Are we that surprised, though?

For seven years, Livability.com has delivered an extensive study ranking the top places to live in the United States. This year is no different—well, of course, 2020 is different. But Livability.com still delivered results, even if the questions asked were adapted for such a bizarre year.

With many employees transitioning from working at the office to working in a home office, the criteria for best places to live shifted a bit. Livability.com realized we're all asking questions like, "What if you could work remotely and live anywhere? What if paying thousands of dollars a month to live in a big, expensive city wasn’t worth it anymore? What if the things that have always mattered — affordability, opportunity, safety, community — mattered more than ever?" 

"Right now, millions of people are reevaluating where they want to live. If you’re one of them, this list is for you," writes Livability.com. "We analyzed more than 1,000 small to mid-sized cities on factors like safety, affordability, economic stability, outdoor recreation, accessibility and community engagement. This year’s list was also informed by a new metric: an 'opportunity score' we used to determine each city’s landscape of opportunity, including variables like job numbers, broadband access, economic resilience and growth."

The results listed 100 top places to live based on "connection, affordability, and the space and opportunity to grow." And, Fort Collins, Colorado, landed right at the top at No. 1 best place to live in the United States.

Why Fort Collins?

This beautiful city nestled at the base of the Rocky Mountains didn't make it on Livabilty.com's list of best places to live in 2019 (though the town did make the list in 2018). The reputation of Fort Collins has grown right along with its population in recent years. Now more than 160,000 people live in this Northern Colorado city. Fort Collins sits at 5,000 feet above sea level and is proud of several recreation lakes and nearby Rocky Mountain National Park. The mild climate embraces each of the four seasons: lush spring, fruitful summer, vivid autumn, and frozen winter.

With 300+ days of sunshine each year, Fort Collins is an outdoor enthusiast's dream come true. Residents enjoy the sights and Vitamin D offered outside in 36,000 acres and 100 miles of trails surrounding more than 50 protected natural areas. Mountain biking, rock climbing, hiking, paddle boarding, running, and snowshoeing are all readily available locally.

Fort Collins is made up of families, nature lovers, Colorado State University students, artists, and retirees. The community's inclusivity is prevalent throughout the town, especially in Old Town Fort Collins. This quaint and artistic downtown district inspired Walt Disney's Main Street and boasts locally-owned restaurants, brewpubs, and boutiques to fit every taste. 

"Fort Collins is one of America's premier craft beer cities. It has so many awesome craft breweries, big and small, why pick just one? One of the best ways to experience the beer scene here? Hop on a bike and cruise to all the breweries around town — New BelgiumOdell’s and Horse & Dragon, just to name a few."

The top industries of Fort Collins include education, manufacturing, high-tech, and healthcare. Entrepreneurs and educators alike feel at home in Fort Collins to work hard and to enjoy pastimes all in the same location. The welcoming community contains countless ways for people to connect with each other, whether by interests, causes, beliefs, vocations, or lifestyles.

What Are the Other Best Places to Live in 2020?

Check out the entire list of 2020 Top 100 Best Places to Live by Livability.com. Curious about where some favorite towns landed on the list? Here are a few:

What favorite city would you add to the list? Tell us more in the comments below.