Skip to main content

Main Area

Main

The 100 best cities to raise a family

  • The 100 best cities to raise a family
    1/ altafulla // Shutterstock

    The 100 best cities to raise a family

    All parents want to bring their kids up in ideal conditions: safe, low-crime neighborhoods with good schools, diverse populations, affordability, and family-friendly opportunities to share and learn, all within easy reach.

    Finding all of these in one prime locale can be problematic, so Stacker collected the top 100 locations for raising families based on those ideals used data collected by Niche, which ranks the best family-centric cities based on 13 criteria covering these categories. Those criteria include grading public schools based on the overall grade for each school serving the area, percentage of residents obtaining bachelor’s degrees or higher, cost of living, crime and safety, family amenities, outdoor activities, diversity, walkability, and more. Niche primarily used data available from the U.S. Census Bureau. Details also came from the U.S. Department of Education and the FBI, as well as links to some of the specific amenities, programs, demographics and other details.

    While Niche provides an overall score for top communities, the following slides focus only on their “best for families” score. Note that crime and safety grades were not available for five cities on this list.

    ALSO: Best place to raise a family in every state

  • #100. Costa Mesa
    2/ Jamesongravity // Flickr

    #100. Costa Mesa

    Good for families: B+

    Crime and safety: C+

    Diversity: A+

    Housing: C-

    Public schools: B+

    Overall Niche grade: A-

    With a population of about 110,000, the Southern California community of Costa Mesa offers 28 parks, 20 public schools and three libraries, as well as the Orange County Fair and Event Center, within its 16 square miles. From here, residents find easy access to some of Southern California’s key attractions including beaches, Disneyland and Knott’s Berry Farm. The benefits of the community’s offerings are offset somewhat by median home prices topping $849,000.

  • #99. Amarillo
    3/ roy.luck // Flickr

    #99. Amarillo

    Good for families: B+

    Crime and safety: C

    Diversity: A

    Housing: B+

    Public schools: A-

    Overall Niche grade: A-

    With a zoo, railroad museum and botanical gardens among its kid-friendly attractions, the Texas Panhandle city of Amarillo earned high scores on diversity and the quality of its public schools. Families might enjoy a 17-mile journey to breathtaking Palo Duro Canyon, dubbed “The Grand Canyon of Texas.”

  • #98. Topeka
    4/ Shutterstock

    #98. Topeka

    Good for families: B+

    Crime and safety: C

    Diversity: A

    Housing: B

    Public schools: B

    Overall Niche grade: A-

    As the capital city of Kansas, Topeka gets high grades for the diversity of its student population, with 38% identifying as white, 32% as Hispanic, 17% as African-American, and 13% as “other.” The Topeka School District is home to the Topeka Center for Advanced Learning and Careers and the Kanza Education and Science Park. The train buffs in the family can get a glimpse of the state’s railroad heritage at The Great Overland Station Museum and Education Center. For the daredevils in the clan, jump over to the Evel Knievel Thrill Show and Museum.

  • #97. Fort Wayne
    5/ Momoneymoproblemz // Wikimedia Commons

    #97. Fort Wayne

    Good for families: B+

    Crime and safety: C

    Diversity: A

    Housing: B+

    Public schools: B-

    Overall Niche grade: A-

    The northeast Indiana community of Fort Wayne is rated the city with the lowest cost of living in America. Families have numerous options for entertainment and attractions in Fort Wayne, including the city’s namesake 40-acre children’s zoo. Combat Ops Arena is Fort Wayne’s newest family entertainment center. Fort Wayne Community Schools offers early childhood educational opportunities.

  • #96. San Jose
    6/ Luiz Eduardo // Wikimedia Commons

    #96. San Jose

    Good for families: B+

    Crime and safety: C+

    Diversity: A+

    Housing: C-

    Public schools: B+

    Overall Niche grade: B+

    The Bay-area California city of San Jose is considered one of the most diverse communities in the nation. Considered the hub of the region's Silicon Valley, San Jose also has one of the highest costs of living in the country, with median household incomes approaching $108,000. With more than 30,000 students, the school district is home to many highly regarded elementary and high schools.

  • #95. Indianapolis
    7/ HstryQT // Wikimedia Commons

    #95. Indianapolis

    Good for families: B+

    Crime and safety: C-

    Diversity: A

    Housing: B

    Public schools: B

    Overall Niche grade: A-

    As the capital of Indiana, Indianapolis is home to many family-friendly attractions. The Children's Museum of Indianapolis is the world's largest, and White River State Park features a museum, zoo, waterways, trails, and more. Median home prices here top out at $130,000, with prices expected to drop over the next year, while median rent is $1,000.

  • #94. Tyler
    8/ Billy Hathorn // Wikimedia Commons

    #94. Tyler

    Good for families: B+

    Crime and safety: C+

    Diversity: A+

    Housing: B-

    Public schools: B

    Overall Niche grade: A-

    Home to the annual Texas Rose Festival, the northeast Texas community of Tyler calls itself The Rose Capital of the United States. The city features 27 parks comprising more than 1,000 acres, and its program of walking, running, or riding the Four Pedals of the Rose includes three of these parks plus the University of Texas at Tyler, where freshman enrollment is up 24%. Lindale Junior High School is rated the best public middle school in Smith County.

  • #93. Winston-Salem
    9/ Mcintern2012 // Wikimedia Commons

    #93. Winston-Salem

    Good for families: B+

    Crime and safety: C

    Diversity: A+

    Housing: B-

    Public schools: B

    Overall Niche grade: A-

    Home to Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem, North Carolina, public schools earn high grades at the elementary, middle, and high school levels. Foodies in the family will find the historic Moravian Culinary Trail, and the whole gang can explore the community's historic heirloom gardens and farmers markets. Fans and athletes of virtually any sport can get their fill at the city's 59 sports venues.

  • #92. Mesa
    10/ Tony the Marine // Wikimedia Commons

    #92. Mesa

    Good for families: B+

    Crime and safety: C+

    Diversity: A

    Housing: B

    Public schools: B+

    Overall Niche grade: A-

    Located just east of Phoenix, Mesa features the i.d.e.a. Museum (imagination, design, experience, art), filled with interactive, fun, and educational activities for kids. More than 25 schools in the Mesa area are rated above-average, with test scores at the Mesa Academy for Advanced Studies far above the state average. Median home values in Mesa top $240,000, and are on their way up.

  • #91. Henderson
    11/ Ken Lund // Wikimedia Commons

    #91. Henderson

    Good for families: B+

    Crime and safety: B-

    Diversity: A

    Housing: B-

    Public schools: B

    Overall Niche grade: A-

    Elementary and high schools in the Henderson, Nevada, district rank highly, with Gordon McCaw Elementary School among the highest. Median home values in Henderson have risen nearly 12% to $315,400 with predictions of another 5.4% increase in the coming year. Families might enjoy a visit to the Lion Habitat Ranch or a drive to the Hoover Dam.

  • #90. Cape Coral
    12/ amsfrank // Flickr

    #90. Cape Coral

    Good for families: B+

    Crime and safety: B-

    Diversity: A-

    Housing: B

    Public schools: B+

    Overall Niche grade: B+

    With miles of Gulf Coast beaches and more than 400 miles of canals, Cape Coral, in southwest Florida, might be an ideal match for families who enjoy boating and other water activities. Although there was an increase in violent crime in 2016, overall crime was down 3.2% there, and Cape Coral is considered the second-safest city in Florida. Ten of the community's 27 schools are considered highly desirable.

