[About 2 years ago I wrote a blog post about why I was relocating my family to Pueblo, Colorado. It's become one of my most popular posts and has facilitated a number of new friendships and opportunities. One such opportunity was an invitation to speak at the Pueblo chapter of the Optimist Club. In preparation for that talk I came up with a new way to organize and communicate my thoughts on what makes Pueblo such a bargain: the 4 "C" factors.]
If you’ve ever purchased a diamond you are likely to have been introduced to the 4 Cs of diamond valuation: color, clarity, cut and carat. As a diamond in the rough, Pueblo can be evaluated through the lens of 4 Cs as well. These 4 Cs combined make Pueblo, in my opinion, the best bargain in North America.
Pueblo is located about 100 miles south of Denver in the great State of Colorado. Colorado is an amazing place to live, primarily because of our access to the spectacular Rocky Mountains. And, just like Denver residents, Puebloans can easily drive to world class skiing. From Denver you might be more likely to head over to Vail or Aspen whereas from Pueblo we typically find ourselves in Salida where you can avoid the crowds and higher prices at the Monarch Mountain Ski Area. Salida is a great summer destination as well with excellent hiking, camping, mountain biking and river adventure options. From Pueblo we are also closer than Denver to Crested Butte and Telluride if you want a more upscale mountain experience. Breckenridge is another popular option.
You’ll need to drive further to see the Broncos, the Nuggets, the Rockies, the Avalanche or other big city attractions but it’s an easy day trip. If you need to travel further Denver International Airport is about a 2 hour drive which is only about an hour longer than you’d need to allow from downtown Denver. I prefer to fly out of the Colorado Springs airport whenever possible because it’s so much easier. Last month I grabbed a direct flight from COS to O’Hare to visit clients in Chicago. Door to door from home to the airport is about 40 minutes and long term parking is $6 per day. If only business travel could always be so easy and affordable.
Pueblo has one of the most delightful climates you’ll find in North America. We get more annual sunshine than San Diego yet we enjoy all 4 seasons. It gets cold and snows from time to time during the winter but it’s just as likely to be sunny and 60 degrees. Summers can be hot but we have very little humidity and thanks to the altitude it typically cools off in the evening. Try this. Add a desktop shortcut or mobile widget that will allow you to see the weather where you live now and in Pueblo. Unless you live in Sonoma County, California I’m willing to bet that Pueblo will consistently have better weather.
Ok, we’re in Colorado and we have fantastic weather. Must be expensive, right? No. Pueblo is a cheapskate’s dream. Buy a charming historical home near the Pueblo Community College for $100k. Or a fixer for $60k. Sounds too good to be true, right? Believe it. Sure you can buy a newer home with granite counter tops in Denver or Colorado Springs for $400k. Maybe for you those stainless steel appliances and vaulted ceilings will be worth the 4x mortgage payment? Or perhaps you like paying a premium to be near the LA style traffic scene in Denver? Once you’re settled into your $100k Pueblo mortgage with monthly payments south of $500 you can unload your new-found disposable income on Kiddie Rides at City Park. If you avoid the high-priced carousel and jump house (both $0.50 per ride) it will cost all of $0.25 per ride. Big spender, eh? Walk across the parking lot to the Pueblo Zoo where you’ll find an outstanding collection of exhibits and admission prices at $8 per adult and $6 per kid (we prefer the $60 annual family membership – with 3 kids it pays for itself in 2 visits). I could go on and on with examples. Pueblo is one of the least expensive places to live in the U.S.
Pueblo’s culture is truly unique. Many people come to Pueblo expecting a smaller version of Denver or Colorado Springs but instead find a blend of Albuquerque and Pittsburgh. Pueblo is one of a kind but it’s certainly not for everyone. Here are a few screening options to see if Pueblo is right for you.
- If you like cookie cutter housing developments look at Parker. If you prefer historic architecture, you’ll love Pueblo.
- If you like being surrounded by lily white high income demographics, check out Evergreen. If you prefer a community with diverse cultural heritage, you’ll love Pueblo.
- If you enjoy dining out at “lifestyle centers” filled with over-priced national restaurant chains you’ll find it all at Park Meadows and Briargate. If you prefer exploring unique, locally owned restaurants with New Mexico Style Green Chile, classic old-time Italian deli foods or Slovakian Kolbase and Potica, you’ll love Pueblo.
- If you’re looking for a “planned community” designed to maximize sprawl and automobile dependence, you might like Lone Tree or Castle Pines North. If you prefer an authentic city with a historical role as a regional center for trade and cultural exchange located at the confluence of the Arkansas River and Fountain Creek, you’ll love Pueblo.
So, is Pueblo perfect? Of course not. Far from it. Like a lot of American cities, Pueblo is struggling economically. There aren’t enough good jobs. There is too much crime. Our public schools are failing too many students. Non-automotive transportation options are limited. Many of our neighborhoods could really use a face lift. And, currently our local University is experiencing a budget crisis.
But the value you’ll find in Pueblo can’t be matched anywhere in North America.