2017 Best Cities to Live in America

Explore the best cities to live in the U.S. based on crime, public schools, cost of living, job opportunities, and local amenities. Ranking based on city data from the U.S. Census, FBI, BLS, CDC, and other sources.

See how this ranking was calculated
Viewing 1-25 of 100
  1. 1

    Ann Arbor

    • City in Michigan
    • 247 reviews
    Current Resident:I've lived in Ann Arbor for 5 years and hope to live here forever! The town is great - friendly, socially conscious and diverse, fitness focused, environmentally minded. The culture of restaurants, music and art festivals is varied - and there are many! The schools are tremendous at all levels, and one of the best universities for both education and college sports in the world is built right into the town. Bike the roads and trails, kayak the Huron River, enjoy the farmers market. Great public transportation, and it's not far from the regional airport. There are many, many, many things to do and see. Welcome!
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  2. 2

    Naperville

    • City in Illinois
    • 406 reviews
    Current Resident:Naperville is a pleasant city, with a decent population size. This town is fairly safe, I never felt afraid walking outside. The downtown area has some lovely shopping and eating choices, but can be a little pricey some times. This town is definitely for middle-upper-middle class families, generally white collar people. For children there are several great junior and high schools to attend that will prepare them for college should they choose to do so. unfortunately there is little in the way of anything else for them to do, it will be a little boring for them. Naperville is located close to several other towns and cities and about 45 minutes from Chicago, so you can always drive out to find some nice entertainment or family fun night! There is an abundance of fast food and housing can be a little pricey too. Overall, a decent white collar area.
    More about Naperville
  3. 3

    Arlington

    • City in Virginia
    • 55 reviews
    Current Resident:Arlington is a very beautiful area! So many national monuments near by to visit and admire. Lots of trails for exercising and health food stores for people who love to live that healthy lifestyle. Only down side would be the traffic, but it's not anything someone can't handle.
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  4. 4

    Columbia

    • City in Maryland
    • 191 reviews
    Current Resident:I love the trees. There are so many tall, well established trees here! The city itself is so close to major areas ( Baltimore, Washington DC, Annapolis, etc.) but the trees and the overall landscape make you feel like you're somewhere else, at least it does to me. There are wooded trails everywhere, even behind my house. I only have to walk out my back door. It's always bright. I also love that we have a little bit of everything here: every store, mall, and restaurant you could ever hope for and they are five minutes from my house! Yet, with all the trees and natural landscapes you would never know it. The only thing that gives it away is the sound of traffic. I love it here. I've lived here for twelve years and not regretted a single year.
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  5. 5

    Berkeley

    • City in California
    • 44 reviews
    Current Resident:I moved here from Houston, Texas where you need a car to get everywhere. At first, the city does provide a bit of a culture shock because people are so eccentric, and almost too friendly! Over time though, this feeling wears off and you realize how invitng the people fo the city are. The city itself has wonders of food and entertainment for those keen on local treats. The amount of cultural food is absolutely insane and more diverse than any other city I have been to. Unfortunately, the only downside is that the cost of a house of apartment is extraordinarily high. Your best bet is t live near the outskirts of Berekley, away from campus. With this in mind, the bike safety rules are super strict and commutng via bike is safer than any oter city I have visited.
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  6. 6

    The Woodlands

    • City in Texas
    • 241 reviews
    Current Resident:The Woodlands really is a wonderful place to live! I love that everything is surrounded by trees. I have to wake up early, so going outside on crisp mornings always gives me a sense of freshness. The people here are really friendly, and you can feel like a part of the community just by going on a walk. I also like the fact that we have Trader Joe's and HEB for fresh produce whenever we want, which is incredibly useful. Furthermore, The Woodlands Mall and Waterway are great places to hang out and have fun. All in all, I love The Woodlands
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  7. 7