  • #89. Colorado Springs
    13/ Greverod // Wikimedia Commons

    #89. Colorado Springs

    Good for families: B+

    Crime and safety: C

    Diversity: A

    Housing: B-

    Public schools: B

    Overall Niche grade: A-

    Families with youngsters in kindergarten through fifth grade might consider neighborhoods served by the Woodmen-Roberts Elementary School in Colorado Springs, Colorado. The school ranked better than nearly 93% of elementary schools in the state. Clans of all ages can enjoy the city’s Garden of the Gods, which features towering red rock formations, or they can immerse themselves in history and nature through the city's cultural services.

  • #88. Washington, DC
    14/ Pixabay

    #88. Washington, DC

    Good for families: B+

    Crime and safety: C-

    Diversity: A+

    Housing: C-

    Public schools: B-

    Overall Niche grade: A

    With historic national monuments, numerous free museums, and a zoo, the nation's capital is alive with educational opportunities for all. There are five free nature centers ideal for families within reach of the city, and numerous kid-friendly hikes feature a plethora of activities. On the downside, Washington, D.C. is the sixth-most expensive city of 232 ranked nationwide.

  • #87. Durham
    15/ olekinderhook

    #87. Durham

    Good for families: B+

    Crime and safety: C-

    Diversity: A+

    Housing: B-

    Public schools: B-

    Overall Niche grade: A

    With a population of over 263,000, the city of Durham, North Carolina, is highly diverse, with virtually the same percentage of white and black residents, and more than 14% identifying as Hispanic or Latino. Of its 409 schools, most rank as average or above average, with many elementary schools listed as below average. Though the crime rate in Durham was higher than nearly 92% of U.S. cities in 2015.

  • #86. Cincinnati
    16/ Pixabay

    #86. Cincinnati

    Good for families: B+

    Crime and safety: C-

    Diversity: A

    Housing: C+

    Public schools: B

    Overall Niche grade: A-

    Home to the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden, the second-oldest zoo in the U.S., the city of Cincinnati is situated on the Ohio River and has a population of about 300,000. The city's cost of living index in 2016 was 90.2, well below the U.S. average of 100, but its crime rate, while down in 2016, was still more than double the U.S. average.

  • #85. Dallas
    17/ Joe Mabel // Wikimedia Commons

    #85. Dallas

    Good for families: B+

    Crime and safety: C-

    Diversity: A+

    Housing: B-

    Public schools: B

    Overall Niche grade: A-

    The north Texas metropolis of Dallas offers numerous family attractions, including the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden's family education programs and the popular Klyde Warren Park. The city's Highland Park and Coppell independent school districts, which combine to serve about 20,000 students, rank among the best in the city. Dallas' crime rate score was more than 429, much higher than the national average of 280.5.

  • #84. Reno
    18/ TheConduqtor // Wikimedia Commons

    #84. Reno

    Good for families: B+

    Crime and safety: C

    Diversity: A

    Housing: B-

    Public schools: A-

    Overall Niche grade: A-

    Packed with plenty of family events and attractions like the Animal Ark, and with beautiful Lake Tahoe less than 40 miles from its doorstep, Reno is much more than a gambler's paradise. Its schools get high marks as well: Ranked the #1 school in Nevada, the Davidson Academy in Reno is structured to serve profoundly gifted middle and high school students, while Reno High School made the #5 rank for public high schools in the state.

  • #83. New York City
    19/ J.M. Luijt // Wikimedia Commons

    #83. New York City

    Good for families: B+

    Crime and safety: C+

    Diversity: A+

    Housing: D+

    Public schools: B

    Overall Niche grade: A-

    With an overall crime rate below the national average in 2016, New York City also takes the #1 score for walkability in the nation, sure to please families that eschew driving. Stuyvesant High School in New York City ranks as the #4 best public high school in the nation. But the Big Apple has its downsides, including cost of living expenses almost 70% higher than the national average.

  • #82. Orlando
    20/ Pixabay

    #82. Orlando

    Good for families: B+

    Crime and safety: C

    Diversity: A+

    Housing: C+

    Public schools: B

    Overall Niche grade: A

    A child's dream come true, the Orlando, Florida, area is home to legendary theme parks and museums including The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Discovery Cove, Universal's Islands of Adventure, and Walt Disney World Resort. The city's school district features the Orlando Science Middle/High Charter School, ranked at the top of Orlando's best public high schools.

  • #81. Stamford
    21/ Stamford Museum & Nature Center // Wikimedia Commons

    #81. Stamford

    Good for families: B+

    Crime and safety: C+

    Diversity: A+

    Housing: D+

    Public schools: B+

    Overall Niche grade: B+

    Stamford is centrally located to more than 332 miles of beach access on the Long Island Sound in Connecticut. The city of about 122,000 features the Stamford Museum and Nature Center with family-oriented classes, exhibits, and special events. The crime rate in Stamford is generally much lower than the U.S. average. But with median rent prices of $2,385 and rising home values near $285,000, housing costs can take a big chunk out of the family budget.

  • #80. Lakewood
    22/ Laurie Avocado // Wikimedia Commons

    #80. Lakewood

    Good for families: B+

    Crime and safety: C+

    Diversity: A

    Housing: B-

    Public schools: B+

    Overall Niche grade: A-

    Lakewood, California's crime rate score jumped from just under 175 in 2014 to more than 228 in 2016, although it still remained lower than the national average of 280.5. Bordering Long Beach, the city of about 80,000 offers easy access to the family-friendly and educational El Dorado Nature CenterLakewood High School ranks #39 out of 2,435 California schools for diversity.

  • #79. Columbia
    23/ Akhenaton06 // Wikimedia Commons

    #79. Columbia

    Good for families: B+

    Crime and safety: C

    Diversity: A

    Housing: B-

    Public schools: B

    Overall Niche grade: A

    Median home values in the South Carolina capital city of Columbia reached $129,200 in July 2018, with median rentals coming in at $1,110. Families can visit the 170-acre Riverbanks Zoo and Garden, home to more than 2,000 animals and an aquarium reptile complex. The Lexington-Richland School District #5, serving about 17,000 students, gets the #1 ranking for education in the Columbia area.

  • #78. Wilmington
    24/ MarkDoliner // Flickr

    #78. Wilmington

    Good for families: B+

    Crime and safety: C

    Diversity: A-

    Housing: C

    Public schools: A-

    Overall Niche grade: A-

    Wilmington gets high grades for its public schools, ranked #38 of 228 cities with the best public schools in America. The port city is the gateway to Cape Fear coast beaches, including the highly ranked Carolina Beach Boardwalk and kid-friendly North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher. Median home values are up 8.1% over 2017, at more than $217,000.

  • #77. Columbus
    25/ Kevin Payravi // Flickr

    #77. Columbus

    Good for families: B+

    Crime and safety: C

    Diversity: A

    Housing: B-

    Public schools: B-

    Overall Niche grade: A-

    The capital city of Ohio offers family-friendly adventures on both sides of the Scioto River. The Scioto Mile is an urban oasis with 175 acres of parkland in the downtown area, complete with a 15,000 square-foot interactive fountain and the country's largest free outdoor climbing wall. Columbus is ranked #48 of 228 cities with the lowest cost of living in America. Nearby Dublin Coffman High School ranks as #3 of the best public high schools in the state.

