Looking for Boulder 2.0? Remote Workers, These Cities Fit the Bill

By Natalia Wolting • May 31, 2024

With its stunning mountain views, vibrant downtown, and thriving tech scene, Boulder, Colorado has become a poster child for the "Zoom Town" phenomenon. But what if Boulder's charm isn't quite your cup of tea, or the housing market gives you pause? Fear not, there are plenty of other communities across the country offering a similar blend of natural beauty, cultural richness and a remote-work-friendly atmosphere.

Mountain Majesty

  • Asheville, North Carolina - Cradled in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Asheville beckons remote workers with a vibrant arts scene, a flourishing craft brewery scene and a deep commitment to local, sustainable living. The cost of living is lower compared to Boulder, making Asheville an attractive option. This mountain town offers a unique blend of urban vibrancy and the undeniable charm of a mountain escape.

Downtown Asheville

  • Bellingham, Washington - Nestled between the Cascade Mountains and Puget Sound, Bellingham offers a similar formula to Boulder – easy access to epic natural surroundings alongside an innovative economic ecosystem. Bellingham boasts a vibrant downtown with a strong focus on independent businesses, a burgeoning craft beer scene and other cultural attractions to supplement outdoor recreational pursuits like hiking, biking, kayaking and more. And with housing costs about 46% below Boulder, Bellingham represents a more affordable path to the live-work-play lifestyle many remote workers covet.

Gorgeous Downtown Bellingham

Beach Bliss

  • Santa Cruz, California - This iconic California beach town offers a laid-back vibe, a thriving surf culture and stunning natural beauty. With a growing remote work community and a focus on sustainability, Santa Cruz provides a unique work-life balance. While housing costs are on the higher end, the access to the Pacific Ocean and a strong sense of community make it appealing.

Waypoint: Santa Cruz, California

  • Wilmington, North Carolina - Located on the North Carolina coast, Wilmington offers beautiful beaches, a historic downtown area and a relaxed Southern charm. The city boasts a growing film industry, a vibrant arts scene and a lower cost of living compared to other coastal towns. Plus, it's a short drive to the Outer Banks for even more exploration.

Downtown Wilmington River District

Academic Communities

  • Ann Arbor, Michigan - Home to the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor offers a vibrant college-town atmosphere with a strong focus on innovation and entrepreneurship. With a plethora of museums, theaters and a walkable downtown area, Ann Arbor provides a stimulating environment for remote workers. Additionally, the city is located on the shores of several beautiful lakes, offering ample opportunities for outdoor recreation.

Downtown Ann Arbor is full of countless great restaurants and shops

  • Bloomington, Indiana - Remote workers who enjoy the outdoorsy vibe of Boulder, Colorado, might find a kindred spirit in Bloomington, Indiana. Bloomington boasts a surprising number of parks and trails, offering opportunities for hiking, biking and exploring nature. While the landscapes differ, both cities cater to active lifestyles. Additionally, Bloomington's thriving arts scene and university atmosphere echo Boulder's youthful energy and intellectual stimulation, providing a stimulating environment for remote workers seeking cultural engagement beyond the workday. Additionally, with housing costs 72% below Boulder, Bloomington offers a much more affordable lifestyle.

Indiana University in the fall

Making Your Move Easier

Many communities are actively seeking to attract remote workers, offering incentives and programs to ease the transition. One such program is MakeMyMove, which partners with communities across the country to provide remote workers with financial assistance, co-working spaces and community events.

Bloomington is one community that participates in the MakeMyMove program, offering remote workers $8,000 in incentives including a three-year membership to The Mill co-working space, free networking events and happy hours with other remote workers as well as civic and business leaders and an ambassador network of locals to help through the transition.

Crafting Your Dream Life

Ultimately, the ideal remote work destination depends on your individual preferences. Whether you crave mountain vistas, ocean breezes, or a vibrant college town atmosphere, there's a community out there waiting to welcome you. Consider your priorities - access to nature, cultural offerings, cost of living and the overall vibe - to narrow down your search. Researching communities that participate in programs like MakeMyMove can further sweeten the deal.

So, pack your laptop, embrace the freedom of remote work, and get ready to explore a new place to call home!

About MakeMyMove

Remote work has freed millions of Americans to live where they want, and many are making the move to places that better match their lifestyle. In turn, cities and towns across the country are offering incentives like cash, perks and programming to remote workers who move and work from their communities. At MakeMyMove, you can explore all the places, get personalized help to find the one that’s right for you, connect with locals, and access support to make your move a piece of cake.