#5. Sioux Falls
Ranked 10th overall on our 2016 Best Places to Live index, Sioux Falls, S.D., offers residents a vibrant community with distinctive neighborhoods, a rich assortment of recreational amenities, great schools and excellent health care, all at an affordable price. This makes Sioux Falls one of the best affordable cities.
People living in Sioux Falls spend less than the national average on expenses like groceries and utilities, while spending slightly more on health care, clothing and other goods. The city ranks high for income equality, and the median household income in Sioux Falls is $52,607. Most families spend less than 27 percent of their annual salaries on housing, and the median home price in Sioux Falls is approximately $150,000.
Parks and recreational facilities in Sioux Falls are among the biggest draws for a city where residents utilize a network of bike routes, paths and walking trails to not only exercise but also get to work and run errands. While Falls Park, which offers fantastic views of waterfalls on the Big Sioux River, is among the most popular destinations in the city, there are more than 80 parks, trailheads and sports complexes to enjoy. Baseball fans flock to cheer on the Sioux Falls Canaries, an independent minor league team. The city also hosts a minor league hockey team, indoor football franchise and an NBA Development League team, the Sioux Falls Skyforce.
More than 650 restaurants in Sioux Falls, ranging from charming bakeries to refined steakhouses, give diners plenty of options for eating out. The arts scene in Sioux Falls includes a variety of public art displays, performance venues, the Great Plains Zoo and dozens of festivals and events.
Residents pay a six percent sales tax on most purchases, which helps keep the cost of living low. The absence of a corporate income tax in South Dakota has helped attract many financial companies to Sioux Falls such as Wells Fargo, Citigroup and Great Western Bank. Sanford Health and Avera Health provide the highest number of jobs in Sioux Falls, while John Morrell & Co. and Hy-Vee Food Stores also rank among the city’s largest employers.