  • #76. Clarksville
    26/ Jugarum // Wikimedia Commons

    #76. Clarksville

    Good for families: B+

    Crime and safety: C+

    Diversity: A

    Housing: B

    Public schools: A-

    Overall Niche grade: A-

    The north Tennessee city of Clarksville in Montgomery County garners high grades for its public education, with Hazelwood Elementary School leading the pack. More than 75% of its students are at least proficient in math and reading, and it ranks #15 in most diverse public elementary schools in the state. Families can share interactive experiences at the Custom House Museum and Cultural Center, home to one of the largest model railroad layouts in the region.

  • #75. Pittsburgh
    27/ Photojunkie // Wikimedia Commons

    #75. Pittsburgh

    Good for families: B+

    Crime and safety: C-

    Diversity: A

    Housing: B

    Public schools: B-

    Overall Niche grade: A

    Sports enthusiast families might consider Pittsburgh an ideal home base, with the Penguins and Steelers both winning numerous championships—the former in 2017. The city sports a median home value of $141,600, putting it at #37 of 228 best cities to buy a house in America, and median rents of $1,200. Allderdice High School leads the city's best high schools, with 77% of students scoring as proficient in reading.

  • #74. Salt Lake City
    28/ Daderot // Wikimedia Commons

    #74. Salt Lake City

    Good for families: B+

    Crime and safety: C

    Diversity: A

    Housing: C+

    Public schools: B

    Overall Niche grade: A

    Utah's capital city has a wealth of outdoor activities sure to please any family, which earns it the rank of #17 of 228 best cities for outdoor activities in America. Served by the Granite School District, SLC's Skyline High School earns top rating of the city's 10 high schools. The city's median home price is $415,000, with median rents at $1,600.

  • #73. Arlington
    29/ adamr.stone // Flickr

    #73. Arlington

    Good for families: B+

    Crime and safety: C+

    Diversity: A+

    Housing: B

    Public schools: B

    Overall Niche grade: A-

    Situated west of Dallas, Arlington is home to the University of Texas at Arlington. Discovery and educational experiences abound at River Legacy Parks, a natural urban hardwood forest home to 400 species of wildlife, and the River Legacy Living Science Center, featuring interactive exhibits and technology. Median home values here approach $138,000, with median rents at $896. Arlington ranks #14 of 225 most diverse cities in America.

  • #72. Elgin
    30/ ForestCeremonialTree // Wikimedia Commons

    #72. Elgin

    Good for families: B+

    Crime and safety: B-

    Diversity: A+

    Housing: B-

    Public schools: B+

    Overall Niche grade: B+

    A northwest suburb of Chicago, Elgin features a large sports complex with 10 softball and 10 soccer fields, a BMX track, and two sand volleyball courts, and the Fox River Bike Trail follows its namesake for more than 40 miles. The community features more than a dozen highly rated public schools. Violent and property crimes are lower here than the national average.

  • #71. Greensboro
    31/ Government & Heritage Library, State Library of NC // Wikimedia Commons

    #71. Greensboro

    Good for families: B+

    Crime and safety: C

    Diversity: A+

    Housing: B-

    Public schools: B

    Overall Niche grade: A-

    The North Carolina city of Greensboro is served by The Early College at Guilford, ranked the #1 best high school for STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) and #2 best public high school overall in the state. Split evenly between homeowners and renters, Greensboro's residents see a median home value of $148,500 and median rent of $787. The Greensboro Science Center is an aquarium, museum, and zoo with numerous educational exhibits and interactive experiences.

  • #70. Pasadena
    32/ citta-vita // Wikimedia Commons

    #70. Pasadena

    Good for families: A-

    Crime and safety: C+

    Diversity: A+

    Housing: C-

    Public schools: B

    Overall Niche grade: A

    Home to the Rose Bowl and the Norton Simon Museum, Pasadena offers a wide range of educational, artistic, historical, and garden experiences for families to share. It ranks #5 of 228 healthiest cities and places to live in America. But those benefits and opportunities come with a price: The city's median home value pushes $650,000, and median rent is $1,420.

  • #69. Green Bay
    33/ Chris Rand // Wikimedia Commons

    #69. Green Bay

    Good for families: A-

    Crime and safety: C+

    Diversity: A

    Housing: B

    Public schools: B+

    Overall Niche grade: A-

    This Wisconsin city, named for its location at the southern end of an arm of Lake Michigan, is home to the Green Bay Packers football team and nearby National Railroad Museum. Crime rates in Green Bay are close to the national average, but the city ranks #28 of the 228 with the lowest cost of living in America. Serving the community, nearby West De Pere High School gets the area's highest ranking for high schools.

  • #68. Grand Rapids
    34/ Frances Schermers // Flickr

    #68. Grand Rapids

    Good for families: A-

    Crime and safety: C

    Diversity: A

    Housing: B

    Public schools: C+

    Overall Niche grade: A

    Grand Rapids, east of Lake Michigan on the Grand River in Michigan, is served by Northern High School, ranked #1 best public high school in the area and #17 overall in Michigan. The Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park, which bills itself as one of the nation's premier horticultural display gardens and sculpture parks, also offers fun, adventure, and education for families. The Grand Rapids Public Museum features a high-tech planetarium.

  • #67. San Antonio
    35/ Billy Hathorn // Wikimedia Commons

    #67. San Antonio

    Good for families: A-

    Crime and safety: C

    Diversity: A

    Housing: B

    Public schools: A-

    Overall Niche grade: A-

    San Antonio, in south-central Texas, is home to The Alamo Mission, where the legendary 1836 battle for Texas' independence from Mexico was fought. The city of nearly 1.45 million is also home to The San Antonio River Walk, an urban waterway linking art, culture, history, recreation, restaurants, and much more in the heart of the city. Median home values and rents fall well below the national average, and its Basis San Antonio North Central middle school is rated #1 for best public middle schools in Texas.

  • #66. Lafayette
    36/ Shutterstock

    #66. Lafayette

    Good for families: A-

    Crime and safety: C

    Diversity: A

    Housing: B

    Public schools: B

    Overall Niche grade: A

    Situated along the Vermillion River in southwest Louisiana, the city of Lafayette is at the heart of Cajun and Creole country. Named the “Happiest City in America,” Lafayette features the Children’s Museum of Acadiana, which offers field trips and interactive exhibits. With a 95% proficiency rate for its students in math and reading, the Early College Academy ranks as the best public high school in the Lafayette area.

  • #65. Lubbock
    37/ Dallas Krentz // Flickr

    #65. Lubbock

    Good for families: A-

    Crime and safety: C

    Diversity: A

    Housing: B

    Public schools: A-

    Overall Niche grade: A-

    Rise Academy, a public charter kindergarten-grade eight school in the northwest Texas City of Lubbock, earned the best standout elementary school in the state, and about 18 of the city’s schools get high grades overall. History also thrives in Lubbock, at the National Ranching Heritage Center with its museum and outdoor park, and science takes center stage at the Science Spectrum and Omni Theater, which features more than 250 hands-on interactive exhibits.

