Top 30 Best Cities To Live In The US
Moving to a new city and starting a new life is a dream of many. But where should you go? Which are the best cities to live in the US? According to the US News, these are the top-rated places where to live, work, or raise a family.
1. Austin, Texas
Austin has been long considered the best city to live in the US. A true capital of culture, art, and music, the lively city attracts people of all ages, from students to retirees.
Established along the Colorado River, the city is rich in history and has been named the Live Music Capital of the World. This doesn’t mean that it’s easy to make a living out of music in Austin.
Yet, with an average annual salary of $50,830 and a low unemployment rate, this city thrives. If you believe this might be the right city for you, expect to pay around $1,100 for rent and to deal with traffic congestions if you plan to commute by car.
2. Colorado Springs, Colorado
Colorado Springs is a quiet city in an area filled with natural wonders. There are ski resorts in the nearby Aspen and Vail, there are national parks and many outdoor areas of mesmerizing beauty. A selected destination by retirees, Colorado Springs also attracts students and young professionals, along with military personnel.
With nationally ranked military colleges and a host of military bases, Colorado Springs also attracts military retirees.
The average annual salary is slightly lower than Austin’s, with only $49,450. Yet, the rent is also lower and the unemployment rate stands at only 3,1%.
3. Denver, Colorado
In the same state, Denver is targeted by millennials. With a fairly young population, a high average annual salary and a very low unemployment rate, the city is the ideal for athletes and fitness enthusiasts, nature lovers, and open-minded people.
Almost half of Denver’s population is made up of singles of all sexual orientations, recreational marijuana is legal and there is an ideal ratio of 50/50 between males and females.
Looking at the stats, you can expect an average annual salary of $55,910 while a month’s worth of rent can cost you $1,119 on average.
4. Des Moines, Iowa
This elegant colonial city is rarely seen as a vacation destination although it has a lot to offer. And it also has a lot to offer to the newcomers, ranking as the fourth best city to live in the US.
Characterized by friendly people and quiet neighborhoods, Des Moines is ideal for families with kids. New residential developments grow constantly in the suburbs, while the buzzy downtown offers true attractions to the millennials. Full of shops, restaurants, and bars, the city also has a lot to offer to those interested in nature and outdoor sports.
But that’s not it. Des Moines attracts newcomers with low average rents of only $831 a month, decent average annual salaries of $49,420 and a very low unemployment rate.
5. Fayetteville, Arkansas
Originally a small town, Fayetteville has experienced an exponential growth over the past decades and today, it is one of the best cities to live in the US. Characterized by culture, entrepreneurialism, and high education, this city counts a little over 500,000 souls and welcomes newcomers with a modest median monthly rent.
In fact, in Fayetteville, you can expect to pay rent around $752 a month on average while the average annual salary is around $44,980.
A mild climate, young and friendly residents, and a low unemployment rate make this city an attractive destination. Nestled in the Ozark mountains, Fayetteville also attracts with an abundance of green space and walking trails.
6. Portland, Oregon
With average living expenses higher than the national average, Portland is not the place to be if you want to cut off on costs. Yet, this beautiful city still ranks #6 in the top of the best cities to live in the US due to a wealth of different advantages.
Portland is defined as one of the weirdest cities in the US and attracts millennials and retirees alike. The median age of the population is 37 and locals tend to be friendly and easygoing.
Due to a healthy work ethic, Portland is the place to be if you want to start up your business or just crave for a different lifestyle. Offbeat shops, unique events, odd museums and art galleries and even the oldest public library on the West Coast welcome you to Portland.
Outdoorsy people can also find their nest in Portland. Wilderness is close by while fertile vineyards attract a host of wine aficionados.
7. Huntsville, Alabama
Appealing to the educated professionals and military personnel, Huntsville is a fine example of how a city can transform over the years from a quiet farming town into a vibrant yet nerdy community.
Priding with the most educated population in the state, Huntsville is the home of engineers. NASA is a strong presence in the city and so is the US Army’s Redstone Arsenal. Renowned for its aerospace and defense industries, Huntsville is also full of other tech-related firms that attract the newcomers.
Living in Huntsville is a rewarding experience. With modest living costs and a lively environment, you can expect to find shabby neighborhoods, bars, shopping centers, restaurants, and craft breweries.
The monthly average rent is in the $750 range, and you can expect to earn an average salary of $52,960.
