«

»

Dec 30

Print this Post

The Best Places to Live (In USA)

The Best Places to Live

It’s impossible to say what’s “best” for everyone, of course. But where’s the fun in not trying? Welcome to Businessweek.com’s second America’s Best Cities ranking. With assistance from Bloomberg Rankings, Businessweek.com evaluated 100 of the country’s largest cities based on leisure attributes (the number of restaurants, bars, libraries, museums, professional sports teams, and park acres by population); educational attributes (public school performance, the number of colleges, and graduate degree holders), economic factors (2011 income and June and July 2012 unemployment), crime, and air quality. Major professional league and minor league teams, as well as U.S.-based teams belonging to international leagues in that city were included. The greatest weighting was placed on leisure amenities, followed by educational metrics and economic metrics, and then crime and air quality. The data come from Onboard Informatics, except for park acreage, which comes from the Trust for Public Land. As the methodology has changed since the 2011 ranking, a city’s rise or fall compared with last year does not suggest that it has gotten “better” or “worse.”

Los Angeles

Los Angeles

Rank: 50
Population: 3,811,518

The country’s second-largest city squeaked into this year’s rankings at 50th place, dragged down by poor air quality and high unemployment. But with its iconic beaches, celebrity culture, and more than 8,000 restaurants to keep 3.8 million inhabitants occupied, Los Angeles never lacks something to do. Other highlights: comedy staples such as the Laugh Factory and spotting Jack Nicholson at a Lakers game.

Bars: 393
Restaurants: 8,305
Museums: 106
Libraries: 108
Pro sports teams: 5
Park acres per 1,000 residents: 6
Colleges: 30
Percent with graduate degree: 6.7
Median household income: $56,558
Percent unemployed: 11.1

Anchorage, Alaska

Anchorage, Alaska

Rank: 49
Population: 297,018

Alaska may seem an extreme place to live, with its long summer days and winter nights. Anchorage’s winters are milder than further inland in the state, and its residents’ boots are well heeled, as Anchorage has our list’s third-best economic conditions. You won’t find a professional sports team in town any time soon, but residents can enjoy a dozen local breweries and shop for Alaska’s indigenous art at the Alaska Native Heritage Center.

Bars: 63
Restaurants: 682
Museums: 12
Libraries: 14
Pro sports teams: 0
Park acres per 1,000 residents: 1,753
Colleges: 2
Percent with graduate degree: 7.5
Median household income: $85,554
Percent unemployed: 6.4

Omaha

Omaha

Rank: 48
Population: 416,855

The home town of the Oracle, Warren Buffett, suffers from last-place air quality among the cities on this list. But Omahans have world-class activities to enjoy inside: The city boasts the Joslyn Art Museum, and locals can take in the world’s largest indoor desert and nocturnal exhibit at the Henry Doorly Zoo. Omaha has been the home of the College World Series for more than 60 years.

Bars: 206
Restaurants: 908
Museums: 12
Libraries: 15
Pro sports teams: 1
Park acres per 1,000 residents: 21
Colleges: 7
Percent with graduate degree: 7.1
Median household income: $64,026
Percent unemployed: 4.6

St. Louis

St. Louis

Rank: 47
Population: 304,219

St. Louis is a fun place to be, at No. 10 in our leisure rankings, on the strength of such attractions as the Anheuser-Busch Brewery, outdoor sculpture center Citygarden, and the Gateway Arch. It’s a standout for its barbecue, the bustling Laclede’s Landing historic district, and popular sports teams, including the 2011 World Series champion Cardinals. St. Louis rated the worst on this list, however, in crime.

Bars: 143
Restaurants: 795
Museums: 32
Libraries: 23
Pro sports teams: 3
Park acres per 1,000 residents: 10
Colleges: 6
Percent with graduate degree: 7.8
Median household income: $44,360
Percent unemployed: 9.8

Cleveland

Cleveland

Rank: 46
Population: 396,441

Cleveland’s sports teams take their lumps, and onetime local hero LeBron James didn’t help matters by taking his talents to Florida. Still, plenty of chefs have kept the food in Cleveland at a high level, led by celebrity restaurateur Michael Symon. The town has also worked to spruce up its beaches on Lake Erie (not that there isn’t still an algae scare or two), and music fans can always pay homage at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum.

