OFB 50 States Project: Colorado

50 States Project: Colorado

In The OFB 50 States Project, you the readers spill the beans about your state: the good, the bad, and the delicious. And thus provide “forever place” seekers (like yours truly) a useful resource in their search. We’d love to hear about your state! To be a part of this project, click here to fill out the form!

The Facts

Low State Taxes Ranking:  19Low Cost of Living Ranking:  33

State Economy Ranking:  33

Average Temperatures (Denver):

  • Winter:  44°
  • Spring:  61°
  • Summer:  89°
  • Fall:  65°

The Nickname

The Centennial State

The Short of It

The state of Colorado is brought to you by the following awesome OFB readers:
1) Marissa L.   //   2) Taylor C.   //   3) Michelle  //  4) Kendal  //  5) Meghan

What food best represents Colorado?

  • Black bean burgers or burritos 2
  • Rocky Mtn. Oysters with Cholula or a really good hamburger 3
  • Maybe a bison burger or Palisade peaches!  4
  • Buffalo burger!  5

What song best represents Colorado?

  • Rocky Mountain High – John Denver 2, 4, 5
  • All of the Lights – Pretty Lights and Kanye West Remix (Pretty Lights is from Colorado) 3

How does CO refer to a carbonated beverage drink?

  • Soda 1, 3
  • People from all over flock to Denver, so while I was raised saying soda, I often hear pop or coke. 2
  • Pop. Or beer since we’re home to Odell & New Belgium! 4
  • Both soda and pop — many transplants here 5

If you could take a friend to one place in CO, where would it be?

  • RED ROCKS! 1
  • Maroon Bells, a gorgeous pair of mountains outside Aspen, or Wash Park in south Denver, my very favorite park in the country. 2
  • The Great Sand Dunes because I haven’t been there, and I want to wrestle the alligators that are outside of the park. 3
  • Trail Ridge Road/Rocky Mountain National Park 4
  • To the top of Pikes Peak 5

Dream LakeDream Lake at Rocky Mountain National Park (photo by krossbow)

The Long of It

Biggest misconception about CO?

  • That we are all a bunch of pot-smoking hippies. Not true! Or I’ve heard that there’s a bunch of cowboys. Uhh, what? Not that I’ve seen!!!  1
  • I’ve heard that we’re a bunch of cowboys before, which is certainly a huge misconception. There are farms on the eastern plains and some rustic towns in the mountains, but that’s about it. I’ve also heard that we’re all ski bums, which I’ve found to be more true about the transplants than the natives. It also doesn’t snow constantly in the winter. Usually the snow melts over the course of the next day or so anyway.  2
  • This one is hard. That there is nothing to do outside of skiing. I have had a really hard time getting people to visit outside of ski season, which is really expensive and obviously only in the mountains. The summers are unbelievably fun, and we have a B-cycle program, free outdoor movies/music/festivals/etc., great food, and nice people. 3
  • It snows year-round. We really don’t get that much snow and could actually use more moisture! Despite recent legislation, we’re not all a bunch of potheads.  4
  • People think we get snow here. I shoveled my driveway 3 times last year. This year it might have been 6 or 7, and we had a “good” snow year. There are plenty of days on the Front Range in the 50s and up in the winter. Plus, it’s always sunny! 5

Best aspect about living in CO?

  • For the most part we are an active state. Most people that I know love doing outdoor activities, and Colorado has plenty to offer! Skiing, hiking, boating — enjoying all that mother nature has to offer.  1
  • I can’t narrow it down. We have an up-and-coming music and art scene. We’re one of the healthiest states in the country, probably because it’s sunny around 300+ days a year and you feel guilty not getting out and running/hiking/cycling. It’s dry here, so the summers are hot and the winters are cold but neither are unbearable in the slightest. Plus we have very few bugs because of it. Cost of living is relatively low. The weather is constantly changing so it doesn’t get boring. And there’s a ridiculously amazing microbrewery scene if that interests you at all!   2
  • There is so much to do and we have a really high standard of living. There is a lot of energy and excitement about living in Denver/Colorado. 3
  • All the opportunities for outdoor activities — camping, hiking, skiing/snowboarding, whitewater rafting, etc. — and all the sunshine. My mother-in-law (from NM) always comments on how clean it is here and the abundance of walking trails. 4
  • I love how sunny it is, and people are friendly. There are always a million things to do, many of them free! Taxes are mid-range, I think (5%), but property taxes and homeowner’s insurance are low (insurance is something to consider). Most adults are educated and we are the thinnest state. There are many reasons I don’t want to move!  5

Worst aspect about living in CO?