8. Washington, DC
At a first glance, Washington, DC is a huge metropolitan area that looks overwhelming. Living in the city sounds like stressful for many, but life in the capital is much better than imagined. Despite a metro population of over 6,000,000 souls, Washington is a splendid city to live in.
In Washington, each neighborhood has its own cultural atmosphere and its own perks, giving the impression of many small towns gathered in a huge metropolitan area.
Serviced by an extensive public transit system and home to cultural sites, entertainment venues, and good food, Washington is preferred by professionals, especially lawmakers and government employees.
Wondering what to expect? The living costs in the capital are higher than the national average. Rent can cost you over $1,500 a month but you can expect an average salary of $68,000 a year.
9. Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota
Separated by the Mississippi River and united into a single metropolitan area, Minneapolis and St. Paul are two cities to consider. The Twin Cities attract newcomers with unique features, but you can easily enjoy the benefits of both areas.
Minneapolis features an interesting ambiance formed by a mix of historic and contemporary architecture, lots of entertainment and versatile dining options.
St. Paul offers a more relaxed atmosphere that includes museums, green areas, and governmental institutions. Both cities act as a magnet for the lovers of winter sports and the outdoors.
For a large metropolitan area, the living costs are moderate, although higher than the national average. Average monthly rent is around $900 while the average annual salary is $55,000.
10. Seattle, Washington
With a population comparable to Minneapolis-St. Paul, Seattle is ranked the tenth best city to live in the US. Characterized by natural sceneries and a feeling of calm and serenity, Seattle has friendly residents and a slow-pace that attracts families and retirees.
This city can be defined as a place for the intellectuals but also for those who want to stay away from the hustle and bustle of the big cities. The outdoorsy type will find many attractions in Seattle including parks and tree-lined streets but also ski resorts, hiking trails, and wineries.
What to expect? The median age is around 37, which means Seattle is a great place for families but also single professionals. An average annual salary is $61,170 and you can expect to pay around $1,200 for your monthly rent. Looking to buy a home? The median home price is $403,650.
11. Nashville, Tennessee
Famous for country music, Nashville impresses with a colorful city culture and is home to a community of artists and creative people.
Nashville is the perfect city for those who feel misunderstood in their own hometown. Ideal for those who want to impress the world with innovation or just live in a unique ambiance characterized by a blossoming job market and exploding entertainment.
Affordable when compared with other major metropolitan areas, Nashville attracts with relatively low living costs and an average annual salary of $45,780.
12. Grand Rapids, Michigan
One of the most vibrant cities in the US, Grand Rapids counter-distinguishes itself with a modern metro area, affordable housing and plenty of recreational activities. Preferred by the college students, young professionals, and families, this lively city boasts a blooming healthcare sector and a strong LGBT community.
The city is home to a vast community of artists and musicians as well, while the metropolitan area welcomes people from all walks of life.
Artsy neighborhoods are renowned for their good food, bars, and entertainment venues. Community events and the warmth of a small town also characterize the generous metropolitan area of Grand Rapids. With a median monthly rent of $786 and an average annual salary of $43,610, Grand Rapids may be the ideal place for budget-savvy professionals.
13. Raleigh And Durham, North Carolina
Ranked as the thirteenth best city to live in the US and the seventeenth best city where to retire, Raleigh and Durham boast a relatively young population, an attractive metropolitan area, and a close bond with research and technology.
Home to friendly and educated residents, this city is the place where to enjoy a dinner with your better half or a gathering in one of the many microbreweries. There is a strong sense of community in the city and newcomers need little time to integrate and adapt to the local customs.
Art, summer events, and a growing music scene inspire more and more talented youngsters to choose this city as their new home. A decent job market, a good average salary and housing costs lower than $1000 a month are just some of the benefits of this city.
14. San Antonio, Texas
San Antonio has been designated as the third best city in the US for the retirees but by no means the population is old. On the contrary, with a median resident’s age of 34, big city amenities and a relaxed and inviting ambiance, San Antonio is ideal for people coming from all walks of life.
A rich Spanish community, a slow yet active pace of life, access to natural attractions and entertainment venues, this wonderful place attracts young families and elderly alike.
Low living costs also represent an advantage. In San Antonio, the average monthly rent is $909 and the average annual salary $45,210. Buying a property in the area is also relatively cheap, with the house values sitting around $200,000 for a medium-sized home.