Bars: 204
Restaurants: 866
Museums: 23
Libraries: 51
Pro sports teams: 3
Park acres per 1,000 residents: 7
Colleges: 8
Percent with graduate degree: 4.5
Median household income: $35,685
Percent unemployed: 7.9

Chesapeake, Virginia

Chesapeake, Virginia

Rank: 45
Population: 223,454

Chesapeake is one of the nation’s safest cities. It’s nestled between Virginia Beach and the Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge in the southeastern corner of Virginia, but some residents may have to leave town to have fun: Chesapeake houses the fewest bars, museums, and restaurants on this list. The town is trying to perk things up in 2013 to celebrate its 50th birthday, holding such events as an oyster roast and a Mayor’s Cup T-ball tournament.

Bars: 10
Restaurants: 451
Museums: 1
Libraries: 8
Pro sports teams: 0
Park acres per 1,000 residents: 252
Colleges: 11
Percent with graduate degree: 6.8
Median household income: $80,695
Percent unemployed: 6.3

Phoenix

Phoenix

Rank: 44
Population: 1,418,687

While the dry heat can get to you in Arizona’s state capital and largest city—it logged temperatures as high as 116 degrees this August—Greater Phoenix is a sunshine lover’s dream. The city has more than 300 sunny days a year in which to enjoy its golf courses and South Mountain Park/Preserve, the country’s largest municipal park.

Bars: 179
Restaurants: 2,384
Museums: 22
Libraries: 44
Pro sports teams: 5
Park acres per 1,000 residents: 28
Colleges: 11
Percent with graduate degree: 6.2
Median household income: $60,366
Percent unemployed: 7.3

Scottsdale, Arizona

Scottsdale, Arizona

Rank: 43
Population: 214,770

Scottsdale bills itself as “The West’s Most Western Town.” It’s also a richer, safer sister to Arizona’s capital, Phoenix. Scottsdale residents earn almost $40,000 more in median household income. They can spend that money in the seven small districts of Scottsdale’s downtown area, which house more than 80 art galleries. No city features fewer libraries on our list; many residents busy themselves instead with Scottsdale’s famous private golf clubs.

Bars: 64
Restaurants: 680
Museums: 5
Libraries: 7
Pro sports teams: 1
Park acres per 1,000 residents: 72
Colleges: 2
Percent with graduate degree: 10.8
Median household income: $99,130
Percent unemployed: 7.3

Reno, Nevada

Reno, Nevada

Rank: 42
Population: 225,561

Known for its mining and casinos, Reno lately has struggled to park patrons in the seats of slot machines; its 11.7 percent unemployment rate is the highest on this list. The city has worked to reinvent itself through an unlikely pastime: bowling. Reno lays claim to featuring the only bowling stadium of its kind in the world, with 78 championship lanes for its tournaments.

Bars: 83
Restaurants: 596
Museums: 10
Libraries: 14
Pro sports teams: 1
Park acres per 1,000 residents: 11
Colleges: 3
Percent with graduate degree: 7.1
Median household income: $64,507
Percent unemployed: 11.7

Dallas

Dallas

Rank: 41
Population: 1,199,739

Dallas is arguably the focal point for oversize American culture: fried food, mechanic bull riding, and glitzy displays of largesse that inspire stereotypes and television shows alike. If you just know Dallas as a fan of the soap opera (or, more improbably, the canceled GCB show), you’re missing out on a city with several major art districts and a vibrant music scene. And Dallas’s take on Beverly Hills, the Highland Park neighborhood, is very much real.

Bars: 249
Restaurants: 2,808
Museums: 26
Libraries: 43
Pro sports teams: 2
Park acres per 1,000 residents: 23
Colleges: 10
Percent with graduate degree: 5.9
Median household income: $44,838
Percent unemployed: 7.9

Virginia Beach

Virginia Beach

Rank: 40
Population: 438,243

Nestled next to Chesapeake (No. 45), Virginia Beach has all the activities you would expect from its name, with a fishing pier, jet skiing, and long, yellow sandy beachfront. Virginia Beach ranks the safest city on our list, and it’s eco-friendly, too: Its 165-acre park, Mount Trashmore, covers a reclaimed landfill with hiking trails and a skateboard park.

Bars: 24
Restaurants: 1,144
Museums: 10
Libraries: 18
Pro sports teams: 0
Park acres per 1,000 residents: 68
Colleges: 3
Percent with graduate degree: 7.3
Median household income: $76,637
Percent unemployed: 5.7

Charlotte

Charlotte

Rank: 39
Population: 745,596

Charlotte claims professional sports teams, though one of them—Michael Jordan’s NBA Bobcats—just set a record for worst season-winning percentage in league history. Nascar fans love Charlotte: the city holds the sport’s hall of fame, there are races at nearby Charlotte Motor Speedway, and many drivers make the Charlotte area their home. The city was also home to this year’s Democratic National Convention.

