With remote working and a renewed focus on healthy lifestyles, a growing number of people are looking at moving to Colorado Springs, CO. Why that area, in particular? Because the city has such a great variety of outdoor activities, walkable neighborhoods, and temperate weather that makes it an attractive place to live. It has also earned a reputation for its natural beauty, relatively affordable housing that keeps living expenses in Colorado Springs somewhat low, and lots of family-friendly places to visit, from parks to museums to restaurants.
There are so many things to do in Colorado Springs that it has grown into one of Colorado's most popular cities for many reasons. Want to know more about what it’s like living in Colorado Springs? Here’s a closer look at what makes The Springs so appealing, as well as answers to some of the top questions people have about living, working, and playing in the city.
Colorado Springs at a Glance
- Geography: Colorado Springs is located at the foot of Pikes Peak, 70 miles south of the state’s most populous city, Denver. Because of its proximity to mountains, you’ll find that the air is dry, there are several different elevations throughout the city, and there’s a large array of unique Colorado Springs neighborhoods and attractions, due to the surrounding natural geography.
- Size: The city of Colorado Springs is about 195 square miles, and there are more than 9,000 acres of parkland.
- Population: Colorado Springs is the second most populous city in Colorado. The Colorado Springs population is an estimated 495,298 as of 2023, and it has a median age of 35.4 (as of 2023), according to the city of Colorado Springs.
1. The Surprising Cost of Living in Colorado Springs
Is it expensive to live in Colorado Springs? That depends. While the cost of living here is 8 percent higher than the national average, it’s lower than nearby Denver — which is nearly 28 percent higher than the national average. And, surprisingly, not everything is more expensive here. The average Colorado Springs utility bill is nearly 8 percent lower than the country’s average, and groceries are about 2 percent lower. Be aware, though — cost of living is always fluctuating, especially in a city growing as rapidly as Colorado Springs.
So is Colorado Springs an affordable place to live? Depending on your income level and spending patterns, Colorado Springs can certainly be an affordable place to live — especially when compared to Denver or other Colorado cities. The average home value in Colorado Springs, for example, is more than $120,000 less than the average home value in Denver.
2. Affordable Home Prices
And speaking of values, what are home prices like in Colorado Springs? It all depends on what neighborhood you settle into and what you buy. Life in Colorado Spring can be affordable for home buyers and, for many, home prices in Colorado Springs are reasonable. Colorado Springs real estate is hot, though, just like the rest of the nation. The average home value was about $456,017 as of May 2023, according to Zillow.
3. The Abundant Rental Market
If you’re going to be a renter, you may question: Is it better to live in Colorado Springs or Denver? Although Denver is certainly an amazing choice with lots of rentals, it’s definitely more expensive, and you have more competition for those rentals. Colorado Springs, on the other hand, is more affordable, has less competition, and may actually have more places available to rent than you think because of the high number of colleges, universities, and military bases in the area. The average monthly rent in Colorado Springs is $1,534 as of February 2023, and the average apartment size is 851 square feet, according to RentCafe. Of course, this average goes up or down depending on the specific neighborhood where you rent. And while most residents tend to own their homes, 39 percent of households in the city are renter-occupied.
4. Plentiful Recreational Activities in and Around The Springs
If it’s not obvious already, Colorado Springs has great recreational options for everyone, no matter their age. In fact, it’s where the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Training Center is located, so there are many like-minded fitness advocates literally running around.
There are tons of trails, mountain biking spots, and hiking areas around the city, especially in picturesque parks like Palmer Park and North Cheyenne Cañon Park. And if you’re looking for other things to do with family or friends, you don’t have to look too far.
Here are some of the city’s major attractions:
- Cave of the Winds: You can tour this magnificent complex of caves daily and enjoy the rest of the Pikes Peak area while you’re there.
- Cheyenne Mountain Zoo: This Colorado Springs zoo offers up-close-and-personal attractions and covers 146 acres. The zoo gives you a good look at the Rocky Mountain habitats of many animals and has a great primate display, as well.
- Garden of the Gods: If you’re looking for a great place to hike and explore nature, then Garden of the Gods Visitor & Nature Center is the right spot to visit. It covers 1,367 acres with sandstone and limestone formations that are awe-inspiring.
- Pikes Peak: Talk about a view! Pikes Peak is the highest summit of the Southern Front Range of the Rocky Mountains. It is just west of downtown Colorado Springs and makes for an unforgettable day trip from The Springs to its base city of Manitou Springs.
