Fort Collins, Colorado

Anyone considering a retirement in a pretty, healthy, mid-sized and growing city might want to consider Fort Collins, Colorado.  This college town is gaining recognition as a great place to live, for people of all ages.  Situated on the high plains north of Denver, but with the Rocky Mountains as a backdrop, the city enjoys four distinct seasons, but each one is enjoyable and “usable,” meaning that there are few days of the year you need to stay indoors, unlike other locations where it can sometimes be too cold or too humid to venture outside.

Fort Collins was founded as a military outpost and stayed that until Colorado State University (then Colorado A&M) was established in the 1870s.  Today, CSU is Colorado’s second largest university system and brings an eclectic mixture of people to the area.  With a population of about 100,000, Fort Collins is a nice compromise between small town and large city.  There are plenty of amenities here, from art galleries and theater to hiking in stunning Rocky Mountain National Park.  Downtown has a classic main street and is an historic district.  This is an outdoor-oriented city (as is most of Colorado), so seniors considering retiring here might keep that in mind.  For serious shopping, dining or theater, Denver is just 60 miles to the south.

Growth management is taken seriously, which keeps skyscrapers to a minimum (no one wants to block the mountain views).  This attention to city planning should keep Fort Collins a livable city well into the future.

Overall, the cost of living is slightly higher than the national average.  

Housing prices have shot up within the last few years (as they have most everywhere), but condominiums and town homes are less expensive and available.  Rental units are usually taken up by students.  

Poudre Valley Hospital, with 250 beds, is here.  Major health care facilities of all kinds are in Denver, about an hour away.  

Summer temperatures are usually in the 80s and 90s with very little rain.  Falls are cool with shimmering blue skies.  Winters are relatively mild, with temperatures ranging from the 30s to 50s.   It can get very cold but doesn’t often.  It does snow, but often the snow has melted by the next day.  Occasionally, there are heavy snowstorms or blizzards, but again, the snow doesn’t stay around very long. Colorado has nearly 300 days a year of sunshine.