Disclaimer: this list is for families with kids.
- Great public schools for all grades
- Lots of job opportunities
- International and domestic airport hub
- Gorgeous houses at reasonable prices with lots of yard
- Diversity and multi-cultural
- Fantastic amenities (restaurants, shopping, parks, other amusements)
- 4 seasons without extreme temperatures or loads of natural disasters
- Taxes not too high (includes retail, real estate, income, etc. taxes)
- Nice to have: some large bodies of water (rivers, lakes, ocean)
After putting all the cities in the U.S. through this filter, I arrive at below top cities:
- Greater Atlanta (includes suburbs): hits all of the criteria on my list, has the Chattahoochee River running through with lakes in the north. Wish the river was bigger and there were more lakes spread throughout. But you get gorgeous trees, flowers and yards to compensate. Highest pollen count in the nation though.
- Austin: I heard somewhere that Austin is like the Boston of the South. Given that I love Boston (see my other list), Austin makes the list because of its relative affordability.
- Omaha: I lived in Omaha for a few years as a child. It’s quite pretty and affordable with good schools. The main issue is that it’s smack in the middle of the U.S. and so it takes a lot longer to get to the coasts (where all the action is) and to go anywhere international.
- Research Triangle (Raleigh, Durham, Charlotte): this is ranked lower than Greater Atlanta because it’s actually less affordable, with less job opportunities and less established infrastructure (like the MARTA and international airport that Atlanta has)
- Nashville: I spent my college years here and it’s a beautiful city, Heart of Country Music. Job opportunities are fewer than the other cities on the list, however.