  • #64. Tampa
    38/ Glazer Children's Museum // Wikimedia Commons

    #64. Tampa

    Good for families: A-

    Crime and safety: C

    Diversity: A+

    Housing: B-

    Public schools: B

    Overall Niche grade: A

    Nestled on the west coast of Florida near the Gulf of Mexico, Tampa is awash with activities for the entire family, including Busch Gardens with its rides and 12,000 animals. Plant High School, listed as the #1 best high school in Tampa, leads the top dozen schools in the area, and Chiles Elementary School is the #1 most diverse elementary school in Florida out of 2,323 surveyed. Median home values here come in at about $172,000, with median rents about $983.

  • #63. Metairie
    39/ Megastealer // Wikimedia Commons

    #63. Metairie

    Good for families: A-

    Crime and safety: N/A

    Diversity: A

    Housing: B

    Public schools: B

    Overall Niche grade: A

    Situated on the south shore of Lake Pontchartrain northwest of New Orleans, Metairie is in Jefferson Parish and is one of the oldest cities in the United States. Besides drawing from the attractions available in New Orleans, families will find a selection of activities—including just relaxing—in the parish’s Lafreniere Park, with its hiking trails, boating, fishing, and tot-lots. Its top schools include Haynes Academy School for Advanced Studies, ranked as the third-best public high school in the state, with 99% of students showing at least a proficiency in both math and reading.

  • #62. Tallahassee
    40/ Tim Ross // Wikimedia Commons

    #62. Tallahassee

    Good for families: A-

    Crime and safety: C

    Diversity: A

    Housing: C+

    Public schools: B+

    Overall Niche grade: A

    The capital city of Florida, Tallahassee provides a host of opportunities for families to stay in shape, with more than 100 miles of in-town mountain biking trails, aerial obstacle courses, and canoe and paddle facilities among them. Leon High School, one of the most diverse in the city, is rated #3 of the best high schools in Tallahassee. The city's crime rate, however, was nearly double the national average in 2016.

  • #61. Palm Bay
    41/ brookscl // Wikimedia Commons

    #61. Palm Bay

    Good for families: A-

    Crime and safety: C+

    Diversity: A

    Housing: B+

    Public schools: A

    Overall Niche grade: A-

    More than 70% of Palm Bay's residents own their homes, which earns the Brevard County, Florida, community #9 of the best cities to buy a house in America. Nearby waterways offer families myriad experiences, including the Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge, a haven for sea turtles, and Castaways Point Park on the Indian River Lagoon National Scenic Byway. Two community junior/senior high schools get an A+ rating.

  • #60. Oklahoma City
    42/ Sklmsta // Wikimedia Commons

    #60. Oklahoma City

    Good for families: A-

    Crime and safety: C

    Diversity: A+

    Housing: B+

    Public schools: A-

    Overall Niche grade: A-

    Known for its cowboy culture and surrounding oil wells, Oklahoma City serves as the state's capital, with more than 620,000 residents. Its school district includes more than a dozen schools in the state's top 10 rankings, including the Oklahoma School of Science and Mathematics, listed as the #2 high school out of the state's 449. Median home values here top $142,000, with rents at $793.

  • #59. Glendale
    43/ Gedstrom // Wikimedia Commons

    #59. Glendale

    Good for families: A-

    Crime and safety: B

    Diversity: A

    Housing: C-

    Public schools: A

    Overall Niche grade: A-

    With its population pushing 198,000, Glendale, California, offers families a host of trails and a museum at Brand Park, and its Los Angeles County location means that innumerable family-friendly options, like Universal Studios Hollywood, within reach. The city earns the #8 spot for safest cities in America, and #13 for healthiest cities. But almost two-thirds of residents here rent, with median home prices approaching $640,000.

  • #58. Tempe
    44/ Chris English // Wikimedia Commons

    #58. Tempe

    Good for families: A-

    Crime and safety: C+

    Diversity: A

    Housing: B-

    Public schools: A-

    Overall Niche grade: A

    Just east of Phoenix, Tempe is home to the Tempe Center for the Arts, with galleries, concerts, and educational programs for all, as well as the renowned Arizona State University. About a dozen of its 74 schools get either very high or high rankings. Its 2016 crime rate, however, was well above the national average.

  • #57. Portland
    45/ Steve Morgan // Wikimedia Commons

    #57. Portland

    Good for families: A-

    Crime and safety: C

    Diversity: A

    Housing: C+

    Public schools: B+

    Overall Niche grade: A

    Ranked as the #6 best city for outdoor activities in America, Portland, Oregon, is packed with family-friendly attractions. It also experiences more than its share of crime. About 60% of the city's more than 620,000 residents have some college education, with nearly 10% more bachelor's degrees than the national average.

  • #56. Cedar Rapids
    46/ Bohao Zhao // Wikimedia Commons

    #56. Cedar Rapids

    Good for families: A-

    Crime and safety: C+

    Diversity: B+

    Housing: B+

    Public schools: B+

    Overall Niche grade: A-

    With nearly 70% of its residents owning their homes, Cedar Rapids, Iowa, makes the top 10 cities to buy a house in America. The community's crime rate was just above the national average in 2016. About 10 of its public schools make the A grade, with about 90% of the students at Oak Ridge School proficient or better in math and reading.

  • #55. Aurora
    47/ Jeffrey Beall // Flickr

    #55. Aurora

    Good for families: A-

    Crime and safety: C+

    Diversity: A+

    Housing: B

    Public schools: A

    Overall Niche grade: A-

    One of the three cities comprising the Denver-Aurora-Lakewood metropolitan area, Aurora earns the distinction of being #29 in cities with the best public schools in America. Its nearby Cherry Creek High School is the state's best public high school. Families might find a special experience at Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge, established to protect bald eagles and other regional fauna.

  • #54. Gainesville
    48/ WillMcC // Wikimedia Commons

    #54. Gainesville

    Good for families: A-

    Crime and safety: C+

    Diversity: A

    Housing: C+

    Public schools: A-

    Overall Niche grade: A

    More than 128,000 residents call the Gainesville area home. Nature and museums lead the family-friendly opportunities to share here, with the Butterfly Rainforest, part of the Florida Museum of Natural History, at the top of the list. Eastside High School is listed as #11 of 133 standout high schools in the state.

  • #53. Houston
    49/ Paul Duron // Wikimedia Commons

    #53. Houston

    Good for families: A-

    Crime and safety: C-

    Diversity: A+

    Housing: B

    Public schools: A-

    Overall Niche grade: A

    Known for the NASA Johnson Space Center, Houston extends into Galveston Bay in Texas. Space Center Houston is among the nation's leading science education resources. More than 40 schools serving the community earn an A+ grade. The city of 2.4 million ranks #17 nationally for its ethnic and economic diversity.

  • #52. Kansas City
    50/ Halley Burgess // U.S. Air Force

    #52. Kansas City

    Good for families: A-

    Crime and safety: C-

    Diversity: A

    Housing: B

    Public schools: B+

    Overall Niche grade: A

    Kansas City, Missouri, features the world-class Kansas City Zoo, and benefits from numerous educational opportunities. Of the city’s best schools, Park Hill South High School ranks #10 of 505 high schools in the state. The city's crime rate, however, was more than 2.5 times the national average in 2016.

  • #51. Murfreesboro
    51/ Shutterstock

    #51. Murfreesboro

    Good for families: A-

    Crime and safety: C+

    Diversity: A

    Housing: B

    Public schools: B+

    Overall Niche grade: A-

    Ripe with American Civil War history, Murfreesboro is home to the Stones River National Battlefield and Oaklands Mansion, where families can explore the area’s evolution over the centuries. The city of about 122,000 made Time Magazine's top 20 best places to live in 2018. The community ranks as the #4 most diverse suburb in the state.

