Best Places to Live

10 Best Cities for Singles

These cities offer high concentrations of singles, lots of ways to meet new people, and plenty of options for that first, second or third date.

Nearly three in 10 U.S. households now have exactly one person in them. One could argue that it is, therefore, a great time to be single. But not all cities are created equal for those looking to find someone – whether to marry or just be single together. With that in mind, Livability set out to find the best places for singles.
Note: we recognize that this list is more geared toward being young-and-single than old-and-single – that might be a list for another day.

How did we determine the ranking? We started by looking at places where there are plenty of singles to choose from, so we looked at the percentage of unmarried people, the percentage of the population in prime marriageable age, places where large percentages are living alone – that’s all Census data. Then we asked our friends at Esri to help us find places where people are doing single-ish things. These cities tend to have higher-than-average rates of people who go to art galleries, bars, nightclubs and pool halls. They have more residents who are likely to dance, sing karaoke and go to romance movies. Whether they do these things on dates or to learn what dating is like is open to interpretation. We subtracted points for places where people play a lot of computer games (Get out of the house, people.) and added points for people using dating sites and apps.

Finally, we added in a couple of measures to find places that are good for everyone, like demographic diversity and cost of living.

The result: 10 cities where it’s great to be single, but maybe good to find someone to stop being single as well. If that happens, you might someday need our Top 10 Best Cities for Families list, instead.


Ranking Criteria

Percentage of population who are unmarried • Percentage of population between 20-34 • Use of online dating websites • Went dancing in the last 12 months • Watched a romantic movie in last 6 months • Visited a nightclub/bar in last 12 months • Went to an art gallery in the last 12 months

10. Moscow, ID Population 24,688
9. Athens, GA Population 119,684
8. Miami Beach, FL Population 91,564
7. Ames, IA Population 62,815
6. Ypsilanti, MI Population 19,874
5. San Marcos, TX Population 54,712
4. Oxford, MS Population 20,769
3. West Hollywood, CA Population 35,332
2. Hoboken, NJ Population 52,452
1. Carrboro, NC Population 20,639

10 Best Haunted Houses

Click here if you dare. This list of haunted houses and attractions includes hotels, abandoned hospitals, underground lairs and historic homes - all of which are in some of the best cities in the U.S.

Summon your courage. Prepare to dive into a world of haunted houses and seriously scary places where ghosts and ghouls may actually be real.

These are some of the most haunted places in America, ranging from an abandoned tuberculosis hospital in Louisville, KY, to creepy underground tunnels in Portland, OR, to plenty of ghost-inhabited inns and hotels.

Click through if you dare.

*Photo courtesy of S B Rosencrans.

Ranking Criteria

History of paranormal activity • Ghost stories • Located in cities with lots to do

10. Fort Lauderdale, FL Population 173,570
9. San Jose, CA Population 1,000,860
8. San Antonio, TX Population 1,413,881
7. St. Augustine, FL Population 13,676
6. Chapel Hill, NC Population 58,766
5. Charleston, SC Population 127,694
4. Huntsville, AL Population 185,594
3. Portland, OR Population 612,206
2. Louisville, KY Population 608,732
1. Savannah, GA Population 142,919

10 Best Cities for Historic Preservation

Why study history in books when you can walk through it? These cities have made historic preservation a priority and recognized the potential it has for attracting tourists, residents and businesses. Community leaders in these towns are committed to protecting historic buildings and, to a greater extent, their city's identity.

It's not a new way of thinking. The idea of preserving historic buildings and a city's foundational essence goes back hundreds of years. What has changed is the sense of urgency that residents and city leaders across the country now have about keeping their towns from looking like every other town. With this in mind, Livability set out to determine the Top 10 Cities for Historic Preservation.

