When Horace Greeley, the great New York newspaperman said, "Go west, young man", a young idealist named Nathan Meeker listened. Meeker did head west, along with 59 other intrepid settlers, and put down roots on the western edge of Colorado’s high plains. Originally known as the Union Colony, Meeker called his new settlement "Greeley," in honor of the inspiration and support received from his boss and colleague.
Meeker designed Greeley to be an agricultural utopia based on Cooperation, Irrigation, Agriculture, Temperance, Faith, Family and Education. Times have changed, but Greeley is still a community of forward-thinking problem solvers who are devoted to serving their community and land. Thanks to a vibrant university, top-rated healthcare institutions, sprawling open spaces and a flourishing arts initiative, it’s no surprise that Greeley is one of the fastest-growing metro areas in the country.
From the tree-lined UNC campus to Greeley’s energetic downtown and quiet residential areas, you’ll find an essence of community wherever you are. The 21-mile Poudre River trail and 81 miles of in-town bike lanes ensure that residents can take advantage of the 300 days of sunshine a year. A thriving arts and culture scene includes Greeley’s Creative District, state-of-the-art Union Colony Civic Center and numerous art galleries. With so many outdoor recreation and entertainment options, as well as shopping, restaurants and a friendly western attitude, Greeley offers an exceptional – and affordable – Colorado lifestyle. To learn more about what it’s like to live in Greeley check out Greeley Unexpected for stories about the events, people and places that make this community unique.
Population: 107,445 (2020 estimate)
Elevation: 4,658 ft. Climate: 300 days of sunshine per year and 14 inches of precipitation.
Geography: 60 miles north of Denver, 50 miles south of Cheyenne, Wyoming.
Median family income: $58,611
The University of Northern Colorado is known for its strong Business, Education, Nursing and Performing and Visual Arts programs. Over 12,500 students are enrolled here. The main campus of Aims Community College (www.aims.edu) is also located in Greeley offering programs and degrees in health and fire science, aviation and energy, just to name a few.
School District 6 offers residents of Greeley and Evans multiple educational options for their children in award-winning programs for academic success and career track preparation. The teacher to student ratio is 19:1 and average ACT scores are 21.1. Private, charter and magnet schools are all part of the outstanding K-12 educational mix.
Collaboration between The City of Greeley and local schools has created the G.Town Promise to help students get the additional help and financial assistance they need to attend college and to become successful adults. The program includes career planning support, local internships and mentoring, leadership development, opportunities to participate in after-school and extra-curricular activities, as well as funding for post-secondary education.
If you are an exercise fanatic you’ll find that there is a lot to do in Greeley. Tennis and golf (with tournament-level public courses and the Greeley Country Club) are popular pastimes as well as over 40 traditional and open space parks, dog parks and 3 disc golf courses. These amenities offer miles of walking, jogging, in-line skating, and other leisure activities including the 21-mile Poudre River Trail and the Sheep Draw Trail, as well as over 90 miles of bike lanes and off-street paths. The Family FunPlex, Downtown Recreation Center, the Ice Haus and the Rodarte Center offer community recreational opportunities including climbing walls, racquetball, basketball, volleyball, year-round indoor ice skating and hockey, swimming, an indoor water park, indoor running track and exercise rooms with classes and leagues for all ages.
Every year, for about 10 days in June and July, Greeley goes cowboy when it welcomes world class rodeo to town for the Greeley Stampede. Entertainment is a big part of the Stampede featuring top national performers every year. The annual UNC/Greeley Jazz Festival, the Greeley Blues Jam, the Arts Picnic, the Colorado Model Railroad Museum and Centennial Village living history museum are some of the city’s other major attractions.
Beyond Greeley’s borders there’s a wide world of outdoor activity. Just to the east of town lies the beautiful and unique Pawnee National Grassland and to the west are Roosevelt and other national forests, wilderness areas, and Rocky Mountain National Park, the ultimate playgrounds for outdoor lovers.
If you're interested in spectator sports, UNC is a Division I mid-major college powerhouse. Denver, with its plethora of professional sports teams (including the Broncos, Colorado Avalanche, Denver Nuggets, Colorado Rapids and Colorado Rockies) is only an hour away. Closer yet are the Colorado Eagles, a minor league hockey team. At Greeley’s year-round indoor ice arena, the Greeley Ice Haus, you can watch college-level play or participate in youth and adult leagues yourself.
Culturally, Greeley offers more than most cities its size. The University of Northern Colorado has a superior, nationally recognized Performance Arts department. Greeley's Union Colony Civic Center features a state of the art 1665 seat theater, hosting a variety of stage productions, music, ballet, and national acts. The Greeley Philharmonic Orchestra and the Greeley Chorale also call this place home. The Greeley Philharmonic is one of the oldest orchestras in the west having celebrated its 104th anniversary in 2015.
North Colorado Medical Center sits conveniently in the center of town and provides full-service healthcare for Greeley residents. As a Level II Trauma Center complete with MedEvac, NCMC is at the forefront of Northern Colorado’s regional healthcare. Additional clinics (emergency and other) are plentiful, offering convenience and a wide selection of physicians including specialists in a number of health care fields.
In 2015, Greeley made the #2 spot on Forbes' nationally-ranked best small cities for jobs. Major employers in Greeley include JBS Swift and Company, the world’s largest producer of meat, and Leprino Foods, the world’s largest producer of mozzarella. Other major employers include Noble Energy, Banner Health North Colorado Medical Center, the University of Northern Colorado, State Farm Insurance and Hensel-Phelps.