After having spent our entire lives in the Midwest, we moved to Northern Colorado last July. Though we’ve only lived here just over a year, we’ve fallen in love with this awesome community and region of the country. In case you’ve only lived in NoCo, or need some happy reminders why you live here, check out my list of favorite things (in no particular order)!
People. The amount of sunshine in Colorado is life-changing. The Midwest is basically gray from October through May, so living in a place where we can enjoy sunshine almost every day is remarkable. Even when the temps dip or the winds are too blustery, having that bit of sun stream in through the windows brings an internal warmth and joy you just don’t get to experience in other parts of the country. Sunshine is life.
2. Temperate climate
Everyone has different ideal climates, and I’m a season-loving lady. It’s been so wonderful to have my seasons, but to a less extreme than the Midwest. In NoCo, we get to dine al fresco what feels like all the time; we can go on walks or trips to the park; we don’t need to drag parkas, gloves and hats with us everywhere we go; and we can take advantage of the mountains and other outdoor activities that NoCo has to offer. These examples don’t even express how amazing it feels to be able to live outside your house most of the year.
3. Those mountains
The front range is just so beautiful. I’d always lived near lakes, so I wasn’t sure how I’d adapt to being away from water. That said, every day I awe at our stunning horizon and my fortune in living here. I didn’t appreciate how dynamic, or what an integral part of the community, the mountains are until we moved. It’s kind of like how New York is a character in Sex and the City; the Rockies are just as much a part of our community as the people. Plus, the range provides the perfect coordinate for those of you who are directionally challenged like myself, which made finding my way around town a heck of a lot easier.
You Coloradoans love your brunch, so I fit right in! Brunch is my favorite meal and I could eat it every day. Also I don’t know where those little mini donuts come from, but they’re the best invention and I’m so glad you have them. I haven’t hit up nearly all the best brunch spots yet, but some of my family’s favorites around Fort Collins include Snooze, The Urban Egg, and Foco Doco. (On that note, PLEASE add your favorite brunch spots below so I know where to try next!)
I’ve never been anywhere where dogs are as welcome in public buildings as they are in Northern Colorado. I understand there have been a few snafus with dogs in places like grocery stores, however it’s such a pleasure (to me!) to be around pets. I’m a huge animal lover but my partner and son have severe allergies, so a furry pet will never be in my future. That means I get my animal fix when I go to Scheel’s, Verizon, Michael’s, or pretty much anywhere else.
6. Family-friendly FTW
Madison, WI is a super family-friendly community. It has loads of free or low-cost activities for families to enjoy, including a zoo, children’s museum, “dream” parks, and splash pads. I wasn’t sure what to expect when moving to NoCo, and I’ve been pleasantly surprised. There are a lot of active things to do, and we’ve been loving the parks system, hiking trails, and pools. We’ve also been able to partake in fun family activities in Old Town, ceramics classes, LEGO camp, and kids’ events at the library. It’s been relatively easy to adjust to life here and raise our family, thanks to our friendly community!
7. Inviting locals
I’ve been blown away by how truly inviting and sincere Northern Coloradoans are. I was raised with Midwest hospitality, but you’ve gone out of your way to help me create my network. It’s really awkward trying to make friends as an adult, and I’ve been struggling to meet people since I work from home. I can say with great appreciation that everyone I’ve connected with has been more than willing to get together for lunch or coffee, invite me to events, and get together with my family on weekends. Your generosity and genuineness has been heartwarming.
It feels like everything in NoCo is a stone’s throw away. I can get to the store, the doctor, my kids’ schools, good dining, and shopping, each within 20 minutes from my house. Traffic is seldom bad (note that I did also live in Chicago for a number of years, so I tend to have a high tolerance for my friends on the road) and parking is pretty dang awesome. We can access and do pretty much anything we want with little to no hassle. It’s a beautiful thing.
9. Proximity to fun
And on that note, if we ever want to spread our wings a bit, we can get to dozens of great places in less than a day. Denver, Boulder, and Colorado Springs all have awesome things for families to do. We love the Denver Children’s Museum and have already been there several times, and we’ve also enjoyed the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, Denver Aquarium, and downtown Boulder. These have been so easy to visit, even with kids in tow. We have yet to hit up Cheyenne, Steamboat, or any of the great skiing opportunities nearby, but it’s an amazing privilege to have all of these remarkable locales a road-trip away.
10. No bugs
Lastly, but definitely not leastly, you guys have virtually no bugs. I mean no one warned me about the size of your spiders, but they’re nothing compared to the heinous mosquitoes of the Midwest. Between the lakes and the constant humidity, mosquito season is just about as long as construction season. (ICYMI: The running joke in the Midwest is that is has two seasons: winter and construction.) I basically spent the most beautiful months of the year trapped indoors because of those wretched little beasts. But here, in gorgeous NoCo, I can get out, drink in my vitamin D, partake in our inspiring landscape, and live a little more freely.
I hold the Midwest dear to my heart and, just like Northern Colorado, it has an abundance of fantastic offerings. I was really worried about what I would be unknowingly giving up when moving. I’m happy to say, I haven’t found much (one notable exception being to-go bakeries – where are you, sweet friends?!). I hope this list reminds you of the beauty that surrounds you and all that your stunning state has to offer!