Many cities face increasing pressure to tear down old schools, factories and homes to make way for more modern structures. But there are communities that have challenged the notion new is better and strive to keep the look and feel that drew residents to their towns in the first place. On this list you'll find some of the best examples of preservation, from cities that have set the standard to towns that have recently begun efforts to protect and restore historic areas.

Before setting out to identify the best cities for historic preservation, we consulted with experts in the field, including the National Trust for Historic Preservation. They helped us develop criteria to measure how well cities have done. We looked for cities that have a large number of properties on the National Register of Historic Places, offer incentives for maintaining and rehabilitating historic structures, and have active preservation groups. We also considered cities on the cusp of achieving great success by reinvesting in their historic areas. What we found were places where residents and government officials have demonstrated a commitment to protecting historic buildings and, to a greater extent, what makes their cities unique.

"[Cities that preserve historic structures] are very pedestrian friendly because of how they were designed," says Barbara Pahl, vice president for western field offices at the National Trust for Historic Preservation. "They are more sustainable hold a high aesthetic value and environmental value. We've learned that communities like these have an economic factor. These are places people want to be in. People want to visit them. People want to move back into these areas."

Pahl added that historic preservation is "good for your soul" and the environment.

From Santa Fe, NM, home to the oldest government building in the country, to Charleston, SC. which has the oldest preservation group, the cities on this list are all focused on stimulating their economies and raising the quality of life for their residents by protecting their past.

Ranking Criteria

Number of properties on the National Register of Historic Places • Incentives offered for maintaining or rehabilitating historic structures • Local Government Investment in historic areas • Sustainable building practices

10. Victoria, TX Population 65,303
9. Danville, KY Population 16,542
8. Muskogee, OK Population 38,776
7. Pueblo, CO Population 108,073
6. Abingdon, VA Population 8,143
5. St. Augustine, FL Population 13,676
4. Franklin, TN Population 72,639
3. Santa Fe, NM Population 83,008
2. Savannah, GA Population 142,919
1. Charleston, SC Population 127,694

10 Best Music Cities

Top 10 Cities With the Best Music Scenes Outside of Nashville NYC and LA

Most music lovers know Nashville, NYC and L.A. are great places to indulge in their passion, but for this list, we explored other cities off the beaten path where they might feel just as at home.

So, these picks go beyond the benchmark industry towns like Nashville, with its 180 recording studios, 130 music publishers, 100 live music clubs and 80 record labels. To select them, we researched other music and travel media rankings and accolades about scenes, venues and record stores. Then we asked for more direction from musicians who've toured the country extensively and gave nominations and tips.

We found there's a lot happening musically outside the big industry centers, in cities attracting music fans and musicians seeking a change of pace or scenery.

Sometimes it's even the food that helps sway them (doesn't it always?). One of our sources, accomplished Nashville musician Chris Scruggs, nominated Asheville, NC: "It's the only city I'd want to live in other than Nashville. I really can't endorse that place enough. It's a big hub for the Olde Tyme and Bluegrass world and has tons of other awesome stuff there, too. And don't forget the biscuits at Tupelo Honey ... Mmmm."

Ultimately, while Asheville was a hot contender, it gets an honorable mention this time around (while we concede no one matches those biscuits).

From our 500 best places to live, we chose these cities for their combination of noted music venues – ranging from outdoor amphitheaters to sprawling honky tonks and pristine concert halls. Our picks have some of the best independent record stores, have produced household-name artists in a variety of genres and nurture current scenes to support rising stars.

"Who hears music, feels his solitude peopled at once,” wrote poet Robert Browning. So here are our Top 10 lesser-known locales where the music-minded won't feel a lonely moment.

