The 50 Best Places To Live In America
One of the most important decisions in someone's life is choosing where to live. Whether that be another part of your hometown, another city, state, or another country entirely. This article is for anyone that is interested in moving to the United States or currently lives here and are looking for a change of pace or environment.
There's a chance you know some of the cities on this list and a few that you may not. The cities have been chosen based on a number of factors ranging from sights and attractions to education and economy. By the time you finish this article, you will be able to make a better decision on where the next chapter of your life may take you, or where you want to settle down for good.
Asheville, North Carolina
Asheville, North Carolina is a beautiful mountain town that sits between the Appalachian and Blue Ridge mountains. It was established in 1797 and has grown to a population of over 94,000 people. The city is perfect for lovers of the outdoors with mountain ranges to hike and rivers to fish.
Asheville is known as “Beer City USA” for being home to over 80 craft breweries in and around the city, making it the beer Mecca of Western society. The city is perfect for independent business owners and the low cost of living will make it easy for successful people to thrive here.
Madison, Wisconsin was established in 1836 and has grown to a population of over 269,000 people. The city is nicknamed the "Athens of the Midwest" for being 1 of 2 cities in the country to reside on an isthmus.
Madison is one of the best cities to live in the state due to its affordability while also providing a comfortable quality of life with a perfect balance of urban and suburban living. The city has a healthy education system and many high-tech businesses to choose from to make a living. You’ll also have a multitude of shopping, restaurants, and parks to explore in your free time as well.
Durham, North Carolina
Durham, North Carolina was established in 1869 and has grown to a population of over 285,000 people who love the suburban feel of this city. The job industry and low cost of living attracts most people as becoming a homeowner is a realistic goal here.
Durham is known as the “City of Medicine” for the predominant healthcare industry that provides a majority of the jobs for the residents. The city’s culture is vibrant as well with wonderful museums and beautiful parks to explore. Durham is also home to Duke University and provides some of the best education in the country.
Rochester, New York
Rochester, New York was established in 1788 and has grown to a population of over 210,000 people. The city is considered one of the best to live in, not only in the state but in the entire country, it’s considered the small-town version of New York City without all of the hustle and bustle.
It sits on Lake Ontario and is a short drive for sports fans who can enjoy the Buffalo Bills and Sabres from the NFL and NHL respectively. Rochester is also one of the highest-ranked educated cities in the country when it comes to public and higher education, making it a perfect place for families to raise their children.
Virginia Beach, Virginia
Virginia Beach, Virginia was established in 1906 and has grown to a population of over 457,000 people who live in this Atlantic coastal city. It's known for its art, entertainment, dining, iconic boardwalks, and low tax rates that help you save a penny or two without sacrificing a good time to do so.
Virginia Beach was named the #1 best city to live in by USA Today Weekend with one of the reasons being that it's one of the most affordable cities on the East Coast. The education system here is top of the line as well with high schools ranking among the best in the country with numerous colleges and universities to graduate from.
Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii
Kaneohe is a city on the island of Oahu in Hawaii that was originally farmland before being incorporated and has grown to a population of over 37,000 people who live in this tropical paradise. It is also home to the Marine Corps base that's also named after the bay.
Here you’ll find a perfect blend of historic and modern Hawaii in a welcoming community that is surrounded by incredible views from the mountains to the oceans, delicious food, and year-round perfect weather. There are endless opportunities for exploration here and on the sister islands which will always encourage a healthy and active lifestyle.
Irvine is a city just south of Anaheim in California which was established in 1971 and has grown to a population of over 307,000 people making it the 3rd largest city in Orange County.
The city sits near some of the most popular beaches in the world that not only provide endless entertainment on the boardwalks but contributes a majority of the art and culture to the life of the city. You can find various employment opportunities with corporate giants like Blizzard Entertainment and Google and you can also enjoy a multitude of restaurants and shops.
