relocating to boulder, CO from NYC suburb

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ag1
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relocating to boulder, CO from NYC suburb

Post by ag1 » Thu Sep 24, 2015 8:10 pm

I am 45 - in finance industry with two kids 8 , 11 and spouse. I am tired of living on east coast, high COL, the traffic, the crowds but do enjoy the variety of cultural activities and food. I would really like to move out of this area and have often dreamt of moving to Boulder , CO. I have been there only once as a tourist for few days.
I have some questions -
1) What do you feel about schooling - Schools in my school district are very good. Often rank in top 10 in the state. I don't mind sending kids to private school - but are the schools in Boulder comparable ? What are good options?
2) How is the food /cultural scene in Boulder?
3) My wife is a curator in a small art museum in NYC suburbs - What kind of opportunities are likely to be available there?
4) What other issues should I explore before moving ?

Thanks for any help or pointers

Anshu

daveatca
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some fora are better than others for certain actions

Post by daveatca » Thu Sep 24, 2015 8:31 pm

http://www.city-data.com/forum/boulder-area/
is a better place to post your question

More answers from locals
Last edited by daveatca on Fri Sep 25, 2015 11:43 am, edited 2 times in total.

Rodc
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Re: relocating to boulder, CO from NYC suburb

Post by Rodc » Thu Sep 24, 2015 8:57 pm

Buy climbing shoes and skiis.

Been a while since I lived there.

Schools should be fine but rather more diverse than a NYC burbs school.

Getting crowded and has winter air pollution - or at least it used to.

College town so arts, theater etc, plus not far from Denver.

Good food easy to find.

Sounds like your wife has a niche job, so may need to change or evolve.

Great place to live.
We live a world with knowledge of the future markets has less than one significant figure. And people will still and always demand answers to three significant digits.

209south
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Re: relocating to boulder, CO from NYC suburb

Post by 209south » Thu Sep 24, 2015 9:02 pm

Agree great place to live...but (a) the People's Republic of Boulder is VERY liberal so be sure you're ready for that; and (b) I cannot imagine there is more diversity in Boulder than my NYC suburb, but that's okay. Phenomenal weather, clean air and scenery, just be sure you don't buy any bottled water or cross into a bicycle path :D

gator15
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Re: relocating to boulder, CO from NYC suburb

Post by gator15 » Thu Sep 24, 2015 9:24 pm

I live in Denver, about 30 minutes from Boulder. I go to Boulder about once a month. I like the city and considered moving there to be closer to my wife's job. She works in Boulder. She works in tech and there are a lot of tech jobs there. I go there because my favorite brewery is there. Also, it's a great place to go mountain biking. One of the best restaurants in Colorado is located in Boulder. This is according to the local 5280 magazine. Boulder has several good restaurants. It's also a college town with the University of Colorado-Boulder being there. Getting in and out of Boulder during rush hour can be a bit annoying, but not like most cities. Boulder is a bit expensive, but may not be too bad for you considering you are coming from NY. I think it's a great place to raise a family. Denver/Boulder and the surrounding areas aren't as bad from a weather standpoint as many people think. In fact, summers are really hot. Over the last three months, we've had a lot of 80 and 90 degree days. Overall, it's a great place to live and I would move there. As stated above we considered moving there, but decided against it because I work in Denver and my wife's job will be relocating to Denver soon. Good luck

ag1
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Re: some fora are better than others for certain actions

Post by ag1 » Thu Sep 24, 2015 9:28 pm

daveatca wrote:http://www.city-data.com/forum/boulder-area/
is the place to post your question


I have over the years found that people on these forums have more in common than a love for vanguard and Mr Bogle. I have received a lot of very valuable and well thought out advice on this forum on variety of topics. So I would beg your indulgence and ask you to ignore me if the topic does not appeal to you.
thanks

ag1
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Re: relocating to boulder, CO from NYC suburb

Post by ag1 » Thu Sep 24, 2015 9:31 pm

Rodc wrote:Buy climbing shoes and skiis.

Been a while since I lived there.

Schools should be fine but rather more diverse than a NYC burbs school.

