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.
More than 70 parks and greenways contribute to the quality of life in Sioux Falls, and the city has enjoyed a recent resurgence in cultural attractions. The economy relies mainly on retail trade and financial services along with a growing health-care sector, and the two largest employers in Sioux Falls are Sanford Health and Avera Health.
Located in the northern suburbs of Baltimore, the upscale community of Towson is home to Towson University and its 20,000 students. Residents have access to a spacious Towson Town Center indoor mall along with a Towson Bike Beltway that opened in 2014 and encircles the downtown area.
Here's why Towson is a Top 100 Best Place to Live.
Surrounded by beautiful high desert scenery and places to hike and bike, Tempe offers dynamic entertainment opportunities and an excellent quality of life. Annual events range from Arizona State University football games to music and food festivals. Restaurants, nightclubs and shops fill Tempe's downtown entertainment district.
More than 230 restaurants grace Portland, giving the city the most restaurants per capita for the entire United States. Portland has a vibrant arts district, good health care options, several college and university campuses, and large financial institutions. A Portland-to-Montreal crude oil pipeline also contributes greatly to the area economy. Portland was named one of Livability's Top 10 Cities for Affordable Healthcare in 2014.
Victorian houses grace several neighborhoods in Alameda, a city along the San Francisco Bay that offers water recreation activities such as wind surfing at Robert W. Crown Memorial State Beach. The city is health-and-wellness conscious with groups like Pedestrian Friendly Alameda and BikeAlameda, while a well-regarded health-care system is also in place.
Along the southeast shore of Lake Washington lies Renton, long admired for its salmon fishing areas, and today mostly known for the massive Boeing factory and its 14,000 employees who build commercial airplanes. The city has an unusual and interesting library constructed over the Cedar River, and Renton residents have access to many parks and green spaces.
Abundant outdoor opportunities that include the San Juan Islands and North Cascades add to the quality of life in Bellingham, a community with a vibrant arts and entertainment reputation as well as top-quality health care. Education plays a big role in the city, with three colleges along with Western Washington University and its 16,000 students.
The city is part of the Silicon Forest and home to several technology companies. Residents have access to a good parks system along with highly regarded schools that include Anthem College and Portland Community College.
With a motto of “The Education Community,” Fullerton is a diverse city that accommodates tens of thousands of students who attend Fullerton College and California State University, Fullerton. Many top musicians got their career starts in this city, and today’s residents support many theaters and have access to 50 public parks.
The college town of Columbia is home to the University of Missouri, with 27,000 students and 8,600 employees. The city displays much public art and attracts a progressive music culture, and residents have access to top health care with six individual hospitals that include Harry S. Truman Memorial Veterans’ Hospital.
See why Columbia is a Top 100 Best Place to Live.