(Photo by Eastman Childs on Unsplash)

Settling on a city to live in and call home takes a lot of planning and coordination. You’ll need to account for a range of factors from job opportunities to home prices to cultural amenities and way of life. Many of us are looking for cities that offer a blend of jobs, affordable housing, and a laid-back lifestyle. That can be tough when urban life is known for hustle and bustle, car horns, and attitudes. For those interested in finding a city that strikes that balance, we’ve put together a list of the consensus most laid-back cities in America.

Living somewhere relaxing is something plenty of us could certainly use. According to one recent poll, Americans feel relaxed for just 40 minutes a day. If this sounds like you, then perhaps you could use a change of scenery. Perhaps one of these cities is calling your name? Here’s a look at our list of the five most frequently listed laid-back cities across seven top-ranked sites’ reviews. Do you think we missed a hidden gem? Feel free to share your thoughts with us in the comments section below!

1. Minneapolis, Minnesota

Chilling out in the top spot on the list of the most laid-back cities in the U.S. is none other than Minneapolis, Minnesota. Minneapolis is filled with relaxing activities to enjoy. From yoga to nightlife to a steady, not too demanding, jobs market, Minneapolis offers a great quality of life. As Coworking Cafe explains, the average citizen in Minneapolis earns well above the national average while the cost of living sits two percent lower than the average American metropolitan area.

Downtown Minneapolis - Mill City Museum
Downtown Minneapolis – Mill City Museum” by Jeremiah Peterson is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

According to research from FinanceBuzz, 73 percent of Minneapolis’s residents sleep at least seven hours per night. What’s more, Minneapolis offers the highest rate of yoga studios per capita in the U.S. while the average worker logs a friendly 38 hours on the job each week. With a range of activities designed to help you relax and a plethora of good-paying jobs that promise a healthy work-life balance, it’s easy to see why Minneapolis is considered a chill, relaxing place to live.

The good news is that Minneapolis has a lot of indoor activities for residents to enjoy. The cold Minnesota winters aren’t everyone’s idea of relaxing. But, as Bustle notes, Minneapolis is quickly becoming one of the best urban places to live in America for a quiet lifestyle. With plenty to see and do during all times of the year, Minneapolis delivers an urban way of life with a laid-back feel that’s hard to top.

2. Madison, Wisconsin

Kicking back into the next spot on the list of the most laid-back cities in the U.S. is Madison, Wisconsin. With a population of around 300,000, Madison is the fastest-growing city in Wisconsin. As Far and Wide explains, Madison isn’t too far from Chicago, Illinois, and offers a similar way of life – without the stress of the big city. Madison is surrounded by lakes and filled with fun outdoor activities, family-oriented events, and a relaxed atmosphere.

State Street - Madison, Wisconsin 10-22-2012 340
State Street – Madison, Wisconsin 10-22-2012 340” by Richard Hurd is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

Pacaso points out that Madison offers the highest number of public parks per capita when compared to the 100 largest cities in America. Yes, it gets cold in Madison, but if you can tolerate the frigid temperatures, there’s plenty to do. Madison’s ample number of bike trails transform into a cross-country skiers paradise when the snow starts to fall.

The parks and recreation service in Madison is one of the best in the entire country, adds Eat This, Not That. In fact, for every 100,000 Madison residents, there are 446 recreational facilities available. This staggering ratio means you won’t have any trouble finding a peaceful outdoor activity to enjoy – regardless of the time of year. And, Madison’s public school system ranks 11th across the nation, meaning you won’t have to worry about your kids receiving a great education while still being able to kick back and relax every once in a while.

3. Irvine, California

Hanging out in the third spot on the list of the most laid-back cities in the U.S. is Irvine, California. Irvine sits less than an hour from Los Angeles, but don’t get this small California town confused with the glitz and glamour of LA’s bright lights – Irvine is a relaxing place to call home. As Eat This, Not That notes, Irvine offers some of the country’s best outdoor, and recreational activities to go with its incredible public schools.

Irvine, California
Irvine, California” by Ken Lund is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

If you’re just looking for a relaxing weekend getaway, Far and Wide calls Irvine a “calming place to spend a few days.” Drive to LA for the day and head back to Irvine where you’ll enjoy some of the nation’s lowest crime rates and a chilled-out atmosphere. Did we mention that Irvine is a great place for kids? This Orange County city delivers several kid-friendly activities such as the Pretend City Children’s Museum, Orange County Great Park, and Tanaka Farms.

As Coworking Cafe explains, Irvine is the best city near Los Angeles to call home. On average, Irvine residents work less than 39 hours a week with 23 percent of the local workforce working from home. A remote work-life balance combined with great air quality and plenty of year-round sunshine make Irvine a can’t-miss city for a laid-back lifestyle.

4. Boulder, Colorado

Resting in the fourth spot on the list of the most laid-back cities in the U.S. is none other than Boulder, Colorado. Colorado is quickly becoming one of the nation’s most livable states, and Boulder is a great city for anyone looking to slow down and enjoy a peaceful lifestyle. Insider Monkey calls Boulder “one of the most relaxing cities in the country,” and for good reason.

Boulder, Colorado
Boulder, Colorado” by szeke is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

As Bustle explains, Boulder offers a robust outdoor scene that caters to hikers, cyclists, and rock climbers. Boulder openly endorses the cannabis industry as Colorado was one of the first states to legalize recreational use. Head over to one of the city’s many dispensaries and enjoy a peaceful day outside afterward, or just settle in for a relaxing afternoon nap. Either way, Boulder will have you chilled out and relaxed in no time.

The cannabis industry isn’t the only thing Boulder has going for it. Located just 25 miles from Denver, Boulder offers proximity to the big city without the hassles of a major metropolitan area, adds Pacaso. The nearest major airport is 50 miles away, so you won’t have to worry about added pollution or noisy planes making the rounds. Boulder delivers the perfect combination of outdoor recreation and quiet surroundings.

5. Portland, Oregon

Rounding out the list of America’s most laid-back cities is Portland, Oregon. Portland is a West Coast city offering lots of outdoor activities and enticing breweries to enjoy, explains Bustle. With Mt. Hood located nearby as well as a plethora of outdoor hiking trails, lakes, and music venues, Portland is one of the most relaxing cities in the country.

Ross Island Bridge, Portland Oregon
Ross Island Bridge, Portland Oregon” by dog97209 is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

As FinanceBuzz writes, a high percentage of Portland residents work from home. With the 10th lowest poverty rate in the country, Portland also delivers plenty of high-quality jobs for professionals, adding to the city’s overall appeal. A high percentage of Portland residents also report getting at least seven hours of sleep per night. The relaxed atmosphere, plethora of outdoor activities, good-paying jobs, and overall great quality of life all make Portland an ideal place to call home.

Portland is home to more than half a million people, so it’s no small city by any means. Most metropolitan areas that boast a population similar to that of Portland don’t offer such a great quality of life. Portland makes it work, though. Coworking Cafe points out that Portland residents benefit from excellent air quality and a peaceful environment. In fact, more than 90 percent of Portland residents are covered under health insurance. Couple this with remote work opportunities, a low crime rate, and plenty of healthy outdoor activities and you have one of the most laid-back cities in America.

Sources used for our list:

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. 

About Matthew Sherdan

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1 Comment

  1. Another John says:

    I’m sorry you need to post such things to feel better about life.