The best place to live in the US is a pricey Pennsylvania suburb, a recent report laying bare the most desired neighborhoods in the country has shown.
Set just outside of Philadelphia, the tree-lined community of Chesterbrook was granted the top distinction by data firm Niche for the fourth year in a row, beating out bustling communities like New York City and Los Angeles in the process.
That said, the small town’s win comes in a year dominated by sleepy suburbs, with four from Philly alone appearing the top ten – many jumping from outside the Top 100.
Other communities to grace the top ten – such as Tampa’s Hyde Park and Cambridgeport in Massachusetts – came as part of a general trend of Americans largely favoring safety over affordability when choosing where to live, in an era where people are more able to relocate than ever.
The list, released annually, looked at 17,932 towns overall, using data from the US Census, FBI, Bureau of Labor, and CDC. Other criteria analyzed when dishing out grades included neighborhood diversity, though schooling seemed to be a prevailing theme based on the results below.
The list, released annually, looked at 17,932 towns overall, using data from the US Census, FBI, Bureau of Labor, and CDC. Criteria analyzed when dishing out grades included neighborhood diversity, schooling, affordability, walkability, and more
1. Chesterbrook, Philadelphia, Pa.
Set just outside of Philadelphia, the tree-lined community of Chesterbrook was granted the top distinction by data firm Niche for the fourth year in a row
For the past several years, Chesterbrook has surfaced as the de fact juggernaut of preferred communities in the country.
Located in Chester County just a few miles from Downtown Philly – but far enough to escape its notorious crime – the town has a population of about 5,500, and serves as a slice of American suburban life at its finest.
It received an A+ designation for its public schools – a rare feat in the ranker – as well as straight A’s in health and fitness and suitability for families.
Also touted by Niche is the town’s abundance of restaurants, coffee shops and parks – giving it its ‘dense suburban feel’ that residents and onlookers alike agreed warranted its top marks.
That said, despite receiving high scores in education and even housing in reviews from residents, the community scored low in affordability and weather, due to its median listing home price of $434,750, and its alternating between cold, snowy winters and harsh, humid summers.
Still, the neighborhood beat out other similar suburbs as most desired, though several communities only a miles away would appear later on in the list.
2. Colonial Village, Arlington, Va.
the second-best place to live in the US Virginia’s Colonial Village, a neighborhood in Arlington dominated by historic garden-style apartments that are predominantly rentals
According to Niche, the second-best place to live in the US is a neighborhood in Arlington dominated by historic garden-style apartments that are predominantly rentals.
And with a population of just under 2,900, life in Virginia’s Colonial Village is intimate as well, with a surprising night life made possible by a slew of bars, restaurants, coffee shops that come despite its suburban setting.
Only a short train ride from the city, the small area also ranks high thanks to its proximity to prestigious schools like Georgetown University and George Washington University, as well as an impressive public school system.
Understandably many young professionals live in Colonial Village, where residents political persuasion is predominantly liberal. Its public school system, Arlington Public Schools, ranked second in the state.
The community received As almost across the board except for housing due to its lack of permanent housing options, but still earned a respectable B rating.
It was ranked as one of the best neighborhoods to raise a family, with Niche writing that the village ‘has proven to be a well-rounded place for residents of all ages.’
3. Ardmore, Philadelphia, Pa.
Rounding out the top three was another Pennsylvania suburb, Ardmore, described by Niche researchers as’ a lot like its neighbor, Chesterbrook,’ located only 14 miles away
Rounding out the top three was another Pennsylvania suburb, Ardmore, described by Niche researchers as’ a lot like its neighbor, Chesterbrook,’ located only 14 miles away.
Earning high marks in all categories except weather and affordability – due to its average home value of roughly $425,051, according to Zillow – Ardmore boasts very much the same tree-lined setting as its neighbor slightly north.
Ranked the eighth-best place to raise a family in all of the US, the small town still manages to be somewhat urban, with vibrant dining and impressive nightlife making it one of most diverse stops on the ritzy Main Line stretch of suburbs outside Philly.
And sporting distinctly dual characteristics – being independent yet central, and historic yet progressive – the town provides just as much a multidimensional experience as more sprawling communities.
Niche wrote of the scenic suburb in its report, released Monday: ‘Like Chesterbrook, Ardmore’s weaker factors are affordability and weather, but very high scores in every other factor outweigh those weaknesses.’
4. Hyde Park–Spanishtown Creek, Tampa, Fla.
One of two towns to make the top ten from the Sunshine State, the more urban Hyde Park–Spanishtown Creek is set in a bustling part of the city a half-mile west of its Hillsborough River
Coming in fourth is another vibrant neighborhood, though this one markedly further south, in Tampa, Florida.
One of two towns to make the top ten from the Sunshine State, the more urban Hyde Park–Spanishtown Creek is set in a bustling part of the city a half-mile west of its Hillsborough River, letting out into the historic site now known as Hyde Park.
