By Anica Padilla

(CBS4) – Boulder is ranked the best place to live in the United States — for the second year in a row — by U.S. News & World Report. Colorado Springs, Denver and Fort Collins also made the top 20 on this year’s list.

Boulder’s Pearl Street Mall (credit: iStock/Getty Images)

Researchers first pointed out Boulder’s natural beauty.

“Snug against the foothills where the Great Plains give rise to the Rocky Mountains, Boulder is nothing if not a looker. This city reveals its spectacle at the crest of a hill on U.S. Route 36 from Denver with its iconic sandstone slabs rising from the mountains, prefaced by pine-clad mesas and cradled within the backdrop of the snow-capped Indian Peaks.”

“This blissed-out enclave attracts young professionals, families, academics, scientists, transplants from both coasts, old guards who insist it was way cooler in the 1970s and, above all, lovers of outdoor recreation,” researchers noted.

The Chatauqua Meadow Trail (credit: iStock/Getty Images)

However, they also pointed out that it’s not a place everyone can afford.

“Living ‘in the Boulder bubble, as it’s sometimes called, comes at a steep price.”

Boulder’s median home price in June was $1.32 million.

The view to the Flatirons across Norlin Quad at University of Colorado-Boulder. (credit: Cliff Grassmick/Getty Images)

Colorado Springs came in at No. 6, Denver was ranked No. 14, and Fort Collins took the No. 17 spot — down from No. 5 last year.

Anica Padilla