  • #50. Roseville
    52/ Loco Steve // Flickr

    #50. Roseville

    Good for families: A-

    Crime and safety: B-

    Diversity: A

    Housing: C+

    Public schools: A-

    Overall Niche grade: A

    Roseville, California, is part of the metropolitan area around state capital of Sacramento. Almost two-thirds of its residents own their homes, despite a median home price of more than $449,000. Granite Bay High School leads Placer County as its best public high school, with an average graduation rate of 97%.

  • #49. Temecula
    53/ Los Pas // Flickr

    #49. Temecula

    Good for families: A-

    Crime and safety: B-

    Diversity: A

    Housing: C+

    Public schools: A

    Overall Niche grade: A-

    The Southern California city of Temecula ranks as #28 of 228 cities with the best public schools in AmericaGreat Oak High School is second best in Riverside County with a 98% average graduation rate. Kids get a hands-on feel for science while they play at the Temecula Children's Museum Pennypickle's Workshop. The city's crime rate comes in well below the national average.

  • #48. Charlotte
    54/ James Willamor // Wikimedia Commons

    #48. Charlotte

    Good for families: A-

    Crime and safety: C

    Diversity: A+

    Housing: B

    Public schools: B

    Overall Niche grade: A

    Charlotte, North Carolina, provides families with diverse interactive opportunities like hands-on science displays at Discovery Place, the Levine Museum of the New South, and the NASCAR Hall of Fame. Its many top schools include Metrolina Regional Scholars Academy, listed as the state's best public elementary school. The city of more than 800,000 gets an A+ for its ethnic and economic diversity.

  • #47. St. Paul
    55/ McGhiever // Wikimedia Commons

    #47. St. Paul

    Good for families: A-

    Crime and safety: C

    Diversity: A+

    Housing: B-

    Public schools: B-

    Overall Niche grade: A

    The capital of Minnesota, St. Paul is home to Como Park Zoo and Conservatory, sure to please all in the family, as well as Fort Snelling State Park, with hiking and biking trails. The city's nearly 300,000 residents are about evenly split between homeowners and renters, with both median home values and rent coming in below the national average. Two of its top schools are foreign-language immersion facilities.

  • #46. Minneapolis
    56/ stargirl1997 // Wikimedia Commons

    #46. Minneapolis

    Good for families: A-

    Crime and safety: C-

    Diversity: A

    Housing: B-

    Public schools: B-

    Overall Niche grade: A

    Minneapolis, twin city to the Minnesota capital of St. Paul, is bisected by the Mississippi River. Minneapolis is home to more than 400,000 residents who enjoy its many parks and lakes, the Walker Art Center, and the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden. Its crime rate is above the national average. With an average graduation rate of nearly 90%, Southwest Senior High School is #21 of 364 college prep public high schools in the state.

  • #45. Provo
    57/ aaronrhawkins // flickr

    #45. Provo

    Good for families: A-

    Crime and safety: B

    Diversity: B+

    Housing: C+

    Public schools: B+

    Overall Niche grade: A

    Provo, Utah, earned its reputation as the #4 safest city in America among 220. About 77% of its 115,700 residents have at least some level of college education, which is above the national average. The city is home to Brigham Young University and its museums and galleries. Among its outdoor offerings, the community is located near Utah Lake, a haven for fans of fishing.

  • #44. Denton
    58/ Aaron Jacobs // Wikimedia Commons

    #44. Denton

    Good for families: A-

    Crime and safety: B-

    Diversity: A

    Housing: B

    Public schools: A-

    Overall Niche grade: A

    Denton, Texas, is part of the Dallas-Fort Worth metropolitan area. The Argyle Independent School District ranks #19 of 995 districts in the state. The district's top school, Argyle High, boasts a 95% average graduation rate. Nearby Lake Lewisville is a recreational haven, featuring parks, marinas, camping and fishing.

  • #43. San Diego
    59/ Port of San Diego // Flickr

    #43. San Diego

    Good for families: A-

    Crime and safety: C+

    Diversity: A+

    Housing: C-

    Public schools: A

    Overall Niche grade: A

    A full dose of culture, history, and museums, as well as the San Diego Zoo await families at San Diego's Balboa Park. The Pacific Coast city of nearly 1.4 million ranks highly for diversity (#15 of 225) and public schools (#21 of 228). But its overall cost of living gets a D+, with median home prices near $588,000.

  • #42. Scottsdale
    60/ cloud2013 // Flickr

    #42. Scottsdale

    Good for families: A-

    Crime and safety: B-

    Diversity: B+

    Housing: B-

    Public schools: A-

    Overall Niche grade: A

    East of Arizona's capital, Scottsdale is a desert city home to the McDowell Sonoran Preserve, with 180 miles of trails for hiking, biking, and horseback riding, among its recreational offerings. With median home values far exceeding the national average, 66% of the city's 234,000 residents own their homes. It offers many top-notch schools, including BASIS Scottsdale, the best public high school in the state and the best charter high school in the nation.

  • #41. Charleston
    61/ North Charleston // Flickr

    #41. Charleston

    Good for families: A-

    Crime and safety: C+

    Diversity: A

    Housing: B-

    Public schools: B+

    Overall Niche grade: A

    With 130,000 residents, the port city of Charleston, South Carolina, is alive with its historical roots. The first shots of the Civil War were fired at Fort Sumter, in Charleston Harbor. The 200 year-old Charleston City Market may also intrigue families with its plethora of local wares. Families with students in or about to enter high school might consider Academic Magnet High School, the best public high school in the state.

  • #40. Lexington
    62/ David Ohmer // Flickr

    #40. Lexington

    Good for families: A-

    Crime and safety: C+

    Diversity: A

    Housing: B

    Public schools: A-

    Overall Niche grade: A

    Lexington, Kentucky, is ranked #24 of the best cities to buy a house in America. The city of 311,000 sees median home values and rent both coming in below the national average. Crime, however, is above the national average in several categories. Dubbed "The Horse Capital of the World," this is the place for folks enamored with thoroughbred racing and other equine sports.

  • #39. Fargo
    63/ Fargo-Moorhead CVB // Flickr

    #39. Fargo

    Good for families: A-

    Crime and safety: C+

    Diversity: B+

    Housing: B

    Public schools: B+

    Overall Niche grade: A

    The Red River Zoo, Plains Art Museum, and Fargo Air Museum are among the family-friendly activities to enjoy in, Fargo, North Dakota. Fargo Davies High School makes the grade as the best public high school in North Dakota, with a 96% average graduation rate. The city of 116,000 posts an unemployment rate of just 2.6%.

  • #38. Irving
    64/ Architectsea // Wikimedia Commons

    #38. Irving

    Good for families: A-

    Crime and safety: B-

    Diversity: A+

    Housing: B

    Public schools: B+

    Overall Niche grade: A

    Situated just northwest of Dallas, Texas, Irving offers extensive aquatic programs among its parks and recreation offerings. The city of 232,000 ranks #13 of the 225 most diverse cities in America, and its crime rate comes in under the national average. Lake Grapevine offers a host of outdoor recreation opportunities for the whole family.

