13. Erie, Colo.
|AT A GLANCE|
|Median Home Price||$361,700|
Erie is sitting pretty—30 minutes from Denver and the international airport and just 15 minutes east of Boulder, it’s in a perfect spot for workers wanting an easy commute to major employers like the University of Colorado and IBM. With the Rocky Mountains within view, it’s a short drive to world-class hiking and skiing. While the former coal mining town is still small, it has some big numbers: 56% of residents have college degrees, and the median household income is upwards of $100,000.
The steady stream of out-of-towners moving in find plenty to enjoy in Erie. The town has built a 20,000-square-foot library and a state-of-the-art community center, complete with a 32-foot climbing wall, and a two-story pool slide that lands in a splash tank. Housing developments are springing up like crazy, but the lack of big retailers means one still must drive outside of town for shopping. Still, Erie aims to keep its small-town feel with numerous events year-round, from the Air Fair at the airport to the Brewfest downtown.—Vanessa Richardson