Boulder, Colorado is frequently ranked one of the happiest cities in the United States, thanks to its gorgeous scenery—the city sits in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, and is near the Flatirons, a series of sandstone formations ideal for hiking—as well as its low-key college town vibes, ample access to Vitamin D (the sun shines in Boulder more than 300 days a year), and thriving culinary scene. Boulder is also one of the healthiest cities in the country, due in part to that sunshine and wealth of outdoor activities. and a recent Gallup poll noted that Colorado ranks sixth in the country in terms of overall wellbeing.
In addition to the mountains (the Flatirons really are spectacular to hike, as is Flagstaff Mountain and Eldorado State Canyon Park), Boulder has the Pearl Street Mall, a big shopping street full of restaurants, shops, breweries, and cafes. Colorado is famous for its beer scene, and Boulder is no exception, boasting so many breweries and and wineries they've been compiled into a Beer Trail. There's great food here, with standouts like Flagstaff House and the farm-to-table Black Cat Bistro, in addition to a bustling farmer's market on Saturdays and Wednesdays.
Real estate prices are high in Boulder—the median listing price here is $849,000, according to Zillow, which is still below Manhattan's hefty $999,000 median price for a co-op or condo, but much more expensive than the national average. Still, the city's glut of high-paying tech jobs (the Brookings Institute recently ranked Boulder the fourth best in the country for employment in STEM fields) offset some of the cost of living, plus you get a lot more bang (and sunshine) for your buck here. Here's a taste of what's on tap.
785 View Point Rd., Devil's Thumb
Devil's Thumb is one of the five Flatiron spires, sticking out above Boulder like—well, like a thumb. The neighborhood, nestled close to the rock itself, is one of the pricier spots in town, and has beautiful houses and easy access to Boulder's mountain trails. This six-bedroom, three-bath house, also pictured above, is the most expensive on this list, featuring breathtaking Flatiron views, multiple floor-to-ceiling stone fireplaces, a sleek, modern kitchen, and lots of windows. Other highlights include an outdoor patio and a screened-in porch. The house is priced at $1,500,000.
1190 Oakdale Pl., North Boulder
This four-bedroom, five-bath custom-built house has unique architecture, with a hexagonal living room and master bedroom. There's also a big wraparound porch, an attached garage with a guest suite, and an airy eat-in kitchen connected to an open-concept dining room. The property is in North Boulder, a suburban-esque area with good schools, organic grocers, and lots of parks, located about two miles from Boulder's downtown. The house is priced at $999,000.
1005 Lincoln Pl., University Hill
This five-bedroom, three-bath Craftsman is located in University Hill, which sits on the western border of the University of Colorado-Boulder and is popular with students and a families alike. The house was built in 1911 and features a number of vintage touches, including original woodwork and an elegant front porch. There's also an updated kitchen with white countertops and wood-slatted cabinetry, big wood-framed windows, a handsome main staircase, and a big backyard. The house is priced at $1,050,00.
4544 Ashfield Dr., Gunbarrel
Gunbarrel actually sits outside of Boulder proper, which makes for a more affordable real estate option. The area is one of Boulder County's fastest-growing spots, with new restaurants and retail establishments opening, and is popular with young families in search of cheaper housing. This three-bedroom, three-bath house was built in 1971 and renovated in 2008. It has a modern kitchen with stainless steel appliances and a master bath with a handsome glass-enclosed shower. Other highlights include big windows, a solar tunnel, and a yard with a deck. The house is priced at $549,000.
210 Pine Brook Rd., Pine Brook Hills
The unincorporated mountain community of Pine Brook Hills is frequently ranked one of Boulder's best places to live, thanks to its stunning mountainside setting, beautiful houses, and proximity to downtown. This three-bedroom, four-bath mountainhouse features incredible two-story, floor-to-ceiling windows with views of evergreen trees, multiple fireplaces and wood-burning stoves, a floor-tiled open kitchen and dining room, and a wood-paneled mother-in-law suite for visitors. There's also a gorgeous backyard and deck. The house is priced at $1,095,000.