One perfect day in Louisville, CO

Have we found the next Boulder? Take a peek at this up-and-coming Colorado town with easy Rockies access and a growing high-tech scene
Elisa Bosley

That was then: Louisville was a rough-and-tumble coal-mining town and Prohibition-era bootleg hub later turned sleepy suburb.

This is now: Main Street has stepped up its style with cheaper digs than Boulder and a growing high-tech scene.

Where is it?: Next door to Boulder, off U.S. 36

How to say it: Loo-us-ville, not Loo-ey-ville

The vibe: According to restaurant owner Jim Cohen, "Everyone knows everyone, and people are all friends."

43 percent: A Boulder home is that much more expensive than a Louisville one.

The new top dog: Look for scientists and techies when energy giant ConocoPhillips opens its alternative-energy research center in summer, 2013.

Culture club: Check out the Art Underground's open-studio space just off Front Street for dance classes, theater, and workshops. (theartunderground.org)

The food putting this town on the map: James Beard award-nominated chef Jim Cohen left Vegas and Vail gigs to open the low-key Empire Lounge. The hangout hums with regulars enjoying crispy calamari chopped salad or grilled tuna burgers with soy-wasabi glaze. $$; 816 Main St.; 303/665-2521.

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