I recently read an article online where the author highlighted what he claimed were the “10 Worst Places to Live in Colorado.” It was unclear as to whether he had visited all ten towns, and as it appears he resides outside of Colorado, I am skeptical.
He wrote that he based his article on statistics, although he sprinkled non-statistic based comments throughout the piece.
The word “worst” denotes something very bad, and when the word is used to describe a place, most people would immediately check the place off their visit list. The more I thought about this, the more the article bothered me.
I’ve met the people in these communities and walked the streets of these towns, and I am here to tell you that many of the folks who live in these places are fiercely proud of their towns, and rightly so. Not only are there wonderful reasons to visit each of these Colorado towns, I believe all of them would be a great place to call home.
After some consideration, I decided to highlight some of the best things each of the towns on this “worst” list have to offer. I have taken the liberty of putting the following towns in alphabetical order (this is not as they appeared on the original list).
I spent a long weekend in Alamosa last winter during Rio Frio Ice Fest, an event that features a 5K race on the frozen Rio Grande River.
While there, we ate our way through town, enjoying everything from fresh tortillas to game sausage. There is an abundance of delicious, friendly and family-owned restaurants in Alamosa.
The town is home to the San Luis Brewing Company. Located in downtown Alamosa in a fabulous old bank building, this brewery makes our favorite green chile beer.
Alamosa is located 30 miles from Great Sand Dunes National Park & Preserve, a truly magical place.
Located in the far southwest corner of Colorado. I’ve been to Cortez because it’s 14 miles from Mesa Verde National Park, where there are 5,000 known archeological sites as well as 600 cliff dwellings of Ancestral Pueblo.
Along with the vast historical significance of the area, Cortez offers incredible birding opportunities, biking, hiking, rock climbing and star gazing.
I especially remember eating a scrumptious Mexican food meal while visiting Cortez.
Delta is at the confluence of the Uncompahgre and Gunnison Rivers. The city has a rich history and many buildings are on the local or state historic register. Visitors can tour Fort Uncompahgre, a reconstruction of the original trading post that was build in 1828.
The city is known as the City of Murals because public art is on display throughout town.
Fantastic recreation destinations surround Delta such as the Dominguez/Escalante National Wilderness areas.
Grand Junction, Colorado
Grand Junction is home to one of my favorite restaurants in the entire state, Bin 707 Foodbar, and any self-described foodie should eat there at least once.
Agritourism opportunities are numerous as the city is surrounded by vineyards and orchards that give tours.
The little known Colorado National Monument is located just minutes from Grand Junction. The rock formations at the park rival much of what I’ve seen in Utah.
The only rockestra west of the Mississippi River calls Grand Junction home. The Grand Junction Rockestra performs rock and roll with a symphonic twist.
The city is covered with public art, which makes downtown Grand Junction pop with color and creativity year round.
Of all the towns on this list, I know Greeley the best. I’ve covered festivals in town and we usually attend one or two of their Friday Fest events during the summer months. It’s located just 20 minutes east of where I live.
Greeley is the only town in Colorado with an open container liquor policy in downtown during Friday Fest. Its Puritan founders are likely turning over in their graves, but I believe Greeley’s “Go Cup” service is one of the most progressive policies in the state.
Greeley is home to the Rocky Mountain region’s longest running orchestra, there’s an array of interesting restaurants such as Birrieria Doña Maria in town and at least six microbreweries (that I know of) have opened in Greeley, not to mention an excellent small batch distillery serving up spirits made with Colorado ingredients.
La Junta, Colorado
It may be tiny and rural, but La Junta is situated along the Santa Fe Trail and is home to one of the most famous forts in the west – Bent’s Old Fort.
Built in 1833, Bent’s Old Fort stood for 16 years, and was a hub of activity for explorers, adventurers and the US Army.
La Junta means junction, and for many years the town has served as a place where travelers can take a pause from their journey. One reason to pause in the region is this list of festivals that occur annually in Southeast Colorado.
La Junta borders the Comanche National Grassland where visitors can hike, bird watch and even find dinosaur tracks.
I spent a long weekend in Montrose last fall covering their Oktoberfest and have been through the town many, many times, stopping occasionally for a meal.
Home to Colorado Boy, one of our favorite pizza and beer joints in the entire state.
Montrose is also the headquarters of the Colorado Yurt Company, which we have toured. This company sends yurts around the globe. This is probably one of the coolest companies in the entire state.
In addition, Montrose is 13 miles from the entrance to Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, one of the most awe inspiring national parks that I have visited. It’s especially gorgeous in the fall.
Pueblo is home of the “slopper.” An epic burger smothered in green chili. Two of Pueblo’s restaurants have been featured on The Food Network because of their famous sloppers.
Pueblo is also the site of the annual Chile & Frijoles Festival every September. Any town that celebrates chile pepper is tops in my book.
Pueblo has the Historic Arkansas Riverwalk with restaurants, river boats, movie nights and more. Not many towns in Colorado or beyond can boast a riverwalk.
I don’t think I’ve ever been to Stratmoor, Colorado, but I do know that it’s not actually a town, it’s basically a suburb of Colorado Springs. It’s located just 15 minutes from the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, my favorite zoo in Colorado, so it really can’t be all that bad. I’d be perfectly content to visit this zoo every day.
I was just in Trinidad two weeks ago covering ArtoCade and I can’t wait to write an entire blog post about this fascinating town that has no right being on any Worst Town list.
As a major stop along the Santa Fe Trail, the history in Trinidad runs deep and the colorful stories are never ending (Al Capone is even rumored to have come to town).
Nearly every building in the expansive downtown area of Trinidad looks like a wedding cake.
Trinidad is home to Rino’s Italian Restaurant & Steakhouse where they have fabulous singing waiters. And one of the last two skating rinks to boast the original wood floors is also located in town.
I sincerely hope you see Colorado’s worst places to live list in a different light after reading this article.
People write “worst” lists with hits in mind. They know that inflammatory posts with “click bait” style titles will get shared on social media with little regard for anything else.
The towns on this list represent a lot of what I love the most about Colorado – unique beauty, colorful histories and friendly people.
I believe that with a little digging, every town has an interesting story to tell. Honestly, it didn’t require much digging to uncover the gems located in each of these unique Colorado communities.