20 Best Places to Live in the US

Best Places to Live in the US
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The United States is a big and diverse country with many lively cities, cute towns, and beautiful natural landscapes. With so many places to choose from, finding the right place to live can be exciting and difficult.


Whether you’re considering a move for career opportunities, a change of environment, or a better quality of life, looking into the best places to live in the US that match your preferences and priorities is important.

This article explores the 20 best places to live in the US. These locations have been carefully selected based on various factors, including economic stability, job opportunities, education, healthcare, safety, cultural amenities, recreational activities, and overall livability.

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Each place on this list offers unique attractions and advantages, making them desirable destinations for residents of all ages and backgrounds.

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The criteria used to determine the best places to live include quantitative data, such as median household income, cost of living, and unemployment rates, as well as qualitative factors like community engagement, natural beauty, and access to amenities.

While personal preferences may vary, the cities and towns included in this list consistently provide residents with a high quality of life and good opportunities for growth and enjoyment. You can additionally check out the 10 Best Places to Live in The Netherlands.

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The 20 Best Places to Live in the US

1. Austin, Texas


Austin, Texas, is renowned for its vibrant music scene and energetic atmosphere. The city embraces its unofficial motto, “Keep Austin Weird,” and offers a blend of creativity, culture, and outdoor activities. With a booming tech industry, great food, and a welcoming community, Austin has become a top choice for young professionals and music enthusiasts alike.

In the 1990s, the city was called “Silicon Hills” because it was “one of the best places in the country to invest in venture capital.”

Population: 2,173,804


Average annual salary: $57,830

Quality of life: 6.6

2. Colorado Springs, Colorado

Colorado Springs is “booming,” with new houses being built along with good schools, parks, and cultural sites. The city is only an hour’s drive from Denver. It is also close to the world-class ski resorts of Aspen and Vail. Military jobs influence the society and economy of Colorado Springs, but there are also jobs in medical innovation and technology.

Population: 735,480

Average annual salary: $55,540

Quality of life: 6.4

3. Seattle, Washington

Surrounded by mountains, forests, and water, Seattle is known for its natural beauty and thriving tech industry. Home to global giants like Microsoft and Amazon, Seattle offers excellent job prospects and high quality of life.

This lively city has many things to do, from exploring the famous Space Needle to enjoying delicious coffee.

Most jobs in Seattle are in the tech, healthcare, and maritime fields, but the city is also a huge manufacturing center for companies like Boeing.

Population: 3,928,498

Average annual salary: $74,330

Quality of life: 6.6

4. Portland, Oregon

If you’re a nature lover, Portland is the place to be. With its breathtaking landscapes, including the nearby Columbia River Gorge and Mount Hood, Portland offers endless opportunities for outdoor adventures. The city is also famous for its eco-conscious mindset, vibrant food scene, and quirky culture, making it a unique and captivating destination.

It is a “well-rounded city” with “more academic degrees than the national average” and “more than just offbeat shops and events.”

Portland is home to Intel Corporation, a big employer, as well as the offices of Nike, which is about seven miles outside of Portland.

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Population: 2,472,774

Average annual salary: $61,860

Quality of life: 6.7

5. Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina

Raleigh, often called the “Research Triangle,” is a hub for innovation and technology. With renowned universities and research institutions, the city attracts top talent worldwide.

Companies like IBM, SAS Institute Inc., Cisco Systems, and the nearby colleges Duke, North Carolina State, and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill employ almost 40,000 people from the city.

Raleigh’s affordable cost of living, diverse neighborhoods, and southern charm make it an excellent choice for families and professionals seeking a vibrant community.

Population: 1,999,253

Average annual salary: $59,174

Quality of life: 6.8

6. Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota

Minneapolis is a city that blends culture, nature, and a thriving economy. With its numerous lakes, parks, and bike-friendly infrastructure, Minneapolis offers outdoor enthusiasts a high quality of life.

Residents are accustomed to the changing seasons in the area. In the winter, they go ice fishing and cross-country skiing. They go to music events and baseball games in the spring and summer.

Jobs in science-related fields exist at companies like Xcel Energy, Medtronic, Best Buy, and Target stores.