  • I can’t think of any right now, except maybe the fact we just got a blizzard and it’s the end of April! 1
  • The moody weather can be annoying. And being a swing state gets obnoxious during election seasons.   2
  • Living “the lifestyle” can be expensive and prices are going up. I’ve noticed recently that in polls Colorado ranks really high for debts and foreclosures, especially during the recession. 3
  • The ocean is far away and wildfires are no fun. 4
  • The water (reservoirs and lakes) is freezing! Think snow melt. Sometimes winter lasts until May. We get most of our cloudy and cold days when everyone else is warming up. Also, the soil is very alkaline, so if you love lots of flowering trees and bushes, you’d find this barren. You can only love an evergreen so much!  5

Summarize your feelings about Colorado in five words.

  • Outdoor playground full of sunshine. 1
  • I’m wholeheartedly obsessed with it.  2
  • Sun, fun, snow, love, home 3
  • Safe, happy, fresh, fun, beautiful 4
  • Becomes your hometown  5

Our Freaking Take

Neither Johnny nor I have ever called Colorado home. But after reading about it in this post, it sounds pretty great. I used to vacation there during the summer when I was growing up. It was the off-season for tourists, so my parents could rent a home in the mountains for a reasonable price, and we’d spend the week hiking. I loved those vacations. And Johnny spent a few days snowboarding Colorado’s finest slopes when he was a college freshman. Having lived in Utah, we’re familiar with Colorado’s climate. While we love the dry heat, the cold isn’t our favorite. Although, dry cold isn’t nearly as bad as humid cold. After reading everyone’s take on Colorado, it’s definitely moved up a few notches on our list. Who knows, we might just call it home someday!

How did these answers line up with your perception of Colorado? Have your thoughts on the state changed after reading this? Could you see it fitting your forever-place bill? 

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  • Reply Mrs. Pop @ Planting Our Pennies May 24, 2013 at 8:11 am

    I’ve always liked Colorado but never spent much time there. My cousin’s nana had a summer home up there (winter home in Mexico) and I always thought she got the best of both worlds with that arrangement being able to avoid the worst of the cold and heat in both locations. =)

    • Reply Johnny May 24, 2013 at 11:10 pm

      Shoot, I’d jump at that arrangement in a heartbeat. Does cousin’s nana need a top ramen chef to follow her from home to home?

  • Reply Halsy May 24, 2013 at 9:21 am

    Colorado is on my forever place list which is actually kind of silly because I’ve never spent more than a week there and I’ve never been there in the winter. I loathe winter driving! The one time I actually took a trip in college I spent a week at my moms best friends house in Glenwood Springs and I fell in love with Colorado. The hiking is just amazing and I would wake up at 5am just to be outside. I know living there would be different and like I said there’s the whole winter thing. My husband and I went to Boulder for a job interview for him a few years ago and I fell more in love with Colorado. However, now that we have baby girl it’s getting harder and harder to envision us leaving our home state 🙁

    • Reply Johnny May 24, 2013 at 11:15 pm

      Sometimes all it takes is a week. When you know, you know. Winter is definitely a doozy in the Mountain West, but it’s real outdoorsy winter. Like 10 feet of snow in the mountains winter.

      With our Baby Girl, we’ve decided that we’ll move wherever and whenever up until she’s in 2nd or 3rd grade, at which point we want to be settled somewhere for her schooling and friends. But even then, sometimes life throws curveballs.

  • Reply Carla May 24, 2013 at 10:00 am

    I think you guys just found my forever home for me… Thanks for doing this series! It’s been really interesting.

    • Reply Johnny May 24, 2013 at 11:21 pm

      Glad you like it. We’re having a really fun time with it.

  • Reply Grayson @ Debt Roundup May 24, 2013 at 12:19 pm

    My wife and I want to move there on day. We are in love with the outdoors and Colorado would be the best place. One day we will get there, but we are in no hurry.

    • Reply Johnny May 24, 2013 at 11:28 pm

      For outdoors states, Colorado is tough to beat.

  • Reply My Financial Independence Journey May 24, 2013 at 7:50 pm

    I think that CO would be a great summer home – I love the outdoors in summer. But given that I’m not a skier (tried it once and will never ever do it again) and that I have no real desire to be outdoors in winter time, I’ll pass. While it’s probably a stereotype, CO also seems like it a few too many pot-smoking hippies for my tastes.

    • Reply Johnny May 24, 2013 at 11:38 pm

      The first two or three or four times skiing/snowboarding are the WORST! But if you can get through those, it’s a blast.

      At least they’re probably all NICE pot-smoking hippies. 🙂

  • Reply Michelle May 24, 2013 at 9:21 pm

    I was so excited when I read this post! I love my state and no, we aren’t all pot-smoking hippies. Don’t forget this state has a large rural population, military (and cowboys) who tend to be quite conservative. I was going to move to NYC and then decided that as much as I love NYC in order to have the same quality of life I would have to make at least 3 times as much money-and I would be stressed out. Instead, I’m relaxed, I exercise, work, hang out on patios during happy hour, go golfing, snowboard and soak in hot springs or hot tubs…well, you get the picture! It’s not perfect, but it’s pretty great.

