5 Best Places To Live In America, Ranked

Discovering the ideal place to call home involves navigating a myriad of factors, from cultural amenities to economic opportunities. In this article, we explore the top destinations across the country that offer a harmonious blend of thriving communities, picturesque landscapes, and a high quality of life. Whether you’re drawn to the vibrant urban pulse or the tranquility of suburban charm, our curated list unveils the best places to live in America.

If you’ve been considering a move, you’re far from alone. A study found that 40 percent of Americans are also contemplating a new location. Moving is far from a beloved task for most adults. In fact, a survey found that one in eight Americans would actually consider it to be more stressful than jail. Though research suggests that the average American has moved five times in their life, most of us would prefer to minimize our hops from city to city or state to state.

That’s why choosing a place to live is such an important decision. It’s no small feat to pack up a life and move it elsewhere, but when there’s something greater out there, it can be a major step toward a better future. A recent survey found that 52 percent of people would consider moving to a new city to land their dream job. Another survey found that 13 percent of movers were relocating to be closer to family.

Whether you are determined to make a change or just pondering, America has thousands of great options to choose from. With 50 states filled with happening cities and towns, the choice can be based on a lot of factors. From climate, to education, to economy, weighing the decision can feel overwhelming to say the least. To help navigate the process, StudyFinds searched 10 expert lists to round up the top five best places to live in America. Our list is comprised of the five cities most frequently listed atop others’ reviews. But if you have a suggestion that we missed, be sure to share it in the comments below!

➡️ How Our “Best Of The Best” Lists Are Created

StudyFinds’ “Best of the Best” articles are put together with the idea of taking the work out of common consumer research. Ever find yourself searching for a product or service on Google and reading multiple reviews to find items listed across many of them? Our Best of the Best lists are created with that process in mind, with each item ranked by how frequently it appears on expert reviews or lists. With Best of the Best, you are getting consensus picks — making them truly the best of the best!

usa flag on pole under sunset sky with clouds
The American flag (Photo by iStrfry , Marcus on Unsplash)

The List: Best Places to Live in America, According to Experts

1. Ann Arbor, Michigan

a street in Ann Arbor, Michigan
State Street in Ann Arbor (Photo by Brad West on Unsplash)

Home to a vibrant culinary scene, growing technology industry, and the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor is a city with a lot to offer. Money says not to dismiss Ann Arbor as just another college town; that would be a disservice to all it has to offer. 

There is plenty to do in Ann Arbor. Livability mentions their beautiful hiking trails, artistic flair, and friendly, smart residents. What’s not to like?

Among the many benefits of life in Ann Arbor is the sheer variety that the city offers. “Ann Arbor is a mix of the rural and urban, sporty and smart, outdoorsy and high-tech city,” says MovingWaldo. “Ann Arbor boasts excellent public schools, an increasingly diverse job market, a culturally diverse community, a robust public park system, and low crime rates.”

2. Raleigh, North Carolina

a pond in Raleigh, North Carolina
Raleigh, North Carolina (Photo by Sean Russell on Unsplash)

If you’re looking to build a career in tech while enjoying the comforts of the American South, Raleigh is the city for you. Bankrate calls it “an East Coast center of innovation,” thanks to the city’s plans for a billion-dollar Apple campus. Aside from its booming tech climate, anyone will enjoy the mild weather year-round, amazing culinary scene, and the exciting NC State college football community.

Though Raleigh is a growing city, residents and visitors say it still holds on to classic Southern hospitality and a small-town feel. MovingWaldo describes the city’s residents as some of the warmest and most welcoming people you will ever meet. “Residents are mostly young, friendly, diverse, and educated individuals who enjoy dining out in local restaurants and gathering over craft beers in one of the city’s microbreweries,” they add in their review.

Money reviewers can’t get over the city’s beautiful green spaces with over 9,000 acres of parkland. It will certainly appease the outdoorsy.

3. Huntsville, Alabama

a water fountain in Hunstville
Propst Arena in Huntsville, Alabama (Photo by Megan Lee on Unsplash)

If you haven’t heard of Huntsville, odds are that you will soon. The city is the fastest growing in the state of Alabama, and for good reason. Business Insider says Huntsville started gaining popularity when it became a famous hub for NASA in the 1960s. Now, you can expect to see tech companies, craft breweries, and artists popping up all over the place there today.

