Ft. Collins
What do you think of Ft. Collins, Colo., the No. 1 city on this year's Best Places to Live list? What makes it a great American town? Are real estate prices reasonable? How are the schools? What activities and events does it offer? Is it a place where you can live a low-stress life? If you don't live there now, would you consider moving there? Tell us what you think. The best replies will be published here, and possibly in a future story on CNNMoney.com.
Posted by CNNMoney.com 1:00 AM 49 Comments comment | Add a Comment

Tell us what you think of the No. 1 city on this year's Best Places to Live list.
Posted By Anonymous : 3:55 PM  

What makes this city a great American town?
Posted By Anonymous : 3:55 PM  

If you don't live in this city now, would you consider moving there? The best replies will be published here.
Posted By Anonymous : 3:55 PM  

I grew up in PA, went to college in New Orleans and ended up in Fort Collins for graduate school. This place is awesome, if I have my way at all I will settle here after I finish school. I am not sure something tangible makes a city great, but if you lived here chances are you would agree that it is very nice in Fort Collins. As a disclaimer I would have to add that if concrete and buildings make you happy this is not the place for you.
Posted By Rodman Tompkins Fort Collins, CO : 10:28 AM  

Cary NC as number 5 for small cities and its big sister Raleigh NC as Number 4 for big cities. It is no surprise to me and the 60,000 people in the last five years that moved to Raleigh alone. Both are great places to live. True southern charm and warmth that is easy to be wrapped up in.
Posted By Jason, Denver, CO : 11:49 AM  

We grew up in CT. We have family outside of Fort Collins in Wellington, Colorado. When we went to check out "the Fort"(as the locals call it), we were very pleasantly surprised. We thought it would be your basic tight-squeezed, over-populated, polluted city. What we found was a well-put-together, lightly populated, fresh-smelling, laid-back yet active college town loaded with activities for all ages, as well as a delectable choice of hip, eclectic, healthy and casual epicurean delights!!!!! We absolutely love it there!!! The Horsetooth, the Poudre, the Red Feather Lakes, rural farms and ranches, not to mention THE Rocky Mountains complete with National Park...all in your back yard. For the outdoorsy, nature-lovers in us, what more could you ask for?! If we weren't grounded with a family business, we'd be out there in a heartbeat. Who knows, maybe Fort Collins will become the location for a new branch of our Flooring store!!! That would be our dream!!! Congratulations Fort Collins, Colorado. You deserve it!!!
Posted By Mark & Suzanne, Lebanon, CT : 1:42 PM  

I finished high school in fort collins and then went to college there as well. I met my husband there and got my first salary job in Fort Collins. I would move back in a minute if my husband got work there. Fort Collins is the best little big city that I have ever lived. Drive 10 minutes and you are in the mountains or on the prairie, who could ask for more? I think this is why the big CA rush to CO has been happening. Lived there, loved it and would move back!*********
Posted By Y. Myers, Browns Valley, CA : 1:46 PM  

having lived there for 4 years, I can say that Ft Fun (as the kids call it--and with good reason) is a fantastic place. Clean, safe, lots of culture, great beer, no traffic in the summer. Just thinking about it makes me homesick!
Posted By tony, washington dc : 2:10 PM  

I LOVE LOVE LOVE Fort Collins. I live in a small town just outside Fort Collins, and we really enjoy dining in Fort Collins and the nightlife. It really is a nearly perfect city. Clean, wide streets, low crime, lots of dining and activities and affordable homes. It has a very mellow vibe yet there is still tons to do indoors and outdoors.
Posted By Shaunna Windsor, CO : 3:37 PM  

Born and raised in Fort Collins. Sadly no longer live there, but return often to visit. It is one terrific place. Even though growing up there with a population of around 5000 and watching it grow to over 100,000 it is still a "piece of heaven". Hope this high rating does not do anything to destroy that.
Posted By AMS Burke VA : 8:53 AM  

I grew up in Fort Collins and would give anything to move back and raise our family there, if only I could get my husband to go! There are so many outdoor activities to do year round for any age that you never get bored!
Posted By Cindy Laurel, MD : 9:00 AM  