Boulder, Colorado lies at the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, which was established in 1858 and has grown to a population of over 104,000 people. The city was named after Boulder Creek which flows through the city.
The city was ranked the #1 place to live in the 2021-2022 U.S. News & World Report for the city’s culture around health and wellness. Not only do you have the great outdoors to take in all around you, but Boulder is also known for its alternative medicine practices that coincide with the amount of fitness-focused people who reside there that like to ski and hike to their heart’s content.
Nashville is the capital of Tennessee, which was established in 1779 and has grown to a population of over 689,000 people. The low cost of living and unemployment rates make it one of the most affordable and desirable cities in the country.
It was given the nickname “Music City” in the 1800s for being the birthplace of many famous musicians and is still a sought out destination for aspiring artists from around the world. The city guarantees that you’ll experience some of the best nightlife that can be offered.
Tampa, Florida was established in 1823 and has grown to a population of over 387,000 people who live in this bay area town. You have numerous beaches, but also theme parks, and professional sports teams to fall in love with.
Tampa has been one of the fastest-growing cities in the nation for its wonderful weather, affordable cost of living, and being within range of some of the most sought-after entertainment in the country. The education system is also top of the line with the University of Tampa and the University of South Florida being some of the top schools in the nation.
Ann Arbor, Michigan
Ann Arbor, Michigan was established in 1804 and has grown to a population of just over 132,000 people. The city is 45 minutes west of Detroit and was listed #1 in Fortune’s 25 Best Places to Live for Families in 2022.
The economy primarily revolves around the University of Michigan and its medicine department as well as the high-tech companies that help bolster the industry. The young adult population circulates culture with an annual Art Fair that is the largest in the country, as well as shopping and dining options, which includes the highly rated Asian cuisine in the area.
Fort Wayne, Indiana
Fort Wayne, Indiana was established in 1840 and has grown to a population of over 265,000 people. The people are friendly thanks to the heavy suburban vibe and can attest that it’s an excellent place for your family to settle down in.
Fort Wayne is increasing in population at a fast rate due to the open job market and incredibly low housing rates with the cost of living making the city one of the most affordable in the country. It’s also a fantastic place for business owners to start or expand their companies. Corporate giants like General Motors and BAE Systems are stationed in the area providing well-paying jobs.
Fishers, Indiana was established in 1809 and has grown to a population of just over 100,000 people who live in this quaint country town. The suburban vibe and the friendly attitudes of the residents will make any visitor and newcomer feel welcome and comfortable.
Fisher is considered one of the most sought-after destinations for being a lucrative location for starting or expanding businesses, offering high-quality education and healthcare, and being one of the most affordable cities in the Midwest. Nature lovers will be able to explore Saxony Lake and sports lovers will be able to root for the Indianapolis Colts and Indiana Pacers of the NFL and NBA respectively.
Seattle, Washington resides just north of Tacoma and is one of the best cities in the state to live in. The city was established in 1851 and has grown to a population of over 733,000 people who enjoy the bay-area, urban environment.
Seattle has a bustling economy that’s home to Amazon as well as Starbucks, where the company was invented. The art and culture scene is quite prominent as well and you also have a various array of artisanal shops and restaurants to explore.
Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
Myrtle Beach, South Carolina was established in 1938 and has grown to a population of over 37,000 people who live in this popular tourist town. Myrtle Beach is one of the most popular vacation destinations on the Southern Atlantic coast.
The beach is one of the best in the world and attracts visitors from everywhere which bolsters the economy, especially with the city’s low tax rates. The low cost of living is what’s attracting new residents and business owners to the area with the limitless opportunities in the hospitality and tourism industries that will ensure a comfortable future for you and your family.
Tempe, Arizona is a city east of Phoenix that was established in 1892 and has grown to a population of over 180,000 people. There is a multitude of shopping malls and restaurants to indulge in that offer an almost limitless number of options to choose from.
