We Coloradans know we have a good thing going on. (Why else would so many cars proudly display those green and white “NATIVE” bumper stickers?) But it’s nice when the rest of the world acknowledges just how sweet our home really is.
And not just our state, but our very own Parker.
In 2013, CNN Money magazine ranked Parker #12 on its annual list of the top 50 best places to live in the US. (Up from #29 in 2011.) So why did this town of around 48,000 garner national attention? The CNN Money editors chose towns based on their economic health, amount of green space, quality of schools, safety, and sense of community. And Parker shines in all of those categories.
The editors also praised the town’s “local favorites” such as the “performing arts center, which has a 500-seat theater, an outdoor amphitheater, the H2O’Brien Pool water park,” as well as the “town’s proximity to Denver.”
After the list came out last year, the Huffington Post weighed in on the topic, mentioning a study by financial website Nerdwallet, which ranked the best towns in Colorado for young families. Based on three criteria — public school quality, affordability, and income growth — the study ranked Parker #6 in the state, saying:
“Parker is the perfect place for the outdoorsy young families. Surrounded by nature, the town has an amazing network of trails for biking, hiking, skating and horseback riding. Additionally, Parker is located near Castlewood Canyon State Park, where hikers can see remnants of an infamous dam that burst in 1933 and sent a 15-foot wave into downtown Denver. There is also the Rueter-Hess Reservoir, which is now open to fishing, hiking and non-motorized boating after an expansion was completed last year.”
And even USA Today took notice of CNN Money’s Best Places list and compiled its own list of the free attractions and activities that Parker offers to travelers…and its own residents, for that matter. Highlights included hiking on the Cherry Creek Trail, browsing the Parker Country Market, learning more about the past at the Parker Area Historical Society (housed in the old school), and tasting beer, ale and root beer at Elk Mountain Brewing.
Lots of fun, no money. And ranked in the top 12 for quality of life. All the more reasons for living in the Stepping Stone community.