I grew up in Fort Collins. When our child was born we were living in San Diego, and we knew we must move back so that he could go to FC schools. We have good jobs, I'm working on my degree, our son has wonderful teachers, and we can easily get to Denver for the few things that a big city provides (like the zoo and the airport.)
It's a bit disconcerting to think that this article might cause Fort Collins to grow even bigger -- when I was young we were only at 40K people.
Posted By Liz, Fort Collins CO : 1:16 PM  

I LOVE Ft. Fun too. I went to college there, stayed an extra 4 years because it was so hard to leave. I would give anything to move back and own a home, however finding a job (compared to Denver) is not easy. The greatest thing about Ft. Fun is how relaxed and laid back everyone is. There is a feeling you get by just being there. I miss that. The summers are great because the population cuts in half (i.e. no traffic, no lines for the bars, peace and quiet). There are great restaurants, two great (now famous) breweries, and lots of fun stuff to do. One day I will hopefully get the chance to move back. FT. FUN absolutely deserves this honor.
Posted By Shannon C., Denver, CO : 1:20 PM  

NO, no, no... Don't move to Fort Collins. There's nothing about it you'd like - wink wink, nudge nudge.
Posted By Jason, Fort Collins, CO : 5:09 PM  

I hate to be a party pooper but I cannot, for the life of me, understand why Fort Collins is ranked so high.
Sure it sits up next to the foothills and has decent weather but...
Traffic has become a major problem on some of the major arterial routes. (too many huge SUV's carrying soccer-moms.)
Affordable housing has been a problem for years.
Wages are quite low.
There are not a lot of job opportunities for professionals thus making it a "bedroom community" for Denver.
The uncontrolled sprawl toward the south of the city is shocking.

Maybe if the CSU football program could get back to its former self, I would consider moving back. But, for now... I'll pass.
Posted By Shane, Ames Iowa : 10:42 PM  

Lived in Fort Collins for 12 years, nice place to retire. Safe, clean, great weather. Also very provincial, unsophisticated and conservative. Skiing is 3hrs drive, Rocky Mountain National Park about 2 hrs, not exactly on your backyard. The economy is weak, many high tech jobs lost and 5 years later, the city is still trying to build its first traffic roundabout. If you are a retiree you'll love it otherwise go west (or east) young man
Posted By Andy, Miami, Fla : 4:07 AM  

I have lived here 35 years. Liked it enoough to stay after graduate school at CSU. It's better in my opinion than the towns ranked 2 through 10 but I liked it better 15 years ago when it was not as large. Fort Collins still has that small town feeling because of the restored relatively small downtown (oldtown) area. Great for raising a family, college students and also older folks. Out of the city and in the plains or mountains in 10 or 15 minutes.
Posted By Jim, Fort Collins, Colorado : 4:38 AM  

No newcomer to popularity, Fort Collins has more than doubled in size since we first arrived 21 years. Our son was well educated in the city's excellent school system (private & public) and enjoyed a wide sampling of the very affordable extra-curricular actvities available to children. Not only is this a safe place to let a kid have a real childhod it's a fabulous place for adults to play. There are a gazillion things for people of all ages to do. Obviously, the mountains and all they offer are at our fingertips (btw, it's only an hour to Rocky Mountain National Park). In addition, live theatre, choral music, symphony, ballet, bands, films and other arts entertainment are available in abundance. Over the years, Fort Collins' Old Town has evolved into a charming and ecclectic hub for dining, shopping, and live entertainment. Colorado State University caps the experience by notching up the intellectual atmosphere. Fabulous food, world-class beer, bike trails all over the city, moments from the mountains, comfortable weather, great medical facilities, stimulation for the brain, down-home friendliness and courtesy, and a fresh sophistication... what's not to like? We knew Fort Collins was #1 before you chose it!
Posted By Vicki Fogel Mykles : 11:17 AM  

I have lived in Ft. Collins, CO my whole life--it's a peaceful city. The people ARE great and we're pretty spoiled here...BUT I am leaving soon in search of more diversity, culture, and lower cost of living.
Posted By A. Runyan Fort Collins, CO : 12:58 PM  