Getting crowded and has winter air pollution - or at least it used to.

College town so arts, theater etc, plus not far from Denver.

Good food easy to find.

Sounds like your wife has a niche job, so may need to change or evolve.

Great place to live.

Thanks - wife's job is tricky - I need to get her onboard too. But thanks

ag1
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Re: relocating to boulder, CO from NYC suburb

Post by ag1 » Thu Sep 24, 2015 9:37 pm

209south wrote:Agree great place to live...but (a) the People's Republic of Boulder is VERY liberal so be sure you're ready for that; and (b) I cannot imagine there is more diversity in Boulder than my NYC suburb, but that's okay. Phenomenal weather, clean air and scenery, just be sure you don't buy any bottled water or cross into a bicycle path :D
very interesting - So boulder has a very different political/cultural leaning than colorado state? I thought CO was somewhat a swing state so politically more balanced than say NYC . That is something to think about. I should get a subscription to local news paper to get a flavor for the city.
thanks

WhyNotUs
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Re: relocating to boulder, CO from NYC suburb

Post by WhyNotUs » Thu Sep 24, 2015 9:53 pm

Boulder has a rich variety of good schooling choices public and independent. Not sure what you are looking for in education. There is an excellent Waldorf School (Shining Mountain there) but the public schools are very good. Fairview HS is in top 10 in state.

Cultural life in Boulder is incredibly rich. Look at Entertainment section of Boulder Weekly and you will get a sense. http://www.boulderweekly.com

Food scene is good and diverse.

Can't speak to jobs in art museums.

Boulder is expensive, unless you are from NYC. Factor in taxes in your assessment as they are much lower in CO.
There is traffic in Boulder. Too much for me but I live in the boonies.
The economic engine in Boulder is roaring. Lots of tech and other innovative industries. It is a very exciting time to be in Boulder form an economic perspective.
I own the next hot stock- VTSAX

WhyNotUs
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Re: relocating to boulder, CO from NYC suburb

Post by WhyNotUs » Thu Sep 24, 2015 9:56 pm

Boulder is progressive/liberal in political leanings. They are trying to buy their utility in order to get more renewable energy than the 30% required by the state, vote consistently D, bike friendly/outdoor oriented, veggie/trans/alternative lifestyle friendly. That is why I like it :-) YMMV
I own the next hot stock- VTSAX

clacy
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Re: relocating to boulder, CO from NYC suburb

Post by clacy » Thu Sep 24, 2015 10:18 pm

Everything in your first post is compatible with Boulder, IMO.

It is very liberal, but the State is without a doubt a swing state. The nice thing about swing states, is that regardless of which side of the isle you prefer, you feel like your vote actually counts :happy

radiowave
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Re: relocating to boulder, CO from NYC suburb

Post by radiowave » Thu Sep 24, 2015 10:39 pm

Anshu

Agree with all above comment re Boulder. You may want to consider south Denver metro. Douglas county (e.g. Castle Rock, Highlands Ranch, and Parker) have some of the best schools in the state. It's about the same commute to downtown Denver as from Boulder. Most of the finance jobs are downtown (at least the big buildings with the names on them). And not the college town liberal bent you get in Boulder in south metro.

Note: Denver is one of the hottest housing markets in the country (seller's market) so you may want to factor that into your decision. House prices are likely lower than NYC metro and property taxes will be substantially lower. But you may have to overbid on a house to get the one you want.

Because this is high desert, winters are dry and the snow is mostly power Dec through March then the wet snow and sleet starts. I grew up in Suffolk County NY and do not miss the gray dark, humid cold. With 300 days of sun, I'll take a foot of snow and then a week of sunshine :) and of course you have world class skiing 1 to 2 hours drive (actually from Boulder some are less than an hour drive). Colorado has the lowest obesity rate in the country and everyone seems healthy and enjoying life out here. Only been here 2 years, wish I would have come out here 20 years ago!
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209south
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Re: relocating to boulder, CO from NYC suburb

