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FYI

20 Cities to Move to in 2020, According to You

Written by Carolyn Albee

This is your year: you're going to get healthy, spend more time with loved ones, or find your dream job. Or maybe your goals are bigger than that. Maybe it's time to change your whole life—by moving to a brand-new city. But how to find the best city to live in?

We've done the work for you. We polled more than 1,000 Americans and asked: Where would you move to in 2020, if you could move anywhere in the U.S.? The answers included cities of all sizes, all over America, from Hawaii to New York. Whether you want to be the first in an up-and-coming metro or just get away from it all, these are the best places to live in the U.S. this year.

1. Hilo, Hawaii

Perfect for: Healthy living

waterfall in Hilo, HI
Photo via MNStudio/Shutterstock

Say goodbye to anything less than the freshest food in Hilo, on the Big Island. Year-round warm weather means endless outdoor adventures, brighter moods, and tons of farm-to-fork food. The Hilo Farmers Market is famous across the island, with more than 200 vendors offering fresh fruit, fish, flowers, and juices. The Locavore Store has all that and more: grass-fed island beef, cosmetics, dairy, and desserts. Speaking of desserts, don't miss Hawaiian Crown Plantation and Chocolate Factory for locally made chocolate and coffee. Eating mindfully—and healthily—never tasted so fresh.

2. Atlanta, Georgia

Perfect for: Singles

skyline of atlanta, ga at dusk
Photo via Joey Kyber/Unsplash

With its strong job market, legendary nightlife, and growing arts scene, Atlanta is one of the best big cities to live in the USA, especially for singles. Inman Park is a great neighborhood if you're ready to mingle: Have a meet-cute in line at Revolution Doughnuts & Coffee or take a date to Porter Beer Bar in for a trendy dinner. Artsy, active types should check out Midtown. Meet like-minded singles at indie performances at Woodruff Arts Center or head to the High Museum of Art for HIGH Frequency Fridays featuring music, drinks, and dancing. You'll have so much fun in Atlanta, you'll forget all about trying to meet someone—and that's when the magic happens.

3. Franklin, Tennessee

Perfect for: Music lovers

franklin, tn at sunset
Photo via Brandon Jean/Unsplash

We named East Nashville a top city for musicians, but what if you're just here to listen? About a half-hour south of Nashville, Franklin has all the perks of "Music City," without the rising cost of living. Big acts play at the Franklin Theatre, but the local scene thrives, too. Find your new country favorites at Kimbro's Pickin' Parlor, catch jazz, blues, and rock at Gray's on Main, or head to Mockingbird Theater for the Sunday songwriter series. Whatever you're into, Franklin is always a boot-stompin' good time.

4. Fort Myers, Florida

Perfect for: Beach goers

fort myers, fl at sunset
Photo va Alex Iby/Unsplash

There's no better place than the "Sunshine State" for beach lovers, and no better city than Fort Myers. Housing costs are low compared to other beachfront towns, and the fiery sunsets over the Gulf of Mexico are stunning. The beaches of Pine Island, Sanibel Island, and Estero Island—which has a dog beach—are all a short drive away. In the city, visit Manatee Park for a look at Florida's gentle giants or rent a kayak and paddle alongside them. After a day on the sand, keep the beach life going at Nauti Parrot Tiki Bar or catch more ocean views at Firestone Skybar. In Fort Myers, you never have to leave the sea.

5. New York City, New York

Perfect for: Big city culture

empire state building in NYC
Photo via Oliver Niblett/Unsplash

Let's be honest: New York City will always be one of the best places to live in the U.S. Yes, it's expensive—but that's because it's worth it. There's theater, and not just the Broadway kind: Bushwick Starr, The Flea, and HERE are all putting out incredible independent productions. There's nightlife, from underground parties at Brooklyn's Avant Gardner to fancy, celeb-filled club nights at 1 OAK. And there's food—from Bolivian Llama Party, a counter-serve spot in a subway station, to Estela, which earned its first Michelin star this year. New York's come one, come all attitude welcomes everyone with open arms and there's something new to experience every day.

6. Dallas, Texas

Perfect for: Career climbers

downtown dallas, tx on a sunny day
Photo via Matthew T Rader/Unsplash

If you're wondering "Where can I live to make the most money?," Dallas just might be your answer. Forbes ranked the Dallas metro area No. 2 in the nation for business and careers. The skyrocketing jobs growth is powered by technology and financial services, and the median income is well above the national average. Head to The Woolworth in Downtown or Tate's in Uptown to rub elbows with the city's business elite during happy hour—or to have a business meeting of your own. Not sure which area is right for you? Check out our guide to Dallas neighborhoods.

7. Phoenix, Arizona

Perfect for: Starting over

desert scene near phoenix, az at sunset
Photo via JeniFoto/Shutterstock

New year, new you, and you're wondering, "Where can I move to start over?"Phoenix has been one of the fastest-growing cities in the U.S. for several years, and all those new people make it the ideal place for starting over. Cost of living is low compared to other U.S. metro areas, but the fun factor is high, making it easy to meet new people. New businesses are popping up all over, from classic American food at Anhelo to fancy cocktails at Little Rituals and Century Grand—all of which opened in the past year. This is a city that's changing just as much as you are, so get here before it gets too popular.

