Colorado Springs vs. Fort Collins – Which is Better?

Colorado Springs vs. Fort Collins – Which is Better?

Ready to take the next step and move to Colorado but not sure which small to medium-sized city should be your new home? If you need some help picking which one fits your lifestyle the best, it helps to start off with an overview of Colorado Springs and Fort Collins basics and features.

Both cities have plenty to offer, of course: Colorado Springs offers many of the features of a large city like Denver while Fort Collins is the more youthful and laid back town. Let’s see how they compare.

Location:
Fort Collins, also called FoCo, is a small charming city which is situated at the base of  Horsetooth Mountain.  It is a very down to earth agricultural town, with excellent outdoor opportunities, yet it feels somewhat isolated.  It’s approximately an hour and ten minute drive north from Denver with bedroom communities in between such as Windsor, Johnstown, Loveland, Berthoud, Longmont, Firestone, and Erie.

A good thing about Fort Collins is that it’s closer to Wyoming, only a 45 minute drive to Cheyenne. Just one more hour on the road gets you to Snowy Range which is enjoyable for those who like to go camping in the summer. The proximity to Wyoming presents easier opportunities for you and your family to go on some pretty amazingly fun trips.

Fort Collins and Colorado Springs Map

Colorado Springs is situated 70.5 miles south of Denver on I-25.  There’s not a lot of towns in between on a drive to metro Denver.  However, the surrounding region has more than enough things to do which include museums, parks, monuments, horseback riding, hiking, historical sites, nature centers, whitewater rafting, and zip line tours.

Climate Averages:
Colorado Springs has 18% more rainy days than Fort Collins.
Colorado Springs has 2.5% or 6 more Sunny Days than Fort Collins.
Colorado Springs gets more snow 57.1 inches vs 48.1 inches for Fort Collins every twelve months.

City
Young adults certainly enjoy the fact that Fort Collins has many local breweries such as New Belgium and Budweiser. FoCo is known as Colorado’s beer capital since it produces the most craft beer.

Not to be overshadowed is FoCo’s higher education institution, Colorado State University with over 30,000 enrolled students.  However, the small town feel still remains even with the population growth sprawling since the 1990s.

Colorado Springs is a bigger metro with 195 square miles and a population of 464,871 while FoCo has 58.45 sq. miles with a population of 165,609 according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

Yet Loveland is only 9 miles away with a population of 76,219. There is no adjacent city with more than 10,000 people near Colorado Springs.

Fort Collins is pretty flat and easier for bicycling. No wonder they have very wide bike lanes in the city. In contrast, Colorado Springs has a lot of hills throughout the city.

Elevation. Colorado Springs is located 6,035 feet above sea level. Fort Collins is 5,003 feet above sea level. Some people cannot physically live well at that altitude.

Education
. Both of these cities CO Springs and FoCo have a large university presence with University of Colorado Colorado Springs (UCCS) and Colorado State University (CSU).

K1-K12 Schools. Colorado Springs is a bigger city with more diversity, so where you live in the city is important for good schools. Fort Collins also has good schools. In general, check Public and Private School Ratings, Reviews from national and local sources.

Family Activities:
Fort Collins has more of a small town, rural feel. Colorado Springs is more of a city, with a zoo and major tourist attractions such as Pikes Peak, the Airforce Academy, Garden of the Gods, etc.

Pikes Peak from Colorado Springs
Pikes Peak from Colorado Springs” by David Shankbone.
Licensed under CC BY 3.0  / cropped from original

Recreational Outdoors:
CO Springs is popular for mountain sports like biking, downhill skiing, easy access to camping,and more services.  Fort Collins is suited for people who enjoy cross country skiiing, snowboarding, biking, equestrian trails, fishing, hunting, nature hiking, and kayaking on the Cache la Poudre River.

The most popular water destination in the area is the Horsetooth Reservoir, which allows for boating, swimming, and other summer activities.

Fort Collins Best Parks
Gardens on Spring Creek
Spring Canyon Park
Fossil Creek Park
Twin Silo Park
Lee Martinez Community Park

Colorado Springs Parks

Garden of the Gods
Garden of the Gods” by Wximagery. Licensed under CC BY 4.0 

Garden of the Gods
Cheyenne Mountain State Park
Red Rock Canyon Open Space
Bear Creek Regional Park
Ute Valley Park
Palmer Park

CO Springs Attractions:

    Red Rock Canyon Open Space
    Bristol Brewing at Ivywild School
    North Cheyenne Canon Park
    Palmer Park
    Acacia Park in Downtown
    Downtown Colorado Springs itself
    Old Colorado City
    Old Stage Road / Gold Camp Road
    White water rafting in or around Canon City
    Fox Run Park in Black Forest

Employers:

The biggest employers in FoCo are from education, healthcare, local government, and technology. CO Spring’s largest employers are military defense, healthcare, manufacturing, telecom, and tourism.

A lot of Colorado Springs is centered around the military which has a direct population of personnel at 40,000. Co Springs has the Air Force Academy and Colorado College, so it does have a high percentage of student base, but still smaller than CSU.

Real Estate
When thinking about comparing two cities, housing may be the most important factor for any prospective resident. For homebuyers, the decision is more than just the costs.  Aside from the sentimental elements of purchasing a home, one also must consider the financial potential of such an investment.

In the case of Fort Collins and Colorado Springs, there’s no doubt that the population increase and economic growth of Colorado Springs has created a large continuous increase in housing demand and price appreciation.

However, Fort Collins is 17 percent more expensive than Colorado Springs, at $476,643 vs, $400,014 as of June 13, 2021.  The neighborhood comparisons can paint a simple picture. Both cities have million-dollar neighborhoods like Stratton Preserve, Black Forest, Broadmoor, Kissing Camels, Cathedral Pines, CO Springs to Homestead, Eagle Ranch Estates, Cottonwood Point in Fort Collins Country Club.

Home buyers should also consider the up and coming neighborhoods in Fort Collins with prices from the mid-$400,000s like Collingdale, Parkwood, and Huntington Hills. In CO Springs, popular neighborhoods with homes for sale with median home prices just above $400,000 are in Briargate, Northeast CO Springs, Northgate, Northwest and Old Colorado City.

Best Neighborhoods in Fort Collins


Mountain Ave. Fort Collins
On Mountain Ave, Fort Collins, Colorado” by Paul Dineen. Licensed under CC BY 2.0 

    Old Town / Downtown

    University Park

    North Fort Collins

    Fossil Creek

    Old Prospect

    Huntington Hills

Best Neighborhoods Co Springs

    Briargate

    Manitou Springs

    The Broadmoor

    Rockrimmon

    Old North End

    West Colorado Springs

    Cimmarron Hills


Colorado Springs has great quality of life, multiple universities including UCCS producing quality graduates, the right balance of housing costs that is neither overpriced nor underpriced.

Colorado Springs has the widest range of housing. Housing costs are cheaper in Colorado Springs around 5-15 % less than in Ft Collins and 20% or so less than in Denver. It’s pretty much always been a seller’s market in Colorado Springs since 2014 for pre-owned homes as they’ve kept rising steadily.

Fort Collins has a lot of new, moderately-priced homes. There are many new home developments in CO Springs, especially on the north-east side, and a much larger selection in general of home for sale, compared to Ft Collins.

   

   

   

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