Best Places to Live

2017 Top 100 Best Places to Live

For the fourth year in a row, our Top 100 Best Places to Live ranked more than 2,000 cities with populations between 20,000 and 350,000 in partnership with The Initiative for Creativity and Innovation in Cities at New York University’s Schools of Professional Studies. The program, directed by renowned urbanists Richard Florida and Steven Pedigo, is training the next generation of 21st-century city leaders and conducting research that will enable them to succeed for the future. Also partnered with us again this year, is the team from Emsi, which models economic data into actionable intelligence for city leaders. Ultimately, 40 data points were used to determine our rankings in the categories of economics, housing, amenities, infrastructure, demographics, social and civic capital, education and health care. Visit the links below to see how each city scored in our ranking criteria, review methodology or view the bios of our stellar advisory board.

  • 41

    San Mateo, CA

    Population: 101,335

    Courtesy of Thomas Hawk under a CC 4.0 license.


    A big part of the famed Silicon Valley is San Mateo, located in the San Francisco Bay Area and home to many technology-based companies and the 10,000-student College of San Mateo. The city has a well-developed historic downtown with 800 shops and restaurants, and residents have the luxury of many individual distinct neighborhoods, 15 parks and a County of San Mateo Medical Center.

    Here are more reasons San Mateo is a Top 100 Best Place to Live.

  • 42

    Bozeman, MT

    Population: 40,319

    Courtesy of Leaflet under a CC 3.0 license.


    Home to Montana State University, Bozeman is a beautiful city with plenty of outdoor recreation activities such as fly fishing, hiking, mountain climbing and whitewater kayaking. The community is along Interstate 90 and served by Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport, and the city has appeared on the Best Places to Live list four consecutive times. Bozeman has a growing technology sector that attracts many research-based companies.

    Read more about why Bozeman is a Top 100 Best Place to Live.

  • 43

    Downers Grove, IL

    Population: 49,504
    Photo by Flickr user David Wilson

    A western suburb of Chicago, Downers Grove is home to many dining establishments, shopping venues and the convenience of Interstates 88 and 355. The city’s main section for commerce is along Ogden Avenue, and residents have their healthcare needs met at Advocate Good Samaritan Hospital. Downers Grove is designated a Tree City USA, and the community houses Class A office parks along with Midwestern University.

  • 44

    Grand Forks, ND

    Population: 54,944
    Courtesy of Convention and Visitors Bureau in Grand Forks

    Gracing the banks of the Red River and home to the University of North Dakota is Grand Forks, whose economy is strong in defense, food processing, health care, higher education, manufacturing and scientific research. Serving the community is Grand Forks Air Force Base and Grand Forks International Airport, and residents can enjoy recreation on Lake Agassiz along with cultural venues like the North Dakota Museum of Art.

    Here are more reasons why Grand Forks is a Top 100 Best Place to Live.

  • 45

    White Plains, NY

    Population: 57,790
    Westchester County Tourism & Film

    With 35 neighborhoods and a bustling downtown, White Plains is north of Manhattan and has appeared four times on the Best Places to Live list. Students have the convenience of five college campuses, and outdoor enthusiasts can choose from several parks and biking trails. White Plains is a retail and medical hub for Westchester County, and an efficient public transportation network serves residents.

    Read more about why White Plains is a Top 100 Best Places to Live.

  • 46

    Albany, NY

    Population: 98,468
    Albany County Convention & Visitors Bureau

    On the west bank of the Hudson River is Albany, the capital of New York and a city where 10 Fortune 500 companies are headquartered. The economy is strong in education, health care and government positions, and a number of technology companies also call Albany home. Residents can enjoy 60 public parks and an annual Tulip Festival that celebrates the city’s Dutch heritage.

    Find out more about what makes Albany a Top 100 Best Place to Live.

  • 47

    Asheville, NC

    Population: 86,789
    Jeff Adkins

    The largest city in western North Carolina is Asheville, a scenic community with the Blue Ridge Mountains lining its perimeter. Many higher education campuses serve students, and transportation assets include three interstates and Asheville Regional Airport. There are attractions like microbreweries, independent restaurants, live music venues and outdoor recreation, and this is the fourth time that Asheville has appeared on the Best Cities to Live list.

    Here are more reasons why Asheville is a Top 100 Place to Live.

  • 48

    Roseville, CA

    Population: 126,327

    Courtesy of Paul Sullivan under a CC 2.0 license.


    Within the Sacramento metropolitan area is Roseville, considered a regional hub for healthcare, shopping and entertainment. Interstate 80 and State Route 65 run through the community, and a convenient Brandman University is aimed at working professionals. Amtrak provides service to Roseville rail passengers, and community leaders take great pride in the city’s redeveloped downtown district. Roseville has one of the largest auto malls in the U.S.

  • 49

    Littleton, CO

    Population: 44,553
    Courtesy of Littleton Government

    A scenic suburb of Denver, Littleton has a diverse economy led by sectors like health care, manufacturing, retail and technology. Students can attend Arapahoe Community College, and residents have the choice of living in a variety of interesting neighborhoods. Adventure attractions include mountains, rivers, lakes and an excellent trail and parks system, and Littleton stages a number of outdoor concerts and festivals each year.

    Read more on why Littleton is a Top 100 Best Place to Live.

  • 50

    San Luis Obispo, CA

    Population: 46,337

    Courtesy of emdot under a CC 4.0 license.


    Founded in 1772, San Luis Obispo is one of California’s oldest cities and home to California Polytechnic State University. Residents can enjoy the Pacific Ocean to the west and the Santa Lucia Mountains to the east, and outdoor sport options include hiking, kayaking, sailing and scuba diving. Major highways like U.S. Route 101 and California State Route 1 are among the transportation advantages of living in San Luis Obispo.