- Pioneers Museum: This is a cost-effective way to learn more about the history, heritage, and people of Colorado Springs. The free museum collects, preserves, and promotes the history of the Pikes Peak area and its original residents.
- ProRodeo Hall of Fame and Museum of the American Cowboy: This beloved local museum is best known for its efforts to preserve the legacy of rodeo and the cowboy. It seeks to educate visitors about the impact and history of rodeo on Western American culture and to recognize notable figures (past and present) within the rodeo community.
5. Great Neighborhoods
One of the best things about Colorado Springs is how pleasant the neighborhoods are. From walkable downtown neighborhoods and family-friendly communities like Pleasant Valley and Shooks Run to rural suburbs with above-average schools and space to keep horses like Briargate and Rockrimmon, Colorado Springs really has it all.
6. Top Colorado Springs Schools
Colorado Springs has great schools, both public and private. As a matter of fact, several of The Springs’ schools (elementary, middle, and high) rank within the top five best schools in their category for the whole state of Colorado. A few of the area’s best schools include Cheyenne Mountain High School, The Vanguard School Junior High, Fountain Valley School, and The Colorado Springs School. The city of Colorado Springs also notes that it ranks higher in educational attainment compared to national averages.
7. Top-Flight Colleges
There is an array of major post-secondary schools in the area, from colleges to specialty universities. A few standouts include:
- Colorado College
- Colorado Christian University
- Colorado Technical University
- Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University
- U.S. Air Force Academy
Fun fact: Many people in Colorado Springs have a degree, according to the U.S. Census Bureau — more than 40 percent of Colorado Springs residents ages 25 and older have at least a bachelor's degree. The national number? It’s 33.7 percent.
8. Plenty of Employers
There is a wide array of industries within Colorado Springs, creating a diversity of employment. The unemployment rate within the city stays relatively low (2.8 percent as of May 2023). And the key industries in Colorado Springs include aerospace and defense contracting, healthcare and medtech, IT, software development, cybersecurity, semiconductor manufacturing, and sports. The Pikes Peak region has more than 35 Fortune 500 companies, and some of the largest employers include Lockheed Martin, Progressive Insurance, Microchip Technologies, Newmont Mining Corporation, and the U.S. Olympic Committee. Area military installations also account for some local employment, including Fort Carson Army Base, Schriever, and Peterson Space Force Bases.
Q: Is Colorado Springs somewhere people are looking to move?
A: Yes, it definitely has a reputation for being an excellent place to live — even if it means making a cross-country move to get there. People come from all around for the great weather, natural beauty, and interesting things to do. One of our personal faves is the Garden of the Gods!
9. Wonderful Weather
The summers are mighty nice (50°F- 84°F*) and winters offer snow-worthy temps (17°F -45°F*) — an average of nearly 5 feet of snow falls annually (ski trip!). What does that mean? The area’s altitude and nearness to the mountains keeps Colorado Springs’ weather temperate year-round, but you still get to experience all four seasons.The city of Colorado Springs says there are an average of 300 days of sunshine year around, so get your sunscreen ready for life in Colorado Spring.
*Average temperatures (low and high) for the season
10. A Cool Restaurant Scene
There are lots of local chefs that are making the restaurant scene in Colorado Springs one of the best. There are great places that have been around for decades, like Adam’s Mountain Cafe, known for the region’s two best vegetarian dishes: the Buddha Bowl and the Senegalese Vegetables. And you can catch other world flavors at eateries such as Monse’s Pupuseria for its Salvadoran eats as well as Edelweiss German Restaurant with its European favorites, such as bratwurst, goulash, and rumpsteak. Another local favorite is the PigLatin Cocina, which serves Latin-American fusion with flair.
11. Easy Transportation
The average commute to work is good at only 24 minutes, despite the city’s large size of 194.5 square miles. When living in Colorado Springs, you’ll likely want your own car — or perhaps two, depending on your family situation. The traffic is generally light (though there are definitely areas prone to congestion), and there is a reasonable amount of public transportation for residents through Mountain Metro Transit, the city’s bus system.
Pro Tip: Having dry roads and lots of nice weather will make life easier if you’re considering moving to Colorado Springs and plan to drive a moving truck. Want to avoid driving a big truck through the mountains, though? Use a portable moving container instead and PODS will take care of the driving for you.
