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.
The city of Stamford contains the largest financial district in the New York metropolitan area outside of New York City itself. Overlooking the Long Island Sound, the city's outdoor amenities include beaches, parks and trails along the Rippowam River. Vibrant neighborhoods feature stunning architecture and offer an array of restaurants and entertainment options.
Here's why Stamford is a Top 100 Best Place to Live.
One of the wealthiest cities in America is Des Moines, the capital of Iowa and a major headquarters for finance, insurance and publishing. The health industry is well-represented by four major hospitals and a cancer center, while the community’s quality of life is enhanced by 76 parks, three golf courses and three family aquatic centers.
Home to the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville is largely a college town whose Razorbacks have a loyal sports following. The city features an active arts and music scene, and Fayetteville is one of the top barbecue cities in America. A strong health-care system is in place with facilities like Washington Regional Medical and Physicians Specialty Hospital.
Here's why Fayetteville is a Top 100 Best Place to Live.
A robust arts, culture and music scene is a big part of Denton, an active college community where 45,000 students attend the University of North Texas and Texas Women's University. Annual entertainment events include the North Texas State Fair & Rodeo as well as the Denton Arts & Jazz Festival, which welcomes 300,000 visitors.
Known as the Birthplace of Route 66, Springfield features an active economy based on manufacturing, health care and retail, and the city houses several universities including Missouri State, Drury and Evangel. Springfield has a growing tourism industry, with its convention and visitors bureau spending $1 million annually to market the community as a destination.
Viewed by many as the ultimate family vacation destination, Orlando treats residents to great schools, quality health care and a bounty of recreational amenities and entertainment options. Home to Walt Disney World, Sea World and other theme parks, Orlando is also the setting for more than 25 colleges and universities, including the University of Central Florida.
Home to the global headquarters of Facebook, the affluent town of Menlo Park is in the northern end of Silicon Valley near San Francisco. Seventy percent of its residents have an advanced college degree. Many local companies focus on the technology sector, and Menlo Park is ranked among CNN's Best Places for the Rich and Single to Live.
A patchwork of parks provides residents of Salem with a variety of spaces to exercise and play in. Oregon's capital city holds a bevy of cultural attractions, many of which are located in Salem's vibrant downtown. Located between the Cascade Mountains and the Pacific Ocean, Salem offers amazing scenery along with excellent schools and good health care.
See why Salem is a Top 100 Best Place to Live.
Several California Distinguished Schools are in Burbank, and the city is billed as the “Media Capital of the World” because it lies only a few miles northeast of Hollywood and houses entertainment giants like Nickelodeon, The Walt Disney Co. and Warner Bros. Entertainment. The city has a popular downtown district, upscale shopping and great views of the Verdugo Mountains.
Situated in the San Francisco Bay Area and nicknamed “Heart of the Bay,” Hayward is home to multiple manufacturing and high-tech companies along with California State University-East Bay and Chabot College. The Tree City USA community has well-visited parks, a downtown district with several cultural landmarks, and a convenient Hayward Executive Airport.