The city is a great place for people of all ages, offering exciting restaurants and bars for young people, great schools for families, and favorable weather year-round for all its residents. “Huntsville’s city has many new shopping, dining, and entertainment options alongside the largest privately owned arts facility in the south,” adds MovingWaldo. “The downtown is gentrifying, with an old cotton mill turned to a performing arts center, and a renovated school now home to craft breweries and bars,” adds Inc.

4. Fayetteville, Arkansas

The old Washington County Courthouse in Fayetteville, Arkansas
The old Washington County Courthouse in Fayetteville, Arkansas (Photo by Gunnar Rathbun on Shutterstock)

As the home of The University of Arkansas, Fayetteville combines youthful energy with a classic, small-town feel. MovingWaldo also mentions their endless entertainment options for residents. 

According to Business Insider, Fayetteville has seen a burst of growth and is transforming from a small town to a bustling destination full of opportunities for higher education, cultural development, and business.

Thanks to its location in the heart of the Ozark Mountains, Fayetteville also draws a crowd of nature lovers. Inc. notes that in addition to the beautiful mountain backdrop, they have plenty of state parks, community green space, trails, and playgrounds for children. 

5. Colorado Springs, Colorado

Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs
Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs (Photo by Melanie Magdalena on Unsplash)

A paradise for hikers, nature lovers, and adventure seekers, Colorado Springs perfectly rounds out our list of best places to live in the U.S. A local expert tells Business Insider that “Colorado Springs is ‘booming, with new residences popping up alongside quality schools, parks, and cultural attractions.'”

Moving to Colorado Springs gives you all the benefits of Colorado without being smack inthe middle of the hectic action. Inc. says that you can enjoy the nearby ski resorts in Vail and Aspen and come home to the quiet, peaceful living you can find in Colorado Springs for cheaper housing and less traffic. 

Beyond the beautiful landscape, Colorado Springs also holds a wealth of opportunity. Livability. mentions that “the city’s more than 495,000 residents also enjoy excellent job prospects, tons of higher education opportunities, lots of sunshine and an authentic community feel.”

Sources:

Note: This article was not paid for nor sponsored. StudyFinds is not connected to nor partnered with any of the brands mentioned and receives no compensation for its recommendations. This article may contain affiliate links in which we receive a commission if you make a purchase.


Comments

    1. Colorado Springs government is all republican. Democrats don’t get elected in the Springs. It’s a military city and very conservative and religious (Focus on the Family) and I personally feel those are some reasons why it’s not as nice as it could be.

      1. To some extent correct, but being moderately conservative hasn’t been a bad thing. It’s sunny (300+ days), moderate winters, lots of outdoor activities & healthy people. Good educated people with Colorado College (liberal) along with University of Colorado campus at Colorado Springs. Young people flocking here and great high tech jobs. Enough said .. stay where you are!

