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.
Located in Los Angeles County, Pasadena is known for its beautiful architecture and lush gardens. Thousands of football fans visit the city each year for the Rose Bowl. Home of the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena supports a strong science and technology industry. Residents enjoy a wide array of restaurants, parks and cultural venues.
Fargo is home to North Dakota State University and several museums and theaters, and the city's economy centers upon retail, food processing, technology and industry. A well-regarded parks system is available to residents along with good health care through entities like Sanford Health, Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota and Essentia Health.
San Buenaventura is the official city name of Ventura, known by many California motorists for its Ventura Freeway (U.S. Route 101) that serves as the community's major road. Ventura has a strong health-care system headed by Community Memorial Hospital, and the city houses five college campuses including Ventura College and Ventura College of Law.
This mid-sized college city, north of Denver and alongside Roosevelt National Forest, is home to Colorado State University. The community has a thriving microbrewery industry anchored by the New Belgium Brewing Co., and several research and high-tech companies have a presence in Fort Collins including Hewlett Packard, Intel and National Semiconductor.
Here's why Fort Collins is a Top 100 Best Place to Live.
It's no wonder companies like Yahoo!, AMD and Fortinet have headquarters in Sunnyvale. This Silicon Valley city allows creative, energetic thinkers to thrive by offering an array of parks, highly trained public safety personnel and excellent cultural amenities like theaters, concert halls and art galleries.
Great views of the Santa Cruz Mountains is how the city of Mountain View got its name, located in Silicon Valley and home to dozens of high-technology companies that include Google (12,000 employees), Mozilla and Intuit. The community has several green space venues, with Shoreline Park being the largest and most popular.
More than 2,700 businesses operate in St. Louis Park, and its largest employer is Park Nicollet Health Services with 4,500 workers. The award-winning St. Louis Park School District is the only district in Minnesota where all public schools are recognized with a Blue Ribbon School of Excellence by the U.S. Department of Education.
With its beautiful beaches, high-end homes and mountain views, Santa Monica attracts movie stars, business professionals, surfers and students. Third Street Promenade, an outdoor pedestrian-only shopping area, anchors the downtown district. Santa Monica Pier has been featured in many movies. Residents here are highly engaged with their community and value quality education.
One of the key communities in the Research Triangle region of North Carolina is Durham, where dozens of high-tech companies do business. Many companies are attracted to Durham because of Duke University, the city’s largest employer with 27,300 workers – IBM is next with 13,300. Also in Durham is a diverse arts and music culture.
Named one of Livability's 10 Best College Towns in 2014, Ames is home to Iowa State University and its Big 12 Conference sports affiliation. The city includes more than 30 distinct neighborhoods, and facilities like Mary Greeley Medical Center, Iowa Heart Center and McFarland Clinic PC create a strong health-care network.
Here's why Ames is a Top 100 Best Place to Live.