Over the past 18 months, almost half of Americans either moved or thought about it. If you look into your options, you’ll find that the most livable places in the U.S. aren’t necessarily the biggest, and sometimes they’re surprising. So if you’re one of the millions of people contemplating moving and you’re looking for a small or mid-sized town that has it all, this list of the best places to live is for you.
How Did We Pick These 25 Best Places To Live?
For eight years, Livability.com has been collecting data from surveys and studies to analyze 1,000 cities in America to find some of our country’s best places to live. They look at the factors that people care about for a hometown, like how safe it is, how affordable it would be to live there, the stability and availability of well-paying jobs, opportunities for outdoor activities, and how engaged the community is.
Then they build a list of places that seemingly do the impossible. These unicorn cities score high on multiple factors and provide residents with so much. So what are you waiting for? Your next hometown could be one of these 25 Best Places to Live.
1. Madison, Wisconsin
One of the best college towns in the country, Madison, Wisconsin, is much more than meets the eye. Located between Lake Mendota and Monona (offering residents tons of hiking and biking trail options), it also has a strong economy. It is an excellent place for new college graduates and retirees and anyone in between. On top of that, it also has beautiful architecture (thanks to Frank Lloyd Wright) and lovely farmers’ markets to enjoy.
2. Ann Arbor, Michigan
Known mainly as the home of the University of Michigan, this college town is buzzing with culture, green vistas, and innovation, making it one of the best places to live in the U.S. Ann Arbor has a tech startup scene that helped launch Nokia and Duo Security and helping make tomorrow’s innovations a reality.
3. Overland Park, Kansas
If you’re looking for a suburb with peaceful scenery, look into Overland Park. With excellent schools, affordable houses, and plenty of theatres, this nearby city to Kansas City received high marks. Overland Park offers a lot, from a killer barbeque scene to an extensive botanical garden and large employers like T-Mobile.
4. Frederick, Maryland
If you had to describe Frederick in one word, it would be charming. With countryside wineries, beautiful architecture, and rich history, this little city is truly one of the best places to live in the U.S. If you only have to commute to Baltimore or D.C. every once in a while, it’s a fantastic regional option. Don’t let its country vibes fool you, though. Frederick is also home to tons of startups and tech companies doing cutting-edge research right in town.
5. Charlottesville, Virginia
Another college town, Charlottesville, has grown from the creativity and energy of the prestigious public college, The University of Virginia. Once the home of presidents Jefferson and Monroe (and The Dave Matthews Band), this once countryside now bustling city of its own offers an abundance of theatres, open outdoor spaces, and plenty of local restaurants that will have you feeling at home in no time.
6. Quincy, Massachusetts
Close to hundreds of colleges and universities (including Harvard), Quincy has maintained its historical feel while keeping an eye on the future. Quincy’s downtown area is Boston‘s biggest revitalization project and where you’ll find the perfect mix of shops, restaurants, homes, and commercial space.
7. Hillsboro, Oregon
Part of Oregon‘s Silicon Forest, Hillsboro, is home to the headquarters of many high-tech companies, including Intel and Genentech. Though it’s right next to Portland, rest assured that Hillsboro has a personality of its own, offering exceptional health care, family farms, and arts and culture organizations for days.
8. Roseville, California
If you want warm weather with beautiful summers and short winters yet don’t want to break the bank on housing, Roseville is the place for you. On top of the fantastic weather, Roseville is only 20 minutes away from Sacramento and is a short ride away from the nearby Sierra Nevada foothills and Folsom Lake.
9. Colorado Springs, Colorado
No list of best places to live is complete without Colorado Springs, home to the iconic Broadmoor, stunning Garden of the Gods, the United States Air Force Academy, and the official U.S. Olympic Training Center. Nestled in the Rocky Mountains, Colorado Springs gives its residents plenty of access to nature, many outdoor recreation options, and a strong job market on its own, as well as close access to Denver’s urban sprawl.
10. Vancouver, Washington
If Portland has grown too much for you, check out one of its neighboring towns, Vancouver. It is known for its wide variety of food with Latino and Asian markets, delightful Eastern European bakeries, and french-inspired restaurants. Grab a treat from one of the town’s small businesses and head out to The Cascade Mountains, Pacific Ocean shores, Columbia River, or Mount Hood, all nearby.
11. Corvallis, Oregon
Lots of hiking and biking trails? Check. A laid-back vibe? Check. Free public transportation? Check. Strong job market? Check! In the heart of Willamette Valley wine country and home to Oregon State University, Corvallis has a lot to offer residents.
12. Raleigh, North Carolina
One of the more well-known cities on the list, Raleigh’s secret, as a city that truly has it all, has been known for a while. Whether you’re an aspiring chef looking to hit the ground running, a huge foodie with a love of new experiences, or an entrepreneur starting your business, or a remote worker looking for fiber internet, you’ll find it in the capital city of North Carolina.
13. Omaha, Nebraska
If you’re into personal finance or investing, you know Omaha as the home of legendary investor Warren Buffett! Once you dig deeper into the authentic community vibe, creative food scene, low cost of living, and museums, you’ll see that there is something for all age groups in the cornhusker state.