People walking under Colorado flags in Larimer Square in Denver, one of the top cities in Colorado

21 Best Cities in Colorado in 2023 (A Local’s Picks)

I’m a Colorado local and in this guide, I overview the absolute best cities in Colorado!

There are over 272 incorporated municipalities in Colorado. Though, I’ve identified the 21 best Colorado cities after years of exploring the Centennial State.

This round-up begins with cities you’re probably familiar with — but continue down the list to a few hidden gems. You’re sure to find a desirable destination, whether you’re traveling or looking for places to live in Colorado!

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21 Best Colorado Cities


From art venues to outdoor fun, Colorado’s capital city has something for everyone.

Abigail Bliss, outside the Denver Union Station at night
Travel Lemming editor Abigail outside Denver Union Station

🏠 Population: 738,594 | 📍 Google Maps | Website | 👉 Browse Hotels in Denver on Booking

From outdoor recreation to restaurants and nightlife, you’ll find endless things to do in Denver. Locals would agree that it’s the best city in Colorado for entertainment and cultural experiences.

The Mile High City is home to six pro sports teams and one of the largest performing arts centers in the U.S. Since Denver’s a consolidated city, the Colorado State Capitol and several museums are all within walking distance.

Browse places to stay in Denver to discover what draws so many to Colorado’s most populous city!

Colorado Springs

A city with red rock formations and Olympic history.

Scenic view at the Garden of the Gods during sunset in Colorado Springs, Colorado
Garden of the Gods is a big draw in Colorado Springs

🏠 Population: 491,467 | 📍 Google Maps | Website | 👉 Browse Hotels in Colorado Springs on Booking

Colorado Springs is the second largest city in Colorado, with several great places to stay while you’re in town. The city is near the Rocky Mountains, and there’s no shortage of beautiful places to hike, mountain bike, and otherwise get outdoors!

Other things to do include visiting the Olympic Training Center, Air Force Academy, and The Broadmoor


A college town featuring Colorado’s biggest university and the iconic Flatirons.

Scenic view at the Chautauqua Park during a hike
Chautauqua Park is a great spot for a hike

🏠 Population: 110,422 | 📍 Google Maps | Website | 👉 Browse Hotels in Boulder on Booking

Boulder is a funky college town, home to the largest University of Colorado campus. Students and those living in the town’s affluent neighborhoods frequent local restaurants, bars, and shops.

You’ll find several of these attractions on Pearl Street, one of the top things to do in Boulder. Boulder also has plenty of places to hike and get outdoors!

Fort Collins

The model for Disneyland’s Main Street, with lots of outdoor activities.

A chocolate store from the outside in Fort Collins
(photo: Page Light Studios / Shutterstock)

🏠 Population: 174,974 | 📍 Google Maps | Website | 👉 Browse Hotels in Fort Collins on Booking

This northern Colorado city has a quaint downtown that was the inspiration for Disneyland’s Main Street USA. Fort Collins also has a college, Colorado State University Fort Collins.

It’s home to many breweries, and nearby Horsetooth Reservoir offers plenty of outdoor fun. There are other state and local parks with hiking as well. 

Check out my list of things to do in Fort Collins for more ideas, and these recommendations on where to stay when you’re in town. 


A gorgeous, affluent ski town with outdoor activities year-round.

View from a street in Aspen during a sunny morning
(photo: Kristi Blokhin / Shutterstock)

🏠 Population: 7,074 | 📍 Google Maps | Website | 👉 Browse Hotels in Aspen on Booking

Aspen is one of the most luxurious towns in Colorado. It has four amazing ski resorts, plus other outdoor experiences, cultural attractions, and many more things to do. The Maroon Bells are perhaps the most photographed part of the Rocky Mountains in Colorado, and well worth a visit!


A beautiful Swiss-inspired mountain town just off I-70.

Abigail Bliss with her husband enjoying their day at the Vail Ski Resort
Abigail and her husband at Vail Ski Resort

🏠 Population: 4,741 | 📍 Google Maps | Website | 👉 Browse Hotels in Vail on Booking

With gingerbread-house hotels, Vail is styled like a Swiss alpine village. In winter, skiing, ice skating, and dog sledding are some of the best things to do in Vail

In summer, flowers spill from window boxes and line hiking trails. Take the scenic gondola, ride the alpine coaster, and test your skills on the ropes course. Year-round, you can visit Vail’s outstanding spas to work out the knots after a hard day playing.

Check out our tips for where to stay in Vail if you’re planning a visit!


A Denver suburb featuring Cherry Creek State Park, shops, restaurants, and entertainment.