  1. I’ve been/Lived in all the places on the lists. AA is a fun party town. You’re not going to retire there, it’s the most moneyed town in the cityplex. Rich liberals send their nkids to school there. The locals give them a bit of reality. Maybe deer hunting on Belle Isle with baseball bats. Raliegh WAS a nice place. Grew like a weed 25 years ago. There are still jobs. You can buy a brand new 4 bedroom/2 bath /2 car garage house for $300k. Mountains are close. It’s cheap to live, low taxes. What do you want?? For what people are paying bums to live under overpasses in San Fran they could live in a house in NC.. A lot of transplanted NY’rs moved there. You can stay out of the Florida and Texas crowds. Low crime. I could live there. It is what you make it. Lived in FT Collins Co for 20 years, We went to Colo Springs a lot. Good hiking, mountain areas. The city is a dump. Lots of industry closed/ left. It’s tough to make enough to live decent there. The nice areas are really expensive thanks to CA money pouring in. The City Government is all super liberals. Shouldn’t be on the list. Denver is also a hell hole. The whole Front range is overcrowded. It is the new California. Alabama and Ark, haven’t spent enough time in either to be certain. As a rule you’ll experiance Bad healthcare in the south, A lot of poverty which means crimes, Beautiful lakes , cheap homesites, Hot and sticky most of the year,. You can retire their cheap and nice. If you sell your house and between everything you have $750k plus your SS, you can live on a nice lake, , nice home boat, 10 acres, a country gentlmans life. I’m thinking about it. One thing… Ticks, ticks, Ticks, I hate those things.. if you are an outdoors person. Did I mention ticks?.. Not all places are cliche, but the south has ticks. . I’m in Upstate NY wine country/Finger Lakes area now. No place prettier in the summer/ Fall. But the folks passed on so it’s Time to go. West slope of the rockies, chase the sun, before the buzzer sounds. In my 60 years I always look for a town with a college, doesn’t have to be anything special but it helps culture, not too much poverty, within decent medical (A couple hours drive) , That is more importent as you get older.
    Work if you need it. I’ve always had skills, electrical, plumbing, cars, on top of a profession. People are pretty lazy today. Anyone willing to work won’t starve. Experiance the US .You’ll never know the place just passing through or in a weeks vacation.. You only get one ticket. As Warren Zevon said, “Enjoy every sandwich”..

    1. I grew up in Dearborn…not very far from Ann Arbor. I’d agree with it being #1. However, Raleigh being anywhere on that list is an absolute JOKE! You cannot get a 3 to 4 bedroom home for the prices you list. I have no clue where you’re getting that information from? I got the hell out of Raleigh and moved to Timberlake, NC. Raleigh has turned into an absolute Shithole!!

    2. Good comments! But most ppl want NOTHING to do with the terrible winters of Ann Arbor, or upstate NY where you are now.

  2. The south is fine but the churches make it difficult to express yourself. Eastern time is lame for sports and national TV events. It just feels out of step with the country. There are other places west with more sunshine and less congested. Its a matter of your ability to build friendships.

  3. I picked up a little on the way to a HS diploma and a BS in engineering. I don’t think that I could carry on a conversation in Latin, though.

    1. I agree!!! Go back to California and Texas… you are ruining it for the rest of us who have lived here all of our lives! Building and building and building! Colorado Springs is almost as big as Denver!!Bo

  4. Many of assumptions here.
    Why is a “diverse” “progressive” city with “many breweries” necessarily an advantage?
    Such cities might be on the slippery slope to becoming liberal dumps.

    1. Diversity is an important factor for some because people who aren’t y t would like to know if they are moving to a city where they will be the only poc in the restaurant, school, job etc. Most of y t America doesn’t think about that because they are majority most places. Colorado Springs RIGHT NOW is having issues with a POC farmer being harassed because he had the nerve to buy land and raise animals in an area where apparently he “isn’t welcome”. Luckily he is getting support from others who live in the nearby city part of the Springs and Denver. Imagine if he were in a place that didn’t have a “diverse” city nearby? His family and livestock may not even be alive by now. His animals are being poisoned and he’s been stalked and threatened but thanks to the internet, he now has support. THIS is just ONE reason why diversity may be an important factor for some looking to move.

  5. Actually, there are a lot of nice places to live in the USA if you just ignore lists like this one. I’m from Grand Rapids, Michigan and it was wonderful except for the weather. However, weather and people’s attitudes have something in common. Lousy cold and cloudy days produce a lot of morose people. People are friendlier in the south for sure.

  6. Who are the “experts” cited in the article who came up with this list? It’s ridiculous! These cities are nice, I’ve spent time in all of them, but certainly NOT the “best” places to live. Just more proof that all these lists are total BS.

  7. All you have to do to find out that the “low crime rate” claim on Ann Arbor is BS is listen to the police scanner. So many property and drug crimes every day, but Ypsilanti, which is directly adjacent to AA, is even worse. The people in Ann Arbor are some of the most miserable I’ve ever encountered – Ann Arbor is the only city I’ve ever been road raged on in the middle of the city, and it has happened more than once, and I don’t even know what I did to make the person angry! People in Ann Arbor are stuck up, disconnected from reality in general, and I wouldn’t hesitate to say that AA is one of the least friendliest cities in Michigan. These “experts” must be using the same drugs that the people in Ann Arbor are. Lmao

  8. These comments don’t really seem to be about best places to live. Your comments are more about political feelings. You should be happy wherever you live. Otherwise, move.

