Lone Tree
For more Colorado reading , check out:
- 10 Most Dangerous Cities In Colorado
- 10 Best Cities For Singles In Colorado
- 10 Cheapest Places To Live In Colorado
Detailed List Of Best Places To Retire In Colorado