U.S. News & World Report released a list of “2016 Best Places to Live” earlier this month, and Colorado Springs ranked number five out of the hundred listings—placing just under prominent cities such as Denver, Colo., and Austin, TX. While this may seem surprising to Colorado College students or non-locals alike, Colorado Springs does live up to its earned status; it just requires a different viewpoint to see it as such. In the U.S. News profile, Peter Fecteau (a “local expert”) says: “Colorado Springs might not jump off the map as an economic or cultural hub the way larger cities like Denver do. But in a quieter, gentler way, Colorado Springs has much to offer.”

And what exactly does it offer? As the second-largest city in Colorado, with over 600,000 residents, the Springs offers a home to a great number of people—meaning there are definitely prominent selling points. Stunning views, an incredible array of outdoor activities, beautiful weather, a large variety of diverse foods, and lots of history and culture are just a few of the assets that bring both movers and tourists from across the country and world. Several specific attractions include the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, the Olympic Training Center, and Pikes Peak, the 14,110-foot mountain with a railway for easy access to the summit.

The casual lifestyle of the city attracts a number of people as well, since it is not as bustling as other larger cities. Ana Ortiz, a Colorado Springs native and first-year, says, “The majority of people here are relaxed, down to earth, nice, healthy people. Life here seems so carefree.” Colorado Springs provides enough attractions for residents to stay entertained, however, it also provides a peaceful environment which many individuals and families find suitable for their needs.

Colorado Springs also maintains a reasonable employment rate (ranking in percentage only slightly lower than Colorado as a state) and offers very affordable living that also might be hard to come by in a larger city. Miriam Weiner, product manager for Real Estate at U.S. News, wrote that “Top-ranked areas [in the list] not only have steady job markets, but they also have attributes that contribute to a high quality of life—affordability, low crime rates, shorter commute times, and quality health care.” Colorado Springs is a beautiful, large Southwestern city that offers residents a combination of entertainment, friendly and diverse people, and secure living—it deserves the number five spot in the “2016 Best Places to Live” collective list. There are some major improvements that could be had (such as pot-hole fixes in the roads), but as a city, Colorado Springs is pretty spectacular overall. As first-year Ortiz says, “I don’t think I would have liked to grow up anywhere else! I love it.”

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