In 2017, National Geographic, Gallup and New York Times best-selling author Dan Buettner ranked the 25 happiest cities in America. The study measured 15 metrics including everything from eating healthy and financial security to civic engagement and even dental checkups. Each factor influences residents’ feelings of security and happiness.
Now here’s the best part: Fort Collins was ranked number four!
While we know our FoCo locals love healthy food, community engagement and their teeth, that’s not all that makes us some of the happiest people in the country. To spread the cheer and to help you #LoveWhereYouLive, we rounded up our top 10 reasons Fort Collins is one of America’s happiest cities.
Photo courtesy of The City of Fort Collins
You can’t walk through Downtown Fort Collins without a smile on your face. If you’re in need of a pick-me-up, race to Mary’s Mountain Cookies for a quarter pound treat or Social for one of FoCo’s best craft cocktails. We promise you’ll leave feeling happy and satisfied. Then, bask in the charm that inspired Walt Disney himself!
Science has proven sunlight makes you happy. Specifically, it increases serotonin levels, one of a few happiness chemicals produced in the body. It’s also a commonly held belief that fresh air can help reduce stress and anxiety. In short, Northern Colorado has the perfect environment for happiness. We have more than 300 days of sunshine every year and a landscape built for outdoor adventure.
And if that doesn’t make you happy in itself, the views sure will! Just stand above Horsetooth Reservoir and try to keep a smile off your face. If you can’t get to the top of Horsetooth ASAP, get your fill of NoCo vistas in our blog post, 6 Northern Colorado Nature + Lifestyle Photographers You’ll Love.
Exercise gives you endorphins; endorphins make you happy. It’s science (and a quote from “Legally Blonde”). In addition to the Horsetooth Half Marathon, dual Equinox Half Marathons and the new FORTitude 10K, Fort Collins is home to a long list of workout groups and shorter 5K races throughout the year. Whether you’re snowshoeing in the winter, hiking in the summer, or kayaking, dog-walking and rock climbing, there’s a nearby place to get active around here.
We’re not saying beer makes you happy exactly, but when it’s crafted to perfection by local, passionate makers, it comes pretty close. Pair that with our fun-loving, dog-friendly and family-friendly breweries, and your mood is instantly lifted!
Check out our Ultimate Guide to Fort Collins Breweries to see them all or read Great American Beer Festival 2017 Winning Beers From Northern Colorado Breweries to preview a few award winners!
Time and time again, Fort Collins is named one of the country’s most dog-friendly cities. This Realtor.com list ranks FoCo at number eight! And according to Rover, dogs can reduce stress and symptoms of depression while increasing your oxytocin levels.
In FoCo, there’s a good chance you’ll run into a pupper even if you don’t have one yourself! If you’re on the hunt for a place to take your four-legged friend, head to one of 16 Dog-friendly Businesses in Fort Collins and study our Dog Owner’s Guide to Fort Collins.
We don’t have the science to back this one up, but food definitely makes us happy: especially when it comes from one of Fort Collins local spots. Our city is home to more than 400 restaurants, so you have plenty of options!
If health food makes you happy, check out 11 Vegan and Vegetarian-friendly Restaurants in Fort Collins, or stop by one of 9 Places to Get Pressed Juices + Healthy Smoothies in Fort Collins. But if you’re looking for something a little more indulgent, how about The 11 Best Places to Get a Burger in Fort Collins and Loveland followed by The Top 6 Donut Shops in Northern Colorado?
Since we brought up Fort Collins’ health food destinations in number six, we figured now was a good time to talk about FoCo’s affinity for locally grown cuisine. Did you know Fort Collins is the home of Colorado’s first Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program? The family behind Happy Heart Farm even helped begin our city’s first ever farmers’ markets! Today, we have countless markets throughout the year — including the NoCo Food Cluster Winter Farmers Market.
Pick your favorite market from The Best Farmers’ Markets in Northern Colorado or your favorite CSA from 13 Community Gardens + CSA Farms in Fort Collins. Then, learn more about the farm that started it all in our interview with Bailey Stenson: How Fort Collins’ Happy Heart Farm Was Born + How They Transformed Colorado.
Photo courtesy of Bohemian Nights, LLC
In the state of Colorado, we’ve become a bit famous due to our affinity for free festivals. The city, with help from organizations like Bohemian Nights, hosts Thursday Night Live, which is a series of free summer concerts in Old Town, Bohemian Nights at NewWestFest in the summer, First Night Fort Collins on New Year’s Eve, Fortoberfest in the fall, the annual Old Town Car Show, so many more!
Outside of these summer concerts, we have year-round venues like the Aggie Theater, The Armory, Magic Rat, Hodi’s Half Note, the Downtown Artery and Washington’s. And that’s just the list of options downtown!
At all these marathons, craft breweries, restaurants, festivals, markets and live music events, you meet the people of Fort Collins. These people are the ones who make this city, literally, one of the best places to live in the country year in and year out. It’s also been ranked the best city to raise a family in Colorado and the most satisfied city in America, according to this Gallup poll.
In short, we feel pretty to lucky to live here.
In the comments below, spread the FoCo love and tell us what makes you happy to live in one of the happiest cities in the country.