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Denise Chambers/Boulder CVB

This city nestled at the base of the Rocky Mountains is a magnet for outdoor enthusiasts from all corners of the country. On a sunny day, you’ll find countless locals riding Boulder’s 300 miles of bikeways, climbing trails at Chautauqua Park or strapping kayaks to car roof racks. Downtown, the pedestrian-only Pearl Street Mall has plenty of retail -- from outdoor apparel maker Patagonia to brewpubs and farm-to-table restaurants – plus the occasional fire-wielding street performer.

Skilled jobs are plentiful here; the city’s largest employers include the University of Colorado, IBM and Ball Aerospace. Boulder’s school district also scores top high marks and includes two [VC1] nationally ranked high schools.

All these perks come at a cost. Boulder homes are among the most expensive in the region. While some neighborhoods are more affordable than others, a charming craftsman family home near downtown could easily fetch command seven figures. But for many who can afford it, Boulder’s lifestyle is worth every penny.

See homes for sale in Boulder, Colo.