Bars: 121
Restaurants: 1,685
Museums: 16
Libraries: 26
Pro sports teams: 3
Park acres per 1,000 residents: 20 (countywide)
Colleges: 8
Percent with graduate degree: 8.6
Median household income: $65,622
Percent unemployed: 9.9

Tulsa

Tulsa

Rank: 38
Population: 395,176

While Oklahoma’s second-largest city might not set the country on fire as a tourist destination, it’s home to the nation’s 18th-oldest opera company, two symphony orchestras, and the thriving Brady Arts District. Tulsans with more traditional tastes can scarf down corn dogs at the Tulsa State Fair, held through the first week of October.

Bars: 109
Restaurants: 956
Museums: 15
Libraries: 21
Pro sports teams: 1
Park acres per 1,000 residents: 19
Colleges: 6
Percent with graduate degree: 6.2
Median household income: $53,059
Percent unemployed: 5.5

Indianapolis

Indianapolis

Rank: 37
Population: 831,943

Indianapolis is strong in sports and other leisure activities, including the NCAA Hall of Champions, the Indianapolis 500 auto race, and the funky graffiti art (such as it can get) of Broad Ripple Village. The city has been working to go green, opening the Indianapolis Cultural Trail this year. Its cuisine is still best known for meat of the red variety.

Bars: 195
Restaurants: 1,679
Museums: 21
Libraries: 35
Pro sports teams: 4
Park acres per 1,000 residents: 14
Colleges: 11
Percent with graduate degree: 6.5
Median household income: $56,862
Percent unemployed: 8.9

Colorado Springs

Colorado Springs

Rank: 36
Population: 421,350

Colorado Springs, located 15 minutes from Pikes Peak, is well situated for subscribers to Colorado’s active, outdoor lifestyle. The city hosts the U.S. Olympic Training Center and liberal arts college Colorado College. For a nice meal out on the town, locals can head to Summit at the Broadmoor resort.

Bars: 69
Restaurants: 901
Museums: 16
Libraries: 10
Pro sports teams: 1
Park acres per 1,000 residents: 30
Colleges: 9
Percent with graduate degree: 9.0
Median household income: $70,437
Percent unemployed: 9.9

Tampa

Tampa

Rank: 34 (tie)
Population: 340,509

The site of this year’s Republican National convention, Tampa is our only stop in Florida this year. Credit the city’s strong nightlife and parks. Tampa has its own Busch Gardens, aquarium, and zoo. And with such nice weather, the city’s sports teams usually have plenty of tickets available for the sports fan, even if that doesn’t always look good on TV.

Bars: 91
Restaurants: 1,114
Museums: 18
Libraries: 19
Pro sports teams: 4
Park acres per 1,000 residents: 10
Colleges: 6
Percent with graduate degree: 7.5
Median household income: $55,039
Percent unemployed: 8.8

Lincoln, Nebraska

Lincoln, Nebraska

Rank: 34 (tie)
Population: 259,068

Lincoln, home of the Cornhuskers of the University of Nebraska’s main campus, boasts low unemployment—just 3.7 percent. A major college town, Lincoln has a busy nightlife scene on O Street and has the cleanest air of any city on our list. Despite that, it’s also the most infected, in a sense: The city hosts an annual ZombieFest over two days in August.

Bars: 74
Restaurants: 523
Museums: 22
Libraries: 18
Pro sports teams: 0
Park acres per 1,000 residents: 25
Colleges: 3
Percent with graduate degree: 7.3
Median household income: $67,093
Percent unemployed: 3.7

San Jose

San Jose

Rank: 33
Population: 956,368

San Jose already has pro sports teams, but Oracle Chief Executive Larry Ellison has tried to add an NBA team to the city for years. Ellison’s attempt to buy and move the Memphis Grizzlies this spring was stymied, so for now this Silicon Valley center will have to make do with having the third-best combination of unemployment and median household income on our list, thanks largely to its more than 6,600 technology companies.

Bars: 68
Restaurants: 1,578
Museums: 12
Libraries: 31
Pro sports teams: 4
Park acres per 1,000 residents: 17
Colleges: 4
Percent with graduate degree: 9.8
Median household income: $92,539
Percent unemployed: 8.7

Rochester, New York

Rochester, New York

Rank: 32
Population: 213,178

Rochester may be closely identified with the rust belt towns of the Erie Canal, but it still boasts a full slate of events to keep residents busy, from Oktoberfest celebrations to its annual Fringe festival over five days in September. History buffs can walk the War of 1812 Bicentennial Peace Garden Trail and relive dreams of Canadian conquest.

