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.
Good schools, excellent health care, an array of water sports and professional sports teams give Tampa residents plenty to cheer for. Tourism, agriculture, technology and construction industries anchor Tampa's economy. A thriving restaurant scene, fun attractions and museums draw many visitors and keep residents entertained.
Here's why Tampa is a Top 100 Best Place to Live.
Its proximity to Washington, D.C., makes Silver Spring a major business hub, with the city headquartering major companies that include United Therapeutics, Discovery Communications and TV One. Several retail, office and residential areas are currently under development, and Silver Springs residents enjoy a vibrant music scene along with numerous parks.
A downtown waterfront is one of the many picturesque aspects of Kirkland, which lines Lake Washington and is home to Lake Washington Technical College and Northwest University. Residents can enjoy waterfront parks as well as neighborhood parks, and the city's cultural scene includes art galleries, a performing arts center and diverse restaurants.
Home to the University of Kansas, Lawrence was named to Livability's 2012 list of the Top 10 College Towns in the U.S. Besides education, the city's economy includes strong sectors like agriculture, finance, government and scientific research, and Lawrence enjoys a vibrant art and music scene.
Conveniently located along several state highways is Westminster, one of Denver’s northern suburbs. Residents have access to an extensive trail network highlighted by Big Dry Creek Trail that extends 12 miles, and mall shoppers can visit The Orchard Town Center for their retail needs.
On the edge of the Cascade Range along Deschutes River is Bend, a recreation destination for both residents and vacationers. Outdoor sports include fishing, skiing, camping, hiking, mountain biking and whitewater rafting, and a dozen microbreweries thrive in the city. Bend is also becoming an attractive retirement community with good health care and two colleges.
Serene, meandering bike paths connect neighborhoods, forests and bustling commercial centers in Redmond, which many consider to be the bicycle capital of the Northwest. Diverse festivals and attractions celebrate the cultures, music and sports found in Redmond. Families enjoy walking through downtown and playing in the city's more than 20 public parks.
Santa Rosa provides a refined urban center amidst a landscape of redwood forests, vineyards and farms. Empire College, Santa Rosa Junior College and the University of San Francisco-Santa Rosa anchor the educational scene, while restaurants, nightclubs, spas and golf courses provide plenty of entertainment options.
Goleta means “schooner” in Spanish, and the city offers beautiful viewing areas overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Gracing the community are several parks and preserves that include a Coronado Butterfly Preserve, and the city's major economic contributor is the University of California Santa Barbara. Several technology businesses have put down roots in Goleta, including Raytheon, Citrix Online and Cisco.
A sprawling University of Tennessee campus highlights Knoxville, whose economy is well-represented by finance, manufacturing, retail and technology companies. The community has a diverse population and low cost of living along with a burgeoning downtown district, and outdoor attractions include Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the Tennessee River.
Here's why Knoxville is a Top 100 Best Place to Live.