10 Most Beautiful and Affordable Places to Live in the U.S.
From big cities to quaint towns, these are the most beautiful and affordable places to live in the U.S.
From its bustling cities to its quiet coastal towns, America is home to a plethora of enticing places with their own unique draws to prospective residents. When considering where to live in the U.S., it's more important than ever to assess both the affordability and beauty of a location, especially with housing and living costs steadily rising.
The following list — compiled using data from U.S. News & World Report’s 2022 to 2023 rankings, including the most affordable places to live in the U.S. and the best places to live in the U.S. — offers a collection of some of the dreamiest places to live in America that won’t break the bank.
In its rankings, U.S. News & World Report evaluates the impact that cost of living, median monthly rent, median home price in relation to the national median, and quality of life have on a city, which generates a well-rounded figure for anyone looking to relocate.
Here are 10 of the most beautiful and affordable places to live in the U.S.
Hickory, North Carolina
Located in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Hickory is a family-friendly destination known for its ample hiking trails and Southern charm. Currently ranked as the cheapest place to live in the U.S., Hickory has a median home price of $161,000. This affordable neighbor to the east of Asheville and north of Charlotte is popular with retirees, but it's also becoming more attractive to young families; a steady stream of residents has been flocking here for its newfound fame as a technological hub for Google and Apple.
Grand Rapids, Michigan
Roughly an hour from the coast of Lake Michigan, Grand Rapids enjoys the benefits of a low cost of living with an approximate median home cost of $367,000. Home to a growing arts and culture scene, as well as scenic parks along Grand River, Grand Rapids is ideal for those seeking an inexpensive, family-centered environment. This underrated city shines, especially in the fall when the bright foliage adorns its trees.
Greenville, South Carolina
Greenville, situated at the base of the Blue Ridge Mountains in South Carolina, is renowned for its lively downtown with exciting restaurants, unique boutiques, and picturesque views of Falls Park on the Reedy. With its newly revived downtown area, Greenville has seen a growth in its allure to prospective residents. The cost of living here is affordable; the median home price (about $320,000) still falls under the national median.
Famed for the Kentucky Derby, Louisville is a city rich in history and culture. Teeming with an expansive, verdant park system and walking trails, Louisville sits along the Ohio River and provides spectacular views from its Waterfront Park and Big Four Pedestrian Bridge. One of the city's main draws is its low median housing cost (around $163,000) and low cost of living, along with its creative culinary scene and exclusive bourbon distillery experiences.
Knoxville, located in relative close proximity to Great Smoky Mountains National Park, offers both the peace and beauty of the outdoors and the liveliness of its downtown area. Known predominantly as a college sports town, Knoxville is home to the University of Tennessee, which adds to its attractiveness to young families. At approximately $335,000, its median housing price is markedly lower than many other similar-sized metropolitan areas in the U.S.
St. Louis, Missouri
This mid-sized Midwestern city stretches along the banks of the Mississippi River and is famous for its landmark Gateway Arch National Park. St. Louis residents soak in the magnificence of the 1,300-acre Forest Park, one of the largest urban parks in the U.S., which enhances the already scenic landscape. At around $260,000, the median housing cost in St. Louis is significantly less than the national median and greatly appeals to those looking to relocate.
Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas
In the heart of North Texas, Dallas and Fort Worth combine to create the DFW metroplex. Dallas, with its energetic downtown and flourishing arts district, and Fort Worth, with its iconic cattle drive in the Stockyards and impressive cultural district, are distinctive cities that attract singles and young professionals to their continually expanding job markets and stunning skylines. DFW offers serene walking trails, vibrant nightlife, and innovative restaurants — while it maintains median housing costs (about $394,400) of good value for its median household incomes.
Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina
Raleigh, the capital city of North Carolina, and nearby Durham make up two-thirds of the Research Triangle — known locally as the Triangle — with roots in its three top-tier universities. Thanks to a growing job market and high-paying jobs in medicine, research, and technology, this area appeals to young individuals desiring an economical place to raise a family. This bustling technological and university metroplex boasts stunning green landscapes, inventive local eateries, and a thriving college sports rivalry. Here, the median housing price (about $436,700) keeps pace with the national median, while homeowners reap the benefit of lower property taxes.
South Bend, Indiana
Most notably a college town with an array of universities in its vicinity, South Bend is known for luring individuals interested in jobs in the higher education field. This also entices singles, young families, and empty nesters looking to relocate because it creates an environment with a low cost of living and an affordable median housing cost (around $142,000). For any nature seekers, South Bend’s dozens of hiking trails, extensive outdoor recreational opportunities, and convenient location to Lake Michigan equate to a stunning backdrop and place to live.
The sweeping Pittsburgh skyline views showcase a growing city with its roots in the steel industry and its sights set on continuing to diversify its job market. Additionally, Pittsburgh’s dynamic culinary scene and substantial cultural district create an environment that's alluring to young families. Though the house prices here have begun rising alongside the job growth, the median housing cost sits at approximately $222,000, which is more affordable than other major cities in the U.S.
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