Population: 3,605,450

Average annual salary: $62,560

Quality of life: 6.7

7. Charleston, South Carolina

Charleston is a great example of Southern culture because it has a lovely, historic, and sophisticated vibe. This low country area is not only full of things to do and good food, but it’s also beautiful. 

Charleston’s tourism is increasing, with jobs, especially in the summer. The city’s economy has been strong all year because of employment in tech, sales, marketing, and advertising.

Population: 790,955

Average annual salary: $50,810

Quality of life: 6.4

8. Salt Lake City, Utah

Salt Lake City is a paradise for people who love the outdoors because the beautiful Rocky Mountains surround it. With world-class skiing, hiking, and mountain biking just a stone’s throw away, adventure awaits at every turn.

The city also offers a strong job market, affordable living costs, and a thriving arts and culture scene, making it an attractive destination for nature lovers and professionals.

Population: 2,522,032

Average annual salary: $52,094

Quality of life: 6.8

9. Nashville, Tennessee

Known as the “Music City,” Nashville is a haven for music lovers and those seeking a lively entertainment scene. The city’s music history is evident, from country music places to lively honky-tonks.

Nashville also boasts a thriving culinary scene, with many restaurants offering delicious Southern cuisine. With its warm hospitality and a strong sense of community, Nashville welcomes residents and visitors with open arms.

Thousands of people live in the area and work in healthcare at big hospitals, research centers, small startups, and business accelerator programs.

Population: 1,904,186

Average annual salary: $52,170

Quality of life: 6.1

10. San Diego, California

San Diego is a dream destination for beach lovers with its perfect year-round weather and stunning beaches. The city’s laid-back atmosphere, diverse neighborhoods, and world-class attractions, such as the San Diego Zoo and Balboa Park, make it a desirable place to call home. San Diego’s strong job market, excellent schools, and thriving craft beer scene add to its appeal.

Population: 1,985,926

Average annual salary: $93,450

Quality of life: 7.6

11. Boston, Massachusetts

Boston, a city steeped in history and renowned for its prestigious universities, offers a unique blend of culture, intellect, and charm. Follow the steps of America’s leaders as you walk along the Freedom Trail, visit world-class museums, or watch a Red Sox game at Fenway Park. Boston is great for intellectual stimulation and cultural immersion because of its lively neighborhoods, rich history, and high-quality schools.

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Population: 4,854,808

Average annual salary: $73,850

Quality of life: 7.2

12. Ann Arbor, Michigan

Ann Arbor is a charming college town in the middle of Michigan. It has a lively, welcoming vibe.

Home to the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor boasts a lively arts and culture scene, diverse dining options, and beautiful parks. The city’s strong sense of community and intellectual energy creates an environment that fosters creativity and growth.

The Huron River runs through the city, which is built on hills. Activities like sailing and ice skating are available to residents throughout the year. More than 90% of the people who live there live within 10 minutes on foot of a public park.

Population: 368,385

Average annual salary: $59,200

Quality of life: 8.0

Value index: 6.5

13. Boulder, Colorado

Boulder is a beautiful city that attracts people who love the outdoors. The beautiful Rocky Mountains surround it. With its miles of hiking and biking trails, world-class rock climbing spots, and breathtaking views, Boulder is a paradise for those who love to explore nature.

The city’s progressive mindset, vibrant downtown area, and emphasis on sustainability add to its appeal. Companies in the technology, aerospace, and bioscience fields are some of the largest employers in Boulder.

Population: 324,682

Average annual salary: $70,450

Quality of life: 7.7

14. Asheville, North Carolina

Asheville is a haven for artists, musicians, and people who love nature. It is located far away in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Asheville has a lively arts and music scene, a diverse center, and is close to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, so it’s a great place to enjoy indoor and outdoor activities. The city’s welcoming community and laid-back vibe create a unique and inspiring atmosphere.

Population: 459,344

Average annual salary: $46,310

Quality of life: 6.7

15. Madison, Wisconsin

As the capital of Wisconsin, Madison is a progressive city that embraces innovation, sustainability, and community engagement. Home to the University of Wisconsin-Madison, the town offers a vibrant cultural scene, a thriving food and craft beer culture, and abundant outdoor recreational opportunities. Wisconsin is the center of the healthcare, IT, and manufacturing industries.

