Colorado is known for its stunning mountain landscapes, legal marijuana, and an influx of liberal-leaning residents in recent years. If you’re wondering which cities in the Centennial State lean farthest left politically, read on for a detailed look at Colorado’s most liberal havens.
If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer: The cities of Boulder, Denver, Fort Collins, and Aspen are considered the most liberal parts of Colorado due to their progressive policies, Democratic-leaning voter bases, and culture of diversity and inclusion.
In this nearly 3,000 word guide, we will explore several dimensions of what makes a city “liberal,” including voting patterns, policies, demographics, culture, and more. We will profile each of Colorado’s most prominent left-leaning cities in depth to help you understand what makes them unique. Whether you’re looking for a new place to live that matches your values or are just curious about the political landscape of Colorado’s urban areas, this guide has all the details you need.
How We Define a “Liberal” City in Colorado
Defining a “liberal” city can be subjective, and different criteria can be used to determine the liberalness of a city. When it comes to Colorado, several factors contribute to identifying the most liberal cities in the state.
These factors include voting patterns, policies, demographic makeup, and progressive culture.
One way to gauge the liberalism of a city is by examining its voting patterns. Liberal cities tend to have a higher percentage of residents who vote for Democratic candidates in elections. This can be seen through election data and the political affiliations of elected officials in a particular city.
For example, cities like Boulder and Denver have consistently voted for Democratic candidates in local, state, and national elections.
The policies implemented by a city can also indicate its level of liberalism. Liberal cities often prioritize progressive policies such as environmental sustainability, social justice, affordable housing, and LGBTQ+ rights.
They may also have stricter gun control laws, support universal healthcare, and advocate for a living wage. These policies reflect the values and beliefs of the city’s residents and contribute to its liberal reputation.
The demographic makeup of a city can play a significant role in determining its liberalism. Cities with a higher proportion of young, educated, and diverse populations tend to lean more liberal. These demographics are often associated with progressive values and a willingness to embrace social change.
For instance, cities like Fort Collins and Aspen have a large student population and a diverse mix of residents, contributing to their liberal leanings.
The presence of a progressive culture is another indicator of a liberal city. Liberal cities often have a vibrant arts scene, active community organizations, and a strong emphasis on social activism. They may host events and festivals that celebrate diversity and promote social justice.
Additionally, they tend to have a wide range of progressive businesses, such as fair-trade coffee shops, organic grocery stores, and eco-friendly establishments.
It’s important to note that these factors are not mutually exclusive, and a city can be considered liberal based on a combination of these criteria. The most liberal cities in Colorado, such as Boulder, Denver, and Aspen, exhibit a mix of these characteristics, making them attractive destinations for individuals seeking a progressive and inclusive environment.
Overview and History
Boulder, Colorado is widely regarded as one of the most liberal cities in the state. Known for its progressive values and environmentally conscious mindset, Boulder has a rich history of activism and innovation.
The city is nestled at the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, providing residents with breathtaking natural landscapes and a vibrant outdoor culture.
The political landscape in Boulder is dominated by progressive ideologies. The city has consistently voted for Democratic candidates in local, state, and national elections. In fact, Boulder County has the highest percentage of registered Democrats in the state of Colorado.
This liberal political climate has shaped the city’s policies and initiatives.
Boulder is known for its forward-thinking policies on a range of issues. The city has implemented strict environmental regulations and sustainability initiatives, aiming to reduce its carbon footprint and preserve its natural beauty.
Boulder was also one of the first cities in Colorado to legalize the recreational use of marijuana, reflecting its progressive stance on drug policy.
Boulder’s population is diverse and highly educated. The city is home to the University of Colorado Boulder, attracting a large number of students and academics. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Boulder has a higher percentage of residents with advanced degrees compared to the national average.
This well-educated population contributes to the city’s progressive mindset and intellectual culture.
The liberal culture in Boulder is reflected in its vibrant arts scene, with numerous galleries, theaters, and music venues. The city also hosts a variety of festivals and events throughout the year, celebrating diversity, music, and the environment.
Boulder’s commitment to social justice and inclusivity is evident in its strong support for LGBTQ+ rights and advocacy groups.
Denver, the capital of Colorado, is widely regarded as one of the most liberal cities in the state. It has a rich history and a vibrant culture that attracts people from all walks of life. From its progressive politics to its inclusive policies, Denver embodies the spirit of liberalism.
Overview and History
Denver was founded in 1858 as a mining town during the Colorado Gold Rush. Since then, it has grown into a bustling metropolis with a population of over 700,000 people. The city is known for its beautiful landscapes, including the nearby Rocky Mountains, which provide ample opportunities for outdoor recreation.
Denver has long been a stronghold for liberal politics. The city consistently votes for Democratic candidates in local, state, and national elections. In fact, in the 2020 presidential election, Denver County voted overwhelmingly for Joe Biden, with over 70% of the vote.
Denver is known for its progressive policies on a wide range of issues. The city has implemented initiatives to address climate change, promote renewable energy, and reduce carbon emissions. In addition, Denver has taken steps to promote social justice, including criminal justice reform and support for marginalized communities.
Denver’s population is diverse and inclusive. The city is home to people from various racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic backgrounds. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the population of Denver is approximately 52% White, 31% Hispanic or Latino, 10% Black, and 3% Asian.
Denver’s cultural scene is vibrant and diverse, reflecting the city’s liberal values. The city is known for its thriving arts and music scene, with numerous galleries, theaters, and music venues. Denver also hosts a variety of festivals and events throughout the year, celebrating different cultures and promoting inclusivity.
Fort Collins, Colorado
Overview and History
Fort Collins, located in northern Colorado, is known for its progressive and liberal mindset. The city was founded in 1864 as a military outpost during the Colorado War. Over the years, it has transformed into a vibrant community that values diversity, innovation, and sustainability.
