Top 100 Best Places to Live
Big cities tend to get all the love. We here at Livability know that there are great stories to be told in smaller places, too. Our ranking of the 2014 top 100 best places to live focuses on small to mid-sized cities and what makes them great places to live and work. We worked with trusted partners, stellar advisors, and the best public and private data sources to develop our ranking. The cities on the list excelled in our criteria. These towns are places where residents are able to take full advantage of a wide variety of amenities and offerings - everything from parks and museums to different commuting options to hospitals. Spend some time getting to know them and when it comes time for your next move, maybe you'll think small.
600 = The city’s overall score, based on the weighted sum of the eight component scores.
11631 Population: 63402
The band R.E.M. sang, “Don’t go back to Rockville,” but the smart residents never left this Best Place to Live in the first place. The surrounding public sector jobs keep the economy on an even keel and attracts high-skilled, highly paid residents who enjoy the small-town life while often working in nearby Silver Spring, Baltimore and Washington D.C.
12630 Population: 211655
With the Rocky Mountains close at hand, plus top-notch health care to keep families moving, Boise is an outdoor enthusiast's paradise. But there's also a home for cerebral types in the “City of Trees,” thanks to unique museums and a strong university.
13630 Population: 132268
Bellevue's natural beauty is hard to miss. But this park-like city is about more than the Cascade Mountains and surrounding lakes. Nationally recognized schools and a host of arts and farm festivals feed mind and body, while the city's rich cultural diversity fuels the spirit.
14627 Population: 115985
Ann Arbor is a quintessential Big Ten college town with all the expected university hype, but it’s also the center of its own growing metropolitan area with great schools, medical facilities, culture, amenities and proximity to a whole lot more.
15626 Population: 157967
Residents in Oregon's capital city of Salem may be only an hour from the Cascade mountains to the east, coastal beaches to the west and Portland to the north, but the Cherry City's own natural and cultural amenities, excellent health care and schools earned it a "cherry" ranking on our list of best places to live.
16622 Population: 119525
While Santa Clara draws the world's most innovative thinkers to its creative energy and well-paid tech careers of the Silicon Valley, few want to leave after experiencing the city's 300-plus days of annual sunshine, cultural diversity, appreciation for history, and excellent public amenities and services.
17622 Population: 114804
Spectacular scenery and outdoor recreation barely scratch the surface of Provo’s many brag-worthy high points. There’s also a diverse and growing arts and culture scene, great shopping and dining in a revitalized downtown, best-in-class education from preschool through college, affordable housing, and the region’s best health-care facilities.
18621 Population: 178945
The second-largest city in Kansas, Overland Park is attrating familes as businesses. Smart planning by city leaders has given Overland Park an ideal balance of residential, office and retail. With top ranked sports facilities, excellent schools, many amenities and infectious civic pride, the city continues to improve.
19620 Population: 276225
With excellent schools and plenty of higher education options, quality health care with award-winning hospitals and a downtown that is moving forward, Greensboro easily ranks among 2014 Best Places to Live by Livability.com. And residents also pride themselves on being wonderful hosts to major events that place in the city every year.
20620 Population: 348934
Tampa has all of Florida’s natural advantages – warmth, the bay, the river – but is less tourist-filled than Orlando or Miami, meaning it can focus more of its efforts on creating livable places for its residents. The city's museums, attractions, and a thriving restaurant scene round out good schools and a great hospital system.