In the years following the pandemic, more and more Americans are seeking their ideal life. And whether that means a career change, a new haircut, or a new city, the time to go after it might just be now for many folks. If you’ve been considering a move, you’re far from alone. A 2022 study found that 40% of Americans are also contemplating a new location. If you’re among those making a move this year, you may want to consider some of the best places to live in the U.S.
It’s no small feat to pack up a life and move it elsewhere, but when there’s something greater out there, it can be a major step toward a better future. A 2019 survey found that 52 percent of people would consider moving to a new city to land their dream job. In 2020, another survey found that 13 percent of movers were relocating to be closer to family.
Whether you are determined to make a change or just pondering, America has thousands of great options to choose from. With 50 states filled with happening cities and towns, the choice can be based on a lot of factors. From climate, to education, to economy, weighing the decision can feel overwhelming to say the least. To help navigate the process, StudyFinds searched 10 expert lists to round up the top five best places to live in the U.S. Our list is comprised of the five cities most frequently listed atop others’ reviews. But if you have a suggestion that we missed, be sure to share it in the comments below!
1. Ann Arbor, Michigan
Home to a vibrant culinary scene, growing technology industry, and the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor is a city with a lot to offer. “Dismissing Ann Arbor as just another college town would do this southeast Michigan city — often called ‘Tree Town’ — a huge disservice,” says Money.
“Well-designed trail systems, a passion for the arts, worldly restaurants, plus friendly, smart residents who are civically engaged are also among the reasons Ann Arbor is one of the best cities to live in the U.S,” adds Livability.
Among the many benefits of life in Ann Arbor is the sheer variety that the city offers. “Ann Arbor is a mix of the rural and urban, sporty and smart, outdoorsy and high-tech city,” says MovingWaldo. “Ann Arbor boasts excellent public schools, an increasingly diverse job market, a culturally diverse community, a robust public park system, and low crime rates.”
2. Raleigh, North Carolina
If you’re looking to build a career in tech while enjoying the comforts of the American South, Raleigh is the city for you. “As one of the three corners of the state’s famed Research Triangle, Raleigh has made a name for itself as an East Coast center of innovation, and there are plans for a billion-dollar Apple campus coming soon,” says Bankrate. “Even if you aren’t chasing career ambitions in the tech or research sector, this state capital is equally appealing due to a mild year-round climate, a blossoming foodie scene and plenty of opportunities to cheer for the hometown NC State Wolfpack.”
Though Raleigh is a growing city, residents and visitors say it still holds on to classic Southern hospitality and a small-town feel. “In Raleigh, you will encounter some of the friendliest, warmest, and most welcoming people who are quick to provide a pleasant conversation,” claims MovingWaldo. “Residents are mostly young, friendly, diverse, and educated individuals who enjoy dining out in local restaurants and gathering over craft beers in one of the city’s microbreweries.”
Money writes, “Known as the City of Oaks, Raleigh boasts lush green space, with more than 9,000 acres of parkland, paired with more amenities than you’d expect from a city of less than 500,000.”
3. Huntsville, Alabama
If you haven’t heard of Huntsville, odds are that you will soon. The city is the fastest growing in the state of Alabama, and for good reason. “The once-sleepy town of Huntsville, Alabama, gained fame in the 1960s when it became a hub for NASA,” says Business Insider, placing the city in its top spot. “Now Huntsville is undergoing another renaissance, with tech companies, craft breweries, and artists all flocking to the town in recent years.”
The city is a great place for people of all ages, offering exciting restaurants and bars for young people, great schools for families, and favorable weather year-round for all its residents. “Huntsville’s city has many new shopping, dining, and entertainment options alongside the largest privately owned arts facility in the south,” MovingWaldo says. “The downtown is gentrifying, with an old cotton mill turned to a performing arts center, and a renovated school now home to craft breweries and bars,” adds Inc.
4. Fayetteville, Arkansas
As the home of The University of Arkansas, Fayetteville combines youthful energy with a classic, small-town feel. “Fayetteville is a vibrant, progressive city with vast entertainment options,” says MovingWaldo.
“The city has experienced immense growth, according to a local expert, who said the region has evolved ‘from a small town to a center of higher education, culture, commerce, and entrepreneurialism,’” Business Insider adds.
Thanks to its location in the heart of the Ozark Mountains, Fayetteville also draws a crowd of nature lovers. “The surrounding Ozark Mountains appeal to outdoorsy types and the city has been growing rapidly,” Inc. notes. “This is because of its abundance of state parks, acres of community green space, playgrounds, parks, and walking trails,” MovingWaldo says.
5. Colorado Springs, Colorado
A paradise for hikers, nature lovers, and adventure seekers, Colorado Springs perfectly rounds out our list of best places to live in the US. “Colorado Springs is ‘booming, with new residences popping up alongside quality schools, parks, and cultural attractions,’ touts a local expert,” says Business Insider.
“This quiet, wholesome town puts you near both Denver and the upscale ski resorts of Vail and Aspen, but with more affordable housing and less horrible traffic,” Inc. adds.
Beyond the beautiful landscape, Colorado Springs also holds a wealth of opportunity. “However, it isn’t all fun and games here,” says Livability. “The city’s more than 495,000 residents also enjoy excellent job prospects, tons of higher education opportunities, lots of sunshine and an authentic community feel.”