Raising a family comes with a lot of responsibilities. One of the most important of them is choosing which city you want your family to call home. Finding a city that has the perfect combination of quality schools, family friendly activities, affordable homes and ample job opportunities can be quite an undertaking.
At Homes.com we want to be a partner in helping you locate the home of your dreams in the perfect city for you and your family. Here are the top ten cities we found to be the best to raise a family:
1. Blacksburg, VA
In 2011, Business Week named Blacksburg the “Best Place in the U.S. to Raise Kids.” Home to Virginia Tech, Moog Inc. and the National Weather Service, Blacksburg has a great educational base as well as plenty of economic opportunities. The city is known for its affordable living costs, low crime rates and exceptional schools. Blacksburg is brimming with family-friendly amenities and features a community center with an indoor pool and a nine-hole municipal golf course.
2. Raleigh, NC
One of the fastest growing cities in the country, Raleigh combines a big city look with a small town feel. The city is noted for its affordable family housing, low crime rates and high median family income, as well as one of the strongest school districts in North Carolina. Raleigh, located in the Wake County School District, has more than 70 excellent schools including Raleigh Charter High School, which is consistently ranked as one of the best schools in the state.
3. Plano, TX
From the Spanish word “flat,” Plano’s culture and environment are anything but. Home to several corporate headquarters including Dell Services, Dr. Pepper, Snapple Group, Alliance Data and Cinemark Theatres, Plano has an abundance of employment opportunities for parents. Consistently topping Forbes magazine’s safest cities in America list, its police department is one of the few in the country that requires officers to have a four-year college degree. Plano was given a national award for excellence for its Neighborhood Watch in 2011.
4. Tampa, FL
Tampa is the fourth most popular searched zip code on Homes.com in the months leading up to the school season, which may be due in part to its reputable school district. The district has a student-teacher ratio of 13.5:1, less than the national average of 15.4:1. Residents enjoy warm weather year-round and have only a short drive to enjoy the Gulf Coast’s pristine beaches. Families look forward each year to the city’s annual Gasparilla Festival, a pirate-themed celebration including parades, a “Children’s Extravaganza,” music festival and marathon. The Port of Tampa is Florida’s largest port and seventh largest in the country. It contributes billions of dollars each year into the region’s economy.
5. Boston, MA
Boston is consistently recognized for its education, economy, culture, sports and rich history. Boston ranks third in livability and sixth in economy among U.S. cities. Home to several prestigious universities including Harvard and Boston University, Boston also boasts the largest pediatric research center in the world and the iconic Boston Children’s Museum, a dynamic facility with exhibits and hands-on learning experiences for children of all ages.
6. Rochester, MN
With fewer than 200 violent crimes per 100,000 residents, Rochester is one of the safest cities in America. Home to the Mayo Clinic, which employs more than one-third of the population, Rochester also boasts a rich history and an extensive park system. Many downtown buildings are part of the National Register of Historic Places, and the Root River and Douglas State Trails are great outdoor destinations for families.
7. Pocatello, ID
Families seeking a smaller city will enjoy Pocatello. Boasting safe neighborhoods and a low cost of living, the city offers several family-friendly activities including the Pocatello Zoo, Idaho Museum of Natural History and Ross Park Aquatic Complex. Families looking for an easy day trip can visit nearby places including Salt Lake City, Yellowstone National Park and the Rocky Mountains. Families will build memories enjoying the city’s recreational options and exploring the great Northwest.
8. Phoenix, AZ
Phoenix is the sixth most populous city in the U.S. and third most improved city according to rental searches on Homes.com. The city is home to seven Fortune 500 companies and has an active high-tech and telecommunications industry. Its many recreational activities are also a major draw for families. South Mountain Park and Preserve, the largest municipal park in the world, covers 16,500 acres and has more than 50 miles of biking, hiking and equestrian trails. Avid sports fans enjoy the best-attended PGA tour event each February at TPC Scottsdale, and Phoenix is one of only 13 cities that boast teams in all four major professional sports leagues.
A popular vacation spot, Honolulu shouldn’t be overlooked by families as a great place to raise kids. Meaning “place of shelter,” Honolulu has 470 high-rise buildings, placing the city fourth behind New York, Chicago and Los Angeles. The city enjoys a strong economy, cultural and artistic attractions, and a thriving school system. More than 14 Honolulu schools have been presented with the Department of Education Blue Ribbon School for Excellence Award. With a 20-minute commute from one end of the city to the other, Honolulu offers hundreds of beaches and is an ideal location for daily family fun.
10. Lincoln, NE
With more than 100 parks, countless trails, a bustling metropolitan area and dozens of annual events, it’s hard to imagine getting bored in this city. Lincoln has a strong community feel and features numerous arts, cultural and family-friendly activities. Its International Thespian Society, Lincoln County State Fair, Capital City Ribfest, Lincoln Children’s Zoo and Sunken Gardens can be enjoyed by parents and kids alike.
We hope this list will help you to get inspired to find the city that will be the perfect place for you and your family to call home for many years. For additional information on finding the ideal city and deciding on if now is the time to move, please visit the real estate market section of our blog.