Tempe is one of the best cities to live in the state and the urban life is complemented by vast deserts to explore. The city is home to Arizona State University which provides a diverse cultural scene and active nightlife in the downtown area. It is also home to Tempe Town Lake which is the venue for many national events.
Portland, Oregon is the hipster capital of the United States that holds the motto “Keep Portland Weird” near each residence’s heart. The city is also known for its artistic culture, parks and recreation, and natural beauty that most people never get used to, let alone tired of.
Portland was established in the 1840s as a part of the Oregon Trail and has since grown to a population of over 652,000. It’s the home to the NBA’s Portland Trail Blazers and is also known for its microbreweries, coffeehouses, and overall eco-friendly lifestyle.
Sarasota, Florida is a city that was established in 1842 and currently has a population of just over 52,000. Sitting on the west coast just south of Tampa, the city is home to white-sand beaches that have been considered some of the best in the world.
It’s also the #1 best city to retire in, according to the U.S. News & World Report’s Best Cities to Retire. Aside from the natural beauty to explore, Sarasota is home to various top-tier restaurants and culture to take in, as well as being a short drive from several theme parks.
Austin is the capital of Texas which was founded in 1805 and has grown to a population of over 964,000 people. Austin is nicknamed the "City of the Violet Crown" because of the colorful hues that fill the sky during sunsets.
Austin keeps expanding as it’s one of the most sought-after cities to live in due to its thriving economy and diverse art and cultural scene. The solid job industry makes the cost of living comfortable and you can find just as much entertainment in the nightlife as you would in one of the many state parks in the area. Austin is also home to some of the largest annual festivals in the country.
Hartford is the capital of Connecticut which was established in 1635 and has grown to a population of over 1,200,000 people who live in one of the oldest cities in the country. Hartford also offers top-of-the-line education for primary and higher levels for those looking to advance their skills.
Hartford is one of the most affordable cities in the state and it offers a multitude of high-paying careers with companies in the aerospace, financial, and healthcare industries. You’ll find a blend of urban and suburban vibes throughout the city when exploring the parks, bars, and restaurants.
Buffalo, New York
Buffalo, New York resides in the Eastern part of the state which was established in 1832 and has grown to a population of over 278,000 people who live in the 2nd largest city in the state. The city is perfect for people who love cold weather as you’ll get plenty in the fall and winter.
You're also 20 miles away from Niagara Falls while being even closer to Allegheny National Forest and Letchworth State Park. Buffalo is known for its education as well as its nightlife, making it a perfect place to call home for young adults, or families looking for a change of location.
Orlando is located in the center of Florida, which was established in 1875, and has grown to a population of over 307,000 people who live in one of the most popular cities in the state. The cost of living is a bit higher than in other places on the list but with all of the major companies in the area, it will be easy to find a good-paying job.
Orlando is most known for the numerous theme parks in the area from Walt Disney World to Universal Studios and the limitless water parks in between. You’ll never run out of stores to shop at or restaurants to dine in, and the nightlife attracts visitors from nearby cities as well as the rest of the world.
Fort Collins, Colorado
One of four Colorado cities in the top 20 Best Places to Live in America, Fort Collins has a small-town vibe and is a nice alternative for those who have been priced out of Denver or Boulder, and it is one of the best places to live in Colorado.
Living in Fort Collins offers residents a dense suburban feel and most residents own their homes. In Fort Collins, there are a lot of restaurants, coffee shops, and parks such as Lory State Park and the Gardens on Spring Creek. The city is also known for its education while also being the home of Colorado State University.
Columbia, South Carolina
Columbia is the capital of South Carolina which was established in 1786 and has grown to a population of over 136,000 people in this still-growing city. The city is nicknamed "Soda City" because its initials spell out COLA.
Columbia attracts young adults and retirees from all over because of its great economy and low cost of living rates that help keep residents comfortable. The urban city has a small-town vibe that invites a friendly atmosphere with an incredible art and culture scene and delicious southern cuisine that can satisfy everyone who lives in or visits the city.