    Plano

    • City in Texas
    • 514 reviews
    Current Resident:Plano is a wonderful city for families of all sizes. After living in Arlington, Irving and traversing the north Texas metroplex, I have seen much excitement over opportunity here in our state- though no city's inhabitants are as excited as Plano's. This city is a land of opportunity and growth; a gem in education and experience; the most enthralling part to all this: the city is still expanding rapidly. If you are looking for a safe, family-friendly, connected, neo-industrial, diverse, beautiful city, then Plano is your best option. Trust me, after 16 years in this area, I have seen swarms of people moving in from all over the country- Chicago, Washington, Denver, New York- so my advice to you is: do not get left behind!
    More about Plano
  8. 8

    Overland Park

    • City in Kansas
    • 258 reviews
    Current Resident:Overland Park is a beautiful, friendly, safe suburb of Kansas City. There is something for everyone here, from very upscale neighborhoods, to quaint little spots to drop in for a new experience. Overland Park, or as it's fondly referred to...the OP...is a clean, family-friendly area with spectacular city-like amenities of it's own, but if you want to venture into the big city, Kansas City Missouri is just 10 minutes away. If the quiet, country lifestyle if more your speed, head west for a few short miles and you'll feel as though you are back on the prairie in 1880. Clean air, low cost of living, low crime rate, outstanding schools, and spectacular restaurants and entertainment...in Overland Park, you truly can have it all!
    More about Overland Park
  9. 9

    Boulder

    • City in Colorado
    • 161 reviews
    Former Resident:Spray paint decor, a homeless person with dreadlocks on every other corner, bicycling, bright colors, and the jagged foothills that line the west end of the sky: This is Boulder. If anything is gorgeously unusual, you can find it here. The homes are expensive, but the historical district is beautiful enough to make you consider spending your entire savings account. There are activities for everyone. If you like nightlife, Pearl Street offers a variety of bars. There is hiking, bicycling, aerial circus, and rock climbing for the adventurous. The artists can take art classes at the local college, stroll though parks full of sculptures, or spend hours painting along boulder creek. The only disadvantage is that fast food is scare. Numerous Whole Foods and local groceries offer healthy choices for health nuts, vegetarians, vegans, and more!
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  10. 10

    Irvine

    • City in California
    • 104 reviews
    Current Resident:Irvine is a very clean master planned community. I love all the walking and biking trails that have been intergrated so thoughtfully through the communities in Irvine.Irvine using recycled water for the parks and green areas creating what appears to be drought free landscape. In addition, the shopping centers are charming with music pumped through outside sitting areas. All of this creates a resort living experience!
    More about Irvine
  11. 11

    Cambridge

    • City in Massachusetts
    • 20 reviews
    Current Resident:Cambridge is for those who wish to explore more than lines on a map. It’s for diving into history and traveling beyond "The New World." Embodying all there is to learn, explore, breathe, create, and dream big dreams. Where your children will arrive bright-eyed, their knowledge expanding well beyond the typical classroom. Harvard, MIT, BU and Lesley all within a stones' throw, Cambridge was built to develop minds and encourage creativity. Rowing, Biking, Reading and Writing, farmers markets, an endless search for healthy alternatives, and clean living, reside here. Competition, debate and success, one’s sole goal. Sugar-coating moments are rare, for we are fierce in our convictions. Politeness, decorum, an ever-changing residency, leave behind a youthful spirit. Whether a young couple on the move or a senior learning to move again, Cambridge will energize you in ways you 've never imagined.
    Bring your body and mind to Cambridge... You can only GROW from here!
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  12. 12

    Richardson

    • City in Texas
    • 148 reviews
    Current Resident:I've lived here for thirteen years. There has been tremendous growth with the Texas Instruments Semiconductor plant, State Farm's newly built office buildings and Alamo Draft House building it's first theater in North Texas in Richardson.

    A number of upscale restaurants and shopping is now available at CityLine and new businesses are moving into the area every few months.