Post by 209south » Thu Sep 24, 2015 10:57 pm

To be clear I LOVE Boulder and CU (my daughter is an alum) but YES Boulder is very liberal vs. other uni towns Fort Collins and Colorado Springs. Having said that, those two aren't commutable to Denver. I wouldn't hesitate to move to Boulder but, if politics matter, I'd consider neighboring towns.

stlutz
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Re: relocating to boulder, CO from NYC suburb

Post by stlutz » Thu Sep 24, 2015 11:34 pm

The good things about moving to a place like Boulder are pretty easy to figure out. As a cautionary note not so much about Boulder specifically, but more about the western part of the country in general:

--Good food and culture come with money, and with money usually comes a high cost of living and traffic. Boulder is expensive, so is Portland (see the thread on that city going on now as well). Both have good food and culture. Billings, MT--not as much.

--Lots of places have what they consider great culinary options and cultural attractions. If you truly love these things about NYC, other areas simply will not compare. Are you just looking for what you might find to be tolerable in this area?

--Are you an indoors or an outdoors person? If doing things outdoors constantly is not your thing, CO can be boring, at least when you are used to NYC. Other areas in the west are better "indoor" cities. More people keep moving to many places in the West. If you aren't moving somewhere because you love what is truly great about that area, then you'll find yourself over time just complaining about all of new people moving in and ruining the place. :happy

--What are your roots where you live currently? The trendy areas in the West are more transient. People from the East, South, and Midwest who are still hanging out with people they knew from high school and who have lots of family close by often comment that it's easy to meet people in the West but hard to make close friends--making new friends is something you constantly need to work at.

--What do you do in finance and what are your career goals? The south Denver area has a lot of finance companies (e.g. Schwab apparently has a huge campus there), but mostly operational as opposed to, say, actually managing money. If a true career in finance is your goal, then NYC, Boston, and the Bay Area will of course have the most career options--other places you'll have to be more flexible and most likely sacrifice in career growth.

Yes, this post has been negative, but I'm bringing up some of these questions because the original post focused on what you are trying to get away from as opposed to what you are trying to move to. There are definitely things in "cool" Western cities to move away from as well (traffic and high COL often being on the list).

Rodc
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Re: relocating to boulder, CO from NYC suburb

Post by Rodc » Fri Sep 25, 2015 5:54 am

209south wrote:Agree great place to live...but (a) the People's Republic of Boulder is VERY liberal so be sure you're ready for that; and (b) I cannot imagine there is more diversity in Boulder than my NYC suburb, but that's okay. Phenomenal weather, clean air and scenery, just be sure you don't buy any bottled water or cross into a bicycle path :D
My guess is the school families are far more economically diverse. My Boston leafy burb schools are very ethnically diverse, but the socio-economic range is very narrow - very highly educated and with high family incomes. With the exception of a few subsidized housing units. Our kids are in for a rude shock when they get out on their own unless the parents have been teaching them about the bubble in which they live. Even then I expect most will be surprised. My thought was most NYC burbs would be similar - too expensive for real economic diversity - but I could be wrong.

Last I knew the clean air was summer only - like Denver, Boulder had its own winter brown cloud during temperature inversions which traps emissions near the surface. 10 years or so back there were days where fire place use was illegal for this reason. Not a big deal, but something to look at. Perhaps with improved car pollution controls this is no longer true.
We live a world with knowledge of the future markets has less than one significant figure. And people will still and always demand answers to three significant digits.

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yukonjack
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Re: relocating to boulder, CO from NYC suburb

Post by yukonjack » Fri Sep 25, 2015 9:52 am

Boulder IMO is the best place to live in CO. I'm about 30 minutes away and would probably move there if my house wasn't paid for. My son is a senior at CU. Also the home that I would want in Boulder would easily cost 3 times my current home. For local info check out the Boulder paper at http://www.dailycamera.com.
The list of positives are a mile long so I will give you some of the other side. Because of strict no growth policies Boulder is quite congested. Many people work there but commute from nearby communities. Plus you have about 30k students from August to May. You would need to be ok with putting up with students that don't always act civilly. And there always seems to be quite a few tourists or visitors walking around a small downtown area. Although being from the east coast you are probably ok with crowded conditions. As the west goes and Colorado in particular Boulder is very expensive. There is virtually no diversity. It's very white, upper middle class and highly educated. Because of its location Boulder is one of the windier front range cities. The chinook winds from December to February can be fierce (+100 mph). Boulder typically gets a good 30% more snow than Denver.
As a side note on commuting to Denver, a large highway project was just completed and there is now a dedicated lane between Denver and Boulder for buses and I believe high occupancy cars. This will help a great deal although winter commuting will still be difficult.
Having said all of that I truly love the place and very well may move there at some point but I think it's important to develop a complete picture before committing to something as big as a cross country move. Best of luck in what ever you decide.

