An Honest Review of an Awesome Place, No Politics
I have been in COS on and off for a couple years, finally making the permanent move several months ago. I have lived in Philly, Pittsburgh, Los Angeles, and Charlotte, and have spent a lot of time in several other cities (Portland, Seattle, Bay Area, San Diego, etc). If you are looking for the short and sweet - here it is: Colorado Springs is the place my wife and I are settling down for the long term because (for us) it really does beat out all the aforementioned places.
Man, it's crazy how politics have infested the reviews of this city. The honest truth is that COS is a melting pot. So do not move here thinking it's a conservative stronghold (it's not) and also don't move here thinking it's a liberal paradise (it's not). There are people here that would fit every political and religion stereotype, and I actually like diversity of opinion so think it's a good thing. I also think it's unfair to trash this city because there may be people here or moving here that you don't agree with.
So, that aside, why do I like it? I actually am not a cold-weather fan, but I value sun above all else. And damn, does it deliver here. Only Los Angeles has been more sunny for me. This means that while yes, winter days can be below 0 in rarity, the sun usually keeps things bearable during the day. And the cold winter allows for something else - 2hr drive access to world class skiing/snowboarding and other winter activities. In the summer it's perfect, warm and sunny with beautiful nature. The dryness helps year round. Yes, sometimes it gets windy and occasionally hail happens.
Access to nature is huge here, so if you like the outdoors you will love it. 30min drive and you are in it. Not sure where some people complain about traffic, anyone that has visited any growing city (hell, even Denver) will know we have it pretty good here. Yes, if you are driving back from the mountains on Sunday expect some traffic, but that is true in literally any in-demand place to live.
The coffee and beer scene here is AMAZING. Seriously, the coffee rivals Portland and the beer rivals San Diego.
I chose to live downtown, and love it. Walkable, bikeable, and a lot of charm. Tons of development on the south side. New hockey(!) and soccer arena. Honestly a good amount to do considering it's not a "huge" city.
This is a dog mecca, it is very easy to have pets here and way more enjoyable than most places. Bear creek - several sq miles of fenced in dog park with a creek (!) and 10 min from downtown!!
99% of the people I meet are super friendly, a nice mix of midwest charm with more directness and honestly akin to the northeast.
Great internet!! Cheap 1Gb plans.
The parks and open spaces here are world class. Mountain biking? AMAZING.
So let's bring it back and be real - downsides. NO city is perfect. So... The suburbs are very bland. Straight up, I would not want to live more than a 15-20 min drive from downtown. Food is.. OK. It's getting better. But for example, when I crave good Chinese/Japanese, I drive to Denver. The "American" food is really good, it's more the non-standard ethnic stuff that's lacking (however there is a bomb Ethiopian place in Old Colorado City, and great Pizza downtown!). Public transit. There really is none. Some busses I suppose, but the lack of heavy rail along the Front Range blows my mind! It would really help I-25 if they just ran a train every hour from Pueblo to Ft Collins through Denver...
Cost of living is getting high. Rent right now ~$1,500 for a good 2br. Houses ~$300k for a starter. The city is growing quick, and we need to work to build higher density housing. All the new apartments are a good start (a few hundred being built in the coming years!) but I worry they all skew to "luxury" apartments... BUT, literally every good city is dealing with this. It is 100% not a COS specific issue, but a much larger one.
So yeah, this really is a mecca for an outdoor enthusiast who likes a lively downtown, variety of things to do, good libations, amazing coffee, friendly people, and honestly an easy place to live if COL isn't above your means. Plus, Denver is an hour drive away for even more stuff. If that sounds good, move here. I really look forward to spending decades here and watching the place grow :).
S | Colorado Springs, CO