View of a boat on the water of Aurora
(photo: Jim Lambert / Shutterstock)

🏠 Population: 398,497 | 📍 Google Maps | Website | 👉 Browse Hotels in Aurora on Booking

Aurora is one of the biggest cities in Colorado. It’s found on the east side of Denver and is relatively close to the Denver International Airport.

There are lots of suburban housing developments, with plenty of space for residents to spread out. Cherry Creek State Park is one of its greatest draws, offering some of the best camping near Denver

For more, check out our guides to fun things to do in Aurora and Aurora hotels.


A Denver suburb with scenic lakes and hiking trails. 

A man biking in Bear Creek Lake Park
Bear Creek Lake Park is a popular spot for paddling, biking, and hiking

🏠 Population: 158,584 | 📍 Google Maps | Website | 👉 Browse Hotels in Lakewood on Booking

Lakewood is a suburb southwest of Denver that’s an easy commute for anyone working downtown. Bear Creek Lake Park has hiking, swimming, boating, archery, horseback riding, and more. Several other mountain parks are home to the best hikes near Denver.

Outside of outdoor experiences, the nearby outlet mall is a great place to score deals! Sweet Bloom Coffee Roasters, one of Denver’s top coffee shops, also has a location in Lakewood. 


A quiet suburb with spacious mountain parks and a historic downtown.

Colorful sky over the South Valley Open Space Park, during sunset
Littleton features several mountain parks with miles of trails

🏠 Population: 46,436 | 📍 Google Maps | Website | 👉 Browse Hotels in Littleton on Booking

Littleton is about a twenty minute drive from downtown Denver. This suburb features quiet streets and good schools.

There’s a historic downtown area, and the nearby Littleton Museum provides plenty of history. Other things to do in Littleton include taking in a show at the Town Hall Arts Center and strolling through the free Hudson Gardens. 

If you need a place to stay in Littleton, check out my recommendations! 


A southwest Colorado town steeped in history.

Clear blue sky over Durango, Colorado
(photo: WorldPictures / Shutterstock)

🏠 Population: 19,413 | 📍 Google Maps | Website | Durango Accommodation Guide | 👉 Browse Hotels in Durango on Booking

Durango is in southwestern Colorado, about a six-hour drive from Denver. You’ll find lots of fascinating things to do in Durango. This includes the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad, a scenic train ride winds through the San Juan Mountains

Mesa Verde National Park, one of the best places to visit in Colorado, is another area attraction.

Highlands Ranch

A modern, planned community with great views of the Rockies.

Clear blue sky over a suburban area in Highlands Ranch
Highlands Ranch is a great place to live and an easy commute to Denver

🏠 Population: 104,790 | 📍 Google Maps | Website | 👉 Browse Hotels in Highlands Ranch on Booking

Highlands Ranch is another of the Colorado towns near Denver, offering an easy commute to the city. This affluent, planned community has many things to do, including hiking, eating at local restaurants, and enjoying leisurely afternoons at craft breweries. 

Castle Rock

A city situated between Denver and Colorado Springs, with plenty to do on its own.

Scenic view of a landscape in Castle Rock during sunset

🏠 Population: 78,144 | 📍 Google Maps | Website | 👉 Browse Hotels in Castle Rock on Booking

Castle Rock is a city near Colorado Springs and Denver. Though, it has plenty of things to do all on its own!

Hike to the Castle Rock itself, head to the outlets for some shopping, or enjoy a game of golf in town. This suburb is also a great place to live, with lots of room and places to eat and shop.

Glenwood Springs

A mountain resort town with the world’s largest mineral hot springs pool.

Overlooking view of Glenwood Hot Springs in Colorado
The Glenwood Hot Springs pool is fun year-round (photo: arinahabich / 123rf)

🏠 Population: 10,033 | 📍 Google Maps | Website | 👉 Browse Hotels in Glenwood Springs on Booking

Glenwood Springs is tucked into the mountains on the Western Slope, and has several hot springs where people can soak. There’s also an adventure park, nearby ski resorts, and several whitewater rafting tours.

Glenwood Springs is also home to Hanging Lake, one of the best hikes in Colorado! It’s accessible year-round with a permit reservation.

Steamboat Springs

Skiing, hot springs, a lake, and other outdoor activities make Steamboat fun year-round.

People enjoying their day in Strawberry Park Hot Springs
Strawberry Park Hot Springs

🏠 Population: 13,452 | 📍 Google Maps | Website | Best Hotels in Steamboat Springs | 👉 Browse Hotels in Steamboat Springs on Booking

Steamboat Springs has a lovely downtown area that invites strolling, with shops and restaurants lining the streets. Nearby Steamboat Lake is a great spot for swimming and boating.

Steamboat also has a ski resort, one of the best hot springs near Denver, and more things to do, making it a great weekend getaway! 

Pagosa Springs

Come for the hot springs, stay for the rafting or skiing nearby.

