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The 10 Best U.S. Cities to Live In

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The 10 Best U.S. Cities to Live In
7 min. read

Skyrocketing real estate prices and a shortage of affordable housing options might prompt anyone to look for other less expensive areas to live in.

To make it easier to choose the best place, Curbed released a list of 10 U.S. cities people should move to in 2020. To determine the best alternatives, the team measured livability in each urban enter by considering certain criteria such as walkability, access to parks, diversity, housing costs, job opportunities and more.

Here’s the list of the 10 most appealing U.S. cities (in alphabetical order):

Arlington, Virginia

The 10 Best U.S. Cities to Live In - Arlington

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With a median home price of $729,477 and a median rent of $2,123 for a two-bedroom apartment, Arlington is a booming suburb with a growing job scene. The city has many perks, such as its proximity to Washington, D.C.; numerous parks near living areas; great scores for walkability and biking; cultural diversity and a vibrant restaurant scene.

Amazon’s home away from home, HQ2, will also be built in Arlington. The project is already reshaping the Crystal City neighborhood and the greater Northern Virginia region. Despite being an expensive market, as the interest in tech grows, so does the attraction to the city.

Trendy neighborhoods to check out are Pimmit Hills, comprised of single-family homes; Clarendon, a walkable neighborhood with eclectic stores; and Herndon, with a new art space and rail stop.

Boise, Idaho

The 10 Best U.S. Cities to Live In - Boise

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In Boise – the largest city in Idaho – the median home price stands at $326,789 and the median rent for a two-bedroom apartment is $950. With a beautiful mountain vista offering opportunities for outdoor experiences and new businesses, the city has become a renowned relocation destination in the last decade. In particular, between 2013 and 2018, Boise’s population increased sharply, hitting 81,000 – or more than three times the average size of a city in the U.S.

A booming economy, tech, and health care developments have made Boise a popular choice among coastal urbanites looking to move. Some of its hottest neighborhoods are the historic North End; Boise Bench with its trendy shops and access to outdoor activities; and Meridian, a fast-growing suburb.

Charlotte, North Carolina

The 10 Best U.S. Cities to Live In - Charlotte

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Charlotte, a national center of job growth, has a median home price of $248,811 and a median rent of $1,154 for a two-bedroom apartment. Traditionally associated with post-modern skyscrapers, the city quickly changed its reputation to a millennial boomtown — thanks to its growing population of young and diverse residents. Moreover, development and urbanism are evolving in Charlotte, as is its reputation for corporate campuses and banking.

In the last decade, the city has added 50,000 apartments, with a record-breaking 9,000+ apartment units expected yet this year. However, Charlotte is not only looking to grow but also to diversify and increase its density by adding a light-rail train – its own Rail Train – and developing walkable urbanism in Uptown and North Tryon.

The most popular neighborhoods in Charlotte are Plaza Midwood, a mile from downtown; Davidson, 20 miles north of the city; and Belmont and Optimist Park – including the new Optimist Hall – the fast-growing residential areas near downtown.

Dallas, Texas

The 10 Best U.S. Cities to Live In - Dallas

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The Dallas real estate market boasts affordable housing options with a median home price of $219,173 and a median rent of $1,137 for a two-bedroom apartment. Previously, the city focused on sprawling to grow, but now it’s working to add density.

Moving toward more walkable urban development, Dallas offers desirable living at attractive prices in neighborhoods such as Uptown and the Design District. Meanwhile, the low cost of living in Dallas is also drawing in corporations, which has been the case in nearby cities such as Arlington and Plano.

Enticing neighborhoods in Dallas are Deep Ellum, a center for the music scene with new office projects under development; Allen, a mid-sized, family-friendly suburb; and M-Streets and Vickery, which offer starter homes and quiet, tree-lined streets.

Denver, Colorado

The 10 Best U.S. Cities to Live In - Denver

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In Denver, the median home price is $451,153 and the median rent for a two-bedroom apartment is $1,353. The city’s proximity to the mountains and great job opportunities – especially in tech – have attracted many people. However, Denver’s key strategy was to ensure that the quality of life, including great parks and walkability, keeps pace with its expanding population.

Keep an eye out for Sloan’s Lake, a fast-growing neighborhood near the city’s largest lake; Five Points, a neighborhood close to downtown that offers many galleries and live music venues; and Arvada, a nearby suburb with a beautiful, historic downtown and connection to Denver via light rail.

Madison, Wisconsin

The 10 Best U.S. Cities to Live In - Madison

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With a median home price of $277,252 and a median rent of $1,016 for a two-bedroom apartment, Madison is a great city for both college students at the University of Wisconsin and graduates. Plus, its steady transformation into a nascent tech hub means the city offers big job opportunities, as well.

In recent years, Madison’s development has focused on post-college living. Nevertheless, it’s also managed to attract a rising number of millennial homeowners. Downtown, Waunakee, and Tenney-Lapham are some of the hottest neighborhoods to check out.

Minneapolis, Minnesota

The 10 Best U.S. Cities to Live In - Minneapolis

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In Minneapolis, the median home price is $283,786 and the median rent for a two-bedroom apartment is $1,150. Thanks to a $2 billion Big Build initiative that focuses on investing in revitalization and development, the population has gone up in the Twin Cities region. So, to manage the challenges of a growing population, Minneapolis is looking to increase its housing density via upzoning and focusing on equity, affordability, and sustainability.

For residents, the city offers an amazing bike trail system, an award-winning park network, relatively affordable homes, an array of recreational activities and a local economy that supports big companies. Some of the best neighborhoods are Bryn Mawr, featuring a bike path to downtown; Linden Hills, perfect for families; and Lynnhurst, with its independent shops and restaurants.

Provo, Utah

The 10 Best U.S. Cities to Live In - Provo

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The median home price in Provo is $309,067 and the median rent for a two-bedroom apartment is $952. The city is a tech center – part of Utah’s Silicon Slopes scene – with an increasing, well-educated millennial population.

While Provo may be smaller and less diverse, the city has many job opportunities, great talent in the tech sector and affordable housing options. When it comes to top neighborhoods, Downtown Provo has an amazing music scene.

Raleigh, North Carolina

The 10 Best U.S. Cities to Live In - Raleigh

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In Raleigh, the median home price is $284,246 and the median rent is $1,163 for a two-bedroom apartment.

Here, a new generation of businesses is taking advantage of the region’s premium universities. Furthermore, its position as a high-tech economy has led to new, high-end hotels and skyscrapers transforming Raleigh’s downtown; in fact, in the last four years, $1 billion in construction activity was completed.

Notable neighborhoods are Five Points with its historic neighborhoods; Apex, a fast-growing suburb; and Midtown.

St. Louis, Missouri

The 10 Best U.S. Cities to Live In - St. Louis

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In St. Louis, the median home price is $126,285 and the median rent for a two-bedroom apartment is $938. The city has great access to parks and transit, as well as walkability and the potential for growth in tech.

St. Louis promises to attract new businesses and incubate new ideas, and some projects are already reviving neighborhoods and industries – such as Cortez, a 200-acre innovation center including companies like Square and Microsoft.

Some of the city’s well-known neighborhoods include Hill, an Italian-American neighborhood; Cherokee Street and Antique Row; and the suburban Kirkwood.

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