Bars: 78
Restaurants: 502
Museums: 14
Libraries: 17
Pro sports teams: 3
Park acres per 1,000 residents: 7
Colleges: 4
Percent with graduate degree: 7.8
Median household income: $37,111
Percent unemployed: 8.4

Oakland, California

Oakland, California

Rank: 31
Population: 401,036

Oakland may be San Francisco’s rougher, smaller next-door neighbor. But it’s a great place to live in its own right, even if you can’t afford a unit in the stunning Cathedral Building. Oakland’s expanding restaurant scene has brought it some buzz. Residents embrace a grittier background than their Bay Area neighbors, as reflected by fans of the Raiders football team, known simply as “Raider Nation.”

Bars: 67
Restaurants: 894
Museums: 14
Libraries: 27
Pro sports teams: 3
Park acres per 1,000 residents: 13
Colleges: 7
Percent with graduate degree: 11.2
Median household income: $59,097
Percent unemployed: 9.5

San Antonio

San Antonio

Rank: 30
Population: 1,365,256

The home of the Alamo, San Antonio beats in-state rival Dallas this year, thanks to a better local economy and significantly lower crime. Mayor Julian Castro is a rising political star, the first Hispanic person to give the keynote address at the Democratic National Convention. Although its strength may be its Tex Mex cuisine at joints such as Rosario’s, San Antonio meets diverse tastes with its Culinaria wine and culinary arts festival in May and street fair Fiesta each April.

Bars: 345
Restaurants: 2,914
Museums: 31
Libraries: 36
Pro sports teams: 3
Park acres per 1,000 residents: 17
Colleges: 7
Percent with graduate degree: 5.5
Median household income: $54,444
Percent unemployed: 7.4

Baltimore

Baltimore

Rank: 29
Population: 612,701

A city with a beautiful waterfront and unique Mid-Atlantic flair, Baltimore misses the top 25 due to its high unemployment, 11.1 percent, and its crime rate, fourth worst on our list. Still, fans of The Wire might get an unfair impression of this city. Its location on the Eastern seaboard makes it easily accessible, and Baltimore boasts major research hubs, such as Johns Hopkins University.

Bars: 243
Restaurants: 1,590
Museums: 45
Libraries: 36
Pro sports teams: 2
Park acres per 1,000 residents: 8
Colleges: 11
Percent with graduate degree: 8.5
Median household income: $50,492
Percent unemployed: 11.1

Chicago

Chicago

Rank: 28
Population: 2,679,998

The Windy City, America’s third-largest metropolis, would rank much higher if it were evaluated purely on its strong universities and thriving entertainment. Chicago is as hot as any city, thanks to its fine dining in such neighborhoods as Lincoln Park, nightlife in its more than 800 bars, and strong acting chops honed at such places as Second City and the Steppenwolf Theatre Co. To climb higher in the list, however, Chicago must address its increasing gang violence and high crime, as well as poor air quality and major economic issues.

Bars: 807
Restaurants: 6,438
Museums: 76
Libraries: 99
Pro sports teams: 8
Park acres per 1,000 residents: 4
Colleges: 42
Percent with graduate degree: 9.3
Median household income: $56,121
Percent unemployed: 9.8

Arlington, Virginia

Arlington, Virginia

Rank: 27
Population: 208,143

Of all the cities on the list, Arlington has the highest median household income and the lowest rate of unemployment, making it an economic bright spot across the river from Washington, D.C. Arlington National Cemetery is a moving destination for tourists. But the city could stand to be a bit more fun—it’s held back by weak nightlife.

Bars: 12
Restaurants: 575
Museums: 8
Libraries: 12
Pro sports teams: 0
Park acres per 1,000 residents: 8
Colleges: 5
Percent with graduate degree: 27.2
Median household income: $132,580
Percent unemployed: 3.7

Milwaukee

Milwaukee

Rank: 26
Population: 593,545

Milwaukee’s got good air quality and better brews. In the 1970s, America met the fictitious “Shotz Brewery” of Laverne & Shirley. In real life, the Miller Brewing Co. maintains its regional headquarters in the hometown of the “Brew Crew,” the nickname for local major league baseball team the Milwaukee Brewers. With fewer than 600,000 residents, the city still boasts 390 bars, which is a lot per capita. And did we mention the sausages?

