Best Places to Live

2015 Top 100 Best Places to Live

NEW: See our Updated 2017 Ranking of the Best Places to Live!

 As Livability’s editors and writers crisscross the U.S in search of great stories, we find that time and again, the best tales are told in the Main Street diners, corner churches, park benches and even the mayor’s offices of small to mid-sized cites and towns. Far from letting time pass them by, these communities are doubling down on livability for their residents. Our second-annual ranking of the Top 100 Best Places to Live celebrates the work they are doing. As with our Top 100 Best Place to Live 2014 ranking, we worked with globally-known partners to analyze the best public and private data sources. We were advised by the leading thinkers, writers and doers in the place-making space. Some new places make the list, some move up or down and some continue to score well, no matter what the metric. More than 2,000 cities were ranked, so every city on this list is in the top 5 percent of livable communities in the U.S. Spend some time getting to know them, and when it comes time for your next move, maybe you'll think small.

  • 11

    Bozeman, MT

    Population: 40,319
    Photo courtesy of Bridger Bowl

    An All-America City, Bozeman is largely a college town that houses Montana State University, home of the Bobcats, along with 15,000 students. Bozeman residents enjoy a good quality of life with recreation options such as skiing and hiking, and the economy features a growing technology sector and several research-based companies. Quality health-care facilities also serve the community.

    See why Bozeman is a Top 100 Best Place to Live.

  • 12

    Asheville, NC

    Population: 86,789

    Nicknamed “Land of the Sky,” Asheville is a picturesque city that welcomes many tourists who visit attractions like nightclubs, performance venues and microbreweries. A high-achieving public school system is in place along with the University of North Carolina at Asheville, and a strong health-care network includes Asheville VA Medical Center and Mission Health System.

  • 13

    Ann Arbor, MI

    Population: 116,194

    This quintessential Big Ten college town lays claim to the University of Michigan, which includes Michigan Stadium – the largest stadium in North America. Residents have easy access to the more than 300 restaurants located in a 20-mile radius of Ann Arbor, as well as the city's growing metropolitan area that features great schools, medical facilities, culture and more.

    See why Ann Arbor is a Top 100 Best Place to Live.

  • 14

    Bellevue, WA

    Population: 134,630
    Visit Bellevue, WA

    Across Lake Washington from Seattle is the beautiful community of Bellevue, a city graced by the Cascade Mountains and many public parks. Bellevue schools are ranked among the best in the state, while Bellevue College and City University of Seattle provide residents with top higher education choices. The community also features a rich culture of arts.

    Here's why Bellevue is a Top 100 Best Place to Live.

  • 15

    San Mateo, CA

    Population: 101,335

    courtesy of Kevin Qi under a CC 4.0 license.


    Spanish for Saint Matthew, San Mateo is poised within the high-tech Silicon Valley and features a prominent downtown district with more than 800 stores and restaurants. The city takes pride in sustainability efforts, caring for more than 15 parks along with numerous historic buildings dating to the late 19th century.

  • 16

    Santa Barbara, CA

    Population: 90,401
    Courtesy of Visit Santa Barbara/Jay Sinclair

    Amenities ranging from beaches along the Pacific Ocean to shopping centers, performing arts venues and microbreweries in historic neighborhoods make Santa Barbara a vibrant place to live. Tourism helps Santa Barbara's economy thrive. Good health care and a strong education system make Santa Barbara even more attractive to new residents.

  • 17

    Overland Park, KS

    Population: 181,464
    Photo by Flickr user David Reber

    The second-largest city in Kansas, Overland Park attracts families and young professionals. Smart planning by city leaders has given Overland Park an ideal balance of residential, office and retail. With top ranked sports facilities, excellent schools, many amenities and infectious civic pride, the city continues to improve.

    See why Overland Park is a Top 100 Best Place to Live.

  • 18

    Salt Lake City, UT

    Population: 190,679
    Steve Greenwood

    Located near majestic mountains and ski resorts, Salt Lake City offers residents a wide array of outdoor activities throughout the year. While tourism drives the economy in Salt Lake City, the University of Utah steers the culture. Salt Lake City residents are highly engaged with their community and enjoy the emphasis city leaders place on families.

    See why Salt Lake City is a Top 100 Best Place to Live.

  • 19

    Rockville, MD

    Population: 64,331
    Conference and Visitors Bureau of Montgomery County, MD

    Innovative biomed and technology companies anchor the economy in Rockville, a suburb of Washington, D.C., with its own quaint character and highly educated, highly paid residents. More than 50 shops and restaurants, outdoor events and the 100,000-square-foot Montgomery County Library draw residents to Rockville's Town Square area.

    Here's why Rockville is a Top 100 Best Place to Live.

  • 20

    Eugene, OR

    Population: 159,615
    Travel Lane County, Jeff Green

    Outdoor recreation is easy to find in Eugene, a health-conscious city where many people walk or bike to work. Water sports are popular because Eugene lies near the confluence of the McKenzie and Willamette rivers, and the community is perhaps best known as home to the University of Oregon. The city features many performing arts and culture venues.

    Here's why Eugene is a Top 100 Best Place to Live.