Pedestrians stroll down the middle of Pearl Street next to outdoor dining spaces created between 9th and 11th streets in Boulder on Tuesday. U.S. News & World Report unveiled its annual Best Places to Live, ranking Boulder the country’s top city. (Matthew Jonas/Staff Photographer)

Front Range residents have long known they live in one of the best places in the nation — now the outside world is catching on.

U.S. News & World Report unveiled its annual Best Places to Live rankings Tuesday and anointed Boulder the country’s top city in which to live. Fort Collins ranked fifth on the list.

In all, Colorado’s Front Range made up four of the top 10 cities, with Denver coming in second and Colorado Springs at fourth.

Fort Collins also topped MarketWatch’s Livability index.

U.S. News & World Report uses a formula that accounts for a city’s job market, housing affordability, quality of life, desirability and net migration ratings to determine its Best Places to Live list.

“After a prolonged period of staying at home, people are taking a critical look at where they live, and many are looking to find a place they can feel happier, afford more or pursue new opportunities,” Devon Thorsby, real estate editor at U.S. News, said in a news release. “The Best Places rankings can help people examine the details they consider important in a larger community as they seek a house with a bigger yard or a spot that makes it easier for the whole family to quarantine safely together.”

The report noted that “Boulder debuted in the rankings this year and catapulted to No. 1 due to its strong desirability, quality of life and job market scores.”

It didn’t take long for the news of Boulder’s top position on the list to get around — the ranking was a point of pride noted Tuesday morning by participants in the Boulder Economic Summit.

Boulder represents the “unique Colorado vision of entrepreneurship and give-first mentality,” Boulder Economic Council executive director Scott Sternberg said. “We really look out for each other.”

In a statement to BizWest, Boulder Chamber CEO John Tayer said, “The recognition is a wonderful testament to the return on investments our community made over a number of years that both support a strong economy and a high quality of life. These same assets will serve as the foundation for our resiliency in response to the current COVID-19 crisis.”

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Here’s the full U.S. News & World Report Best Places to Live top 10:

  1. Boulder
  2. Denver
  3. Austin, Texas
  4. Colorado Springs
  5. Fort Collins
  6. Charlotte, N.C.
  7. Des Moines, Iowa
  8. Fayetteville, Ark.
  9. Portland, Ore.
  10. San Francisco

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