Bars: 390
Restaurants: 947
Museums: 20
Libraries: 30
Pro sports teams: 2
Park acres per 1,000 residents: 16 (countywide)
Colleges: 12
Percent with graduate degree: 5.4
Median household income: $44,113
Percent unemployed: 9.4

Lexington, Kentucky

Lexington, Kentucky

Rank: 25
Population: 299,520

Kentucky’s second-largest city, Lexington is known as the “Horse Capital of the World” for its large horse-breeding operations less than 80 miles from the Kentucky Derby in Louisville. Lexington’s residents enjoy strong employment rates and median income, but much of the city’s night life depends on its temporary residents—the thousands of student Wildcats at the local University of Kentucky.

Bars: 49
Restaurants: 658
Museums: 17
Libraries: 14
Pro sports teams: 1
Park acres per 1,000 residents: 21
Colleges: 3
Percent with graduate degree: 11
Median household income: $69,697
Percent unemployed: 6.5

Philadelphia

Philadelphia

Rank: 24
Population: 1,522,648

The City of Brotherly Love is one of our highest-ranked spots for entertainment and nightlife, with 3,800 restaurants. Beyond cheesesteaks, Benjamin Franklin’s old haunt features a bustling college and arts scene. But Philadelphia isn’t great for your health, with significant crime and low air quality pulling down its ratings.

Bars: 400
Restaurants: 3,821
Museums: 91
Libraries: 100
Pro sports teams: 5
Park acres per 1,000 residents: 7
Colleges: 18
Percent with graduate degree: 6.4
Median household income: $48,330
Percent unemployed: 10.9

Oklahoma City

Oklahoma City

Rank: 23
Population: 588,053

Oklahoma City owes much to basketball star Kevin Durant for bringing it to national attention. The city received (or stole away, if you’re from Seattle) its first major pro sports team (the team Durant plays for), the NBA’s Thunder, in 2008. With more than 100 bars and almost 30 museums, this city has plenty of fresh attractions. But some of its most distinctive features remain regional homage, such as the American Banjo Museum and the Red Earth Native American Cultural Festival in June.

Bars: 102
Restaurants: 1,251
Museums: 29
Libraries: 13
Pro sports teams: 2
Park acres per 1,000 residents: 39
Colleges: 6
Percent with graduate degree: 6.0
Median household income: $58,370
Percent unemployed: 5.2

Houston

Houston

Rank: 22
Population: 2,131,940

Houston checks in as Texas’ second-best city to live in. The nation’s fourth-largest city holds its own with its food and drink (steakhouses are a staple), but its large areas of public parks help put it over the top. Houston’s residents can enjoy its six professional sports teams and Museum District, but the feather in the city’s cap is, well, rocket science: NASA Mission Control, where the nation hopes Houston doesn’t ever have any problems.

Bars: 549
Restaurants: 5,549
Museums: 58
Libraries: 63
Pro sports teams: 6
Park acres per 1,000 residents: 22
Colleges: 17
Percent with graduate degree: 6.6
Median household income: $48,889
Percent unemployed: 7.6

Cincinnati

Cincinnati

Rank: 21
Population: 292,050

Nestled on the Ohio River, Ohio’s third-largest city has a picturesque downtown that includes one of the country’s most beautiful pro sports stadiums, the Cincinnati Reds’ Great American Ball Park on the riverside. Other city stalwarts: the acclaimed Cincinnati Pops orchestra and major employer Procter & Gamble (PG).

Bars: 105
Restaurants: 600
Museums: 18
Libraries: 35
Pro sports teams: 2
Park acres per 1,000 residents: 21
Colleges: 8
Percent with graduate degree: 8.9
Median household income: $49,048
Percent unemployed: 7.2

Columbus, Ohio

Columbus, Ohio

Rank: 20
Population: 796,520

Columbus excels in education as the home of Ohio State University, which keeps life flowing through Ohio’s largest city and state capital. That helps support historic neighborhoods such as German Village, whose Schiller Park recently celebrated its bicentennial and hosted a speech by President Barack Obama. Columbus, Ohio’s best city on our list, can also take pride in its zoo, well known for its longtime director emeritus, Jack Hanna.

Bars: 249
Restaurants: 1,656
Museums: 13
Libraries: 27
Pro sports teams: 2
Park acres per 1,000 residents: 14.7
Colleges: 8
Percent with graduate degree: 7.8
Median household income: $54,763
Percent unemployed: 6.5

Honolulu

Honolulu

Rank: 19
Population: 399,124

Honolulu, the gateway to Hawaii, may rank behind Lincoln, Neb., for best air quality, but it has a pretty healthy lead in shoreline property. The Pacific melting pot’s residents make one of the highest median household incomes on this list. When tourists swarming Waikiki Beach get to be too much, locals can easily drive across their island to Oahu’s North Shore, a surfer’s paradise. In town, Honolulu houses one of the nation’s great cultural collections, the Bishop Museum.