People enjoying their day at the Pagosa Springs Resort & Spa
(photo: neilld / 123rf)

🏠 Population: 1,539 | 📍 Google Maps | Website | 👉 Browse Hotels in Pagosa Springs on Booking

Pagosa Springs lies along the San Juan River and is known for the local hot springs. However, there are so many things to do in Pagosa Springs.

This includes hiking, hot air ballooning, and paddling on some of the best Colorado lakes. Whitewater rafting and skiing are also popular activities.

Estes Park

A scenic town tucked in the mountains just outside Rocky Mountain National Park.

View at the Lake Estes in Colorado
Lake Estes is a key feature in this charming mountain town 

🏠 Population: 6,504 | 📍 Google Maps | Website | 👉 Browse Hotels in Estes Park on Booking

Estes Park is one of the most popular cities in Colorado, as it’s the eastern gateway to Rocky Mountain National Park. Whether in need of an outdoor adventure basecamp or a relaxing getaway, you’ll find several places to stay.

Book a room or simply visit the iconic Stanley Hotel and paddle on Lake Estes. Check out our list of Estes Park attractions for more.


A city south of Colorado Springs with parks and forest.

Overlooking view of the Pueblo Reservoir

🏠 Population: 111,776 | 📍 Google Maps | Website | 👉 Browse Hotels in Pueblo on Booking

Pueblo is south of Colorado Springs and is home to Lake Pueblo which is a popular spot for water skiing and fishing. For more outdoor recreation, check out the riverwalk and explore the San Isabel National Forest.

Also, when visiting, be sure to try local restaurants’ green chile, one of the best foods in Colorado

Grand Junction

A western Colorado city with monuments and great mountain biking.

Overlooking view of the Colorado National Monument during sunset
The Colorado National Monument is an amazing Grand Junction attraction!

🏠 Population: 62,218 | 📍 Google Maps | Website | 👉 Browse Hotels in Grand Junction on Booking

Grand Junction is the biggest Western Slope city. Although it has a different feel (and different weather!) than the Front Range, some features of living in Colorado are the same wherever you go. 

There’s plenty of hiking, paddling, and mountain biking, each surrounded by stunning landscapes. Fascinating museums and historic sites add to things to do in Grand Junction. Multiple places to stay allow you to explore the area, or simply make for a great road trip stop. 


A fun, quick mountain trip from Denver.

View of different shops on a street in Georgetown
(photo: Bob Pool / Shutterstock)

🏠 Population: 1,205 | 📍 Google Maps | Website | 👉 Browse Hotels in Georgetown on Booking

Historic Georgetown has a downtown main street with local shops to browse. It’s one of the top small towns in Colorado, famed for the Georgetown Loop Railroad which ranks as one of the best train rides in Colorado. There’s also hiking and fishing, and the drive over Guanella Pass is scenic. 


A great foothills town with boating, hiking, and restaurants.

People paddling in Evergreen Lake during summer
Paddling on Evergreen Lake on a summer morning

🏠 Population: 9,475 | 📍 Google Maps | Website | 👉 Browse Hotels in Evergreen on Booking

Evergreen Lake has lots of things to do, including boating and fishing in summer and ice skating in winter. Downtown Evergreen has places to eat, shop, and drink. 

It makes for one of the best day trips from Denver! If you want to spend a weekend here, we also have suggestions on where to stay in town. 


An agricultural community and college town with live music venues. 

View of stores and wall art in Historic Downtown Greeley
Historic downtown Greeley has restaurants, shops, and bars

🏠 Population: 111,977 | 📍 Google Maps | Website | 👉 Browse Hotels in Greeley on Booking

Located in Greeley, the University of Northern Colorado puts on many concerts, musicals, and other events. These make for a fun evening out, and the historic downtown area has places to eat and drink. 

Chain stores and suburban areas are found farther from the university. Check out my list of things to do in Greeley for more ideas, and these suggestions on where to stay in town. 

FAQs About Cities in Colorado

What are the major cities in Colorado?

Major cities in Colorado include Denver, Colorado Springs, Aurora, and Fort Collins. Although there are other cities with higher populations, Boulder and Grand Junction are important cities as well, with a feel and culture all their own. 

What is the nicest place to live in Colorado?

The nicest place to live in Colorado is Cherry Hills Village. This region is part of the Denver metro area, and is an easy commute from downtown Denver. The typical home value here was just over $2.8 million in 2022. [Source

What is the cheapest city to live in Colorado? 

Lamar is the cheapest city to live in Colorado. The average home price in Lamar in August of 2022 was $189,300. [Source


Hopefully, this guide to some of the top cities in Colorado has been helpful! If you’re looking for more information on Colorado, check out our Ultimate Colorado Travel Guide.

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