12. A Great Long-Term Reputation
If you are thinking Colorado Springs might be right for you, you’re definitely going to want to look further into moving there. After all, Colorado Springs is often ranked as one of the best cities to live as well as one of the best for retirement. Want more proof? U.S. News & World Report places Colorado Springs as No. 9 in 2023 on its “Best Places to Live” list and No. 97 in terms of the “Best Places to Retire.”
13. A Top-Notch Family Environment
Families will find Colorado Springs an enjoyable place to live throughout the years of a child’s life from those early toddler days through high school. Residents of suburbs such as Gleneagle, Palmer Lake and Woodmoor rave about how they are the best places to raise a family in Colorado Springs, noting things such as how safe they feel, the friendly neighbors, and how comfortable the homes are for families. There is also a large variety of educational opportunities for families, as there are nine public school districts serving greater Colorado Springs with more than 100 public elementary, middle, junior and senior high schools. There are also more than 50 private, parochial, and charter schools.
14. Relatively Low Crime Rates
The city of Colorado Springs reports that the number of serious crimes per 1,000 people in its population is about 60.5 per 1,000 for January through September of 2022. This includes crimes such as murder, robbery, aggravated assault, auto theft, and the like. In February 2023, CPR News reported Colorado Springs crime has fallen since 2010, a good sign considering total crime in Colorado is up. It said overall crime in Colorado Springs fell almost 10 percent since 2010. During that same period, Denver's crime rate rose nearly 75 percent and about 45 percent statewide. The report credits Colorado Springs' lower crime rate to an increase in spending for the city's police department. It notes that the Colorado Springs Police Department spent about 73 percent more per resident in 2022 than in 2010.
15. Additional Pros (and Cons) of Living in Colorado Springs
As with any city, there are positives and negatives to living in Colorado Springs. So what are the pros and cons of living in Colorado Springs?
Pros of Living in Colorado Springs:
- The city has what are considered to be some of the best environments in the Western United States — in fact, U.S. News & World Report ranked Colorado Springs the ninth best place to live in the U.S. for 2023–2024.
- There are mountain views aplenty, given that you are living near Pikes Peak. In Colorado Springs, you have the ability to play outside most of the year and enjoy recreational sports like downhill skiing, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, and even sledding for kids of all ages.
- Colorado Springs continues to grow because of its proximity to Central Colorado and Denver, so there are many job opportunities for those looking to move here.
- If you have a dog, you can enjoy long walks with your pup throughout the year, as it is a very dog-friendly city. The temperatures are ideal for hanging outside and enjoying the food scene, as well.
Cons of Living in Colorado Springs:
- There is a growing number of people moving to Colorado Springs because of its many positive attributes, so you will have competition for those jobs and the housing.
- Housing can be competitive and more expensive, as well, depending on where you’re coming from.
- A higher population density can cause greater traffic and some additional pollution. Crime rates can be higher in parts of Colorado Springs, as well, because of the population density and overall life in a city setting, so that may be something to take into consideration when thinking about moving here.
16. Overall Quality of Life in Colorado Springs
If you’re wondering “Is Colorado Springs a good place to live?,” the answer is a resounding yes. Living in Colorado Springs for most people who move there or grew up there is a great experience because of the natural environment, good economic growth, top-rated schools, and lots of recreational activities for families. In fact, many people describe living in Colorado Spring as like being in a year-round playground where you can hike, ski, camp, and go rafting on the Royal Gorge. And don’t forget about the museums, parks, and a world-class zoo!
Moving to Colorado Springs? Let PODS Help You Get There
With its picturesque landscape and chance for frequent wildlife sightings, it’s hard not to fall in love with Colorado Springs. If you’re ready to make the move, the next step is planning how to make the move. Moving yourself is all well and good, but it can be stressful — especially if you’re moving cross-country. A PODS portable moving container, delivered right to your driveway so you can load on your own schedule, gives you flexibility and lightens the stress of your move. Once you’re ready, the container is picked up and taken straight to your Colorado Springs home, or you can hold it in a secure PODS Storage Center until you’re ready for it. All you have to do is get yourself there.
For more ideas on packing, moving, and organizing this next phase of your life, check out the PODS Blog.
Karen Dybis is a freelance journalist and a frequent contributor to the PODS Blog. Her work has appeared in Time magazine, U.S. News & World Report, The Detroit News, and more.