The Best Small Cities and Towns to Live In
Get everything from local charm to a vibrant atmosphere in these best places to live.
America is home to a wide range of small cities offering residents an inviting atmosphere and sense of community, with charming attractions to match.
Earlier today, Money published its newest ranking of the 50 Best Places to Live in America, highlighting the top 50 hometowns in America that offer the best lifestyle, based on 60 different factors that include housing affordability, education, job opportunities, the number of health facilities available, arts and leisure activities, commute times, and more.
From coast to coast, here are America's top six small cities to live in:
1. Columbia, Maryland
Columbia is noted for its strong school community and educated employees. The area continues to see a growth in job opportunities and is currently home to some of the best schools in the state.
Its median home price is $310,000, with a property tax of $4,442, and an unemployment rate of 3.5 percent. The average commute time for residents here is 29 minutes, with each of the area’s villages including a mix of apartments, townhomes, and single-family houses to choose from.
2. Eden Prairie, Minnesota
In Eden Prairie, each of the homes are made using reclaimed materials. Homes utilize solar energy, with plenty of open spaces for gardening enthusiasts. The city is home to various outdoor spaces ranging from parks and lakes to hundreds of miles of paths and trails.
The median home price in Eden Prairie is $310,000, while its average property tax is $4,317, and its unemployment rate is 3.5 percent. The average commute time is 20 minutes.
3. Plano, Texas
Already home to major corporations like J.C. Penney, Plano is making way for more companies to do business there, such as Japanese automaker Toyota.
The city is making efforts to increase job opportunities and boasts the lowest crime rate of any city in Texas, as well as some of the state’s lowest taxes. Residents in Plano can expect a median home price of $301,848, an average property tax of $6,066, and a commute time of 26 minutes.
4. West Des Moines, Iowa
This family-friendly city is home to prime shopping and a bustling arts community. With a median home price of $187,500, the city offers affordable housing options to its residents, in addition to its small-town vibe.
Stroll through its farmer’s market before wandering through the galleries and antique shops lining its streets. Its average property tax is $3,565, and a commute time of 17 minutes.
5. Parsippany-Troy Hills, New Jersey
This township is known for its charming local feel. The area has a median home price of $356,500, which is relatively low in comparison to typical prices in other parts of New Jersey, according to Money.
The average property taxes here are $8,221, while the area boasts a lower unemployment rate of 3.9 percent and a commute time of 25 minutes.
6. Highlands Ranch, Colorado
Highlands Ranch has a higher median home price, at $410,000, due to its booming job market that’s driving up housing prices. The area is prized real estate, thanks to its low crime rate and prime schools.
The unemployment rate here is 3.4 percent, while the average commute time for residents is 26 minutes.
Check out the full list of Money's 50 Best Places to Live in America.
Talia Avakian is a digital reporter at Travel + Leisure. Follow her on Twitter at @TaliaAvak.