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“Great schools, low crime, good jobs in a high-tech economy and a fantastic outdoor life make Fort Collins No. 1. Situated 5,000 feet above sea level in the Rocky Mountains, the city offers restaurants, night life and culture, plus natural attractions like nearby Horsetooth Reservoir for boating and swimming. There are 60 miles of hiking and biking trails, and most major roads have bicycle lanes. The place took off in the '90s as companies moved from high-priced California."
-Money Magazine in 2006
Fort Collins is a beautiful city located about an hour’s drive north of Denver, along the Colorado Front Range and the Cache La Poudre River at about 5,000 feet above sea level. Boasting 300 gorgeous days of sunshine each year, only 14 inches of precipitation, and four pleasant seasons, Fort Collins has drawn over 146,000 proud residents into its city limits so far, and continues to draw more and its population continues to grow steadily each year with no signs of slowing down.
Taking advantage of the beautiful Colorado weather is no hard feat in Fort Collins, where residents and visitors enjoy countless outdoor activities, including camping, hiking, golfing, biking, skiing, snowboarding, horseback riding, boating, waterskiing and white water rafting. Fort Collins comprises six community parks, 38 neighborhood parks, three dog parks, three skate parks, three golf courses, and three swimming pools in addition to its 5,000 acres of natural areas and 200 miles of bicycle/walking trails. Just minutes outside the city limits, Lory State Park and Horsetooth reservoir boast 20 additional miles of trails, 1,900 acres of water open to the public for recreation and views you’d have to see to believe.
In addition to the many outdoor activities available, Fort Collins also offers plenty of shopping and entertainment. With its unlimited dining options, Fort Collins can please any palate, whether the mood is for Italian, Chinese, Japanese, Thai, Mexican, all-American, or vegetarian. A number of major and local breweries are located in Fort Collins, including Anheuser-Busch, Big Horn Brewery, Coopersmith's Pub & Brewing, New Belgium Brewing Company, Fort Collins Brewery, and Odell's Brewing. Downtown Fort Collins or “Old Town”, which inspired Disneyland’s Main Street USA, offers a plethora of local shops, restaurants, bars, coffee shops, ice cream parlors, art galleries, theaters, and spas. As if that wasn’t enough, Front Range Village offers enough options to satisfy every shopaholic’s heart’s desire, from shoes and apparel to sports equipment to home improvement to children’s clothes and toys.
But life in Fort Collins is not all play. Education is an important part of most resident’s daily lives as Fort Collins is the sixth most educated city in the country. In the heart of the Fort Collins lies Colorado State University, a leading accredited research university and one of the greenest universities in the country, which educates over 22,000 students each year and employs over 7,000 fort Collins residents. The city is also home to Front Range Community College Larimer Campus, which partners with CSU in its guaranteed transfer program to provide students with as many opportunities for success as possible. The Poudre School district, another major employer of the city, provides 23,000 kindergarten, elementary and high school students opportunities to learn every day. With students achieving scores 8%-19% higher than other districts in Colorado and 82% of high school graduates going on to attend college, Fort Collins, Colorado is the best place to educate your children.
Employment in Fort Collins is not limited to the field of education. In fact, Forbes named Fort Collins the no. 10 best place for business and careers in the country. Other major employers include Hewlett-Packard, Poudre Valley Hospital, McKee Medical Center, City of Fort Collins, Larimer County, Water Pik Technologies and Anheuser-Busch. Fort Collins is also an excellent place for entrepreneurs, as costs to start and run a business are much lower here than in other major Colorado cities.
In addition to providing many jobs to locals, The Poudre Valley Health System provides health care to all of northern Colorado and even some of Wyoming. The health system is a not-for-profit organization and has received countless awards for the quality of its care, including being rated within the top 100 hospitals for five years in a row by Tomson.
Click here to view ratings of Fort Collins, CO schools on GreatSchools.org.