Thinking about making the move from Denver to Northern Colorado? You’re not alone! This transition makes a lot of sense, as the two share a lot of similarities and are within close proximity of each other — and there are many benefits to making this move.
The same things you love about Denver abound in Northern Colorado, including the craft beer, outdoorsy lifestyle, and artsy vibe — and arguably, it might even be more pronounced in NoCo. Plus, you’ll add a laid-back small town charm, lower cost of living and family-friendly feel.
Sure, Denver has a lot of options for outdoor recreation, but Northern Colorado does as well — with a special emphasis on hiking and biking trails. Places like Horsetooth Reservoir, the Cache la Poudre River, Lory State Park, Pawnee National Grasslands, and even the renowned Rocky Mountain National Park are just a short drive away. Whether you like to hike, bike, kayak, rock climb or camp, there’s something for you to do outdoors in Northern Colorado.
Those sunny days you love experiencing in Colorado? There’s lots of those here, too! In fact, Fort Collins gets about the same number of sunny days as Denver does, reaching 237 and 245 per year, respectively. Plus, we get slightly fewer days of rainfall and snowfall per year than Denver does. That means plenty of days to explore the great outdoors! And when it snows, you can take advantage of it by going on a snowshoeing adventure throughout NoCo.
Cost of living is a major factor in deciding where to live, so you’ll be pleased to know that Northern Colorado has a lower cost of living when compared to Denver. Of course — each community varies, with Greeley at 105.9, Loveland at 114.4, and Fort Collins at 118.3 when compared to the national average of 100. But Denver is at 128.7, with housing (at 184.3) playing the biggest factor in determining that number. Denver housing costs are 9.4% more expensive than Fort Collins housing costs, and even more expensive compared to the other NoCo cities with lower costs of living.
Northern Colorado is an excellent area to raise a family. Fort Collins has high-ranking public and private secondary schools, and the median income for families tops $100,000. Livability ranked FoCo the number one Colorado city to raise a family and WalletHub ranked it in the top 15. And amongst WalletHub’s top ten, it has the highest socio-economic ranking! Not to mention, that WalletHub list includes several Northern Colorado cities, including Windsor at #10 and Loveland at #20.
There is so much for kids to do in Northern Colorado, including the Fort Collins Museum of Discovery in Fort Collins, Loveland Laser Tag and Fun Center in Loveland, the Family FunPlex in Greeley, and so much more. Looking for more kid-friendly activities? Here are some of our favorite kid-approved activities in Loveland, in Fort Collins and in Greeley.
In 2018, Fort Collins had an estimated population of 167,830, Greeley had 107,348, and Loveland had 77,446. Comparatively, Denver had an estimated population of 716,492, which only includes those living in Denver proper — not the entire metro area. That’s more people than the combined populations of both Larimer and Weld Counties, which were 350,518 and 314,305, respectively, that same year.
Enough of all the numbers! What does a smaller population even mean? It provides a more connected, small-town feel for residents, and a real chance to get to know your neighbors and other members of the community. Not to mention, it minimizes traffic, both on foot and on wheels.
And while the number of residents may be lower, the area still has access to the conveniences you’re accustomed to in Denver. Northern Colorado has plenty of incredible restaurants, bars, breweries and entertainment venues of its own. Don’t believe us? Check out these unique dining experiences at restaurants throughout NoCo, these exceptional breweries in Fort Collins and elsewhere in NoCo, from Greeley to Loveland, these beer bars and these wine bars in NoCo. There’s no shortage of restaurants and watering holes here — especially craft beer. In fact, Fort Collins is known as the craft beer capital of Colorado!
If you’re also worried about giving up the lively arts scene in Denver, you won’t be disappointed by the artsy culture of Northern Colorado. Places like the Museum of Art Fort Collins, the Global Village Museum of Arts and Cultures, the Lincoln Center, the Colorado State University Art Museum, and other museums, theaters and music venues, keep the arts alive and well in Fort Collins. Loveland is an especially artsy town and has garnered attention in the arts community as the home of Sculpture in the Park, the largest juried outdoor sculpture show in the country. We even created A Complete Guide to the Arts in Loveland, featuring art events, galleries, performing arts venues, art classes and much more.
Colorado State University creates a desirable and lively college town feel, not to mention — provides an excellent opportunity for higher education. Plus, the region has high-ranking public and private secondary schools in all the different districts, including Poudre School District, Thompson School District, Weld County Schools, Estes Valley Schools and more. Specifically, one school in Fort Collins — Liberty Common Charter School — ranked fourth in Colorado, earning a gold award in 2018.
If you’re over the heavy traffic of Denver through downtown or along I-25, you’ll be relieved to discover more clear roads and less congestion in Northern Colorado. According to BestPlaces, the average commute for residents of Denver is 5.7 minutes longer than it is for residents of Fort Collins. Destinations are closer together throughout the cities of Northern Colorado, not to mention, the road to get there is less congested.
Fort Collins has been an Arbor Day Foundation Tree City, USA community for nearly 40 years. That’s the second longest streak on the entire list of Colorado communities! It has also been ranked in Value Penguin’s top ten most environmentally-friendly cities.
Our bike-friendliness has a lot to do with our eco-friendly rankings. In 2017, the City of Fort Collins put the finishing touches on the brand new Pitkin Bikeway turning 5 miles of ordinary low-traffic streets into a 5-mile corridor going through the heart of Colorado State University. Including dedicated signals to facilitate safe crossing at major intersections, the bikeway promotes biking around town and increases pedestrian and bike safety.
If moving from Denver to Northern Colorado is still difficult to commit to, you’ll be relieved to know you can still access the city any time you want, as most cities in NoCo are only about an hour away from the Mile High City. Hop on I-25 to access the things you love about Denver, including its restaurants, bars, breweries, major events, Broncos games, Red Rocks, old friends and more. Some Northern Colorado residents even commute to Denver for work or work remotely and drive down I-25 on an as-needed basis!
The Group has been around for four decades, so we know a thing or two about Northern Colorado, and both our business and our real estate agents are hyper-local. Because of this, they’re the best resources for information on the local housing market, the neighborhoods, and even what to do for fun when you get here. You can find the right realtor for you, or you can start simply on our Buyers’ resources page. There, you’ll find frequently asked questions, market information, details on loan programs, first-time buyer tips and more.
And of course, if you have any other questions, you can contact us directly.