Coming from Fargo, North Dakota to attend CSU in Fort Fun I thought I would not be around the "small town hospitaliy". I was wrong. I LOVE living in Fort Collins and although I plan on leaving to join the Peace Corps when I am done with school in the spring, I do want to move back here and raise a family. This is my first summer in the fort which has only enhanced by appreciation for being able to live here. All year round there is tons of activities, whether it is football games, a night in old town, camping at Redfeather lakes or tubing down the Poudre, there is something for everyone. If the outdoors aren't your thing, we have a drive-in movie theatre, TONS of restaurants and numerous plays, concerts and shows going all year round.
Posted By Jess Dyrdahl Fargo, ND : 5:54 PM  

Man do I miss Fort Collins. Lived there for several years in the 90's. Definately deserving of the #1 award - there is just something special about that city. Relaxed lifestyle, great bars and restaurants, good University, fun to go to CSU football games in the Fall, outdoor activites abound, etc. I would move there in a heartbeat (if there were jobs in my field) - but for now I will have to just visit and be jealous of those who do call Ft. Fun home.
Posted By Ken, Phoenix, AZ : 4:03 PM  

I have live in Ft. Collins for six years, and it truly is a great town. It does need more diversity, in the races of people here. It's a bit difficult being a minority here in terms of acceptance. It takes a while to be accepted. I am blessed to live here, however. I live right downtown, bike to work, walk my dog to the park or town for coffee,(for me, not my dog;-). I have a great blessed life. If we only had more diversity...
Posted By Saja , Ft. Collins : 4:33 PM  

We are moving to Ft. Collins from Grand Junction and this article made me even more excited about the move!
Posted By Darla, soon to be Ft. Collins : 11:06 PM  

I moved to Fort Collins from Phoenix in 2001. It is a wonderful place to live. I like to call it a small big city. Walking down the old town area of town people still acknowledge eachother. A bad commute is considered a whopping 20 minute adventure, the number of restaurants per capita is sick, and as for the weather....I usually still golf in the "winter" and occasionally get to ski the same day. With new golf courses/housing communities planned, along with commercial plots being developed I feel it is just a matter of time before the secret is officially out..We have the convenience of large metro living without the traditional big city problems.
Posted By Jon, Fort Collins, CO : 12:01 PM  

Grew up in FC up until 28 years of age and then moved onto San Diego. After having lived in SD for > 28 years, I can say that I miss FC alot but love the SD climate. However, FC is an awesome, awesome big little city as they say! It offers ambiance (arts, culture, CSU, recreational activities) casual atmosphere, great food, truly super weather and seasonal changes. Can't say enough about FC and the people who live there. Have been back to visit several times and have seen lots of changes...for the better and better! What a perfect place to raise a family. I think what I noticed most about this city is its friendly, down home atmosphere coupled with educational background and cultural diversity. FC rocks!
Posted By Pat, San Diego, CA : 5:19 PM  

Fort Collins is desolate, wimdy, cold. It has poor water quality and high prices. No hunting or fishing. One crummy college. Why wouldl anyone want to live there??
Posted By Bill T. Hot Springs Village, AR. : 7:26 AM  

We moved here from CA about a year ago and while the people are great and the lack of diversity is refreshing...there are no jobs and the ones there are are low paying. The majority of job growth is coming from a new hospital so if you are in healthcare..go for it, if you are a working fool, stay in the big city.
Posted By lisa, windsor, co : 10:33 PM  

I lived in Fort Collins from 1994 until May of 2006. It is a great town to live in offering numerous outdoor activities and with a top notch college which is what attracted me to that area in the first place.

