People play on the beach at Crystal Lake in Newton, MA

#10. Newton

In some ways, Newton, MA, is like a giant school campus. Its 13 villages are seemingly built around elementary schools, which many students walk or bike to. Classic New England architecture, well-maintained parks and lavishly landscaped yards help connect neighborhoods in what many residents call “the garden city.” The community places a great deal of emphasis on education. More than 25 percent of all households here have school-age children. Newton schools are among the Boston area’s highest rated. Newton is home to Boston College, which supports local schools, while the nearby Massachusetts Institute of Technology often partners with area high schools.

Field trips bring children to places where history was actually made, like Boston Harbor, the Jackson Homestead and the USS Constitution Museum. The Newton Free Library not only loans books and offers a variety of classes but also gives residents a chance to get passes to Boston area educational venues. Families who live in Newton do pay a high price, but they say the perks are worth it. Many of the city’s residents live in historic homes built in the late 1800s. Scenic Crystal Lake and the Charles River provide residents with swimming, boating and fishing opportunities. Locals don’t worry much about crime as the city’s crime rate is less than half of the average crime rate in the U.S.

For mommies and daddies: Boston’s red-hot nightlife scene is just 7 miles away.

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