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Boulder

No place in Colorado better epitomizes the state’s outdoor mania than Boulder, where sunny weather keeps locals busy through all seasons. The bicycle count rivals the car tally in this uncommonly beautiful and beautifully uncommon city. Boulder has more than 150 miles of trails for hiking, walking, jogging, and bicycling.

One of Boulder’s most endearing features is its setting. In 1960 Boulder citizens voted to start buying land surrounding the city to protect it from urban sprawl and preserve its historic and ecological resources. Residents started taxing themselves in 1967 in order to buy a greenbelt, and the city now owns more than 45,000 acres of open space—120,000 acres if you lump in lands owned by Boulder County Parks & Open Space. This means that there’s three times as much protected land surrounding the city as developed land. Even in winter, residents bicycle to work and jog on the open-space paths. It’s practically a matter of civic pride to spend a lunch hour playing Frisbee, going on a bike ride with coworkers, hiking with the family dog, and even rock climbing on the Flatirons.

Boulder is also a brainy place. The city has the highest concentration of software engineers and PhDs per capita. The University of Colorado at Boulder and Naropa University are here. In addition, Boulder is home to a large number of tech companies and more than a dozen national laboratories, including the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

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