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.
Greensboro’s growing downtown area continues to expand with shops, restaurants, entertainment venues and special events. The city also offers excellent schools and plenty of higher education options, including the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, and residents enjoy quality health care at award-winning hospitals.
Here's why Greensboro is a Top 100 Best Place to Live.
Home to the Medical University of South Carolina and The Citiadel, Charleston offers easy access to quality health care and top-rated education to residents. Outdoor entusiasts enjoy access to sports like golf and tennis, as well as walking trails, cycling lanes and the mild temperatures that make it easy to stay active year round. Known for its top-notch restaurants, historic architecture and beachfronts, the city also has surprisingly affordable housing.
The upscale community of Richardson features a median family income of $100,000, and the city's good quality of living includes many parks and walking trails. The economy is bolstered by telecommunications giants like AT&T, Verizon, Samsung and Texas Instruments.
Also known simply as Tysons, Tysons Corner is an affluent community in the Baltimore-Washington metropolitan area that houses the corporate headquarters of several companies, including Capital One, Freddie Mac, Gannett, Hilton Worldwide and USA Today. Good schools are abundant along with top shopping options like Tysons Corner Center, Tysons Galleria and Fairfax Square. In recent years, the city has been remaking itself as a vibrant, walkable urban center.
Bordering the Mississippi River, La Crosse is a technology and medical hub for western Wisconsin, with higher education options such as University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, Viterbo University and Western Technical College. Good health care is in place, led by Gundersen Lutheran Medical Center, and La Crosse has the region's largest shopping center – Valley View Mall.
Nicknamed Furniture City, Grand Rapids still houses five of the largest office furniture companies in the world, and the city's economy features prominent sectors in aviation, IT, automotive and health care. It was named one of Livability's Top 10 Cities for Affordable Health Care in 2014. Spectrum Health is the largest employer with 17,000 staffers, and Grand Rapids has many colleges along with an award-winning microbrewery industry.
Framingham sits about half an hour from Boston in its western suburbs. It's understandable that Framingham is adorned with numerous Victorian houses, given that the city was founded in 1700. The local economy is mostly driven by retail companies and office buildings, and three colleges serve residents – including Framingham State University.
The only city in Montana surpassing 100,000 residents is Billings, population 108,000, and the city continues to feature a robust economy due largely to its proximity to the Bakken formation – the largest oil discovery in American history. Billings has a burgeoning medical sector along with growth in the retail, tourism and IT industries.
Even though it has centuries of history, Brookline is still considered a modern college town thanks to higher education institutions that include Hellenic, Newbury and Pine Manor colleges along with parts of Boston College and Boston University. Many parks are open to the public, and Brookline has several health-care facilities for its residents.
Just southwest of downtown Miami is the upscale community of Coral Gables, a popular shopping destination thanks to many renowned international retailers. The largest employer in Coral Gables is the University of Miami, while Baptist Hospital of Miami is second largest. A number of engineering and marine science companies are also headquartered within the city.