Bars: 105
Restaurants: 1,296
Museums: 31
Libraries: 38
Pro sports teams: 0
Park acres per 1,000 residents: 7 (countywide)
Colleges: 10
Percent with graduate degree: 8.9
Median household income: $78,233
Percent unemployed: 6.4

Raleigh, North Carolina

Raleigh, North Carolina

Rank: 18
Population: 405,462

Raleigh wins the Carolinas, with strong median household income, low crime, and five universities. As one-third of the Research Triangle region, Raleigh is just minutes from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill and Duke University. The city features a major historical tradition with such properties as the Mordecai House and Tucker House. Residents who aren’t so interested in uninhabited old houses—especially younger residents—might prefer the sights at BugFest, the event at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences.

Bars: 93
Restaurants: 1,007
Museums: 15
Libraries: 17
Pro sports teams: 1
Park acres per 1,000 residents: 31
Colleges: 5
Percent with graduate degree: 11.4
Median household income: $76,255
Percent unemployed: 7.8

Madison

Madison

Rank: 17
Population: 231,999

Home to the flagship campus of the University of Wisconsin system, Madison had the second-strongest combination of low unemployment and high median household income of any city on this list. Madison has 13 beaches on its local lakes. About 90 minutes’ drive from Milwaukee, the city also boasts one of the lowest crime rates among major cities.

Bars: 86
Restaurants: 595
Museums: 12
Libraries: 33
Pro sports teams: 0
Park acres per 1,000 residents: 22
Colleges: 2
Percent with graduate degree: 15.6
Median household income: $78,187
Percent unemployed: 5.4

Atlanta

Atlanta

Rank: 16
Population: 410,606

Atlanta’s combination of entertainment, cuisine, and parks rates second-best on our list. So why does “Hotlanta” rank only 16th overall? Air quality and unemployment are areas of concern, but Atlanta’s crime problem—second-worst on this list—keeps it from soaring. The city has greatly increased its park space in recent years. Residents can also pay homage to arguably their city’s greatest invention: The World of Coca-Cola (KO) park has educated soda pop enthusiasts for five years at its Pemberton Place location.

Bars: 146
Restaurants: 1,566
Museums: 37
Libraries: 37
Pro sports teams: 5
Park acres per 1,000 residents: 7
Colleges: 12
Percent with graduate degree: 12.7
Median household income: $59,345
Percent unemployed: 10.2

Kansas City, Missouri

Kansas City, Missouri

Rank: 15
Population: 458,064

Were it not for its high crime rate, Missouri’s largest city might rank even higher. Residents working in the city’s downtown area are watched over by the iconic Kansas City Power & Light Building, while shoppers can get lost in local shopping centers such as Country Club Plaza and the Legends at Village West. For a unique blend of technology, arts, and history, residents can always stop by the city’s old transportation hub, Union Station.

Bars: 113
Restaurants: 921
Museums: 28
Libraries: 19
Pro sports teams: 3
Park acres per 1,000 residents: 36
Colleges: 15
Percent with graduate degree: 7.3
Median household income: $59,980
Percent unemployed: 6.9

New Orleans

New Orleans

Rank: 14
Population: 349,773

New Orleans is legendary for its good times and is now also known for its resilient response to the ravages of Hurricane Katrina. Less obvious strengths, however, abound in the quality of its air and its universities, anchored by Tulane University. Low median household incomes and a high rate of crime keep the Big Easy out of the top 10, but they can’t take away the French Quarter’s iconic charms—from its genteel beignets to the sloppy, bead-induced revels of Bourbon Street.

Bars: 284
Restaurants: 986
Museums: 34
Libraries: 20
Pro sports teams: 2
Park acres per 1,000 residents: 84
Colleges: 10
Percent with graduate degree: 8.5
Median household income: $48,789
Percent unemployed rate: 10.6

Nashville

Nashville

Rank: 13
Population: 603,394

Nashville makes it to 13th place in part due to its nearly 1,500 restaurants and to Vanderbilt University, but that’s not what defines the pulse of the Music City. Home to the Country Music Hall of Fame & Museum, Nashville has attracted or raised a numbingly long list of America’s top musicians, from country greats such as Johnny Cash to modern acts like Kesha. For Nashville residents, finding some of America’s next best music can be as simple as strolling over to Music Row, where new venues blend with nearby classics, such as the Station Inn.