Fort Collins is home to Colorado State University, which plays a significant role in shaping the city’s liberal culture.
Today, Fort Collins is often recognized as one of the most liberal cities in Colorado, attracting residents who align with its progressive values.
The political landscape in Fort Collins leans heavily towards the left. The city is predominantly Democratic, with a strong emphasis on social and environmental issues. This progressive mindset is reflected in the city’s policies and initiatives, which are aimed at promoting inclusivity, equality, and sustainability.
Fort Collins has a reputation for being politically engaged, with a high voter turnout in local and national elections. The city’s residents actively participate in grassroots movements and advocacy groups, working towards creating a more progressive society.
Fort Collins has implemented several policies that align with its liberal values. The city has prioritized environmental sustainability, implementing initiatives to reduce carbon emissions and promote renewable energy sources.
Fort Collins also supports affordable housing projects and has implemented programs to address homelessness in the community.
The city has a strong focus on education and healthcare, providing resources and support for its residents. Fort Collins has invested in public transportation systems, making it easier for residents to commute sustainably.
These policies demonstrate the city’s commitment to creating a progressive and inclusive community.
The demographic makeup of Fort Collins reflects its liberal culture. The city has a diverse population, with a mix of ages, ethnicities, and backgrounds. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Fort Collins has a population of approximately 170,000 people.
The city’s population is well-educated, with a high percentage of residents holding college degrees. This emphasis on education contributes to the city’s progressive mindset, fostering a culture of critical thinking and open-mindedness.
The liberal culture in Fort Collins is evident in its vibrant arts and music scene, as well as its numerous festivals and events. The city embraces diversity and celebrates different cultures through various cultural events and community gatherings.
Fort Collins is also known for its outdoor recreational opportunities, with an abundance of hiking trails, parks, and open spaces. The city’s focus on environmental sustainability extends to its recreational areas, ensuring that residents can enjoy nature while preserving the environment.
Overview and History
Aspen, Colorado is renowned for its stunning natural beauty and luxurious ski resorts. Nestled in the Rocky Mountains, this city has a rich history dating back to the late 1800s when it was founded as a mining town.
Over the years, Aspen has transformed into a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts and culture seekers alike.
When it comes to politics, Aspen leans strongly towards liberal ideologies. The city has a reputation for being one of the most liberal in the state of Colorado. Its residents are known for their progressive views on social issues and environmental conservation.
In fact, Aspen has been at the forefront of sustainable initiatives, implementing policies to reduce carbon emissions and promote renewable energy sources.
Aspen is often praised for its forward-thinking policies. The city actively supports affordable housing initiatives, aiming to provide housing options for a diverse range of residents. Additionally, Aspen has implemented strict regulations on development to preserve its natural surroundings and maintain its small-town charm.
The city also prioritizes education and invests in its public schools to ensure a high standard of education for its residents.
The demographics of Aspen reflect its liberal leanings. The city has a relatively small population, with a majority of residents being highly educated professionals and entrepreneurs. The median household income in Aspen is significantly higher than the state average, which contributes to the city’s reputation as an affluent and progressive community.
Aspen’s liberal culture is evident in its vibrant arts scene and diverse community events. The city hosts numerous cultural festivals, art exhibitions, and music concerts throughout the year, attracting both locals and tourists.
The emphasis on creativity and expression is deeply ingrained in Aspen’s identity, making it a hub for artists, writers, and musicians.
Other Notable Liberal Cities in Colorado
Telluride, located in the southwestern part of Colorado, is renowned for its stunning mountain scenery and vibrant arts scene. This picturesque town has a long history of progressive values and a strong commitment to environmental sustainability.
With its stunning backdrop of the San Juan Mountains, Telluride attracts outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers alike. The town is known for its annual Telluride Film Festival, which showcases independent films from around the world.
In addition, Telluride has a thriving local food movement, with many farm-to-table restaurants and farmers markets offering fresh and organic produce.
Steamboat Springs, nestled in the Yampa Valley of northwestern Colorado, is another notable liberal city in the state. Known for its world-class ski resorts and natural hot springs, Steamboat Springs attracts visitors from all over the world.
The community of Steamboat Springs is known for its strong sense of community and commitment to social justice. The town hosts various events and festivals throughout the year, including the Winter Carnival and the Steamboat Free Summer Concert Series.
Steamboat Springs is also home to several environmental organizations and initiatives, working towards sustainable practices and conservation of the area’s natural resources.
Durango, located in the southwestern part of the state, is a liberal city known for its vibrant arts scene and progressive values. The town is home to Fort Lewis College, which has a strong focus on environmental studies and sustainability.
Durango is also known for its historic downtown area, which is lined with independent shops, art galleries, and lively restaurants. The city has a strong sense of community and hosts various cultural events and festivals throughout the year.
Durango is surrounded by beautiful natural landscapes, including the San Juan National Forest and the Animas River, making it an ideal destination for outdoor enthusiasts.
For more information about these liberal cities in Colorado, you can visit the websites of their respective tourism boards:
Colorado may be known for its independent, rugged spirit, but several of its cities boast vibrant liberal communities. Boulder, Denver, Fort Collins, and Aspen emerge as the champions of left-leaning politics in the state thanks to their election results, progressive laws, diversity, and open-minded culture.
While other mountain towns like Telluride, Steamboat Springs, and Durango also cultivate their own unique progressive identities, the Front Range cities as well as Aspen in the central Rockies are undoubtedly Colorado’s most liberal urban areas. Whether you already reside in one of these cities or are considering a move, understanding the political landscape is key to finding your ideal community in the Centennial State.