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.

  • 31

    San Rafael, CA

    Population: 58,819

    Courtesy of TJ Gehling under a CC 2.0 license.

    LIV
    SCORE
    638

    The Mediterranean climate found in San Rafael creates perfect conditions to explore the city's diverse natural attractions, which range from estuaries and marshlands near the bay to forests in higher elevations. San Rafael residents enjoy a variety of restaurants and the many festivals and events the city hosts, including screenings at the Christopher B. Smith Rafael Film Center.

  • 32

    Frederick, MD

    Population: 67,421
    Vladimir Ivanov
    LIV
    SCORE
    637

    Frederick is within proximity to Washington, D.C., which has helped Frederick grow its economy and population in recent years. Fort Detrick U.S. Army Medical Command installation has 10,000 people on base and is the city's largest employer, and Frederick ranks No. 1 in Maryland for high school student performance and career readiness.

  • 33

    Greenville, SC

    Population: 61,734
    Kris Decker - Firewater Photography
    LIV
    SCORE
    637

    One of the fastest growing cities in America is Greenville, a community that continues to attract numerous young professionals for careers in high-tech sectors. Furman University is among the many higher education choices, and Greenville has a thriving arts and music culture along with two main health systems and a Shriners Hospital.

  • 34

    Lakewood, CO

    Population: 147,836
    City of Lakewood
    LIV
    SCORE
    636

    Just west of Denver is Lakewood, an All-America City that offers its citizens and visitors great views of the Rocky Mountains. A good education system includes Colorado Christian University as well as Lakewood High School – an International baccalaureate school. Residents can enjoy several outdoor attractions, including a 2,600-acre Bear Creek Lake Park.

  • 35

    Provo, UT

    Population: 115,345
    Utah Valley CVB
    LIV
    SCORE
    636

    Provo’s diverse arts and culture scene, variety of shops and restaurants in the revitalized downtown area, and abundant outdoor opportunities make the city a favorite destination for fun and entertainment. Residents also enjoy best-in-class education, affordable housing and the region’s top health-care facilities.

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

  • 36

    Sandy Springs, GA

    Population: 100,691
    Sandy Springs Hospitality & Tourism
    LIV
    SCORE
    635

    Just north of Atlanta is Sandy Springs, which houses headquarters for a variety of industries related to telecommunications, computer services and package delivery. The city's quality of life includes 12 parks and green spaces, 10 private schools and three top hospitals that comprise 40 percent of the hospital beds in the entire Atlanta region.

    See why Sandy Springs is a Top 100 Best Place to Live.

  • 37

    Lincoln, NE

    Population: 269,726
    Lincoln, Nebraska CVB
    LIV
    SCORE
    634

    The capital of Nebraska, Lincoln serves as the state's cultural center, with refined restaurants, trendy shopping centers and historic sites. Livability named Lincoln, home of the University of Nebraska, one of the Top College Towns of 2012. Residents enjoy a growing economy centered around manufacturing, energy and schools and a vast array of parks, festivals and attractions.

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

  • 38

    Miami Beach, FL

    Population: 91,564
    Cris Ascunce
    LIV
    SCORE
    634

    Sultry beaches, sizzling restaurants, wild nightclubs and the largest collection of Art Deco architecture in the world make Miami Beach one hot place to live. Golf courses, museums and shopping centers provide more entertainment options. Miami Beach has attracted a diverse group of residents and draws thousands of tourists.

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

  • 39

    Quincy , MA

    Population: 93,177
    Quincy Chamber of Commerce
    LIV
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    634

    Nicknamed “City of Presidents,” Quincy is the birthplace of former U.S. Presidents John Adams and John Quincy Adams, along with statesman John Hancock. Large employers represent the health-care, insurance and financial sectors, and Dunkin' Donuts and Howard Johnson's were both founded in Quincy. Also headquartered in the city is Eastern Nazarene College.

  • 40

    Cambridge, MA

    Population: 107,916
    Photo by Gabriel Loughlin Photography
    LIV
    SCORE
    633

    Two of the most famous universities in the world – Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology – are the two largest employers in Cambridge, a city named for the University of Cambridge in England. Many technology-based companies contribute to the city’s overall economy, and multiple arts, music and museum venues grace the community.

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