But, I'm playing devils advocate here, the local job market in my opinion has not kept pace with the amount of growth in the area. I was hard pressed to find affordable living for someone who made between 30 to 40 thousand per year. The cost of living is not keeping up with the avarage wage within the local service industries which are the main source of employment in the area. Otherwise, It is a great place to live if you have the money.
Posted By Dean, Cedar Park , Texas : 1:31 PM  

i have lived here all of my life and it couldnt get any better. awesome view gorgeous parks and lakes, fun places for everyone of all ages to hang out....and if your ever bored you can just go to old town and find something to do! Foco is the best!
Posted By kristen , fort collins, colorado : 5:53 AM  

Ft. Collins is gorgeous! We lived in Cheyenne, Wy for 8 years and my sister attended the Wyoming State College and of course Ft. Collins was the rivalry! We would go there to a favorite steak house for dinner-lots to do and see there.I now live in FL and I really miss being able to just get away for the day with a trip to the mountains. There is no way to do that here-way to many people. But as I said Ft. Collins is located in a beautiful place and I do miss the summer months there but can't say much about their winters thats for sure.
Posted By Sue Melbourne, FL : 12:38 PM  

It took me a while to open up to Fort Collins when I first moved there to attend CSU, but after two or three years there things had changed. I'd found my niche and discovered many of Fort Collins' hidden treasures so that by the time graduation rolled around, I didn't want to leave! Of course, I also recognize that not everyone could be satisifed living there. It's true that Fort Collins has many advantages: impeccable weather/seasons, lots of outdoor activities, a wide variety of restaurants, friendly people, a manageable size, and the community in general is quite progressive and environmentally-conscience. Though there is one aspect to Fort Collins that I consider a huge disadvantage, and that's the lack of cultural diversity. Although I was satisfied with the ethnic cuisine available in town, there aren't any ethnic COMMUNITIES and thus their influence is quite lacking, and that's unfortunate. However, overall I'd have to say that Fort Collins is a great place to live and I'd highly recommend it as a fun and safe community.
Posted By Christine Deloff, Boulder, CO : 10:00 AM  

i am considering fort collins for graduate school, but i have to say i am disturbed by the woman who said that "the lack of diversity is refreshing".
Posted By staci, minneapolis, mn : 3:57 PM  

Fort Collins!! What a joke. I transfered to CSU from Wisconsin and it was posibly the worst decission i ever made.
Fort Collins is nice, for the weather and thats about it. If you want to move here, let me tell you about the way things really are.
First, if you have children, the school systems are the worst i ever seen. They have no sence of security and the focus on everything except reading, writing and arithmatic. No wonder Colorado is ranked in the 20's for academics in the USA.
Second, The work ethics are the worst. All people do is complain complain complan about how their jobs suck. I can't stand it. The main problem is, Fort Collins is a college town and the people don't give a crap about thier jobs here because its just something to take up time until they graduate.
As far as things to do, beer fest is kind of ok if your into that. And west fest, um ok, its all the local shoppes settting up stands in the street. We do have the moiuntains if your rich. Estes park hotels are the most expensive in the summer. 125 dollars a night and up. Not including the mark up on food, prices to get to the park etc etc. Very expensive to take your family there for a weekend.
Here's another thing for the kids. Forget about going to the parks to play. Fort Collins doesn't enforce the leash law, or do we have one? We don't go to the local parks because someones dog is always jumping on you and you definatley have to watch for the dog poop.
Theres really nothing in Fort Collins except for a ton of restaurants, CSU, and cranking people. Don't let the ads fool you about the moutains here either. They are actually foot hills. If you want "Mountains", those are about a hour and a half away.
Finally, We thought Fort Collins was a place we wanted to stay, but after 6 months, we realize that FC is not for us. But thats us, if you like boring, lazy, rural, and expensive, then this is the place for you.
If you want to more about FC, just ask, i'll tell you everything you want to know.
Posted By M, Magers Fort Collins, CO. : 11:03 AM  

Well I've been up in the air about Ft. Collins as a possible place to live, but with all these great comments, maybe I will end up there. I'm a bit put off by the many mentions of poor wadges and a lack of jobs. Whats that all about?
Posted By Rae Key West Florida : 6:00 PM  

Yes indeed,
That is the most important part about Fort Collins. The wages are low and the cost of living is very high here. There is really not a lot of work here unless your a cook. Come to Fort Collins if you like poor education for the children, lots of restaurants, and yes, these people live in a small city with the big attitude. We too are going back to the mid-west where the public schools are ranked in the top 10 in the US, not the lower 20's. Fort Collins is okay if your young and single but not okay to raise a family. FC= poor education, low wages, high cost of living, and if you want to have fun you have to drive for a long time to have it, and when you get those fun spots, bring lots of $$$$$!
Posted By Jim FC, CO, : 12:21 AM  