    Richardson is also very diverse. There is a large Chinese, Korean, Indian, Middle Eastern and Vietnamese population due to all the IT companies that have been here for decades. As a result, there is also lots of diversity in food available from Texas BBQ, Korean, Asian, Japanese, Steakhouses, Indian, etc. Living in Richardson gives us easy access to Dallas via DART rail and highways and to the suburbs north of us which we rarely visit. Richardson is the best little suburb north of Dallas and I'm glad it's stayed that way.
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  13. 13

    Bellevue

    • City in Washington
    • 22 reviews
    Current Resident:Bellevue is a beautiful city located in the greater Seattle area. Bellevue is often given the nickname of "city in a park" and this is well earned. Bellevue has some of the best public parks and gardens of any city I have ever been to. In terms of public services Bellevue is unmatched, with amazing public schools, a dedicated police department, and a plethora of youth services, Bellevue is the perfect place to live. The only pitfall people encounter in Bellevue is the housing prices, it may be difficult for lower income individuals to secure affordable living near the city center, but cheaper housing options can be found nearby, with short commute times.
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  14. 14

    Alexandria

    • City in Virginia
    • 76 reviews
    Current Resident:Alexandria is a suburb in the Virginia, DC area. The cost of living is high; the Realestate market is costly, and some amenities associated with living in a big city, even though we are less than 20 minutes from DC, are missing. For instance, there are very few 24 hour dining experiences available.

    Old Town Alexandria is a beautiful and historic town with many fine dining and expensive store fronts. It's an affluent area. It can be hard to afford to live here. But if you can, it's a wonderful place to be!
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  15. 15

    Sunnyvale

    • City in California
    • 139 reviews
    Current Resident:Sunnyvale is a gem in the South Bay for those who are looking for quaint, family friendly, safe neighborhoods with great schools. The historical downtown Sunnyvale area has a myriad of great shops and restaurants. The best part about Sunnyvale is that it's right in the middle of everything. Apple's new headquarters is being built in Cupertino, it's right around the corner from Santa Clara's new Levi Stadium. Hop on the freeway for a short ten minute drive and you'll find yourself in Mountain View or Palo Alto, homes to Stanford University, Stanford Shopping Center, Google, Facebook, and more.
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  16. 16

    Round Rock

    • City in Texas
    • 177 reviews
    Current Resident:If I could describe my experience with Round Rock in one word, it would be home. After being born in raised in Austin for my toddler years, Me and my family moved to Round Rock and we've loved it ever since. I've always seen it as a small cute community in disguise, because it truly is growing in tremendous way. Now residing in College a couple hours away, I can definitely say the homesickness sets in deeply when I reflect on all of my favorite places to eat and shop that are there or even 15 minutes down the road. Speaking of roads the only problem I've noticed is the common rugged roads found in most of the neighborhoods including mine, but I am proud to see when I visit home that there are many renovations being made!
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  17. 17

    Madison

    • City in Wisconsin
    • 434 reviews
    Current Resident:Madison is an incredibly vibrant city full of culture! Having moved from Las Vegas, I was apprehensive about what I may find, but was pleasantly surprised and absolutely impressed. There is no shortage of music, art, food, festivals, shopping, and of course stunning lakeside views. The city is always growing and always adapting to the needs of the community. I take great pride in living in a place where such great care is taken. Madison, with its many exceptional schools, leads the nation in research and advancements in agriculture, medicine, business, and environmental health and safety. The opportunities that I have had here have allowed me to be successful and well rounded. I am happy to call Madison, Wisconsin my home.
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  18. 18

    Rochester

    • City in Minnesota
    • 123 reviews
    Current Resident:A medium-sized city with a small-town feel! Amenities meet Minnesota-nice (which indeed is a real thing!) Wonderful walking and biking paths, beautiful weather, and a deep focus on environmental health.
    More about Rochester
  19. 19

    Raleigh

    • City in North Carolina
    • 638 reviews
    Works Here:I am a traveling Registered Nurse that has 13-week contracts in different cities of my choice. I had chosen Raleigh, NC for this contract and have been living here for approximately 12 weeks now. From my experiences of traveling, Raleigh offers great restaurants and nightlife for young professionals. The people, overall, are very welcoming to an outsider and being in a hospital I have come to realize the safety and prestigious areas of the surrounding hospitals. Coming from Denver at one point in my career, I do believe that Raleigh offers less outdoor experiences such as swimming, biking, hiking, and other such activities. Although a few hours from the mountains and water, it does not offer the "here and now" outdoor recreation as other cities such as Denver offer. Overall, I believe Raleigh is a great friendly city to visit for all ages!
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  20. 20