15. Salt Lake City, Utah
Salt Lake City attracts newcomers with a relatively low living cost for a large metropolitan area, with a lively ambiance and dozens of natural attractions.
Nestled among five national parks and top-class ski resorts, Salt Lake City is a place for the outdoorsy type. Gaining more and more popularity, the city also exponentially increased its entertainment venues in the last decades, while the religious community is also strong.
With a low unemployment rate, a great climate, and a young population, Salt Lake City is certainly a place to consider for your new home.
16. Madison, Wisconsin
A place for the foodies, Madison is characterized by small-town vibes and a down-to-earth feel that attracts many high-tech businesses but also students who want to attend the acclaimed academic institutions. Steadily welcoming new residents, there’s something special about Madison.
Award-winning chefs delight all palates, there are good music and good entertainment, great housing costs, and a promising job market.
The average annual salary in Madison is around $50,000 while the median monthly rent goes around $900.
17. San Jose, California
Nestled in the heart of Silicon Valley, San Jose is one of the best cities to live in the US – as long as you have a high-tech income or at least lots of savings. The median housing costs are much higher than the national average, yet San Jose attracts.
With a sprawling metro area defined by suburb neighborhoods and a friendly ambiance, the city is the hub for technology. Big names, such as Google and Apple have their headquarters in the proximity of the city, but there is more to San Jose than just tech.
Those looking for a slow pace of life can find relaxation in the nearby Santa Cruz mountains, in the Sierra Nevada, or in the middle of the dozens of vineyards. A warm climate and the breeze of the ocean are just two other perks of this city.
18. Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas
The Dallas-Fort Worth metro area is one of the most interesting in the nation. From Texan pride to cosmopolitan entertainment, this peculiar area is home to sports fans and has a small-town feel despite the actual number of residents that rises to over 6,000,000.
Dallas-Fort Worth appeals to young professionals and young families; millennials launching into their careers and families looking for their dream house find in this metro area a place they can call home.
Due to a true demographic boom registered over the past decades, the living costs in the metro area have experienced an exponential growth. Nevertheless, living here is still relatively cheap. A median monthly rent will cost you around $900 while the average annual salary in the area goes up to $50,350.
19. Phoenix, Arizona
Phoenix could be just the right place for those looking for a slow pace of life in a place where work and free time intertwine. Nicknames the Valley of the Sun, Phoenix is home to a relatively young community formed of professionals and young families.
With a relatively low cost of living and plenty of ways to enjoys the wonders of nature, Phoenix is full of history and science.
Outstanding surroundings including a striking desert flanked by mountains, the metro area lays at a quick drive away from hiking and biking trails. Parks and lots of urban green areas highlight the beauty of this city, welcoming the newcomers with its relaxed atmosphere.
20. San Francisco, California
Quite the opposite of Phoenix, San Francisco is the place to go if you love the spirit of large urban areas, the cosmopolitan life and that fast-pace of a big city. Filled with iconic landmarks and trendsetting residents, San Francisco’s soul has been long morphed and molded by its lively communities.
Featuring a bohemian lifestyle and a strong LGBT presence, San Francisco has everything from historic streets to bustling piers and wilderness.
This multifaceted urban area draws a variety of people from students and retirees to innovative entrepreneurs, but housing costs may make it difficult to settle here for long unless you lend a good job. Nonetheless, residents claim this is the best place to live in the world.
21. Lexington-Fayette, Kentucky
Multicultural but way more affordable than San Francisco is Lexington-Fayette metro area. With a unique cultural identity and a majorly educated population due to an influx of young students, this is a place for the intellectuals.
The equestrian industry is also well-represented; horse farms surround the city and provide entertainment areas for the outdoorsy. A delicious local cuisine and the tasty bourbon also welcome the foodies.
Undoubtedly, Lexington is a lively place to consider. It has a diverse job market, affordable living costs, and a stable economy. Ideal for young professionals and families.
22. Charlotte, North Carolina
Charlotte is a metro area with a unique character and a splendid culture that mixes the old-school southern charm with the modern hustle and bustle of the cosmopolitan life. Culinary sophistication and an apparent slow-paced life attract newcomers from across the nation.
A great climate and great housing prices, manageable living expenses and free entertainment, especially on the weekends make part of the character of the city.
With an ever-growing population, Charlotte awaits with average monthly rents around $900 and a median annual salary higher than $49,000.