I've applied for a job in Ft. Collins. Now I'm worried about the comments re: poor wages, poor economy, & lousy schools! As far as housing cost goes, though, try buying a house in So. Calif! We own an old condo my husband bought 26 years ago & are lucky to have it! So. Calif. isn't like you see on TV except maybe for celebs. & the weather. I guess my point is that it's all relative! Anyway, thanks for the honesty!
Posted By Kerrie Dolan Agoura Hills, CA : 7:50 PM  

I have lived and worked in Ft. Collins. It truly WAS one of the best places to live (at least along the Front Range). It has good urban recreation, with access to lots of public lands. It was affordable for Colorado without much attention given to it and good state school with CSU. The population has and will continue to grow with reports like this making traffic, crowding, and pollution a lot worse. The good high paying jobs don't exist there compared to Boulder and Denver, plus some larger high tech companies are not completely interested in staying in the area, no matter what the business reports say. Home prices are much higher than reported by CNN, if you don't want a shack in college town. Also at one time 1-2% of the population was considered a realtor, which seem a little out of wack. Granted it can be much more beautiful to live in FtC more than other parts of the nation, but it might not be easy there. Hope this helps.
Posted By Dave - Estes Park, CO : 6:44 PM  

I have been living in Ft Collins for about 7 months now and agree with a lot of the comments both good and bad. I don't think I have ever had such a difficult time finding a decent job. Thats the biggest problem in my opinion. Also, you do have to drive minimum 2 hours to ski and at least an hour to 2 hours to hike. Traffic is just as bad as a big city if you get away from "Old Town". I would prefer to be in the mountains instead of being taunted by being close.
Posted By Jon, Fort Collins, CO : 5:43 PM  

Well, I went to CSU for grad school, and coming from a big city (San Diego) it took me a while to get adjusted. I was happy to "get out", but then, after having kids and gaining a new perspective on things, my wife and I wished we hadn't left. Seemed like a very mellow, laid back place to raise a family.

However, now that I know there are people like Lisa from Windsor lurking around with their ethnic cleansing idealism, it tarnishes that image quite a bit, sorry to say.
Posted By Steve, Monterey CA : 11:41 PM  

All i have to say is,

997 forclosures on homes in 2006. The reason people lost their homes in Fort Collins, NO JOBS!!!!!
Posted By Michael, Fort Collins : 12:29 PM  

We are moving to Ft. Collins from Hilton Head Island, SC. Friends think we're nuts -- it's 70 and sunny here today. However, you have to live 8 month of the year with your windows closed and the AC on. No Fun. Want to hike and be outdoors. We're retired by the way!!
Posted By Susan, Hilton Head, SC : 5:36 PM  

I had a good laugh about a couple of the comments. Oh no - you have to drive a couple of hours to ski. Where I'm from you had to fly several hours and then drive a few more to go skiing.

And the traffic is as bad as a big city? LMAO - Apparently, the local's idea of horrible traffic is not making it through an intersection in one light cycle on a few streets during "rush hour".
Posted By Jim, Fort Collins, CO : 7:05 PM  

I moved to Fort Collins to attend CSU three years ago, and I'm really in love with the place. I can't believe the negativity coming from some of the people on here who are obviously seeking to live in an unrealistic utopian town with no problems whatsoever. Fort Collins has tons of great local shops and food (just walk around Old Town for a few hours) as well as unique rereactional attractions. The mountains ARE close by, and Rocky Mountain National Park is only an hour away (for those Wisconsinites who only think gigantic mountain ranges qualify as something majestic).

Of course, Fort Collins is a college town (duh), but that's what makes it so much fun. Despite some of the other comments on here, I think there's also a lot of diversity here. I've made friends with people from India, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, France and other places, and some of my closest friends are African American and Hispanic.

I've never had much problem finding a job here, but then again, I have a college degree.