Ranking Criteria

National rankings for great venues, music scenes and/or record stores • Number and diversity of music venues • Number of independent record stores • Number of current and former residents who are noted musicians • Excluded known industry centers: Nashville, NYC, LA

10. Concord, CA Population 126,268
9. Tulsa, OK Population 398,082
8. Madison, WI Population 243,122
7. Fort Worth, TX Population 796,614
6. Cambridge, MA Population 107,916
5. Omaha, NE Population 440,034
4. Chapel Hill, NC Population 58,766
3. Portland, OR Population 612,206
2. Minneapolis, MN Population 399,950
1. Athens, GA Population 119,684

10 Best Cities for Book Lovers

Readers, rejoice. This list of the Best Cities for Book Lovers has your name written all over it. Find out which cities we picked and what makes them great book cities.

We may live in the age of the e-book, but we're taking things back to basics. Before Borders and Barnes and Noble, before the coming of the Kindle, there was the independent bookstore. The few local bookstores that remain in business are considered relics of an age that some predict is coming to an end. They are beloved by a customer base that appreciates the experience of hunting through narrow rows of shelves for a great read. They offer hand-selected books, mismatched armchairs and a staff of locals just dying to tell you what they read. These stores are as unique as the written works they contain. In this list we're highlighting some of the independent bookstores that are still standing and the cities that support them. We started our search by looking at cities with either iconic bookstores, huge numbers of bookstores or emphatic bookstore supporters. You can see which stores maintain the independent spirit and the cities we deem best suited for book lovers. But one cannot live on books alone. That's why the best cities for book lovers offer a great quality of life, plenty of entertainment and awesome outdoor activities. After all, there's nothing worse than reading an inspiring novel and having nothing to do after closing the cover.

Ranking Criteria

High quantity of bookstores • Independently-owned stores • Large collections of books • Events celebrating authors, writing, books

10. Charlotte, NC Population 792,137
9. Spokane, WA Population 210,695
8. Coral Gables, FL Population 50,059
7. Pueblo, CO Population 108,073
6. Traverse City, MI Population 15,168
5. Iowa City, IA Population 71,832
4. Charlottesville, VA Population 45,084
3. San Jose, CA Population 1,000,860
2. Kansas City, MO Population 467,990
1. Portland, OR Population 612,206

10 Best Green Cities

Going green is a reoccurring theme in towns across the U.S. We've dug deep and found places where protecting the environment, saving energy and loving planet Earth come naturally.

What makes a city green? Well, no matter what the local government is doing, it really comes down to the residents who live there. We went looking for places where large segments of the population recycle, drive fuel-efficient cars or use alternative transportation, save energy, and are focused on keeping Mother Earth looking her best. Kermit the Frog was right, "It's not easy being green." But these places sure make it look like second nature.

Ranking Criteria

Lots of recycling • Use of fuel-efficient cars • Sustainable building practices • Environmental protections demanded by residents

10. Louisville, KY Population 608,732
9. Portland, OR Population 612,206
8. Springfield, IL Population 117,061
7. Eugene, OR Population 159,615
6. Greensboro, NC Population 279,427
5. Kansas City, MO Population 467,990
4. Concord, CA Population 126,268
3. Charlotte, NC Population 792,137
2. Athens, GA Population 119,684
1. Boulder, CO Population 103,919

10 Best Gardens to Inspire

Got plans for a luscious garden but don't know where to start? Or maybe you need some motivation to get off the back porch and into the dirt. We know you can't control when creativity strikes or inspiration hits, but we can certainly help supply the "where." We've selected 10 of the best gardens in the U.S. to plant ideas in your head. These scenes of divine green are sure to bring your budding aspirations into full blossom. So stop and smell the roses, but don't linger for too long. Get to digging already!

Ranking Criteria

Large Gardens • Variety of Plants • Unique attributes

10. Fayetteville, NC Population 202,521
9. Gastonia, NC Population 73,211
8. Wichita, KS Population 387,147
7. Sumter, SC Population 40,851
6. Santa Cruz, CA Population 62,752
5. Boerne, TX Population 12,272
4. Fort Worth, TX Population 796,614
3. Longview, WA Population 36,619
2. Cheyenne, WY Population 62,195
1. Tyler, TX Population 100,806