Bars: 138
Restaurants: 1,493
Museums: 30
Libraries: 35
Pro sports teams: 3
Park acres per 1,000 residents: 18
Colleges: 13
Percent with graduate degree: 8.3
Median household income: $59,270
Percent unemployed: 7.3

Minneapolis

Minneapolis

Rank: 12
Population: 388,229

Known as the City of Lakes, Minneapolis has some the nation’s best parks and bodies of water. Add in the cold, and you get the local University of Minnesota’s combined eleven ice hockey national championships. Downtown Minneapolis beats the cold with a unique network of connected buildings, with the City Center mall at its core.

Bars: 97
Restaurants: 969
Museums: 21
Libraries: 25
Pro sports teams: 4
Park acres per 1,000 residents: 13
Colleges: 8
Percent with graduate degree: 12.5
Median household income: $64,095
Percent unemployed: 5.7

Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh

Rank: 11
Population: 308,090

Pittsburgh just misses the top 10. It has strong leisure offerings and major universities in the University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon. The city is limited by its industrial legacy, with crime and air quality as areas needing improvement. Pittsburgh natives are fiercely proud of their town and their pro sports teams, such as the Penguins and Steelers. Also of note: the Andy Warhol Museum, displaying thousands of works by the legendary pop artist and Pittsburgh native.

Bars: 143
Restaurants: 992
Museums: 23
Libraries: 36
Pro sports teams: 3
Park acres per 1,000 residents: 10
Colleges: 10
Percent with graduate degree: 12.7
Median household income: $51,907
Percent unemployed: 7

St. Paul, Minnesota

St. Paul, Minnesota

Rank: 10
Population: 288,263

St. Paul may be the smaller of the Twin Cities, but the state capital is also cleaner and safer, if slightly behind Minneapolis in median household income. St. Paul, which houses parts of the University of Minnesota campus, is known for its examples of Victorian architecture, such as the Alexander Ramsey House, and for its distinctive Cathedral of Saint Paul.

Bars: 51
Restaurants: 515
Museums: 19
Libraries: 26
Pro sports teams: 3
Park acres per 1,000 residents: 14
Colleges: 9
Percent with graduate degree: 10.9
Median household income: $60,987
Percent unemployed: 6.3

San Diego, California

San Diego, California

Rank: 9
Population: 1,319,558

If weather were the leading data point in these rankings, San Diego might be No. 1. As it is, the city comes in with a strong 9th-place finish thanks to its relative safety, gorgeous beaches, and 16 colleges. For San Diego residents, picking which beach can be the hard part. Coronado lies just to the south, La Jolla to the north, with Mission Beach in between.

Bars: 189
Restaurants: 3,126
Museums: 53
Libraries: 52
Pro sports teams: 2
Park acres per 1,000 residents: 36
Colleges: 16
Percent with graduate degree: 10.9
Median household income: $79,269
Percent unemployed: 9.2

Austin

Austin

Rank: 8
Population: 797,215

The capital of the Lone Star state, Austin is our largest city without a major professional sports team, but don’t feel sorry—its main college attraction, the UT-Longhorns football team, can draw more than 100,000 spectators to games. With computer company Dell (DELL) located just north of town, Austin has become a major destination for top tech talent, as well. It hosts the annual tech and music festival South by Southwest, which added a Startup Village for investing and schmoozing last year. There’s also the annual outdoor Austin City Limits music festival, which lures acts from around the globe each fall.

Bars: 212
Restaurants: 2,135
Museums: 25
Libraries: 35
Pro sports teams: 0
Park acres per 1,000 residents: 37
Colleges: 9
Percent with graduate degree: 11
Median household income: $65,886
Percent unemployed: 6.3

New York

New York

Rank: 7
Population: 8,110,206

The nation’s biggest and most international city, New York blows all other cities out of the water with its more than 1,200 bars, 22,000 restaurants, 350 museums, and almost as many libraries. World famous universities such as Columbia University and New York University dominate their respective neighborhoods. With Wall Street, Broadway, and the home of America’s advertising and fashion centers, be careful telling New Yorkers their city shouldn’t sit atop the list.