  • #37. Burbank
    65/ Junkyardsparkle // Wikimedia Commons

    #37. Burbank

    Good for families: A-

    Crime and safety: B-

    Diversity: A+

    Housing: C-

    Public schools: A

    Overall Niche grade: A

    The Los Angeles County city of Burbank, near Hollywood, is home to famed movie and TV studios like Warner Bros. It also holds the distinction of ranking #12 healthiest place to live in America and #20 for best public schools in America. Living here can dent the family wallet, however, with median home values at $611,000 and rent at $1,446.

  • #36. Boise
    66/ Tamanoeconomico // Wikimedia Commons

    #36. Boise

    Good for families: A

    Crime and safety: B-

    Diversity: B+

    Housing: B

    Public schools: B+

    Overall Niche grade: A

    Follow the Boise River Greenbelt through the heart of the capital city of Idaho and neighboring communities for 25 miles of forested walking and bicycling trails, with access to downtown, Boise State University, and major parks. Boise Senior High School is ranked the best public high school in the state. The city's crime rate comes in below the 2016 national average.

  • #35. San Francisco
    67/ Fabrice Florin // Wikimedia Commons

    #35. San Francisco

    Good for families: A

    Crime and safety: C

    Diversity: A+

    Housing: C-

    Public schools: A-

    Overall Niche grade: A+

    San Francisco ranks at the top of 228 cities for outdoor activities in America and #2 for healthiest cities in the nation. With iconic attractions, including the Golden Gate Bridge, Fisherman's Wharf, and Alcatraz Island, the city of 850,000 has something for virtually anyone in any family. But there's one major drawback: It's the most expensive city in the nation.

  • #34. Huntsville
    68/ Anivron // Wikimedia Commons

    #34. Huntsville

    Good for families: A

    Crime and safety: C

    Diversity: A

    Housing: B+

    Public schools: A-

    Overall Niche grade: A

    Huntsville, Alabama, is home to the interactive U.S. Space and Rocket Center and the Huntsville Botanical Garden with its many family-oriented exhibits and events. Its New Century Technology High School was ranked #2 for best magnet high schools in Alabama. The city's crime rate was significantly higher than the national average in 2016.

  • #33. Sioux Falls
    69/ eabear70 // Wikimedia Commons

    #33. Sioux Falls

    Good for families: A

    Crime and safety: C+

    Diversity: B+

    Housing: B+

    Public schools: B+

    Overall Niche grade: A

    The South Dakota city of Sioux Falls features Falls Park, through which the Big Sioux River runs, and family fun and education at the Great Plains Zoo and Delbridge Museum. The city of 168,000 is ranked #13 of 228 cities with the lowest cost of living in the nation. The city's crime rate exceeds the national average in several categories.

  • #32. Santa Clara
    70/ DanielPenfield // Wikimedia Commons

    #32. Santa Clara

    Good for families: A

    Crime and safety: B-

    Diversity: A+

    Housing: C-

    Public schools: A-

    Overall Niche grade: A

    Situated near San Jose in California's Silicon Valley, Santa Clara is home to many technology companies including Intel, home of the Intel Museum, a wealth of information about decades of innovation. Family fun abounds at California's Great America park, as well. Nearby Cupertino High School is ranked the #20 best college prep high school in California out of 1,334. Be prepared to shell out big money to live here: Median home values top $734,000 and median rent is over $1,900.

  • #31. Virginia Beach
    71/ SchuminWeb // Wikimedia Commons

    #31. Virginia Beach

    Good for families: A

    Crime and safety: B-

    Diversity: A

    Housing: B-

    Public schools: A

    Overall Niche grade: A

    The Chesapeake Bay meets the Atlantic Ocean in Virginia Beach, home of the Virginia Aquarium and Marine Science Center featuring coastal habitats from around the world. The city’s public schools are ranked the 25th best in the nation, and crime here is below the national average.

  • #30. Sandy Springs
    72/ Thomson200 // Wikimedia Commons

    #30. Sandy Springs

    Good for families: A

    Crime and safety: B-

    Diversity: A+

    Housing: C+

    Public schools: A-

    Overall Niche grade: A+

    Home to the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area, Sandy Springs, Georgia, is part of the Atlanta metropolitan area. The city of 102,000 comes in at #9 of the 228 healthiest places to live in America. Real estate can be pricey here, with median home values topping $421,000 and rents approaching $1,100. Sandy Springs earns top marks for diversity, with unemployment at 3.6% and 80% of its residents having at least some college experience.

  • #29. Torrance
    73/ Los Angeles // Wikimedia Commons

    #29. Torrance

    Good for families: A

    Crime and safety: B-

    Diversity: A+

    Housing: C-

    Public schools: A

    Overall Niche grade: A

    Multiple high schools serving Torrance, California, get top grades. High Tech Los Angeles ranks #3 in best charter high schools in the Los Angeles area. Families can take in the beauty of the South Coast Botanic Garden, and practice their favorite sports at Charles H. Wilson Park. Torrance also ranks #3 for the healthiest places to live in America.

  • #28. Omaha
    74/ Collinulness // Wikimedia Commons

    #28. Omaha

    Good for families: A

    Crime and safety: C

    Diversity: A

    Housing: B

    Public schools: A-

    Overall Niche grade: A

    Situated on the Missouri River near the Iowa border, Omaha, Nebraska, offers unique family experiences at Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium and Heartland of America Park. This city of 443,000 ranks #25 of the best cities to buy a house in America, with median home values set at $139,800. On the downside, the city's crime rate was several points higher than the national average in 2016.

  • #27. Austin
    75/ LoneStarMike // Wikimedia Commons

    #27. Austin

    Good for families: A

    Crime and safety: C+

    Diversity: A+

    Housing: B

    Public schools: A

    Overall Niche grade: A+

    The state capital of Texas, Austin is home to the University of Texas and is famous for its live music scene. It also earns high marks for its public school system, with its Liberal Arts and Science Academy graded as the best public high school in the state, including best teachers and best college prep public high school in Texas. It boasts a 99% average graduation rate. Austin also gets top ranking for its racial diversity.

  • #26. College Station
    76/ Corpx // Wikimedia Commons

    #26. College Station

    Good for families: A

    Crime and safety: B-

    Diversity: A-

    Housing: C

    Public schools: A+

    Overall Niche grade: A

    Texas A&M University's main campus is set in College Station, a community of about 105,000 in east Texas. Not surprisingly, about 84% of residents have at least some college experience. The George H.W. Bush Presidential Library Center offers educational and research opportunities. The city ranks #15 for best public schools in America.

  • #25. Alexandria
    77/ Ron Cogswell // Flickr

    #25. Alexandria

    Good for families: A

    Crime and safety: B-

    Diversity: A+

    Housing: C

    Public schools: B+

    Overall Niche grade: A+

    American history buffs probably couldn't ask for more than what historic Alexandria, Virginia, offers. Just eight miles south of the nation's capital, the city is home to Gadsby's Tavern Museum, the restored 1700s gathering place for the nation's founding fathers including Washington, Jefferson, John Adams, James Madison, and others. Nearby Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology is the top high school in Virginia. Nearly 80% of residents have some level of college education, and its ethnic and economic diversity earns it an A+ grade. Its crime rate comes in below the national average.

