Maybe this year you’re looking to change up your location and find some new opportunities for this new year. Maybe you’re looking to retire somewhere outside your hometown. Maybe your child is looking to move away for college and you’re looking to move somewhere close–but not too close–just in case. Or maybe you’re looking for an investment property in a city that shows a lot of promise.
Either way, you don’t want to settle for an “ok-ish” place to live. So then what’s the best?
If you’re looking for something a bit more urban, here are our picks for some of the best cities to live in for 2017 across the US:
Maine’s Portland is more than just “the other Portland.” In fact, if we’re getting technical, Portland, Oregon was named after Portland, Maine.
Located along the southern coast of Maine on a peninsula extending into Casco Bay, Portland is Maine’s largest city. In 2015, it made Livebility.com’s “Top 100 Best Places to Live,” which is easy to see: it’s a historic city with scenic ocean views, a thriving art scene, and more restaurants per capita of any other metropolis in the country.
Portland has safe neighborhoods, highly rated healthcare, and Portland Public Schools is the state’s largest school system. The Portland Museum of Art is the “cultural heart” of the city and offers significant pieces of American, European, and contemporary art, as well as works from Maine. It also boasts an up-and-coming startup scene (with 70 innovative business ventures).
While home prices are a bit steep compared to the national average, they aren’t terrible considering the cost of other large cities in the New England area (for example, the median home price is $236,000 while the median household income is $45,865), making it one of the most affordable cities in Maine.
Portland offers the charm of a coastal New England town with the infrastructure necessary to sustain a liveable city.
If you’re looking for a city that combines old-fashioned southern charm with the hustle and bustle of modern life, consider Charlotte, North Carolina. After all, “Charlotte’s got a lot.”
Charlotte is the largest city in North Carolina and the second-largest city in the southeastern US. This city is growing and is on the up-and-up with a solid job market and a culture-friendly quality of life. Charlotte is home to several Fortune 1000 companies, along with the Carolina Panthers of the NFL, the Charlotte Hornets of the NBA, the NASCAR Hall of Fame and the U.S. National Whitewater Center.
Charlotte is filled with restaurants and a thriving craft brewing scene, as well as cultural centers such as the Blumenthal Performing Arts Center, the Mint Museum and the Levine Museum of the New South.
The city is composed of small neighborhoods as well as a downtown area (referred to as Uptown). A large number of households include children under the age of 18, so a lot of the areas are incredibly family-friendly. There’s the Charlotte Douglas International Airport, which makes it easy and convenient to travel wherever you might want to go.
If you’re looking to buy a home, the median home value is lower the national average and the city offers a better value compared to similarly sized cities when comparing housing costs to income.
If you’re looking for a place that has a lot to offer, Charlotte has it.
Columbus might not have Drew Carey, but it certainly doesn’t need him.
Columbus is the capital and largest city of Ohio, and it’s really booming. You don’t have to be a huge college football fan to live here, but that passion for the Ohio State Buckeyes is contagious. Go beyond the school spirit and you will see that the city has a lot to offer, especially regarding culture.
The Short North Arts District is teeming with restaurants, shops, bars, concert venues, and art galleries. Other options for entertainment include the Center of Science and Industry, the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, the Scioto Mile riverfront park, and the Columbus Museum of Art, which added a new wing. In short, there’s no short of things to do, no matter your age.
Becuase of the local university, Columbus is home to a younger demographic, which might be perfect if you’re a young professional looking to make a fresh start (or are a watchful parent keeping a close eye on your Buckeye). The city’s population is also quite diverse with a prosperous economy and a wide array of businesses. Compared to the national average, the median household income is high.
If the unofficial slogan “keep Austin weird” is right up your alley, you’re probably going to want to check Austin out. Not only is the capital of Texas, it’s the 11th-most populated city in the US and the 4th-most populated in Texas. Like everything in Texas, it’s big, y’all. And it just keeps growing.
The “Live Music Capital of the World,” Austin will especially appeal to those who love music and live entertainment. However, if you yourself are a musician, it’s considered difficult to make your living by music here. If music isn’t necessarily your thing, there’s still plenty to do; to escape the city life, you can hike, bike, run, or kayak in one of the 250+ parks. If you’re a football fan, be prepared to support the Longhorns at the University of Texas. Between the numerous food trucks and high-quality restaurants and eateries, you definitely won’t run out of food choices.
Austin is a city known for its environmental awareness and a strong economy, which is fueled by such industries as information technology, pharmaceuticals, and biotechnology. Because Austin is one of the fastest-growing cities, though, home shopping can be a bit tough: the median sales price for a single-family home is above the national average. A benefit, of course, is that there is no personal or corporate income tax, and state and local taxes are low.
If you’re considering moving to the Lone Star State, and you feel like getting a little weird, Austin may have the right amount of weirdness for you.
Colorado Springs is the second most populous city in Colorado, behind only the state capital, Denver.
Colorado Springs is also the home of the flagship U.S. Olympic Training Center. If you enjoy fitness but aren’t quite up to Olympic-levels of athleticism, the area boasts hundreds of miles of hiking and biking trails along the Colorado Front Range.
Besides the high-altitude, the city has an impressive high-speed economy and an employment rate that has been steadily increasing in the past decade or so (outpacing both the rest of Colorado and the rest of the US). The U.S. Air Force Academy and North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) are both nearby, providing ample job opportunities in aerospace. There are also a number of Fortune 500 companies with a presence in Colorado Spring, such as Lockheed Martin and Boeing. Colorado College, though small, has a reputation for being one of the top liberal arts institutions and provides employment and culture to the city.
Colorado Springs has the advantages of close proximity to ski resorts, as well as Denver, without the excess costs. While the cost of living is slightly more expensive compared to the national average, and housing costs are also higher, residents typically spend less on things like groceries and utilities, and the median family income is above the national median.
If you want the best of both worlds, Colorado Springs is perfect for the outdoor adventurer who doesn’t want to leave behind the Metro.
Washington has more to offer than just rain: it also has Spokane, which is its second largest city. Between the river that runs through it, the basalt columns, the mountain lakes, Spokane has no trouble living up to its motto: “Near Nature. Near Perfect.”
Spokane is the city you might turn to when you’re looking for a quieter, calmer atmosphere without sacrificing the conveniences and amenities of city life. You can easily switch up your weekend activities from skiing and hiking to enjoying breweries, wineries, and local performance venues.
This city is built with individual neighborhoods that foster a strong sense of community, which the local government supports through community meetings. Everyone in Spokane seems to want to help to make Spokane an even better place to live.
Spokane is comparable to other similarly-sized cities in terms of affordability: housing costs per yer are typically lower than the national average. The costs of food, transportation, and utilities are also lower than the national average. There’s also no personal income tax here.
“Colorado Springs with the Front Range in background” by Jasen Miller ( User: Postoak), used under CC BY 2.0 / Edited from original
Sarah is a content writer and social media assistant with a BA in literature/creative writing from Wilkes University. When she’s not spending her days at work writing, reading, and drinking coffee, she’s usually at home reading, writing, and drinking coffee. She also devotes a fair amount of time to HGTV, drawing, and doting on her dog. As a creator, Sarah believes in emphasizing personality through design and DIY projects.