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.
Along the Pacific Ocean in central California is Monterey, known for its beauty as well as a strong arts community consisting of several museums and entertainment venues. A good health-care system is headed by largest-employer Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula, and education choices include Monterey Peninsula College and California State University, Monterey Bay.
Chapel Hill is known for its quality schools and excellent medical facilities, headed by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill along with UNC Health Care. The city offers a small-town atmosphere but features several cultural attractions and music hotspots, and Bon Appetit ranks Chapel Hill among America’s Foodiest Small Towns.
Along the Potomac River is Alexandria, situated 6 miles south of Washington, D.C., and home to many residents who work for the federal government or U.S. military. The city is popular with tourists because of an Old Town district that houses boutiques, restaurants and theaters, and Alexandria includes a campus of Northern Virginia Community College.
Conveniently situated near I-270 and I-495 is North Bethesda, a commuter suburb of Washington, D.C., located 5 miles northwest of our nation's capital. The median family income in North Bethesda is $100,000, and the community features several upscale neighborhoods such as Garrett Park Estates, Halpine, Old Georgetown Village and Luxmanor.
Located along both banks of the Cedar River is Cedar Rapids, a thriving center for arts and culture in eastern Iowa. The city is an economic hub with successful industry sectors such as grain processing, technology and education, and residents have excellent health-care options with Mercy Medical Center and St. Luke's Hospital.
Home to the University of Kentucky, hundreds of horse farms and a branch of the Kentucky Bourbon Trail, Lexington offers a blend of classic and contemporary living. Picked as one of Livability's Top 10 College Towns, the city's historical attractions, collection of shops and boutiques, and elegant restaurants anchor a thriving cultural scene.
A thriving suburban area just 25 miles north of Manhattan, White Plains provides residents with amenities like three malls, a revitalized downtown, bike lanes, electric vehicle charging stations and recreational spaces. Much more than a bedroom community, White Plains is home to a number of corporations, including the U.S. headquarters of Heineken.
A city of 26 parks and 26 public schools, Costa Mesa has for its motto “City of the Arts.” Retail is a large part of the economy, especially thanks to South Coast Plaza and its 322 stores. The city hosts the Orange County Fair every July that attracts more than 1 million visitors.
Situated in the downtown district is Oregon State University, one of the city's leading employers along with companies like Hewlett-Packard, Samaritan Health Services and Siga Technologies. Corvallis has nearly 50 parks and is designated as a Tree City USA, and the League of American Bicyclists gives Corvallis a gold rating as a Bicycle-Friendly Community.
Best known as home to Kansas State University, Manhattan is mainly a college town with a robust nightlife scene – the Aggieville district is Manhattan's entertainment hub. The city features good medical options led by Mercy Regional Health Center.
Here's why Manhattan is a Top 100 Best Place to Live.