These Are the Best Cities in the U.S. to Live In

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We all learn in elementary school that the United States has fifty states. One thing we are not taught is where the best cities to live within those fifty states are. Hey, you can only cover so much in school, I get it.

Lucky for you, this list narrows down twenty-five cities that people cannot stop raving about. Each is unique in its own way, but all have one thing in common: their residents enjoy living in each city! Click on to see if your city made the list!

Columbia, SC

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Columbia is the capital city of South Carolina and is home to about 133,273 people. Columbia has what is described as an urban/suburban feel, meaning it’s got the city and the suburbs all in one! This makes sense since the city is given kudos for its beautiful parks and its nightlife.

It is also known for its great diversity of people living there, has above average public schools, and decent housing options. Could this South Carolina city be your next home?

Omaha, NE

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Omaha, Nebraska is more than a historical pioneer stop – just ask the about 475,862 residents in the city! Omaha seems to have everything you could want in a city. There is a plethora of lush parks, restaurants serving delicious food, and quaint coffee shops.

It is safe to say that you can always have a good time here! It is also a great place to raise a family, due to the highly-rated public schools and many activities to do throughout the city. 

Cambridge, MA

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Cambridge has been given the crown of the best city to live in the state of Massachusetts. The roughly 116,632 residents would probably agree with that statement too. Why do people love Cambridge so much? Because it has highly rated public schools, which makes it a great place to raise a family!

There are also plenty of things to do, with all of the restaurants and coffee shops you could imagine! Cambridge has a nice urban feel to it, but don’t worry – the hustle and bustle of city life are limited to nighttime.

Naperville, IL

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Naperville, Illinois has a population of about 147,501. Those citizens would probably agree with Niche.com, which rates Naperville as the number one best city to live in the United States. This suburban city is a homeowner’s dream, which is why most people buy homes there versus rent.

Naperville is also known for its highly rated public schools and is a safe place to live. There is also plenty to do, including many restaurants, coffee shops, parks, and a lot of wonderful outdoor activities. Obviously, there is a reason why this city is voted number one. 

Berkeley, CA

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Berkeley’s urban/suburban atmosphere shouldn’t fool those who are thinking about joining their about 121,485 population. Per NBC Bay Area, Berkeley is actually “no. 1 in Healthiest Cities in America as well as Healthiest Places to Live in America.”

This means the California city has a lot of outdoor activities, has wonderful weather, and is a great place to focus on health and fitness. For those that are not outdoor-minded, there are plenty of activities for you too! I mean, Niche.com gave Berkeley an A+ in nightlife. 

Madison, WI

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Madison, Wisconsin is home to about 254,977 people and they would probably tell you that they love their city. Madison is known for its vibrant scenes in music, art, and food. There are also plenty of outdoor activities to enjoy, especially in the city that Nerdwallet voted as the “greenest city in America” in 2014. Considering that Madison is very cycler-friendly, this probably still checks out today. 

Madison is also a college town, but that doesn’t mean the college students just go to class and party. It is known that the students of The University of Wisconsin-Madison have what is called the Wisconsin Idea. This means that they focus on helping improve people’s lives outside of classrooms. I would live in a city like this!

Boulder, CO

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Boulder is a city in Colorado with about 106,392 residents. In 2017, National Geographic named Boulder the happiest city in the world. I can’t lie though, Boulder’s happiness comes at a hefty price tag, as it is known as one of the most expensive places to live. But oh, the things you will get with the higher price!

Boulder is known for its lush landscapes, which means plenty of outdoor activities! The city also has a wonderful public transportation system, which means unless you are going to the mountains, you don’t necessarily need a car! Also, the food scene is fantastic there.

Pittsburgh, PA

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Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania is home to about 302,205 residents who could probably go on and on about why they love their city. Pittsburgh might be a bigger city, but it certainly gives some people that small town feeling. Rumor has it that those who live in the city are extremely friendly and hospitable. 

The abundance of beautiful scenery, including lush parks and impressive architecture and bridges, makes Pittsburgh a very nice place to be. Residents also get a great deal of arts and culture with museums, concert venues, and public libraries. Oh, and the cost of living in Pittsburgh is lower than most cities, which makes it even better!