Fort Collins is beautiful, fun and the traffic really isn't that bad (try moving to L.A.).
Posted By M. Read, Fort Collins, Colorado : 9:52 PM  

The comments on here are very disturbing. I grew up in FOrt Collins and have lived here for a majority of my life. After going to Kansas City for college and visiting numerous other areas, I can safely say that this is a fantastic town. There are comments on here about how far the mountains and hiking are. HuH? I used to go to the mountains (foothills) on my lunch break in high school, go swimming in the reservoir, and sit up on a rock looking over the city. I don't know how much better it can get than that.

As for diversity, yes we are lacking, but I think that's the problem in a lot of smaller cities near the Rockies. We do have CSU which does help.

I am actually sad to see the city as big as it is today, and this ranking does not help, however it is inevitable.

I must say after high school I couldn't wait to get out of the state entirely. But of course I came back, like many do, to stay.
Posted By EMS, Fort Fun, Colorado : 11:50 AM  

I don't know if anyone still reads this, but I just moved to Fort Collins 6 monthes ago to work on a second bachelor's degree. I applied for upwards of 25 jobs, was unemployed for over two monthes and finally had to settle on a temporary job that paid $6.50/hr. It took 25 minutes to drive the 5 miles to work. I now have three jobs and I am barely making ends meet, and it's not for lack of trying. I continually wonder what everyone thinks is so great about this place. It seem to me that it's like a suburb only there isn't a big city very close. There's no "downtown" and there are certainly no jobs, and what about things to do. I think Money Magazine is far off on this call, I'd leave tomorrow if I could.
Posted By Christina M Fort Collins, CO : 1:30 PM  

I just moved to Fort Collins to raise my family and love it! We've only been here 2 years and have more close friends than we had in Denver after living there for 9 years.

New people here think that there is a lot of traffic, but after you've been here for a while you find that other streets to drive to get you from A to B. I am in real estate and it's hilarious to me what people think a long commute is. I've had clients pass on their p[erfect home because of an additional 5 minutes on their 5 minute commute.

Jobs are hard to find but good ones are hard to find anywhere. I've been all over this country and think that Fort Collins IS the best place to,live in the US. I moved my family here on purpose and have made it work.

I have been able to build a nice business of my own in the last 2 years that has allowed my wife to stay home with our kids and not have to work. I live 3 blocks from an elementary school, and a large park with a skatepark, baseball fields and 2 awesome playgrounds. That park borders one of the best bike trails in town, which, by the way, are everywhere.
Posted By Jay S., Fort Collins, CO : 9:42 AM  

So -let me see -if I'm black and aren't wealthy enough to live without getting a job, I should avoid Fort Collins? What if I bring my entire family from NY, is that enough diversity do you think?
Posted By Mariah Contreh, Brooklyn, NY : 9:22 PM  

I moved to fort collins to go to CSU and I LOVE IT!!
Posted By Roxanne, The fort : 2:34 PM  

I have lived all over Colorado and the US. Here's the real scoop on Fort Collins, both good and bad. Great weather, great bars,a lot of ok food... there are no jobs here anymore unless you want to compete with the college kids for part time minimum wage fast food jobs. Most of the tech industry has closed up andlaid off long time employees. I have several friends that are educated and worked for the same company for years and can't find work going on 3 years now. Yes, I said years.(fyi Colorado is has one of the highest foreclosure rates in the country). There is very little diversity (shame on us) Our city officials send any and all potential business to Loveland 10 minutes away. The city is broke. We have little to no recyling efforts. I commute to Boulder (1 hour)to make a living. Fort Collins is a wonderful town IF you are married and have a family. There isn't much to do other than the bars. There are some local plays and symphony, hardly any live music to speak of. And whoever said that we have poor water quality is either crazy or misinformed! We have fantastic water, visitors alway comment on how good our water is. It's a beautiful city and the people here are truly wonderful. I love Fort Collins, but plan on a commute to make any sort of real money and if you are middle aged and single I would highly reccomend thinking twice. Public transportation is limited and lame. Planning for growth by the city is worthy a good chuckle (when the train goes through Fort Collins the whole city is in grid lock. No, it isn't LA or NY but none the less it is frustrating. I couldn't believe Fort Collins was rated number 1 by long shot. Maybe 10-15 years ago.
Posted By Karen, Fort Collins CO : 2:54 PM  

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Most stock quote data provided by BATS. Market indices are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer.

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