Colorado has become a destination for lovers of great beer and the great outdoors. If you’re planning a trip to the Centennial State, you might find yourself caught off guard by views of the Rocky Mountains from your hotel window (and more than a few friendly faces as you step out into the street). Shows at Red Rocks Amphitheater, skiing the slopes, hiking the Rockies, cheering on your favorite Colorado teams—we’d be surprised if the thought of moving to Colorado hadn’t crossed your mind at all. But which city should you choose? And how do you keep that small-town feel?
Before you start comparing pro’s and con’s, take a look at Louisville, a town nestled in the Denver-Boulder corridor. Just 20 minutes from Boulder’s downtown, 40 minutes from Denver, and (importantly) 20 minutes from the Rocky Mountains, Louisville is right in the midst of Colorado’s best sights. The town’s homey atmosphere and small-town charm have made it one of the best places to live in the Colorado, and in the nation. And it’s not all sleepy neighborhoods, either. Its proximity to the state’s big cities have made it a destination in its own right, with plenty of things to do both in town and nearby.
Pack up your skis and strap on your hiking boots—it’s time to find out exactly what makes this town the best.
Hike, Bike or Climb
It shouldn’t surprise you that Louisville’s top activities are outdoors. Country roads just outside of town and over 1,700 acres of open green space make it perfect for cycling, hiking and mountain biking. 32 miles of trails weave through Louisville, circling around ponds and lakes perfect for fishing and even the town’s formidable 18-hole golf course. The trails include paved and slightly paved options, depending on how wild you prefer your ride. And if you find the local trails just a tad too easy, you’ll find plenty more challenging trails nearby, not to mention some of the nation’s best climbing destinations. You’ll be able to keep up with your climbing within city limits, too, with a mob of nearby climbing gyms.
Spend the Day at a Local Farmer’s Market
You’ll quickly find that the Louisville Farmers’ Market isn’t to be missed. Market stalls brim with fresh produce from local Colorado vendors, handmade local arts and crafts and fresh-baked pastries. Stick around for a slice of quiche or a strudel and see some live music, or catch up on your week’s shopping (or, we recommend, both). You’ll find new vendors and new products to catch your eye, or at least fill your grumbling stomach.
Grab a Brew (or two)
A well-crafted brew from Louisville’s local breweries is something close to heaven. Gravity Brewing, 12Degree Brewing and Crystal Springs Brewing Company are all names you’ll get used to hearing around town—and their top-notch beers, such as 12Degree’s fruity Blackberry Beret and Gravity’s well-named Mendacious Belgian blonde ale, will have you swooning and sipping all afternoon and evening.
Get a Different View from Hot-Air Balloon
One thing Louisville does just a little different? Well, occasionally they travel by balloon. Hot air balloons float out of Boulder and nearby towns Broomfield and Lafayette, and sail above all three towns, and, of course Louisville. For those who’d rather do anything than rise early, even for a balloon, many rides include a breakfast of French-press coffee, tea, granola and yogurt. Be sure to try Fairwinds Balloon Flights in neighboring Lafayette here.
Stroll Along Louisville’s Historic Downtown
Shops, restaurants, and a kitchy stop for records and books, Louisville’s historic district combines small-town rustic with big city chic. Even window shopping or strolling downtown’s streets is worth your while--the town’s Main Street is lined by beautiful century-old wooden buildings and houses, which nowadays have been converted to hip galleries, yoga studios and decadent restaurants. You’ll still see plenty of the old Louisville in each building, but most especially in the iconic Louisville Historical Museum. And don’t forget to stop by the city’s summer Street Faire—who can argue, after all, with live music, arts, crafts, and cold beer?
Take a Dip in Hot Springs
Okay, it’s not technically within city limits—but it’s close enough. Natural hot springs dot the Colorado landscape from Denver to Boulder, and most are a quick drive away. Treat yourself and your family to a excursion out to Indian Hot Springs, just outside of Denver, or take a weekend trip out to Ouray to visit the Ouray Hot Springs pool. To really get away from it all, head out to a cabin and soak in the Dunton Hot Springs near Telluride.
Drive Down to Boulder or Denver
Even if you’ve cycled the trails around town a thousand times, there’s still more to do just outside city limits. Hop into your car and head out to Boulder for the evening, or take a stay-cation and book yourself at one of Denver’s best hotels. See all available Louisville listings and contact an agent today!
Jeremy Alderman is an online journalist who focuses on travel, real-estate, and lifestyle-related trends. He is passionate about everything sports, as well as board games, his family, and the great outdoors. He can often be found splurging in episodes of Game of Thrones with his new mini-Aussie puppy, Cooper." The best way for someone to reach Jeremy would be at his personal email firstname.lastname@example.org.