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania was established in 1719 and has grown to a population of over 50,000 people who live in this historic town. The city played a huge role in the Civil War, Industrial Revolution, and Western Expansion.
It’s the home of Hershey’s, D&H Distributing, and Rite Aid, which provide a majority of the jobs in the area. Harrisburg has plenty of entertainment as well from restaurants to museums, but also the legendary Appalachian Trail and Susquehanna River to hike and explore.
Round Rock, Texas
Round Rock, Texas was established in 1854 and has grown to a population of over 119,000 people who live in this historic town that is the 2nd fastest growing city in the country.
The city is home to major companies like Dell and Kalahari which provides a strong living wage against the low cost of living that makes maintaining a comfortable quality of life possible. Round Rock is nicknamed the “Sports Capital of Texas” because the Dell Diamond is the venue of the Texas Rangers’ Round Rock Express, a AAA baseball team.
Syracuse, New York
Syracuse resides in the center of New York state which was established in 1825 and has grown to a population of over 148,000 people who love the winter climate of the city. Syracuse is nicknamed the "Salt City" for its rapid rise in the salt production industry.
Syracuse is one of the most affordable cities in the state and is home to some of the best universities in the country for undergraduate and graduate courses. You can find endless entertainment throughout the neighborhoods with Syracuse being the cultural hub of the area. You can enjoy some of the finest wine New York has to offer as it is a short drive from the Finger Lakes, which is home to some of the best wineries.
Green Bay, Wisconsin
Green Bay, Wisconsin was established in 1765 and has grown to a population of over 107,000 people who live in the 3rd largest city in the state. The city is nicknamed "Titletown" for being home to its championship football team.
Green Bay is considered one of the best cities to live in because of its low cost of living and great rates for homeowners who benefit from tax savings as well; it's actually ranked the #2 most affordable city to live in the nation. You have the Fox River and Lake Michigan to explore while kayaking or fishing and it’ll only be a matter of time before you start rooting for the home team, the Green Bay Packers.
Des Moines, Iowa
Des Moines is the capital of Iowa which was established in 1843 and has grown to a population of over 214,000. The city is perfect for people wanting to start a family because of the low cost of living with high-paying jobs, and it also has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the country.
Des Moines is also considered one of the friendliest cities in the country while the population continues to increase in diversity. It’s said that between the nature to explore and food options to experience, anyone who moves here will instantly fall in love with their new home.
Melbourne, Florida is nicknamed "The Harbor City" and it resides on the west coast of the state. It is west of Orlando, and North of Ft. Lauderdale, making it the epicenter for entertainment. The city was established in 1867 and has grown to a population of over 84,000 people.
From almost anywhere in the city you can find yourself at a multitude of beautiful beaches and boardwalks to explore. The city has a strong economy with Patrick Space Force Base and the Kennedy Space Center providing many jobs in the area.
San Francisco, California
San Francisco is located in Northern California which was established in 1850 and has grown to a population of over 815,000 people making it the 13th largest city in the country. It’s considered the small-town version of Los Angeles providing many of the same amenities while being a melting pot for artists and entrepreneurs.
Kalamazoo, Michigan was established in 1884 and has grown to a population of over 73,000 people who live in the “#1 Coolest Place in the US,” according to Mlive.com. You’ll have a multitude of parks, breweries, live music, and museums to experience as well.
The city is considered one of the best to live in the state with its blend of urban and suburban life and affordable cost of living that makes it easy for residents and newcomers to become homeowners. The multiple universities attract many young people who keep the art and culture scenes alive.
Santa Clara, California
Santa Clara, California was established in 1852 and has grown to a population of over 127,000 people who reside in this Silicon Valley town.