Jonathan
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Re: relocating to boulder, CO from NYC suburb

Post by Jonathan » Fri Sep 25, 2015 11:00 am

1) There are some good schools, but, on average, Colorado doesn't have great schools. It certainly could not match NYC. Be sure you are comparing apples with apples.

2) Food is incredible in Boulder for a town of its size, especially the fine dining. As an East coaster, be prepared to be disappointed by the pizza. Cultural scene is, ahem, "burgeoning". Denver is probably better in this regard. Colorado isn't exactly known for its art scene. *cough* wood carving of a buffalo *cough* painting of a Native American with a cheesy quotation *cough* photograph of a mountain *cough*.

3) Denver. Or, maybe check out the Dairy Center for the Arts in Boulder; they got a nice endowment last year and may be looking to fill some positions.

4) Weather is incredible. Professional services are at a much lower quality than what you get on the East coast. Doctors, lawyers, etc. Fewer Ivy League educated people. The university is a notorious party school, but its grad schools are well-respected. Politically, the "open-mindedness" flag flies high, but the dominant worldview is better defined as "narrow-minded": if you're not a vocal liberal, you must be a Fox News moron.

Boulder is one of the least diverse places in America; it's populated largely by upper-middle class white liberals. The word "diversity" does get bandied about quite a bit though, so if you like hearing that word, you're in luck.

Look at real estate in the mountains just west of Boulder. Much more reasonable prices, incredible views, semi-rural but not at all hickish. The commute into Boulder can be anywhere from 10 to 30 minutes. This is dependent on distance, not traffic. Many people enjoy the drive from the mountains; minimal traffic and great views.

Rodc
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Re: relocating to boulder, CO from NYC suburb

Post by Rodc » Fri Sep 25, 2015 11:15 am

Boulder is one of the least diverse places in America; it's populated largely by upper-middle class white liberals. The word "diversity" does get bandied about quite a bit though, so if you like hearing that word, you're in luck.
That is too bad. My information is dated from 20 years ago, though I visit now and again. Used to have a bimodal distribution of well off and well educated, and service economy (old hippies and largely Hispanic). I guess the service economy employees have been pushed out.
We live a world with knowledge of the future markets has less than one significant figure. And people will still and always demand answers to three significant digits.

Jonathan
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Re: relocating to boulder, CO from NYC suburb

Post by Jonathan » Fri Sep 25, 2015 12:07 pm

Ah, Boulder 20 years ago :sharebeer

I should state that if topographical, geological, or meteorological diversity is considered, Colorado is one of the most diverse places on the entire planet. Melanin diversity, not so much.

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Re: relocating to boulder, CO from NYC suburb

Post by physicsgal » Fri Sep 25, 2015 12:12 pm

I grew up in Santa Cruz, CA and moved to Boulder, CO in 2003 for graduate school at CU Boulder. I love Boulder and miss it very much. I live in Denver now, which is a good city, but I really enjoyed the proximity to the mountains in Boulder. You can hop on your bike and ride up Flatstaff for your lunch break! It's a very active town and of course, being a college town, if you don't want to live near lots of college students be careful about choosing neighborhoods. It's also pricey for Colorado, though probably not compared to where you are coming from, I'm guessing. Colorado's economy is booming and the Front Range is growing like gangbusters so get here quick before it turns into the Bay area! I love Colorado and I would recommend it as a home for anyone who appreciates the outdoors, being active, and enjoying your life. Come visit quick and you can see the Aspens changing in the mountains and my beautiful state will knock your socks off!