    Fort Collins

    • City in Colorado
    • 541 reviews
    Current Resident:Fort Collins is a beautiful town on the eastern slope of the front range. It's a college town with great night life and a variety of restaurants.
    The best parts of Fort Collins include its vast array of public parks, trails, and nearby natural areas. Pingree and Rocky Mountain National Park are only an hour away from town. Health and fitness are popular here, if you're a health nut you will love it here.
    Fort Collins is well known for its downtown district, termed "Old Town". The buildings here are older, artisan-like, and provide cultural enrichment. There are many alleyways and squares in this part of town, full of artwork and statues. It's a great place to live!
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  21. 21

    Columbia

    • City in Missouri
    • 268 reviews
    Current Resident:I have been coming to Columbia, MO for years and I finally moved up here. I love that I have the option to be in the city and enjoy the shopping downtown and in the mall. I also love the diversity being that it is a college town. There are also some great parks to go to when you want to get away and enjoy what nature has to offer in here Mid-MO. There are many sports events that anybody if able to go to and concerts as well. There is something for everyone to do here in the city!
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  22. 22

    Austin

    • City in Texas
    • 1,149 reviews
    Former Resident:Austin is an up-and-coming hub for culture and technology. It attracts thousands of young people with a flourishing tech community, lots of yogis and activists, students of all backgrounds, cowboys, hippies, families, everyone! It's growing every year with more and more to offer. It is surrounded by and saturated with nature, but lacking nothing as a bustling metropolis. It is the live music capital of the world, so its no wonder Austin is bursting at the seams with comedy, dance, theatre and concerts every day. It has the classic Texas feel but the unique spirit of a multi-cultural city. It is becoming known for its great cuisine, and food trucks adorn the streets. There are loads of cultural events and festivals year-round, and offers so much for tourists and locals alike. It's the big city with everything urban playgrounds have but that feels cozy like a small town. What an interesting, one-of-a-kind place!
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  23. 23

    Sandy Springs

    • City in Georgia
    • 128 reviews
    Current Resident:I absolutely love living in Sansy Springs, Georgia! I have been here for a little over ten years, and this city has afforded me many opportunities that I otherwise wouldn't have had in the small town that I am from. Sandy Springs has everything a person could need or want in close proximity. I would highly recommend Sandy Springs living to anyone that would be interested. I especially love the sense of community in Sandy Springs. Not to mention the awesome police department that keeps their citizens safe. All in all, there's nothing I can say negatively about Sandy Springs!
    More about Sandy Springs
  24. 24

    San Francisco

    • City in California
    • 198 reviews
    Current Resident:San Francisco is a historical city with plenty of touristic landmarks to visit. What I love about this city is its diverse community and friendly environment. People are very open minded and it feels like a welcoming environment. Small businesses are able to thrive due to the curiosity of San Franciscans who enjoy trying new types of food. You can literally find small local businesses in every corner. Are you in the mood for Peruvian food? Maybe you're in the mood for Chinese, Japanese, or Indian food? San Francisco offers a variety of places to eat, with plenty of these places enriched with cultural dishes, traditions, and art. Enjoy the wonderful atmosphere in this little big city. Enjoy learning about the abundant amount of history behind its breathtaking landmarks like the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz, lombard street, and much more!
    More about San Francisco
  25. 25

    Seattle

    • City in Washington
    • 209 reviews
    Current Resident:Seattle--what a wonderful place! When you arrive in Seattle, visiting or for living, it's very likely you will see overcast skies and/or rain; that's given. After a while, you adjust, adapt and learn to accept the weather as part of your identity, as if it were tattooed onto your heart. You find a sense of commonality in a city of over 0.5 million people, most of whom you may never know. However, the 0.0001 % of people you may meet and make friendships with is the part of Seattle that unlocks the magic because beyond the Space Needle, Starbucks, flying fish and other common attractions are the true intimacies of the city. When you wander into Fremont and find some of the best coffee and some of the friendliest people, when you meander into Queen Anne without know and find the homiest Turkish cuisine, when you discover Wedgewood and its enticing serenity, when you voyage to tucked away neighborhoods and find some of the most intriguing street art, that's when you've found Seattle.
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