Life is too short to live somewhere that's only 'okay.' The world is a big place, and there are job opportunities, housing opportunities, and other adventures waiting in places you may never have thought about before. Making a big move could be scary—you might have to leave your job, your hometown, your current social circle. Maybe you have kids or a spouse, or maybe you're just used to living where you are.
But if you're looking for an adventure, for an experience that's outside your comfort zone, for an opportunity to really make your 2020 one for the books, let's take a look at the cities that experts say are the best places to live.
1.) Austin, Texas
For years now, Austin has topped many people's "dream place to live" lists. It's clear why—just by the numbers, it's got a strong job market, the housing is still relatively affordable, and the standard of living is strong there. Culturally, Austin is also a hotspot for music and live performance. It's been called the Live Music Capital of the World, and as the capital of Texas, it's also one of the most important cities in the United States.
Austin is a fairly young city: the median age is 34. The average salary here is just north of $50,000, but with a median monthly rent of $1,155, that's a fairly good salary average. Austin is great for people who are looking for a new job, vibrant culture, and affordable living.
2.) Denver, Colorado
Denver is the city for nature-loves. The Mile High City (with an elevation of 5,280 feet) is at the base of the Rocky Mountains, which makes it a popular city for backpackers, hikers, snowboarders, and mountaineers alike. It is, however, not a mountain town. However, the city is only 30 minutes away from natural landmarks like Red Rocks Park and Cherry Creek State Park.
People often choose Denver for its fairly mild weather. Its winter average is just 31 degrees Fahrenheit, while the summer average is a pleasant 71 degrees Fahrenheit.
The median age in Colorado is 36, and the average salary is just above $57,000. With a median monthly rent of $1,200, Denver is a fairly affordable place to live as well. However, the median home price has climbed higher than the US average, so this may not be an ideal city for first-time home buyers.
3.) Colorado Springs, Colorado
With Colorado Springs, Colorado is the only state who takes up two spots on this list. However, while Denver is the big city draw of the state, Colorado Springs is considered (by locals) to be its quieter, just-as-good cousin. Colorado Springs is known for a low cost of living, a strong job market, and plenty of entertainment and recreation available to locals.
Colorado Springs is home to nationally-ranked colleges and military bases, creating an interesting mix of academia and military professionals. To accommodate its growth, Colorado Springs is in the middle of a construction boom—new homes, parks, and schools are laying the groundwork for a new decade of growth and quality living.
Like Austin, Colorado skews young—the media age is 34, with an average salary of $50,000 and an average monthly rent of $1,070. Housing costs have stayed steady over the last decade, accelerating only since 2016.
4.) Fayetteville, Arkansas
Fayetteville has transformed from a small town into a center of academia, culture, and business ownership. Fayetteville is known for being home to the flagship campus of the University of Arkansas system, as well as the headquarters of Tyson Food and the birthplace of Walmart.
Located in the Ozark Mountains, Fayetteville is surrounded by green spaces, state parks, and walking trails. The local culture has a vibrant food movement, live music, and a renowned performing arts center.
The city has low unemployment, a median age of 33, and a median monthly rent of $778. With an average annual salary of just under $46,000, it is one of the most affordable cities on this list (and in the nation at large). It is also one of the least-populated cities on this list, with a total metro population of only half a million.
5.) Des Moines, Iowa
The housing market in Des Moines is why you shouldn't overlook the capital city of the flyover states. For mature home buyers, there are colonial and Tudor-style homes only a short drive from downtown; for young professionals, downtown has a plethora of lofts and condos. For everyone in between, the growing city has new residential developments popping up all over.
Despite not being the most glamorous city, Des Moines (according to local experts) truly does have a vibrant culture. Long-standing events, festivals, and locally-owned restaurants operate alongside hip bars and new businesses, making sure there's always something to do or see. Local parks, bike trails, and lakes also make playing outdoors accessible without driving too far.
Like Fayetteville, Des Moines has less than a million people in its metro area, giving the capital city a "know-your-neighbors" sort of culture.
The median age in Des Moines is 35, with a median rent of $857 and an average salary of $50,000. Temperatures are between a high of 86 degrees in summer and a low of 14 degrees in winter.
6.) Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota
Moving to Minneapolis-St. Paul means you'll be getting two new hometowns for the price of one! The two cities really are two distinct cities, with two separate downtowns and distinctive communities. St. Paul has a historic feel in that it offers numerous museums, historic homes, and architecture. Minneapolis has its share of historic buildings, but with contemporary venues, skyscrapers, restaurants, and bars. For foodies, there's a 17-block area of the city known as Eat Street, with more than 50 dining options.
If you're prepared to embrace a harsh winter, you'll be at home. Locals play hockey, go ice fishing, and do cross-country skiing in winter. The average in the cold season is 18 degrees (with a recent low of 8 degrees), while the summers are mild but humid.
The median age is 36, with a median rent of $1,000. The St. Paul-Minneapolis metro area has a combined population of 3.5 million people.
7.) San Francisco, California
I know what you're thinking. "San Francisco? Isn't that place known for having expensive housing?" Well, yes, but affordable housing (while important) isn't all that makes a city great. In lieu of cheap rent, San Francisco offers some of the most vibrant and vital cultural experiences in the country. Every neighborhood has its own personality and power, from the historic Mission to the Haight to the Embarcadero. If you're a tech worker or knowledge worker, there is no shortage of jobs or startups looking for team members.
The median age in San Francisco is 39, with a median rent of $1,673 and an average salary of $69,700. Temperatures are famously consistent year-round, with an averages ranging from 51 degrees in winter to 63 in summer.
If you're looking for a change, let AQMS take you there. Our moving company handles moves nationwide, providing a full suite of services: packing, transportation, unpacking, and storage. Call (661) 622-2636 for a free move estimate today!