4th and Inches
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Re: relocating to boulder, CO from NYC suburb

Post by 4th and Inches » Sat Sep 26, 2015 7:29 am

I'm moving to Denver next Friday. Yay!

oxothuk
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Re: relocating to boulder, CO from NYC suburb

Post by oxothuk » Sat Sep 26, 2015 8:25 am

clacy wrote:The nice thing about swing states, is that regardless of which side of the isle you prefer, you feel like your vote actually counts :happy
Less nice is that local media are absolutely saturated with negative ads, starting 6-9 months before each election. You will also need technology for screening out robocalls.

Contra one of the prior posters, I would think long and hard before moving into the mountains west of town. You'll have a long,narrow, twisty drive (and icy in winter) every time you need/want ANYTHING. There is also a high danger of fires. I've known many people who bought houses in the mountains when they first moved here and then fled back to the plains after a few years.

Jonathan
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Re: relocating to boulder, CO from NYC suburb

Post by Jonathan » Sat Sep 26, 2015 11:07 am

oxothuk wrote:Contra one of the prior posters, I would think long and hard before moving into the mountains west of town. You'll have a long,narrow, twisty drive (and icy in winter) every time you need/want ANYTHING. There is also a high danger of fires.
This used to be the case. Now we get deliveries from Amazon Prime via UPS and FedEx. Groceries are delivered from Wal-Mart. Wine and beer delivered from Liquor Mart in Boulder. Restaurant Runners will even pick up food from Boulder restaurants and deliver into the mountains. If we need something very quick, Nederland is a 7-minute drive away.

Be sure not to confuse narrow twisty roads with dangerous roads. Driving speeds on these roads are slow, and serious accidents are rare. If you live in the plains instead of the mountains, and you commute into Boulder on the notoriously dangerous US 36, you're taking a much greater risk; there are multiple deadly accidents on 36 each season. Google US 36 accident for details.

Fire danger is the big risk. There's a lot you can do to protect yourself, but at the end of the day, you live in a forest.

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Re: relocating to boulder, CO from NYC suburb

Post by Valuethinker » Sat Sep 26, 2015 12:09 pm

ag1 wrote:I am 45 - in finance industry with two kids 8 , 11 and spouse. I am tired of living on east coast, high COL, the traffic, the crowds but do enjoy the variety of cultural activities and food. I would really like to move out of this area and have often dreamt of moving to Boulder , CO. I have been there only once as a tourist for few days.
I have some questions -
1) What do you feel about schooling - Schools in my school district are very good. Often rank in top 10 in the state. I don't mind sending kids to private school - but are the schools in Boulder comparable ? What are good options?
2) How is the food /cultural scene in Boulder?
3) My wife is a curator in a small art museum in NYC suburbs - What kind of opportunities are likely to be available there?
4) What other issues should I explore before moving ?

Thanks for any help or pointers

Anshu
I would consider working until 55 in your current area, and building significant savings + housing equity. *Then* moving full time to Boulder as an end-of-career or retirement move.

The diversity of opportunities in NYC area will be much greater: lose your job (a constant risk in finance) and the greater chance of getting another. And your spouse would definitely be looking at a significant career change if you pursue this move-- there cannot be that many art museums in Colorado. It's arguable, but I believe that barring a repeat of 2008, NYC housing prices should keep pace with Colorado ones.

In moving to CO you might find you need to be in Denver, for career and schooling reasons-- that's the advantage cities have over smaller towns. That means you have moved to a big spread out city, from a super big but concentrated one. So the gains in lifestyle (other than weather), smog etc. may not be as great as you would have hoped.

There are distinct disadvantages living in a town which is an undergraduate "party school".

Re politics AFAIK yes Boulder is kind of Colorado's Berkeley-- the 1960s never died as far as local politics is concerned. Good things and bad things in that-- anti growth initiatives will jack up housing prices. Fort Collins or Colorado Springs are, by reputation, opposite extremes?