It is an expensive city but it’s filled with a large number of tech companies that provide a majority of high-paying jobs in the area and one of the lowest unemployment rates nationwide. Santa Clara is considered one of the safest cities in the country and provides great entertainment with the San Francisco 49ers and California’s Great America amusement park.
Overland Park, Kansas
Overland Park is the 2nd largest city in Kansas, which was established in 1960 and has grown to a population of almost 200,000 people in one of the most sought-after cities in the Midwest. Overland Park offers a dense suburban vibe that is fueled by the friendly energy of the residents.
The city was ranked the #7 best city to live in on the Money “50 Best Places to Live in the U.S.” list for being the home of numerous manufacturing and healthcare companies while offering some of the lowest cost of living rates in the country.
Portland, Maine is a coastal town with a population of 66,000 people that is perfect for anyone that loves to experience all four seasons. The city is known for its art and culture as well, not to mention the countless seafood restaurants to choose from.
The city was officially established as Portland in the late 18th century and thrived on importing and exporting goods for the United States and Canada, which is still one of its largest industries today. Some of the signature sites to see are the iconic lighthouses and forts that are sprinkled around the bays surrounding the city.
Naples, Florida is a city that was established in 1888 on the South-West coast of the state with a population of just over 19,000. The residences are mostly made up of mansions and waterfront homes on the Gulf of Mexico.
It’s located about an hour away from Miami and provides the same tropical beauty without all of the tourist attractions, which is perfect for those who prefer a more relaxed and luxurious experience, or simply want a nice place to retire. You’ll also find plenty to do with the numerous golf courses and shopping districts to explore as well.
Huntsville was established in 1805 in Tennessee before Alabama became a state in 1819, after which Huntsville became its 1st capital.
Huntsville has since grown to a population of over 216,000 and has become one of the most sought-after cities to move to in the country over the last few years. Affordability being a huge factor, the city also provides excellent education, engineering industries like NASA, and a great quality of life.
Akron, Ohio was established in 1825 and has grown to a population of over 189,000 people who live in this quaint urban town. Akron may not have all of the glitz and glamour of many of the cities on this list, but if you move here, you’ll always have something to do with all of the shopping, restaurants, and beautiful parks to explore.
Akron is nicknamed the “Rubber Capital of the World” for being the home of B.F. Goodrich Tires, Firestone Tires, The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company, and General Tires. These companies not only help keep the economy strong but they help keep residents comfortable with good wages against the city’s cheap cost of living rates.
Bridgeport, Connecticut was established in 1836 and has grown to a population of over 148,000 people who call this coastal town home.
The city consistently ranks as one of the best cities to live in due to its low crime rates, high-ranking schools, and health-conscious population, making the quality of life one of the best in the country. You have a variety of entertainment to choose from, whether you’d rather explore nature with some fishing and hiking, or indulge in an art or science museum.
San Diego, California
San Diego resides in the southern region of California which was established in 1769 and has grown to a population of over 1.3 million people. The economy and education system are top of the line and it’s also considered one of the best places for military veterans to retire.
San Diego is quite similar to Los Angeles and often considered the better place to live as it offers the same amenities at a slower pace than the bigger city. The city has year-round perfect weather and 70 miles of gorgeous beaches. There are also attractions like the San Diego Zoo and LEGOLAND California to keep you and your family entertained.
Colorado Springs, Colorado
Colorado Springs is considered the laid-back version of Denver which was established in 1886 and has grown to a population of over 478,000. The city is known for the quality of life for outdoor enthusiasts with countless grasslands and mountains to explore, such as the Garden of the Gods.
Colorado Springs always has a high ranking on the best cities to live and retire in lists primarily for all of the outdoor activities that can be had here from white water rafting in the summer to skiing in the winter.
Salt Lake City, Utah
Salt Lake City is the capital of Utah which was established in 1857 and has grown to a population of over 200,000 people. The urban vibes are balanced by the surrounding nature that provides endless outdoor adventure, not to mention being the home of the NBA’s Utah Jazz who may soon become your favorite sports team if you move here.