8. Oceanside, California

Perfect for: Coastal living

oceanside pier during a purple sunset
Photo via Nguyen duc le/ShutterstockM

We don't want to be dramatic, but Oceanside may be the last affordable coastal town in Southern California. True, housing costs are high compared to the national average, with a median home price of $533,100, but that's still well below its coastal neighbors to the north and south. It's a small price to pay for the active, coastal lifestyle: Hit the beach or the Oceanside Pier to watch surfers or get in on the action yourself. Rent kayaks, take a fishing or whale watching trip, or just watch the seals at Oceanside Harbor. Or, just take it all in from the colorful rooftop terrace at Hello Betty Fish House—which also happens to have the best fish tacos around.

9. Asheville, North Carolina

Perfect for: Beer enthusiasts

Asheville, NC skyline in midday
Photo via Derek Olson Photography/Shutterstock

San Diego and Portland may get all the press, but Asheville is the real place to be for beer lovers. We don't know if it's that crisp mountain water or local ingredients, but the beer is downright delicious. Start at the OG Green Man Brewery and grab an award-winning porter, then try Asheville Brewing Company's award-winning Shiva IPA. And don't forget to support the new guys: DSSOLVR is a brand-new brewery, while Archetype just opened a new downtown location. Work off the beer in the great outdoors—we also voted Asheville one of the best cities for outdoor lovers.

10. Miami, Florida

Perfect for: Oceanfront partying

miami, fl street scene at night
Photo via Ryan Spencer/Unsplash

Miami keeps it hot, and we don't just mean the temperature. Many clubs stay open—and can serve alcohol—until 5 a.m., and the downtown Entertainment District can even sell it 24 hours a day. Take advantage at E11even, a 24-hour club, and party ‘til sunup at neighboring Club Space, a legendary spot that's had world-class DJs on the decks since 2003. But the party doesn't stop when the sun rises—there's plenty of daytime fun at Nikki Beach, known for its posh poolside vibes. Miami is all about work hard, play hard, and on the weekends, the party never stops.

11. Anchorage, Alaska

Perfect for: Off-the-grid living

river scene outside anchorage, ak in fall
Photo via Zetong Li/Unsplash

Want to be left alone? With a population density of just 175 people per square mile, Anchorage is a good bet. (For perspective, even Boise, Idaho has 2,592 people per square mile.) No nosy neighbors, plus no state sales tax or income tax, equals a whole lot of personal freedom. Enjoy the wide-open spaces in Chugach State Park or take a solo road trip along the Seward Highway—local shops like Big Ray's Outfitters have you covered for supplies. Bonus: The government will literally pay you to live here. It's called a yearly Permanent Fund Dividend and in 2019 it was $1,606 per person.

12. Charleston, South Carolina

Perfect for: Southern charm

bridge spanning water near charleston, sc at sunset
Photo via David Martin/Unsplash

With waterfront promenades, colorful Victorian architecture, and tons of history, Charleston is simply charming. Spend your days strolling by the fountains at Waterfront Park or admiring the monuments and bay views at White Point Garden. The historic Nathaniel Russell House and walks down Rainbow Row never get old. And don't forget the Southern food: Husk serves up Southern classics in a Victorian era building and Jestine's Kitchen has been making hearty soul food since 1996.

13. Las Vegas, Nevada

Perfect for: Adventurous foodies

the paris in las vegas, nv
Photo via Nick Fewings/Unsplash

Las Vegas is about to disrupt everything you thought you knew about foodie cities. WalletHub ranked it the 6th best foodie city, behind only the big players like NYC and LA. There are nine—yes, nine—Michelin-starred restaurants, including the three-star Joël Robuchon Restaurant, from the chef who has earned the most Michelin stars, ever. There are plenty of cheap eats here, too, like Viva Las Arepas' delicious pockets of cornmeal goodness. But the truly great thing about Vegas is that you can eat whenever you want: 24-hour options abound, from huge portions at Hash House A Go Go to live music and brunch at Freedom Beat. We hope you're bringing your appetite on this move.

14. Colorado Springs, Colorado

Perfect for: Active families

rocks outside colorado springs, co
Photo via Gray Photo Online/Shutterstock

Residents of Colorado Springs enjoy a high quality of life, with easy access to mountains, lakes, and activities. In fact, US News voted it the most desirable place to live for two years in a row. Kids love playing archeologist at the Rocky Mountain Dinosaur Resource Center, being an astronaut for a day at Peterson Air & Space Museum, and spelunking like an adventurer through Cave of the Winds. Get out in nature at the stunning Garden of the Gods and have an educational day at Bear Creek and Fountain Creek Nature Centers. You'll always have tuckered out kids in Colorado Springs, and that definitely makes it one of the best places to live for families.

15. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Perfect for: Eco-conscious citizens

aerial view of downtown pittsburgh, pa
Photo via Osman Rana/Unsplash

Its nickname may be "Steel City," but Pittsburgh is getting a makeover—that's why we named it one of the greenest cities in America. Sustainable Pittsburgh is dedicated to helping the city build sustainably, and it's well on its way with structures like the Center for Sustainable Landscapes, one of the most environmentally conscious buildings in the world. Downtown Pittsburgh has high walk scores and public transit scores, thanks to its light rail system. Use those feet to visit the stylish stores along Butler Avenue, including ethically sourced clothing shop Make + Matter. It's a new Pittsburgh, and you can be part of it.

16. Boston, Massachusetts

Perfect for: Literature and education

aerial shot of boston, ma
Photo via Vidar Nordli-Mathisen/Unsplash

Boston is for brainiacs: It's home to some of the country's best universities, like MIT, Harvard, and Emerson. But you don't have to come here for college. The Boston metro area also has more literary landmarks than you can shake a book at. Follow in the footsteps of Robert Frost and Henry James in the Boston Literary District. Search the stacks at Boston Athenæum, one of oldest independent libraries in the U.S., for rare books, art, and more. Or head just outside the city to Brookline Booksmith, one of the finest indie bookstores in the country. Then see where the poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote his famous works at the Longfellow House–Washington’s Headquarters National Historic Site. Boston is a literary scavenger hunt that any book nerd would love.

17. Albuquerque, New Mexico

Perfect for: Artists

hot air balloons outside albuquerque, nm
Photo via Ian Dooley/Unsplash

If all these cities seem a bit too "normal" for you so far, you may want to look into Albuquerque. It's got a funky vibe that attracts artists from all around the country—the city is littered with murals and sculptures, and its galleries are out of this world. Griffin & Mandeville gallery describes itself as selling "beautiful and challenging paintings." Richard Levy Gallery has a steady rotation of the area's best artists. Want to create art? Harwood Art Center offers adult art school, studio and darkroom rentals, and exhibitions. No matter what you're into, there's a place for you in the Albuquerque art scene.

18. Detroit, Michigan

Perfect for: Hipsters

downtown detroit, mi from across the water
Photo via Justin McAffee/Unsplash

Love big city living, but not the high prices it comes with? Skip San Francisco and New York and check out Detroit instead. Average rent is just $1,075, and average apartment size is 803 square feet—that's a mansion compared to New York. Walk right out your door in downtown to The Belt and head to hip-yet-divey bars like Standby or The Skip. Or get a place in Corktown, which has all the coffee and breweries a hipster could want. Get your morning pick-me-up at Astro Coffee for locally sourced pastries and caffeine, and head to Batch Brewing Company in the evening. Order from the "Feelgood Tap" and $2 goes to charity. It's drinking you can feel great about.

19. Bozeman, Montana

Perfect for: The great outdoors

downtown bozeman, mt and surrounding nature from a distance
Photo via Christopher Boswell/Shutterstock

At just under 47,000 residents, Bozeman has the smallest population on our list—but we think it's one of the best small cities to live in the USA. It's got a friendly, supportive community, great schools, and plenty to do, especially outdoors. You're just an hour from the incredible skiing at Big Sky Resort, and you've got hiking and trail running, fishing, river rafting and kayaking, camping, mountain biking and more right in your backyard. Head to Madison River Tubing to raft like a local or get geared up for camping at Crazy Mountain Outdoor Co. In Bozeman, you can always count on a friendly helping hand.

20. Kansas City, Missouri

Perfect for: Affordable city living

kansas city, mo skyline across the water at sunset
Photo via Jake Fagan/Unsplash

When you're looking for an affordable place to live, pick a place that gives you some bang for your buck: Kansas City. US News ranked it one of the best affordable places to live: With more than 2 million residents, it has a big-city feel but a small cost of living. Save even more cash by taking advantage of all the free things to do here: Explore downtown on the streetcar, dance along the KC Crossroads Arts District at First Fridays, make free art at the Hallmark Kaleidoscope studio, visit the Lakeside Nature Center, or spend the day at Kansas City Public Library (we also voted it one of the best library systems). Or, just stay home and plan what you're going to do with all that money you're saving.

The best places to live in the U.S. aren't just big cities, or outdoorsy cities, or trendy cities. America has a city for everyone, and we hope this list has proved it. If you do move this year, take advantage of convenient CubeSmart locations near the city of your choice.

Carolyn Albee

Carolyn is a writer, editor, and fan of the Chicago Manual of Style. She's based in Southern California (the greatest place on earth), but she lives by the belief that every city, and every person, has a story to tell. When she's not telling those stories, you'll find her visiting craft breweries and exploring new hikes with her best friend—her dog, of course.
Carolyn Albee

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About the author

Carolyn Albee

Carolyn is a writer, editor, and fan of the Chicago Manual of Style. She's based in Southern California (the greatest place on earth), but she lives by the belief that every city, and every person, has a story to tell. When she's not telling those stories, you'll find her visiting craft breweries and exploring new hikes with her best friend—her dog, of course.

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