    • Reply Johnny May 24, 2013 at 11:40 pm

      Thanks so much for contributing. Lots of love from the Coloradoians. You definitely made us second guess what we thought we knew about the state. And I’d definitely put it on our list of considerables.

      • Reply Michelle May 25, 2013 at 10:20 am

        Being a kid here was great btw! I grew up in Boulder and Denver. I went to camp (Camp Chief Ouray), Outward Bound, horseback riding, and hiking. I used to play in creeks and got to visit the four corner states as well. As an adult I realize how great it was to be a kid here. So Baby Girl would have a really nice childhood in this setting.

  • Reply Laurie @thefrugalfarmer May 25, 2013 at 9:05 am

    I vacationed in CO with some friends years ago and absolutely loved it there. Love how it snows one day and melts the next. Love the minimal amount of bugs and the mild climate. It’s an absolutely beautiful state!

    • Reply Joanna May 28, 2013 at 6:07 pm

      That’s part of our problem finding a new place… we don’t vacation enough! We need to do more seeing and discovering before we know what we want.

      We loved the snow, the dry heat, and limited pesky bugs in Utah, too. It’s a tough region to beat in the summer/fall.

  • Reply Budget and the Beach May 26, 2013 at 11:08 am

    Colorado, especially Boulder is on my short list of places I’d consider moving. I think the biggest concern I have is it’s a landlocked State…in the three States I’ve lived (MI, WA, CA), I’m always surrounded by a lot of water which I really like. And also the cost of living isn’t THAT much cheaper in Boulder. But I’m getting more interested in mid-sized cities.

    • Reply Joanna May 28, 2013 at 6:11 pm

      Johnny has said the same thing about living somewhere and not wanting to feel landlocked. And having lived near water the last three or four years, I’m starting to feel that way, too. But I think any water would do for me: lake, river, or even a pool. Johnny probably needs a beach.

  • Reply Marissa @ Barefoot Colorado May 28, 2013 at 9:28 pm

    YAY! Loved reading all about my home state and that I was able to contribute! This 50 States project is awesome, I’ve enjoyed reading all of them!

    • Reply Johnny May 29, 2013 at 11:15 pm

      Thanks for contributing! Y’all represented your state well.

  • Reply EcoCatLady May 29, 2013 at 2:50 pm

    Ha! I just did a loooong hometown post about Denver & Colorado in general, and one of my blogging buddies suggested I pop over here and check this out. I have to say I agree with pretty much everything said. Though, as a third generation Coloradan I have to say that a carbonated beverage is a pop – if you say soda it’s a dead giveaway that you’re a transplant… of course there are SOOOOO many transplants these days that it’s kinda hard to tell anymore! I guess that would be my least favorite thing about the state – the ever growing population. Though it’s hard to blame people for wanting to live here. But it is a pet peeve of mine that even the pronunciation of the state’s name has been “gentrified” in recent years. “Colorado” is supposed to rhyme with “shadow,”not “aficionado!”

    Anyhow, if you’d like to check out my perspective, here’s a link to my post:

    • Reply Johnny May 29, 2013 at 11:22 pm

      Now THAT’S a review of a state/hometown! That’s awesome. Thanks for sharing.

      At least you’ve got a system for weeding out the non-locals. Since I grew up in the West and had family in nearby mountain states, I always knew how to pronounce Colorado. Same with Nevada. It wasn’t until college that I started meeting people who used weird pronunciations for those states. It really annoyed me, and I wasn’t even from those states. #spanishstatenameproblems

  • Reply Ally May 30, 2013 at 12:07 am

    Granted, I did not fill out your survey… but this doesn’t represent my region of Colorado very well at all! Most people tend to focus on the Denver-esque regions… I live 7 hours away. Email me for details if you want them:)

    • Reply Johnny May 31, 2013 at 6:03 pm

      Colorado is a 7 hour+ drive from border-to-border? That blows my mind.

      We have seen with some of the states in the series that some of the less dense populated areas are underrepresented. Every time I’ve driven through Colorado, I’ve always loved the outskirts of the state where the sky is big and the land is open.

  • Reply Kyle July 26, 2013 at 1:17 pm

    Beautiful beautiful country. We use to love the weather, both summer and winter. We really miss the fresh mountain air and all the wildlife and nature. Only problem is all the pot smoking hippies that migrated there. They are very bad for business , effected tourism and ruin the real estate value of our town with increase homelessness and crime. It was such a shame.

    • Reply Johnny August 6, 2013 at 5:09 pm

      Nothing beats that fresh Rocky Mountain air. Well, so long it’s no tainted by a cloud of pot. I actually didn’t think I’d have a problem with legalizing it, but it’d probably be worth asking others who live in those legalized states how/if it affects their quality of life. And from what it sounds like from you, it’s a major detriment. What a shame, indeed.

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