#9. Royal Oak

Royal Oak, MI, may have a low percentage of school-age children per household when compared to other cities on this list, but this Detroit suburb makes an excellent home to the kids lucky enough to live here. Highly rated schools, a progressive library system and strongly supported recreational programs give children a real advantage. The city’s crime rate has steadily decreased and remains well below the national average. More than 50 parks in Royal Oak provide plenty of space for kids to burn energy, and a collection of art programs lets them exercise their imaginations. The funky downtown offers great places for the kids to hang out as they get a little older.

Among the most popular places to bring the kids in Royal Oak are the John Lindell Ice Arena, Star Lanes, Creative Art Studio and the Detroit Zoo, which features natural habits and an Arctic area. Sweet shops like Gayle’s Chocolates and Astoria Pastry Shop give parents plenty of ways to give their kids a treat. During the holiday shopping season, many restaurants in Royal Oak participate in a “kids eat free” event. More than 35 percent of Royal Oak restaurants provide kid-friendly foods at wallet-friendly prices.

For mommies and daddies: The area includes four downtown breweries, more than a dozen bars and the annual Wine Stroll.

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