Population: 660,212

Average annual salary: $57,680

Quality of life: 7.3

16. Portland, Maine

Portland is right on the water at Casco Bay, and its streets are made of cobblestones. This gives it the feel of a much smaller town. The city has many things to do, like fishing, boating, cross-country skiing, and the busy nightlife.

With its friendly atmosphere, vibrant arts scene, and abundant outdoor activities, Portland offers a tranquil retreat for those seeking a slower pace of life.

Population: 536,314

Average annual salary: $55,790

Quality of life: 7.2

17. Huntsville, Alabama

In the 1960s, when NASA made Huntsville, Alabama, a hub for its operations, the town became well-known. Now, Huntsville is going through another rebirth. In the past few years, tech companies, craft breweries, and artists have all moved to the town.

Huntsville is the city in Alabama that is growing the fastest, and residents are having a growing downtown shopping and dining scene even though the cost of living in the town is still low. You may feel at home if you can handle the heat and humidity.

Population: 464,607

Average annual salary: $58,730

Quality of life: 6.8

18. Naples, Florida

Naples is between the Everglades and the shores of the Gulf of Mexico. It is popular with retirees and snowbirds because it has sunny beaches, good restaurants, and golf courses. Because of tourism and rapid development, most jobs are in the hospitality and construction businesses.

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Population: 379,345

Average annual salary: $50,040

Quality of life: 7.4

19. Green Bay, Wisconsin

Green Bay is the largest town in Wisconsin and used to be a major port. It’s better known now as the Green Bay Packers stadium. Residents can enjoy craft breweries and wineries, unique shops, museums, art galleries, and outdoor fun on trails and the Fox River.

Insurance companies like UnitedHealth Group and Humana and shipping companies like Georgia-Pacific are among the biggest employers in Green Bay.

Population: 320,827

Average annual salary: $50,020

Quality of life: 7.1

20. Fayetteville, Arkansas

Fayetteville is near the Ozark Mountains and has the main campus of the University of Arkansas. Seven Fortune 500 companies, like Walmart and Tyson Foods, have offices around northwest Arkansas.

The city has grown greatly, and the area has changed “from a small town to a center of higher education, culture, commerce, and entrepreneurialism.”

Population: 526,101

Average annual salary: $50,470

Quality of life: 6.8


The United States offers many exceptional cities and towns that provide attractive living environments for individuals and families. This list of the 20 best places to live in the US showcases the diverse factors contributing to a high quality of life, including economic opportunities, cultural amenities, natural beauty, and a strong sense of community.

These places offer residents a balanced lifestyle, with access to excellent healthcare, education, and recreational activities. While each location has its unique charm and characteristics, they all share a commitment to creating thriving communities that prioritize the well-being and happiness of their residents.

Whether one prefers the hustle and bustle of a metropolitan area or the tranquility of a smaller town, the United States offers abundant options for individuals to find their ideal place to call home. Also, read about the 10 Best Cities to Live in Spain.

Frequently Asked Questions

What factors should I consider when choosing the best place to live in the US?

When choosing the best place to live in the US, consider factors such as job opportunities, cost of living, climate, cultural amenities, recreational activities, and the overall quality of life. Think about what is important to you and prioritize accordingly.

Are these cities affordable to live in?

The affordability of these cities varies, but there are options to fit different budgets. When considering a move, it’s important to research the cost of housing, utilities, transportation, and other expenses.

Can I find cultural diversity in these cities?

Many cities on this list embrace cultural diversity and offer various cultural experiences, festivals, and cuisines worldwide.

Can I find employment opportunities in these cities?

Yes, many of these cities offer diverse employment opportunities across various industries. Research each city’s specific industries and job markets to find the best fit for your career goals.

Which city is known for its vibrant arts scene?

Minneapolis, Minnesota, is known for its vibrant arts scene. The city boasts numerous theaters, art galleries, and museums, making it a haven for art lovers and culture enthusiasts.

Are these places suitable for families with children?

Many places mentioned in this article are suitable for families with children. Cities like Raleigh, Austin, and Salt Lake City offer excellent educational opportunities, family-friendly neighborhoods, and a range of recreational activities for kids.

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Author: Obot

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