  9. Having some input regarding crime would also be relevant. Case in point, Colorado Springs has one of the highest crime and homicide statistics in the US. Just Saying!

  10. I live in Michigan and wouldn’t put Ann Arbor on the list unless the criteria included a love of face masking, CRT in the schools, and elitist attitudes.

    1. I live in Ann Arbor and it is an absolutely lovely place to live. I haven’t seen many face masks lately. CRT is a college-level concept, not taught in our schools. And calling someone “elitist” is just another way of saying “I don’t agree with you”. I’m curious; have you ever lived here? Or are you making this statement purely out of political malice or based on college sports rivalries?

      Ann Arbor has low crime, low traffic, lots of greenery, parks, and trails. It has some pretty good restaurants and night life. It has a top-notch health care system and a bustling economy. It is both drivable, bike-friendly, and walkable. Winters are relatively mild. Summers are spectacular. The Huron River is an amazing resource. The University of Michigan also provides a good “college town” feel, which brings a lot of youthful energy, theaters, and weed shops.

  11. Jesus what a negativity thread! Ireland. That’s where you all need to go. Friendly, beautiful and big corporations are moving there.

  12. OMG, obvious you have never been to Colorado springs in the last 5 years. I grew up here and now live outside of the city. Yes CITY? Overgrown with poor infrastructure to handle the out of control growth. Rude nasty road raging drivers from Texas, California and Florida , crime is out of control. We do not need more people here the growth has made it as poor place to live. Please get your facts straight before writing about things you have not a clue about.

    1. Amen Perry! I have been here since 1969 and 4 years old and it is ruined from all of the people that have moved here. Try to go hiking and find dirty underwear on the trail never mind trash and no respect! Our politics have also been ruined! Totally, get your facts straight and please stop publishing things about colorado!

      1. I agree completely. I’ve lived here my entire life. Colorado Springs is a terrible place to live. It’s sad because it used to be so nice, but all of the poor quality people who moved here have really messed things up. First off, the traffic is BAD. The drivers are extremely aggressive and in a rush all of the time. Expect to be tailgated and cutoff despite how fast you’re going.They moved here trying to get away from whatever hell hole they crawled out of, just to make this place suck too. Well, mission accomplished. The housing is a nightmare and Cost of living is very high, but really the worst part about it is how rude the people who are moving here are. If they were decent people who were respectful, didn’t litter, and treated others the way they want to be treated, I wouldn’t have a problem.

    2. It’s not all that bad…well, bad enough for me to leave, but not THAT bad. Yeah, the growth is absolutely bonkers, housing prices are out of control, the “quality” schools are all on the wealthy side of town while all the other public schools are poor at best. Crime, gangs, homeless people panhandling, it goes on & on. In the 8 years I lived there it lost most of the charm that drew us in.

  13. I’ve lived in Colorado Springs since 1971 and it was a great place to grow up. It’s exploded in the last few years and it’s infrastructure is not built for this many people. Unfortunately not only good people moved here but also scum of the earth people invaded our city. It’s out of control with high crime, unaffordable housing and inflated prices on food and everything else. Any appointments are months out, the trails, parks and fun activities have unbelievable lines of people. Restaurant wait times are ridiculous and the trash and filth is everywhere. Very sad situation for the people who have lived here all their life. It’s not an easy thing to move elsewhere when your home, jobs, and family have been living here all your life. Articles like this is what has ruined out beautiful city. I sympathize with the people that are from here and the people that don’t agree can go back to where they came from. They’re the ones who comment for us to move if we don’t like it.

  14. These “expert lists” are obviously meaningless, however it’s always funny to see the boomers complain about “those people that moved here”, and acting surprised how “things weren’t like this in 1970”. Never fails.

  15. Colorado Springs is very cold in the winter and very hot in the summer. People are make this state a hell hole. Most of the natives want to move the cost of living here is so high . than enough other place in Colorado. You can not find food in the stores. Gas is as high as the people.


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