  • #24. Lincoln
    78/ Hanyou23 // Wikimedia Commons

    #24. Lincoln

    Good for families: A

    Crime and safety: C+

    Diversity: B+

    Housing: B+

    Public schools: A

    Overall Niche grade: A

    The capital city of Nebraska, Lincoln, is ranked #13 of the best places to buy a house in America. Families can share a day with their youngsters at the Lincoln Children's Zoo, or visit Pioneers Park Nature Center, which offers hiking trails, a wildlife sanctuary, and environmental education center. Lincoln is home to the University of Nebraska at Lincoln, which has provided startup opportunities for about 30 businesses at the Nebraska Innovation Campus. The unemployment rate in this city of 273,000 is just 3.1%.

  • #23. Seattle
    79/ Nicola since 1972 // Flickr

    #23. Seattle

    Good for families: A

    Crime and safety: C

    Diversity: A

    Housing: C+

    Public schools: A-

    Overall Niche grade: A+                                    

    With its iconic Space Needle and Puget Sound setting of water, forests and thousands of acres of parks, Seattle ranks #7 nationally for best outdoor activities and healthiest city. Families can find virtually any activity along the Sound, from kayaking to birding, bicycling to diving, whale watching to touring, and more. More than 25% of its schools received an A grade or better. Washington's largest city is home to Microsoft and Amazon, and its unemployment rate is 3.6%. But the city is also one of the most expensive places to live in the nation.

  • #22. Thousand Oaks
    80/ Fettlemap // Wikimedia Commons

    #22. Thousand Oaks

    Good for families: A

    Crime and safety: B

    Diversity: A

    Housing: C

    Public schools: A+

    Overall Niche grade: A

    The Southern California city of Thousand Oaks is listed as the nation's #4 city with the best public schools. It also garners the #3 spot for safest city in America, with a crime rate well below the national average, but its housing costs are well above it: Home values here top $637,000, and rents are nearly $1,900. Families can hike, ride horseback, camp and more at Wildwood Park, and marvel at the beauty of the Gardens of the World, with its waterfalls and koi pond.

  • #21. Columbia
    81/ Sesamehoneytart // Wikimedia Commons

    #21. Columbia

    Good for families: A

    Crime and safety: C+

    Diversity: A-

    Housing: B

    Public schools: A

    Overall Niche grade: A+

    This central Missouri college town is home to the University of Missouri. Nearby Rock Bridge Memorial State Park features rock caverns and some of the most popular hiking trails in the state. Of its best schools, Rock Bridge Senior High is rated the best in the area, with a 95% average graduation rate. Unemployment in this city of 117,000 is under 2.9%, and nearly 80% of its residents have attended college, with 26% earning a master's degree or higher.

  • #20. Fort Collins
    82/ Citycommunications // Wikimedia Commons

    #20. Fort Collins

    Good for families: A

    Crime and safety: B-

    Diversity: B+

    Housing: B-

    Public schools: A

    Overall Niche grade: A+

    Northern Colorado's Fort Collins offers a historic downtown, and its namesake Museum of Discovery, with interactive science, history, and nature exhibits. Its schools rank #22 of 228 in America, with Fossil Ridge High School ranked #13 out of 389 in the state. Although a majority of residents own their homes, median home values here are nearly $100,000 above the national average.

  • #19. Carlsbad
    83/ Coolcaesar // Wikimedia Commons

    #19. Carlsbad

    Good for families: A

    Crime and safety: B

    Diversity: A-

    Housing: C

    Public schools: A+

    Overall Niche grade: A

    The coastal community of Carlsbad, near San Diego, features several family-friendly attractions, from Legoland and its Sea Life Aquarium to South Carlsbad State Beach. The Leo Carrillo Ranch Historic Park is home to free-roaming peacocks. The 54 schools serving the community earned it the #8 spot on the list best public schools in America, and its Canyon Crest Academy is considered the best public high school in California. The city's crime rate comes in at well below the national average.

  • #18. Raleigh
    84/ RadioFan // Wikimedia Commons

    #18. Raleigh

    Good for families: A

    Crime and safety: N/A

    Diversity: A+

    Housing: B+

    Public schools: A-

    Overall Niche grade: A+

    Raleigh, the capital city of North Carolina, is part of the “Research Triangle,” along with with Chapel Hill and Durham, named for the number of technology and scholarly institutions in the area. The family-friendly North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences features living collections among its extensive exhibits. This city of about 441,000 ranks #15 on the list of best cities to buy a home. It's also home to the three best public high schools in the state, with Raleigh Charter High School at the top.

  • #17. Madison
    85/ Pixabay

    #17. Madison

    Good for families: A+

    Crime and safety: C+

    Diversity: A-

    Housing: B

    Public schools: A

    Overall Niche grade: A+

    The capital city of Wisconsin, Madison's Middleton High School is rated the best high school for science, technology, engineering, and math in the state. Overall, the Madison area has 19 schools making top ratings. The University of Wisconsin-Madison Arboretum offers walking paths and jogging tracks for all, with numerous educational opportunities in its garden settings. Families will also enjoy Henry Vilas Zoo and the Wisconsin Historical Museum.

  • #16. Sunnyvale
    86/ roarofthefour // Flickr

    #16. Sunnyvale

    Good for families: A+

    Crime and safety: B

    Diversity: A+

    Housing: C+

    Public schools: A

    Overall Niche grade: A+

    A major Silicon Valley community in the San Francisco Bay Area, Sunnyvale comes in at #5 in the nation for outdoor activities, and the #7 safest city in America. But Sunnyvale's cost of living is more than three times the national average. Median home costs here top $859,000 with rent about $1,000 more than the national average. Baylands Park, on San Francisco Bay, features biking, hiking and nature trails, with access to the San Francisco Bay Trail, connecting 500 miles of shoreline trails.

  • #15. Boulder
    87/ szeke // flickr

    #15. Boulder

    Good for families: A+

    Crime and safety: B-

    Diversity: B+

    Housing: C+

    Public schools: A+

    Overall Niche grade: A+

    At the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, Boulder features many outdoor activities to make the most of its natural gifts. Eldorado Canyon State Park offers hiking among towering sandstone cliffs and scenic South Boulder Creek. Rated the #13 city with the best public schools in the nation, the Boulder area is served by about 20 schools with at least an A grade. The city's median income tops $60,500, and about 90% of its residents have at least some level of college education.

  • #14. Rochester
    88/ Mazzmn // Wikimedia Commons

    #14. Rochester

    Good for families: A+

    Crime and safety: B-

    Diversity: A-

    Housing: A-

    Public schools: A-

    Overall Niche grade: A+

    Prospective homeowners thinking of moving their families to Rochester, Minnesota, will be pleased to hear it ranks as the #4 best city to buy a house in America. With a median home value of $167,800, home ownership is preferred by about 70% of the city's residents. The city's Century Senior High School is #1 in the area, and #10 for best college prep public high schools in the state, out of 364. The Mayo Clinic is based in Rochester, and unemployment is at 3.4%.

  • #13. Round Rock
    89/ DFolettoRRISD // Wikimedia Commons

    #13. Round Rock

    Good for families: A+

    Crime and safety: B

    Diversity: A+

    Housing: A-

    Public schools: A+

    Overall Niche grade: A+

    Crime in Round Rock, Texas, is well below the national average, making it the #5 safest city in America. Families can enjoy Old Settlers Park, with recreational activities and six complexes for sports, and Play for All Park, which is designed to accommodate special-needs kids. The community is served by more than 40 schools with at least an A rating. More than 60% of the city's nearly 113,000 residents own their homes, which have a median value of $192,500.