Tampa, FL

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Niche.com says Tampa is “one of the best places to live in Florida” and the about 387,916 residents probably could back up that claim. If you love the arts, history, and learning about different cultures, then Tampa is your place to live!

There are an abundance of activities to do in this city, year-round, such as theme parks, concerts, close-by beaches, and plenty of great restaurants to eat at! Also, if you aren’t a fan of winter, then Tampa is a great option for you because their winters are quite mild. 

Plano, TX

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Plano’s about 287,064 population would probably be proud to hear that Niche.com rates their city as the “#4 Best Cities to Buy a House in America.” There are plenty of reasons why this Texas city got so high on that list.

The weather is mostly sunny year-round, which could account for people saying it is one of the happiest cities in the U.S. The area is diverse and inclusive to a lot of different cultures. Oh, and they are known for having great hot air balloon festivals. Who doesn’t love a good hot air balloon festival?

Overland Park, KS

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Overland Park, Kansas is number one on Niche.com’s 2019 “Best Cities to Buy a House in America” list. Number one! The about 191,011 citizens of this city would probably have to agree with this sentiment. Those who live here get to experience a great deal of arts and culture and about 83 parks! 

The public school system is above average, making Overland Park the perfect place to raise a family. Combined with all the outdoor activities, restaurants, an idyllic suburban feel, and close proximity to Kansas City, Overland Park could be a dream place to live! Could this city be the one for you?

Sandy Springs, GA

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Sandy Springs is a bustling city that inhabits about 107,072 people. This Georgia city is close to Atlanta (about twenty to thirty minutes away, depending on the area you live in), but mixes the urban/suburban atmosphere to make it a wonderful place to live.

Sandy Springs has a plethora of restaurants and a booming nightlife. Don’t let that fool you into thinking the city isn’t exactly family-oriented, because its public schools are highly rated. There are also plenty of parks to explore and a lot of great activities for the whole family!

Columbia, MD

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Columbia, Maryland is probably about one of the youngest cities on this list, since its inception was in 1967! The community was built with ten self-contained villages, which is where its 103,991 residents live. Columbia residents also get to enjoy a suburban life that is diverse and family-friendly. 

The public school system is top-notch, which adds to Columbia’s family-friendly status. There are also plenty of parks for kids to play in and three lakes to swim in. It seems like a beautiful place to live!

Seattle, WA

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Seattle is a pretty big city, with about 724,305 residents. Don’t let that fool you into thinking it has the same hustle and bustle of other cities. Seattle is known for having a lot of lush forests and it’s very environmentally friendly. This Washington city is known for its rain, which makes sense as to why there is plenty of forest to go around!

Seattle is also known for being a hub for a great deal of technology-based jobs, which might explain how they have one of the best public transportation systems in the United States. What? Technology helps keep those trains running and helps you get to some of the best restaurants and coffee shops in the state faster.

Huntsville, AL

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Huntsville, Alabama is home to about 196,219 people. This suburban city has a low cost of living, yet high-paying jobs. The education system is also known as one of the best in Alabama, making it a delightful place to raise a family.

Add in the abundance of parks, the space exploration history (you read that right), great food, and diversity of those who live there, you pretty much have a winning combination. Huntsville is the place to live in Alabama, that’s for sure!

San Francisco, CA

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San Francisco is a bustling city with a population of about 874,961. Niche.com rated this California city as number two on the “Best Cities for Young Professionals in America” list. The reason why it is so high on that list is that the tech business is booming in this city! If you want to pursue a tech career, San Francisco is the place for you.

San Francisco also has plenty of things to do, including enjoying the beauty of nature, checking out museums and art exhibits, and eating some of the best food you have ever had! It is also known as being very diverse and having many different cultures in one place. If you live here, you are bound to meet some very interesting people!

Ann Arbor, MI

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I wonder if Ann Arbor, Michigan’s about 120,735 residents know their city was voted number two on Niche.com’s “Cities with the Best Public Schools in America” list? Well, if they are raising a family, they probably do! It is safe to say, Ann Arbor is one of the best places to raise kids and not just because of their school system.

The city has a lot of beautiful parks and plenty of outdoor activities for all ages. Ann Arbor also loves their festivals, with so many you can’t keep up! They are infamous for their Arts festivals, which is a huge plus to living there!