When you say your vote does not count in NY? That's true at the Electoral College level (there is a movement to reform that at the state level, Rick Hertzberg at the New Yorker champions it, why not join?). However suburban NY returns lots of Republicans at the state level and at the House of Representatives? In my day, NY also had GOP Senators and governors, although I realize political allegiances have shifted. More states are solidly one color or the other? Even so, at the primary level, there are more and less conservative Democrats running for governor and for the nomination.

In summary I agree your presidential vote doesn't count (yet Ford and Nixon took NY from memory, so this is a recent thing). But there are other levels of government and the Legislative branch as well as the Executive.

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Re: relocating to boulder, CO from NYC suburb

Post by German Expat » Sat Sep 26, 2015 12:10 pm

Moved away from Lafayette (near Boulder) a little more then 1 year ago and we sometimes still miss it. Most has been said already, one of the questions you will need to answer is if you want to move into the city or go to Louisville / Lafayette etc. Boulder has a very limited housing stock available and is getting more expensive (not compared to where you are from).
For schools our son went to Peak to Peak charter school in Lafayette, there is also a private school (Dawson) and both are ranked very high.

It is not a city place though, you need to like outdoors, do you ski, do you like to hike, do you like to do things outdoor then it is for you. Also the weather is very good with lots of sunny days.

I would be a bit hesitant to move to the west of boulder. A friend of ours has a house at there and the last couple years got once evacuated for fire and a mud slide during the big flood took his garage away and flooded his ground floor. Fire's will be a danger and inside or east of the city the danger is much lower. I have another friend in Boulder that moved with his family from NYC and really likes it (3 kids),he is still commuting back to the east coast weekly though for his job.

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jesscj
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Re: relocating to boulder, CO from NYC suburb

Post by jesscj » Sat Sep 26, 2015 2:41 pm

I work in Boulder, commute about 20 mins. Boulder is high cost of living for Colorado, my house would cost 2-3 times more in Boulder, during the day Boulder traffic sucks, lots of people commute to Boulder to work almost everyone I work with that owns a home lives outside Boulder. As far as food Boulder does have a lot of good restaurants, cultural scene as already stated upper middle class white . Boulder isn't a large city so for your wife's job might have some limitations. Also if moving into Boulder learn where all the college housing areas are and i'd make sure not to buy near them. Personally if moving to Colorado look at surrounding areas north of Boulder Longmont,Loveland,Fort Collins areas are all growing very fast and all still close to the mountains. Also much of the front range is booming right now lots of people moving into the area.
"Gonna Make It"

ag1
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Re: relocating to boulder, CO from NYC suburb

Post by ag1 » Sun Sep 27, 2015 3:40 pm

Guys
i thank you very much for the extensive information and views that you have given me. This is why i love bogleheads . I am visiting Boulder in mid October - probably go again in mid winter and will post on the forum my thoughts.
regards
anshu

RetiredIn2011
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Re: relocating to boulder, CO from NYC suburb

Post by RetiredIn2011 » Sun Sep 27, 2015 8:29 pm

We used to live in Clarkstown in Rockland County outside of NYC. Moved to Louisville CO 30 years ago. My kids went to the local schools and then to college at the School of Mines and CU Boulder. We've never regretted the move. Both of my kids have chosen to buy homes in the past two years in Louisville. They want to continue to live here and raise their families here. Louisville is the next town/city east of Boulder. It's a 10 minute ride to get to southern Boulder and about 15 to 20 minutes (depending on time of day) to get into the downtown center of Boulder. The RTD bus runs pretty much ever 30 minutes and more frequently during rush hours.

The reason we like Louisville vs Boulder is that you are close enough to avail yourself of all that Boulder has to offer, restaurants, CU, cultural and education opportunities, entertainment, unique shopping, etc. but you don't have to deal with the crap that Boulder offers. You don't have to deal with noisy crazy college kids, traffic, tons of bikes, panhandlers, druggies, etc.

If you want more info, check out Louisville as Money Magazines number four best place to live in the US this past month. We were number one in 2009 and 2011 but slid to number two in 2013. The biggest downside is that the area is so desirable that the cost of homes has gone crazy.

Good luck with whatever you chose. I have to apologize to my neighbors. We're not supposed to tell anyone what a great spot this is -- it only attracts more people. :happy

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