Top 5 Unexpected Best Places To Live In The US In 2022

What makes a city the best place to live? Is it all the nightlife and restaurants the city has to offer? Or all the great public schools? Maybe it depends on how the local sports teams are doing. What do you look for in the city you live in?

There are hundreds of thousands of cities across the United States, all varying in size and all offering the residents unique, local cultures to enjoy. It may be hard to think of where the best place to live in the country is when there are so many factors ... after all, people have different criteria of what makes the city the best.

CBS News reported Niche's criteria for ranking the best cities in America. Niche weighed the cost of living, crime rates, public schools, and overall resident satisfaction using data from the US Census Bureau, FBI, Department of Education, and public polling. Access to public transportation, diversity, access to healthcare facilities, employment rates, and housing costs was also factored in. With all of this information weighed, what are the top five best places to live? You might be surprised.

5. Overland Park, Kansas

Kansas doesn't always have the best reputation for being an exciting state. People often think of this state as being a layover rather than a destination. But Kansas actually has a few hidden gems that gain it a top spot as one of the best places to live in the US.

In fact, Livability rated Overland Park, Kansas, as their best city for families because of the well-rated schools, affordable homes, and beautiful parks. Located only fifteen minutes from Kansas City, Overland Park is a city dedicated to keeping children healthy and providing a safe environment for them to grow up. One of the city's pride and joys is the Overland Park Soccer Complex, which has twelve synthetic turf fields to keep kids moving. There are also more than 83 parks and green spaces, small lakes for fishing, and six outdoor pools.

Parents will also love that the crime rate in Overland Park is much lower than the national average. In addition, healthcare providers are among some of the best, and there are many affordable neighborhoods with a wide selection of housing options.

4. Arlington, Virginia

Just outside of Washington, DC, Arlington, Virginia, is often known as a suburb of the nation's capital. But there's so much more that makes this city one of the best places to live in the country. Once a part of Washington, DC, Arlington has a rich history that visitors and residents can still enjoy. The National Register of Historic Places lists over 70 buildings, sites, and neighborhoods in Arlington, Virginia.

But the city is also incredibly modern. There are tons of bars, coffee shops, and restaurants for residents to enjoy. The city also has parks and green spaces. Arlington has a ton of options for public transportation and is great for biking because the local government has been dedicated to creating a safer network for bikes.

According to real estate agentĀ Keri Shull, there are a wide variety of properties, including condos, townhouses, and single-family homes. While there are a lot of young, transient professionals, Arlington is still a great city to raise a family. The city is part of Virginia's top school district.

3. Naperville, Illinois

Chicago is a must-visit city in the Midwest. With lots of history, some great sports teams, and fun outdoor events, many people flock to this city year-round. But it's a suburb west of Chicago that's actually one of the top places to live in the US. Many residents love being close to the windy city while also enjoying the suburban feel of Naperville.

Local news stationĀ NCTV17 says that Naperville has consistently ranked as one of the best cities to raise a family over the last three years. Residents feel a close community bond and enjoy lots of local restaurants, coffee shops, and parks. The city sees a mix of young professionals and families, with many of the residents owning their homes.

Naperville also has some of the best public schools, ranking as the second-best school district in the state and 39th in the US. With an average 97% graduation rate, parents can feel comfortable that their kids are getting a good education.

2. Cambridge, Massachusetts

Cambridge, Massachusetts, is no stranger to the best cities to live in lists. In previous years, Cambridge sat in the number five spot, but this year, jumped up to first runner up, says local station NBC Boston.

It only takes about fifteen to twenty minutes to get to Cambridge from Boston, so residents can enjoy the large metropolitan city if they want. But Cambridge stands on its own to make itself one of the best places to live. The city rated highly for its nightlife, outdoor activities, and options for health and fitness.

The close proximity to Boston makes it an affordable alternative to the pricy city, though it ranks average for cost of living and cost of housing. Cambridge also ranks high on the list because of the commute and job opportunities. It's a good city to raise a family in and has great public schools based on academic performance and equity.

1. The Woodlands, Texas

The Woodlands, Texas, holds onto the number one spot for another year. This unique community is a total of 28,000 acres and is divided into ten villages. Each village has an association of elected residents, so neighborhood issues are handled on very local levels. The Woodlands offers residents tons of lush green space, golf courses, hiking trails, and sports facilities.

According to Houston Properties, The Woodlands has strong property values, which is due to the nearby retail and dining, business centers, and excellent public and private schools. The retail centers have about 200 restaurants, bars, cafes, and retail stores. The business centers host notable companies like Baker Hughes, Chevron Phillips, and Maersk Line.

For homeowners looking to surround themselves with nature, The Woodlands is the best place to live in Texas because the city has over 1,700 acres dedicated to preserving nature, 130 parks, and lakes and ponds throughout the community. Residents can get outside and enjoy tennis, kayaking, biking, and so much more.