Greeley, with an estimated population of 87,596, is the 12th largest city in Colorado. Bordered on the south by the towns of Evans and Garden City, the area is generally referred to as Greeley proper. The city's history is linked with the Overland Trail, which was a major stagecoach station located at the intersection of the South Platte and Cache la Poudre rivers. In those years, Greeley was then Union Colony, an experimental utopian community founded by Nathan C. Meeker, a reporter at the New York Tribune. Meeker later renamed the community Greeley, after his publisher, who coined the phrase "Go west, young man."
Despite its arid climate, in 1980 Greeley was awarded Tree City USA designation by the National Arbor Day Foundation. This was made possible by an extensive irrigation system and planting of many non-native species of trees. The city supports an active art and culture community, with The Culture and Public Art division of the Department of Leisure Services leading the way. Greeley owns and operates the Union Colony Civic Center which includes several venues for the visual and performing arts. Museums and art collections in the area include Tointon Gallery for the Visual Arts, Centennial Village, Plumb Farm Learning Center, the Meeker Home, and the Greeley History Museum.
Greeley residents and visitors can enjoy numerous outdoor activities like hiking and camping in the Rocky Mountains as well as the expansive prairie surrounding the city. There are also over 30 parks located within the city limits featuring open natural areas, skate parks, walking, biking, and swimming facilities.