  • #12. Berkeley
    90/ Burkhard Mücke // Wikimedia Commons

    #12. Berkeley

    Good for families: A+

    Crime and safety: C+

    Diversity: A+

    Housing: C+

    Public schools: A+

    Overall Niche grade: A+

    The healthiest place to live in America, and the third-best city to live in America, Berkeley is home to the University of California Berkeley campus. Homes here come dear, with median home values around $795,000. Visit the 34-acre UC Botanical Garden, one of the most diverse landscapes in the world. Median household incomes here top $70,000, with nearly 90% of residents having some level of college and 39% holding a master's degrees or higher.

  • #11. Cambridge
    91/ Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism // Flickr

    #11. Cambridge

    Good for families: A+

    Crime and safety: B-

    Diversity: A

    Housing: C+

    Public schools: A+

    Overall Niche grade: A+

    Home to some of the best schools in the world, Cambridge, Massachusetts, ranks as the #2 best city for outdoor activities in the country. The Charles river offers bike paths, numerous parks and recreational opportunities. About 85% of the city's roughly 109,000 residents have some college experience, with 46% holding master's degrees or higher. Cambridge Rindge and Latin School ranks as #11 of the most diverse public high schools in the state.

  • #10. Bellevue
    92/ SuddenFrost // Wikimedia Commons

    #10. Bellevue

    Good for families: A+

    Crime and safety: B-

    Diversity: A

    Housing: B-

    Public schools: A+

    Overall Niche grade: A+

    Across Lake Washington from Seattle, Bellevue is the third-best city for public schools in the country, led by Interlake Senior High School, ranked #2 best public high school in the state. It's one of 19 schools serving the Bellevue area to receive an A+ grade. The lake is a popular fishing area for enthusiasts of all levels. Airplane and spacecraft buffs will enjoy a family visit to The Museum of Flight.

  • #9. Richardson
    93/ Stan9999 // Wikimedia Commons

    #9. Richardson

    Good for families: A+

    Crime and safety: B-

    Diversity: A+

    Housing: A-

    Public schools: A+

    Overall Niche grade: A+

    Residents of Richardson, Texas, enjoy a blend of racial diversity, with 54% white, 16% each of Hispanic and Asian, and 10% African-American. The city is a suburb of Dallas, with median incomes nearing $75,000. Its highly ranked schools include Miller Elementary, graded the #10 best public elementary school in the state. For a family day of outdoor activities Prairie Creek Park offers creeks, waterfalls, trails, and picnic sites.

  • #8. Columbia
    94/ Karol Olson // Wikimedia Commons

    #8. Columbia

    Good for families: A+

    Crime and safety: N/A

    Diversity: A+

    Housing: B+

    Public schools: A

    Overall Niche grade: A+

    Columbia, Maryland, is part of the Baltimore metropolitan area close to Washington, D.C. It's considered the second-best place to live in the Baltimore area. About two-thirds of its residents own their homes. Lime Kiln Middle School is ranked the third-best public middle school in the state, among Columbia's many highly-ranked schools.

  • #7. Irvine
    95/ Azusa Tarn // Wikimedia Commons

    #7. Irvine

    Good for families: A+

    Crime and safety: B

    Diversity: A+

    Housing: C

    Public schools: A+

    Overall Niche grade: A+

    The Orange County city of nearly 247,000 is the second-safest in America and the fourth healthiest place to live in the country. Such lofty rankings have a lofty price, however, with median home values here topping $718,000. Among its best schools, Northwood High rates a #2 best public high school in the Los Angeles area. Families can enjoy a day of fun at Orange County Great Park, or visit Pretend City Children's Museum.

  • #6. Overland Park
    96/ Shutterstock

    #6. Overland Park

    Good for families: A+

    Crime and safety: B-

    Diversity: A-

    Housing: A

    Public schools: A+

    Overall Niche grade: A+

    A suburb of Kansas City, Missouri, Overland Park in Kansas is the second-best city to buy a house in America, with 63% of residents opting to own. Blue Valley North High School is rated the best public high school in the state, with the community featuring the top four high schools in Kansas. Families can check out the Overland Park Arboretum and Botanical Gardens, with its trails, 13 gardens, wildlife, and educational activities.

  • #5. Arlington
    97/ Arlington County // Flickr

    #5. Arlington

    Good for families: A+

    Crime and safety: N/A

    Diversity: A

    Housing: C+

    Public schools: A+

    Overall Niche grade: A+

    Five miles outside Washington, D.C., Arlington, Virginia, is home to the Pentagon, Arlington National Cemetery, and connected to the Washington and Old Dominion Railroad Regional Park. Among its top-notch schools, Arlington is served by the top six elementary schools in the state, led by Arlington Science Focus Elementary. Median home values here top $623,000, with median household incomes approaching $109,000. The unemployment rate is 2.6%

  • #4. Ann Arbor
    98/ Leslie Science & Nature Center // Flickr

    #4. Ann Arbor

    Good for families: A+

    Crime and safety: B-

    Diversity: A

    Housing: B

    Public schools: A+

    Overall Niche grade: A+

    Ranked the #1 best city to live in America, Ann Arbor is home to the University of Michigan and its Museum of Natural History. Families visiting the Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum can immerse themselves in discovery with a scientific bent. Ann Arbor also takes the #5 spot for cities with the best public schools in the nation. Median home values are just over $250,000, and median household income is nearly $57,700.

  • #3. Plano
    99/ neighborhoods.org // Flickr

    #3. Plano

    Good for families: A+

    Crime and safety: B

    Diversity: A+

    Housing: A

    Public schools: A+

    Overall Niche grade: A+

    Looking for the best city to buy a home in America? Look no farther than Plano, Texas, which also comes in as the #2 city with the best public schools. About 62% of residents here own their homes, which have a median value of $248,800. Ranked #11 of 1,624 best public high schools in Texas, Liberty High School boasts a 99% average graduation rate. Families will enjoy the Heritage Farmstead Museum, a living history site.

  • #2. The Woodlands
    100/ Oatman13 // Wikimedia Commons

    #2. The Woodlands

    Good for families: A+

    Crime and safety: N/A

    Diversity: A-

    Housing: A-

    Public schools: A+

    Overall Niche grade: A+

    Besides taking second place in this compilation, The Woodlands, Texas ranks #3 of the best cities to buy a house and #6 of the cities with the best public schools in America. The Woodlands High School is rated the best in Montgomery County, one of the top five in the area. The George Mitchell Preserve is a large, forested nature preserve with hiking, bike trails and a lake, and The Woodlands Children's Museum features interactive exhibits and play designed for the little ones. Considered one of the top master planned communities in the nation, the median home value here is $329,800.

  • #1. Naperville
    101/ Shutterstock

    #1. Naperville

    Good for families: A+

    Crime and safety: B+

    Diversity: A

    Housing: A-

    Public schools: A+

    Overall Niche grade: A+

    Topping the list of best cities to raise a family in America, Naperville, Illinois is also at the top of the list of cities with the best public schools in America and safest cities in America. Crime here is far below the national average in every measured category. Neuqua Valley High School ranks #13 of 684 high schools in the state, with an average graduation rate of 97%. This western suburb of Chicago is home to about 146,000, with median household income of more than $110,000. Nearby Naper Settlement offers families a host of programs, from camps to geocaching, kids programs, and more. Naperville Riverwalk, a recreation area along the DuPage River, features fountains, covered bridges, and an amphitheater.

2018 All rights reserved.