It has a population of roughly 2,500, and is located just a few miles from the University of Tampa in the city’s Downtown.
The area sports a great deal of bars, restaurants, coffee shops, and parks, as well as a slew of young professionals attracted to its urban setting.
Initially occupied by Spanish speaking fishermen during the era of Spanish control of La Florida – hence the second portion of its name – the village earned straight As in all categories.
5. Penn Wynne, Philadelphia, Pa.
Another pricey Pennsylvania suburb making its way into Niche’s top five was Penn Wynne, providing further proof of the premium Americans put on their kids’ schooling
Another Pennsylvania suburb making its way into Niche’s top five was Penn Wynne, which is also in the Philly area and set only a few miles away from its contemporaries further up on the list.
Receiving As in all categories except for nightlife and diversity, the mostly white neighborhood with a population of roughly 6,000, Penn Wynne’s inclusion served as further proof of the premium Americans put on their kids’ schooling.
Just a stone’s throw from the less crime-ridden north part of the city, Penn Wynne offers citizens a mix of urban and suburban vibes, with picket fences and parks as well as bars and coffee shops.
The area is popular with retirees, and tends to have more moderate political views, Niche remarked in its analysis. It received an A rating for its public schools.
6. City Center, Santa Monica, Calif.
The only nabe from sunny Los Angeles to make the top- ten and the only hailing from the West Coast, for that matter – Santa Monica’s scenic City Center is the sixth-best place to live
The only nabe from sunny Los Angeles to make the top ten and the only hailing from the West Coast – Santa Monica’s scenic City Center is the sixth-best place to live in the America, according to Niche.
Located right on the coast of the Pacific Ocean, the community was one of the more costly to make the list, with an eyewatering median home value of $2million – more than eight times the national average.
That said, the area received rave marks in virtually every other category, due to its prevalence of dining options and prevalence of top-rated public schools.
A great deal of bars, restaurants, coffee shops, and parks also serves to attract a pronounced young population to the area, while relatively well-off retirees fine solace in its sunny, seaside setting.
The area has population of roughly 4,100, and, according to Niche, is the best place to live in all of Los Angeles County.
7. Cambridgeport, Mass.
Coming in seventh was another waterside locale, this one located in the historic town of Cambridge in Massachusetts
Coming in seventh was another waterside locale, this one located in the historic town of Cambridge in Massachusetts.
Not far from the town’s crown jewel Harvard, Cambridgeport is set in a central part of the city and received almost straight-A’s from Niche, with the sole exception being its local housing market.
Still one of the best places to live in The Bay State, the small neighborhood houses more than 10,000 residents, most of them being young people.
Impressive 18th century architecture lining the urban neighborhood offer a glimpse into its outsized personalities, as do its abundance of bars, restaurants, and cafes.
8. North Quarter, Orlando, Fla.
In eighth was another Florida locale, Orlando’s North Quarter District. It is also home to an array of restaurants, offices, apartment buildings, and small businesses, earning it high marks
In eighth was another Florida locale, though this one coming as more central, in downtown Orlando.
Called the North Quarter District, the neighborhood begins at the northern edge of the city’s lively downtown, and extends to the more tranquil Ivanhoe Village Main Street District.
Book-ended by the Central Business District to the south and Lake Ivanhoe to the north, the city’s location allows both residents and businesses the privilege of enjoying both city and suburban life, as well as immediate access to nearby I-4.
It is also home to an array of restaurants, office towers, apartment buildings, and small businesses, earning it high marks in all categories.
9. Devon, Philadelphia, Pa.
Like number-one Chesterbrook, Chester County’s Devon also jumped from outside of the Top 100 last year to break into the top ten, taking the number-nine spot
Like number-one Chesterbrook, Chester County’s Devon also jumped from outside of the Top 100 last year to break into the top ten, taking the number-nine spot.
Also like its contemporaries higher up, the area offers residents a rural feel, while also providing some posh class with a plethora of pricey homes and landscaped lawns littering its streets.
That said, a house in the area will cost you more than even in most-desired Chesterbrook, with the median home coming as more than $200,000 more than its neighbor at $663,300
Apart from straight A’s the neighborhood garnered a somewhat undesirable C+ rating in terms of diversity, due to its largely white, well off population – which, as of 2023, is 1,981.
10. Great Neck Gardens, Long Island, N.Y.
The only community to make the top ten in New York, Great Neck Gardens in Long Island (seen here) was ranked the tenth best to live in the new study, despite homes in the Big Apple suburb regularly priced around $1million
The only community to make the top ten in New York, Great Neck Gardens in Long Island was ranked the tenth best to live by Niche.
Also known as Allenwood, it considered a suburb of New York City, and boasts a population of 1,258.
Most people in the affluent area own their homes, which are regularly priced around $1million due to the town’s proximity to the city.
That said, it is still far enough away from the bustle of the Big Apple to sport a distinctly suburban feel, which Niche noted when granting it its top-ten ranking.