Bars: 1,220
Restaurants: 22,320
Museums: 356
Libraries: 341
Pro sports teams: 8
Park acres per 1,000 residents: 5
Colleges: 103
Percent with graduate degree: 9.6
Median household income: $58,608
Percent unemployed: 11

Denver

Denver

Rank: 6
Population: 597,466

The Mile High City has evolved into a major night life and dining hub, with more than 200 bars and 1,700 restaurants to offer up its craft beers and mixture of southwestern and Rocky Mountain cuisine. The bars near Coors Field are packed while the weather’s warm, and when it gets cold, residents are only short drives from some of the nation’s best skiing. There is also exotic food, with such game haunts as the Buckhorn Exchange offering local takes on yak, rattlesnake, and, of course, Rocky Mountain oysters (look it up).

Bars: 207
Restaurants: 1,741
Museums: 33
Libraries: 39
Pro sports teams: 6
Park acres per 1,000 residents: 10
Colleges: 13
Percent with graduate degree: 10.9
Median household income: $59,155
Percent unemployed: 8.9

Portland, Oregon

Portland, Oregon

Rank: 5
Population: 598,205

Portland is known for its Pacific Northwestern brand of laid-back living, with education and restaurant offerings to go with air quality you won’t find on the East Coast. The city’s become beloved of America’s hipsters, do-it-yourselfers, and localist foodies. The constant turnover of such creative types adds up to a busy, if offbeat, arts and music scene. Another popular recent arrival is the city’s major league soccer team, the Portland Timbers, which regularly sells out its games.

Bars: 313
Restaurants: 2,084
Museums: 20
Libraries: 23
Pro sports teams: 2
Park acres per 1,000 residents: 25
Colleges: 16
Percent with graduate degree: 11.8
Median household income: $65,554
Percent unemployed: 7.9

Boston

Boston

Rank: 4
Population: 615,462

Boston isn’t always one of the nation’s safest towns. But few cities can match Beantown’s blend of history, night life, and education. With 22 universities, Boston can seem very much a college town, owning a grimy charm. As New England’s cultural center, Boston combines Gilded Age class with some Atlantic brine, from L’Espalier to B&G Oysters.

Bars: 136
Restaurants: 2,064
Museums: 51
Libraries: 54
Pro sports teams: 3
Park acres per 1,000 residents: 8
Colleges: 22
Percent with graduate degree: 13.8
Median household income: $62,180
Percent unemployed: 6.6

Washington, D.C.

Washington, D.C.

Rank: 3
Population: 607,731

The District of Columbia’s been known for political dysfunction, but when it comes to leisure it has become the nation’s leader. The nation’s capital has an expansive series of parks to go with its lively districts, such as Logan Circle and Foggy Bottom. D.C. rivals Boston for its depth and quality of schools. Staying busy: Residents can shop in Georgetown or check out such cultural centers as the Smithsonian’s museums and the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

Bars: 134
Restaurants: 2,066
Museums: 108
Libraries: 88
Pro sports teams: 5
Park acres per 1,000 residents: 12
Colleges: 17
Percent with graduate degree: 19.6
Median household income: $72,110
Percent unemployed: 9.1

Seattle

Seattle

Rank: 2
Population: 624,070

For our runner-up best city, we turn back to the Northwest to the nation’s spiritual home for coffee and personal computing: Seattle. Residents of Rain City will take the city’s famously prodigious rainfall in exchange for their high average median income, beautiful water-bound locale, and standout clean air. Microsoft (MSFT) and Boeing (BA) provide tens of thousands of jobs to the area, for those who can’t toss fish at the Pike Place Market.

Bars: 219
Restaurants: 2,307
Museums: 29
Libraries: 42
Pro sports teams: 4
Park acres per 1,000 residents: 9
Colleges: 8
Percent with graduate degree: 16.8
Median household income: $90,303
Percent unemployed: 7.2

San Francisco

San Francisco

Rank: 1
Population: 808,854

The City by the Bay, this year’s winner, provides residents with the best blend of entertainment, education, safety, clear air, and a prosperous economic base. As the heart of the Bay Area, San Francisco draws on the prosperity of Silicon Valley and possesses its own diverse history well represented at cultural centers such as the de Young Museum. Residents care fiercely about their cafés and causes; night life flourishes in the Mission and the Castro, while tech companies code away in SoMa.

Bars: 394
Restaurants: 3,430
Museums: 70
Libraries: 52
Pro sports teams: 2
Park acres per 1,000 residents: 7
Colleges: 17
Percent with graduate degree: 16
Median household income: $90,640
Percent unemployed: 7.8

________________________________

By Alex Konrad of businessweek.com 

 

Permanent link to this article: http://www.mfanni.com/the-best-places-to-live-in-usa/

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>