36 Fort Collins

PopulationMetro: 343,976
Located in northern Colorado and tucked into the foothills of the mighty Rocky Mountains, Fort Collins is a traditional university town that boasts outdoor amenities, great weather, and plenty of industry.

Though much of life is centered around the Colorado State campus, Fort Collins is itself a thriving metropolis with a few Fortune 500 companies and cultural opportunities like the Fort Collins Museum of Discovery and quirky spots like the Global Village Museum, which holds a collection of international art.

Fort Collins may only have a population of around 150,000, but they have bragging rights to jobs with Fortune 500 companies like Anheuser-Busch and Hewlett-Packard as well as major health care giant Kaiser Permanente. Fort Collins has a well-educated workforce, ranking #6 on our educational attainment subcategory, and comes in at #16 on our subcategory of household income, with a median household income at $60,110.

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Even though it’s located right at the base of the Rocky Mountains, Fort Collins gets about 300 days of sunshine per year, which is perfect considering there’s an abundance of outdoor terrain to explore—from the scenic Horsetooth Reservoir to the majestic cliffs of the Cache la Poudre River to, of course, the iconic and beautiful Rocky Mountain National Park.

Life in Fort Collins wouldn’t be what it is without Colorado State University, which has about 25,000 students and ranked at No. 140 on the Us News Best Colleges Rankings in 2019. In addition to offering a top-notch education to the students who attend, it also employs a big percentage of the Fort Collins population, whose leading industry is educational services.