Ithaca, NY

#1. Ithaca

Located in scenic upstate New York, Ithaca is not only our pick for 2017’s top college town, but also a Top 100 Best Place Live in 2017. It’s not news that universities stimulate business and culture, so between Cornell University and Ithaca College, Ithaca is booming.

This picture-perfect college town is highly walkable and laden with historic charm. Folks come for the waterfalls and stunning architecture, but stay for the educational and career opportunities.

Aside from the obvious advantages of being home to Ivy League Cornell University, together with top-rated Ithaca College and Tompkins Cortland Community College, the colleges provide a pipeline of exceptional education that fuels the local workforce. And as a result, Ithaca lands itself as on the list for Best Places for Entrepreneurs.

Industries that thrive in Ithaca include: arts and entertainment, health care, scientific management, retail trade and, of course, primarily education. Some of the city’s major employers are Cayuga Medical Center and the colleges themselves.

With a strong economy and a modern, entrepreneurial vibe comes attractive cultural opportunities. From off-Broadway plays to a variety of museums, it’s easy to enjoy the flourishing arts community when the region is also graced with 25 wineries and four microbreweries.

Food lovers can also explore restaurants like Just a Taste and Dolce Delight, as well as the annual Chili Festival and Ithaca Apple Festival.

Wanna see our next list? Check out our 2017 Top 100 Best Places to Live list.


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