Lexington, KY

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Lexington is one of the best places to live in the state of Kentucky. The population of about 320,601 enjoy living in a dense suburban city. Lexington is a good place to raise a family, due to its affordable education and affordable housing. 

There are also tons of luscious greenery and plenty of parks to help you become one with nature. Also, Lexington is known for its horses! The Kentucky Derby might be in Louisville, but Lexington can hold its own with its horses and equestrian-themed parks.

Minneapolis, MN

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Minneapolis, Minnesota is home to about 420,324 people. Minneapolis is the most populous city in Minnesota, but that doesn’t mean you will be overwhelmed like in a smaller city. There is plenty of room to roam and enjoy the beauty of the great outdoors! It also is a place that will give you access to all four seasons! How cool is that?

Minneapolis is also very diverse and has many different cultures. Its residents can enjoy access to a great school system, healthcare, job growth, and low unemployment rates. Not to mention, there are plenty of activities to do, such as going to one of the 22 lakes in the state or perhaps seeing some of the city’s infamous sites!

Scottsdale, AZ

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Scottsdale took the number one spot on Niche.coms’ “Best Cities to Retire in America” list, so it must be a great place to live! About 250,602 people live in this Arizona suburban city. Even though Scottsdale is a great city to retire to, don’t let that fool you – there is an array of generations living in the city and it seems more and more younger people are moving there.

There is a reason why more people are moving to Scottsdale. The city is eco-friendly, which is not expected for a place in the desert, and there are plenty of things to do in the great outdoors (just remember to stay hydrated!). There are some man-made beauties too – like the public art and the mid-century architecture. Do you like nature and art? Scottsdale might be the place for you!

Fargo, ND

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Fargo is not only the name of an award-winning movie, but is also said to be a grand place to live. The about 121,889 residents would have to agree! The North Dakota city has an urban feel and many activities for people to do, such as going hiking, ice skating, or going to museums. 

Fargo also is becoming a more diverse city and is welcoming to all those who want to live there. It goes without saying that Fargo is family-friendly and has a wonderful education system! They also have a wonderful healthcare system. What more could you want in a city?!

Raleigh, NC

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Raleigh, North Carolina gives its about 464,485 residents the best of both worlds – an urban and a suburban feel! The city has a laid-back vibe but definitely has a lot to do too! There are a lot of parks and plenty of oak trees — they don’t call it the “City of Oaks” for nothing!

There are also restaurants with food from all over the world, museums, and a lot of rich history. Raleigh also has a slew of festivals for you to attend, so you can join the festival circuit right in your own backyard! This city will probably give you tons of Southern hospitality when you move into town!

Arlington, VA

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Arlington was voted number two on Niche.com’s “Best Cities to Live in America” list. The about 233,464 people living there probably agree that this Virginia city is one of the best places to live! Arlington is a great place to raise a family, with a top-notch public school system that is one of the best in the whole state of Virginia. 

Arlington has close proximity to Washington D.C. which means it has a lot of rich history. You could be a neighbor to the Pentagon! You can also get some rich culture from the different varieties of restaurants and museums. Oh, and there are plenty of trails to help you become one with nature.

Boston, MA

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Boston is a coastal city in Massachusetts that houses about 684,379 people. Boston is a great place to live because it has so many great things to do. Along with the history that is throughout the whole city (hello, we are talking history starting in colonial America), there are a lot of outdoor activities to do. Boston is known as one of the most “walkable” cities in the U.S. If you feel like walking to your destination is more your style than driving, you will love it there! 

Boston is synonymous with sports. If you are a huge sports fan, there are plenty of teams to root for, and plenty of venues to watch those teams. You can also enjoy some of the best variety of food cuisines, all in one city! Add in the museums, parks, and great education system, and you have a city you should move to!

Atlanta, GA

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Atlanta, Georgia is a hustling and bustling city that is home to about 488,800 people. As someone who lives close to Atlanta and who worked in the city, I can give you plenty of reasons why this city is a great place to live. There are some of the best Mom and Pop restaurants in Atlanta that serve cuisines from all over the world. The food scene gets an A+ alone! 

You will never run out of things to do in Atlanta. There are so many different museums that highlight history, art, and even sea animals (the Georgia Aquarium is located right in the city). Outdoor activities are plentiful as well because there are so many parks and trails for you to enjoy. Atlanta has a diversity of activities and people, which makes it a cool place to live!