23. Boise, Idaho
Boise is a paradise of the outdoors, a place nestled around mountains and rivers, canyons, deserts and lakes.
But not everything in this place has to do with nature. Boise’s downtown is booming with new constructions and a lively business district. After spending their free time in nature, residents can also find nighttime entertainment or enjoy a locally sourced cuisine.
Undoubtedly, Boise is the right place for those enjoying easy access to metropolitan amenities and wilderness at the same time.
24. Asheville, North Carolina
Asheville is a city characterized by a down-to-earth vibe; a tourist destination with an outdoor-geared culture Asheville boasts a lively downtown and a relatively small metropolitan area.
Cultural attractions cater to people from all walks of life; art galleries, studios, and museums thrive in the city and there is no wonder why Asheville tends to attracts creative spirits and innovators. Local food is also part of the picture and the area boasts numerous craft breweries and farm restaurants.
With a great pace of life, Asheville boasts a lower than average cost of living. And even if the average annual salary in the area is also lower than average, residents claim the standards of life are amongst the best in the nation.
25. Boston, Massachusetts
College graduates, young families, retirees and seasoned professionals see in Boston the place that can foster their next stage of life – and there is no wonder why. This splendid metropolis often has the feel of a small countryside town while offering all the perks of cosmopolitan life in a vibrant city center.
Culture and food, outdoor activities and nighttime entertainment attract majorly young people and the median age of the residents is below 40.
Vibrant is also the job market which caters to healthcare providers and tech nerds. With its tenacious spirit and great living costs for such a large metro area, Boston is certainly one of the best cities to live in the US.
26. Houston, Texas
Houston boasts an entrepreneurial spirit and a relatively low cost of life – two features that cater to young professionals who want to make a statement. The hub of the oil and gas industries, Houston is also a major center for the healthcare and manufacturing.
Your annual paycheck can easily exceed $50,000 while the median monthly rent is usually under $1,000 for an average-sized property.
Free or cheap attractions, the George Bush national park, and numerous pastimes are a few other things that welcome the newcomers.
27. Portland, Maine
Portland, Maine has a very different feel than Portland, Oregon. Designated one of the best cities to live in the US, Maine’s Portland features cobblestone streets and fishermen ships, crystal clear waters, and an artful living style.
The metro area is perfect for the DIYers but also for entrepreneurs. Commercial neighborhoods and a cosmopolitan downtown entertain the residents.
Ideal for middle-income earners, Portland attracts newcomers with rather low living costs and an average annual salary around $48,000.
28. Omaha, Nebraska
Omaha is one of those metropolitan areas that treasures the past while embracing evolution and growth. It is located in the heart of the country and although most people ignore its presence, residents claim that Omaha has more to it than most people will ever realize.
An affordable standard of life and a strong economy cater to young professionals and attract retirees. High-end education and unmatched safety are other things that appeal to the newcomers. Ideal for the new tech startups, Omaha is a manageable city from all points of view.
Housing costs rise to about $833 per month while the average annual salary exceeds 46,000.
29. Melbourne, Florida
Ranked 29th on the top of the best cities to live in the US, Melbourne, Florida is a metropolitan area that attracts families, professionals, and retirees alike. With residents from all walks of life, Melbourne is characterized by a mild climate with high average temperatures in all seasons.
An artsy spirit but also an energetic community interested in science and economic development define this city.
Outdoorsy can enjoy many activities, from kayaking and surfing to fishing and watch gracious manatees. Residents are warm and welcoming and newcomers can expect an average annual salary higher than $46,000. The median monthly rent, on the other hand, is around $950.
30. San Diego, California
San Diego is the thirtieth best city to live in the US despite its rather high living costs. Famous for its exceptional weather and splendid beaches, San Diego has residents from all walks of life and with very different lifestyles.
There is a huge difference between the urban and suburban environment. The former boasts a cosmopolitan life characterized by lively entertainment venues, award-winning restaurants, and a vibrant business district.
The latter welcomes families and retirees, those residents who love the feel of smaller towns with well-established communities. Regardless of what you’re after, San Diego might be the best place for you and here you can expect to earn an annual salary of $55,000 on average.
Regardless of your lifestyle, we hope you’ve found the city of your dream in this top of the best cities to live in the US. If you did, or if you just want to add your favorite city to this list, feel free to reach us. We look forward to reading your comments.