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A Cozy Town with a Casual Old West Flavor, Golden is Tucked Between Two Table Mountains and a Canyon Just West of Denver
Founded during the Pikes Peak gold rush in 1859, cozy Golden is huddled between two table mountains and Clear Creek Canyon just west of beautiful Denver, Colorado's capital city. Today it is home to Molson Coors, the largest single brewery facility in the world, and to the prestigious but low key Colorado School of Mines (7,200 students).
This is a pleasant, pretty town with a casual Old West flavor. The downtown has attractive vintage buildings, touristy shops, emporiums and some very good restaurants. The main drag is busy, but side streets are quiet with smaller ranch style homes, four squares and brick bungalows. The surrounding hills are dotted with large, beautiful homes, many with sweeping mountain views. The town's museums per capita ratio is admirable, with the Colorado Railroad Museum and the American Mountaineering Center both noteworthy. Arts are represented by the Jefferson Symphony Orchestra, Miners Alley Playhouse and the Foothills Art Center. Golden also hosts a fine arts and music festival.
This is, though, an outdoor oriented place, with bicycling particularly popular. A bike path runs along scenic Highway 6, and the town's Tony Grampsas Park has some of the state's best mountain bike trails. Ski resorts, hiking trails, camping areas and small stakes gambling towns are within an hour's drive to the west.
Population: 21,000 (city proper)
Age 45 or Better: 35%
Cost of Living: 78% above the national average
Median Home Price: $850,000
Climate: Summer temperatures are in the 70s, 80s and 90s, and winter temperatures are in the 20s, 30s, 40s and 50s. On average, the area receives 15 inches of rain and 52 inches of snow each year.
At Least One Hospital Accepts Medicare Patients? No, but Denver and the surrounding suburbs have several large hospitals that accept Medicare patients.
At Least One Hospital Accredited by Joint Commission? No, but Denver and the surrounding suburbs have several large, very good hospitals that are accredited.
Public Transit: Yes
Crime Rate: Below the national average
Public Library: Yes
Political Leanings: Liberal
College Educated: 55%
Is Colorado Considered Tax Friendly for Retirement? Yes
Cons: Thanks to its valley location, the air quality is slightly below the national average.
Notes: Golden is cute, but it has a highway on its western edge. The brewery is large and hard to miss. The population has grown 8% during the last decade, and home prices have increased 12% since last year.
Recommended as a Retirement Spot? Yes
Similar to California, the Colorado area was surrendered to the United States in 1848 at the end of the Mexican-American War. It did not become a state until 1876, 100 years after the nation's birth.
The Centennial State's geography includes high plains, deserts, foothills, and mountains. Its Rockies are part of the 3,000-plus mile geologic uplift known as the North American Cordillera. More than 50 of the Cordillera's peaks taller than 14,000 feet are in Colorado. Outdoor recreation ranges from backpacking and climbing to road cycling and skiing.
With roots in mining and agriculture, Colorado's economy has branched in many directions. It currently has a high concentration of tech and scientific research companies. Food processing, manufacturing, and tourism round out the state's industries.
The Centennial State maintains a long list of superlatives. It has the highest paved road, the deepest geothermal hot spring, and the nation's largest concentration of scenic byways. Colorado is the only state in the Union to reject the Olympics and one of the first to legalize recreational marijuana.
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