Salt Lake City was founded by Mormon pioneers who built a majority of the historic buildings found in the area. The residents aren’t all Mormon though, which creates a diverse culture that’s complemented by a friendly energy from everyone.
Boise, Idaho was established in 1863 in an effort to capitalize on the gold rush and has grown to a population of over 235,000 today. It has a perfect balance of urban and rural lifestyles that stuns with its mountain ranges, lush trees, and the Owyhee desert.
The city is appealing to retirees and people looking for a safe community to raise their families, and it’s also one of the most affordable cities in the country. Boise State University also bolsters the city's education and keeps the culture of the city young and fresh.
Raleigh, North Carolina
Raleigh, North Carolina was established in 1794 and has grown to a population of over 469,000 people. The multiple universities available will also ensure unlimited opportunities for young adults that move to the area.
Raleigh is a part of North Carolina’s Research Triangle that consists of Durham and Chapel Hill as well and the cities together are the front runners in aerospace, biotechnology, and green energy in the Southeast region. These industries not only bolster the economy but help optimize comfortability against the area’s low cost of living.
Cambridge, Massachusetts is the sister city of Boston that was established in 1630 and has grown to a population of over 118,000 people. The students galvanize the art and culture here and create a vibrant experience that you’ll never forget.
Cambridge is a relatively small city but is still considered one of the best cities to live in the country. Cambridge is the home of both Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. These schools bolster the economy and are surrounded by highly skilled businesses that give the city one of the lowest unemployment rates in the country.
St. Paul, Minnesota
St. Paul is the capital of Minnesota which was established in 1854 and has grown to a population of over 307,000 people who reside in one of the oldest cities in the state. You can find the Mall of America here, which is the largest mall in the world, and you’ll find enough restaurants and music venues to keep your nightlife as enjoyable as you want.
St. Paul is known for its excellent education system and the historic areas add to the culture that the residents have fallen in love with. St. Paul has a strong economy with corporations like Cargill and Andersen Windows providing a large number of careers, and the low cost of living helps make living easier.
Atlanta, Georgia was established in 1847 and has grown to a population of over 496,000 people who live in one of the cultural capitals of the country. It’s considered one of the friendliest cities in the country as well which makes visitors of all ages feel like they belong here.
The art and culture of the area are unprecedented and range from music to painting and some of the best southern cuisine that the state has to offer. You also have the Atlanta Falcons and Braves, from the NFL and MLB respectively, to root for.
Boston is the capital of Massachusetts which was established in 1632 and has grown to a population of over 675,000 people and is the cultural and financial center of New England. Not only do you have access to some of the best seafood restaurants available, but you will also have some fantastic art museums and sports teams like the Red Sox and Celtics to enjoy.
The city has a rich history being one of the first settlements in the country that fills the streets of every neighborhood. It is one of the priciest cities on this list but if you can afford it, then you’ll have countless opportunities in careers and higher education to endeavor.
Denver is the most popular city in Colorado which was established in 1902 and has grown to a population of over 711,000 people. The city always attracts tourists from all over the world who want to hike and experience the Rocky Mountains at which Denver sits in its foothills.
The diversity of the art and culture of the city gives off a unique vibe that you can easily fall in love with as many have before. The city is also home to multiple sports teams at professional and collegiate levels ranging from football, basketball, hockey, and soccer for all sports lovers to enjoy.
Charlotte, North Carolina
Charlotte, North Carolina was established in 1755 and has grown to a population of over 874,000. While being one of the oldest cities in the country, it’s still growing and that’s mostly due to the temperate climate and excellent cost of living rates.
Charlotte is home to many sports franchises and also the NASCAR Hall of Fame. The universities there attract many young adults who keep the art and culture scene alive and vibrant, but also the financial and medical industries in the area help provide healthy economic growth for its residents.