The City of Arvada wants feedback. Instead of encouraging their citizens to remain mum on community issues, every other year, city officials send out a survey – a citizen satisfaction survey. What they found out: Arvad-ians are pleased with their quality of life, they feel safe (Arvada boasts one of the lowest crime rates in the Denver metropolitan area), and were satisfied with city government. Actually, traffic congestion and the rate of growth is the largest concern among residents. That aside, Arvada’s 100,000 residents are a very happy lot.
The city of Aurora is situated just east of Denver, still within sight of the snow-crested Rocky Mountains. Once a provincial farming community, Aurora has become one of Denver’s largest suburbs and a city in its own right. With almost 300,000 residents, numerous historical sites, and a range of activities, Aurora is a notable destination for shopping, relocating and classic entertainment.
The City of Black Hawk is a town of heavy-set men in snake skin roach killers, cocktail waitresses in short black mini-skirts, and a hope-a hope that you might win it big. Despite Black Hawk’s 22 casinos (which is more than Atlantic City), the town lacks the neon glow that characterizes its bigger-than-life counterparts like Reno, Las Vegas and the boats in Kansas City. Instead, it has something a bit more genuine and very Colorado: cowboys.
A hilly city of slightly less than 100,000 people, located about 30 miles northwest of Denver, Boulder is an attractive city, recognized nationally for its aesthetic appeal and unique, bohemian ambiance. The city is dominated by the culture and activities of the University of Colorado-many of the bars and pubs are crowded with twenty-something grad students, law students and professors in wire-rimmed glasses. Students, nature-lovers, and visitors from all over the world provide Boulder with a diversity that seconds only Denver.
Broomfield didn’t just appear; it was planned from the get-go. In the 1950s, after farms had dotted the landscape for about a century, developers decisively created their “dream community.” In a prim-and-proper epoch, a “dream community” was to be wholesome and family-oriented. Broomfield’s vision has been gracefully carried out.
Castle Rock’s namesake sits atop a mid-sized butte with a constant, imperial gaze on the 35,000-person town. The rock, an oblong slab of rhyolite stone is like a flag, staking the ground that Castle Rock’s newish homes are built upon. True, Castle Rock is almost as old the dinos that once roamed it, but it did not get its kick-start till this century. Forty-minutes outside Denver, Castle Rock is a commuter’s refuge from the city with moderate real estate prices and big, green back yards – just make sure you follow the water regulations .
In 2001, the area that became Centennial – formerly comprised of unincorporated land in Arapahoe County – ended a legal debate that took over two years in the State Supreme Court and Legislature. The City of Greenwood Village came out on the losing end after efforts to annex the land to improve their tax base.
Colorado Springs is a military hub. Located 65 miles southwest of Denver, the city houses five military bases and the U.S. Air Force Academy. In turn, Colorado Springs has a reputation for being a strongly conservative locale. Second to the military industry in Colorado Springs is the tourism industry, and when you’re there, it’s apparent you’ve entered a town that caters to its visitors.
Commerce City: doesn’t it just sound bustling? In actuality, it’s not – but that’s half the city’s appeal. A mere 45,000 residents populate the 65.5-square-mile city situated between I-76 and I-270, just twenty minutes east of Denver International Airport and about fifteen minutes from Denver.
Englewood, home to 32,000 Coloradoans, is also home to a handful of community-oriented facilities and programs that build friendliness among its residents, as well as a healthy outlet for the town’s youth. This community grows at a small pace and attracts like-minded and like-lifestyled mellow Coloradans.
Taste of the Rockies! In 1873, Adolph Coors thought it’d be a swell idea to open a brewery at the heart of the foothills. Now his little brewing company is an international conglomerate with fifteen brands and a stately shop still serving as the headquarters in Golden. It is also one of the main attractions for tourists and beer-ophiles in the region. Take the 90-minute Coors Brewery tour and then head to Washington Avenue, Golden’s historic district, for some shopping and good all-natural eats.
Lafayette is another one of those Colorado wonders: it’s technically been there for over a century, yet the majority of the town was built in the past ten years. The 25,000 people who comprise Lafayette have it made: half-hour from Denver, twenty minutes from Boulder, and plenty of breathing room between neighbors.
The heart of Red Rocks, Morrison is home to less than 500 people and boasts that its major industry (besides tourism) is margaritas. It is a thriving mountain community that offers rural living just outside the city. What you will find in Morrison is anything but the ordinary. For example, you can begin your stay in one of the luxurious bed and breakfasts “embedded” within Morrison, join the locals for dinner at one of downtown Morrison’s cozy neighborhood restaurants, and cap the night off with a magnificent view of the starry sky (without the hum drum of urban existence).
The town of Parker is by no means a hop-skip-and a jump from Downtown Denver. Nor is it even a leap. Although Parker is considered part of Denver’s suburban community, it is located 20 miles southeast of the city. For Coloradoans who want to live in the area, that has not been a deterrent though: between 1990 and 2000, Douglas County, where Parker is located, saw almost a 120 percent population increase, placing it at the top of the list of fastest growing counties in the United States. Parker took the cake as the fastest growing municipality in the county, with a 332 percent increase.
Although still largely under construction, the Stapleton neighborhood has taken the recognizable shape of an idyllic, suburban neighborhood. Denver’s Stapleton neighborhood embodies the “green plan,” a world-recognized outline for a sustainable community.
Thornton is a commuter’s paradise. Located just off I-25, fifteen minutes from Denver and under 25 from Boulder, the town is teeming with ways to cater to the car parade – about 100,000 in total – that passes by every morning and night. Property values are reasonable and the community amenities are lovely.
Little known to even Coloradoans themselves, Westminster, a suburb of Denver located about twenty minutes northwest of the city, used to be the country’s largest apple and cherry orchards before 1950. Since then, Westminster has been noted for its exponential growth. Due to a toll road that went through Boulder and Denver, Westminster went from a small town to a formidable city. Now, it is has a population of over 100,000, its own burgeoning economy, and a growth plan that can accommodate its residents.
Located seven miles from downtown Denver, Wheat Ridge has been a longtime home for commuters and suburban residents, with a vivid view of the mountains and easy interstate access. Eighteen schools including a Montessori center and two parochial schools service Wheat Ridge.