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The Best Small to Mid-Size Cities

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Over the past 18 months, almost half of Americans either moved or thought about it.  If you look into your options, you’ll find that the most livable places in the U.S. aren’t necessarily the biggest, and sometimes they’re surprising. So if you’re one of the millions of people contemplating moving and you’re looking for a small or mid-sized town that has it all, this list of the best places to live is for you.

How Did We Pick These 25 Best Places To Live?

father and young sons in the best places to live in the us

Image Credit: Unsplash.

For eight years,  has been collecting data from surveys and studies to analyze 1,000 cities in America to find some of our country’s best places to live. They look at the factors that people care about for a hometown, like how safe it is, how affordable it would be to live there, the stability and availability of well-paying jobs, opportunities for outdoor activities, and how engaged the community is.

Then they build a list of places that seemingly do the impossible. These unicorn cities score high on multiple factors and provide residents with so much. So what are you waiting for? Your next hometown could be one of these 25 Best Places to Live.

1. Madison, Wisconsin

aerial view of madison wisconsin

Image Credit: Shutterstock / marchello74

One of the best college towns in the country, Madison, Wisconsin, is much more than meets the eye. Located between Lake Mendota and Monona (offering residents tons of hiking and biking trail options), it also has a strong economy. It is an excellent place for new college graduates and retirees and anyone in between.  On top of that, it also has beautiful architecture (thanks to Frank Lloyd Wright) and lovely farmers’ markets to enjoy.

2. Ann Arbor, Michigan

Historic Michigan Theater, built in 1928, located on East Liberty St in Downtown, Ann Arbor

Image Credit: Shutterstock / Paul Brady Photography

Known mainly as the home of the University of Michigan, this college town is buzzing with culture, green vistas, and innovation, making it one of the best places to live in the U.S. Ann Arbor has a tech startup scene that helped launch Nokia and Duo Security and helping make tomorrow’s innovations a reality.

3. Overland Park, Kansas

Arboretum and Botanical Gardens in Overland Park, Kansas

Image Credit: Shutterstock / Cindy Lee

If you’re looking for a suburb with peaceful scenery, look into Overland Park. With excellent schools, affordable houses, and plenty of theatres, this nearby city to Kansas City received high marks. Overland Park offers a lot, from a killer barbeque scene to an extensive botanical garden and large employers like T-Mobile.

4. Frederick, Maryland

Historic Downtown Frederick Maryland sign in downtowan area.

Image Credit: Shutterstock / George Sheldon

If you had to describe Frederick in one word, it would be charming. With countryside wineries, beautiful architecture, and rich history, this little city is truly one of the best places to live in the U.S. If you only have to commute to Baltimore or D.C. every once in a while, it’s a fantastic regional option. Don’t let its country vibes fool you, though. Frederick is also home to tons of startups and tech companies doing cutting-edge research right in town.

5. Charlottesville, Virginia

The Downtown Mall in Charlottesville, VA USA

Image Credit: Shutterstock / ImagineerInc

Another college town, Charlottesville, has grown from the creativity and energy of the prestigious public college, The University of Virginia. Once the home of presidents Jefferson and Monroe (and The Dave Matthews Band), this once countryside now bustling city of its own offers an abundance of theatres, open outdoor spaces, and plenty of local restaurants that will have you feeling at home in no time.

6. Quincy, Massachusetts

Aerial view of Weymouth Fore River and Fore River Bridge in Quincy, Massachusetts, USA. This new bridge was finished in 2018.

Image Credit: Shutterstock / Wangkun Jia

Close to hundreds of colleges and universities (including Harvard), Quincy has maintained its historical feel while keeping an eye on the future. Quincy’s downtown area is Boston‘s biggest revitalization project and where you’ll find the perfect mix of shops, restaurants, homes, and commercial space.

7. Hillsboro, Oregon

Aerial shot of a street intersection in Hillsboro, Oregon. Red fall trees along streets highlighted with setting sun. Fallen leaves create circles around trees. Bright fall colors

Image Credit: Shutterstock / Bandersnatch

Part of Oregon‘s Silicon Forest, Hillsboro, is home to the headquarters of many high-tech companies, including Intel and Genentech. Though it’s right next to Portland, rest assured that Hillsboro has a personality of its own, offering exceptional health care, family farms, and arts and culture organizations for days.

8. Roseville, California

Downtown Roseville sign in Vernon Street when entering historic district.

Image Credit: Shutterstock / ZikG

If you want warm weather with beautiful summers and short winters yet don’t want to break the bank on housing, Roseville is the place for you. On top of the fantastic weather, Roseville is only 20 minutes away from Sacramento and is a short ride away from the nearby Sierra Nevada foothills and Folsom Lake.

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