Nearly everyone has a time when they need a change of scenery: when their hometown or the place they moved after college just isn’t cutting it anymore, when they’re either getting bored, priced out or looking for a new start. With 50 states, all with something to recommend them, researching places to move can be overwhelming and time-consuming. So, to help you plan your next big life-phase, here are some of the best up-and-coming cities to move to in the America.
This city on the Tennessee-Georgia border has become a hotbed of outdoor enthusiasts and remote workers as Chattanooga’s city-wide high speed internet makes it a digital nomad’s wifi-enabled dream. Even better, you can close down your laptop for lunch and climb the Tennessee Wall or Sunset Rock, then be back at your computer in time for a 5 p.m. meeting. It was awarded Outside Magazine’s “Best Town Ever” twice, in part because there are over 150 miles of trails within 15 minutes of downtown. While you’d be remiss not to get outside, don’t sleep on the city’s science and culture either. It’s home to the Tennessee Aquarium and Chattanooga Choo Choo district, where you can hit Songbirds guitar museum and play instruments once held by rock and roll legends. All that, and the cost of living is 6% lower than the national average.
Cincinnati isn’t so much up-and-coming as it is on the comeback. The city has seen a resurgence almost as impressive as the Bengals’. With a median monthly rent of $1,112 and a median home cost of $365,690, Cincinnati’s housing market sits a whopping 19 percent lower than national average, meaning you’ll have a lot of money left over to spend on Skyline Chili. But the city’s food scene goes far beyond chili on spaghetti, with one of the oldest fine dining restaurants in the United States at Boca and a slew of international options around Findlay Market. The market sits in Over-the-Rhine, of this century’s great neighborhood revitalization stories. Here, breweries like Rhineghesit and Northern Row sit above ground and the swanky beer cave nightclub Ghost Baby sits below. Outdoors lovers will find 40 nature preserves to explore as well as miles of bike trails along the Little Miami River. The city also provides plenty of career opportunities, with five Fortune 500 companies including Kroger and Procter & Gamble calling Cincinnati home.
Colorado Springs, Colorado
Colorado is heaven for mountain sports enthusiasts. Biking, hiking and canoeing in summer give way to some of the best skiing in the United States in winter. The masses of mountain types who’ve moved to Denver in the last decade have made that city cost-prohibitive, but nearby Colorado Springs still keeps its small city charm without the prices of Aspen or Vail. With thriving tech, defense, healthcare and aerospace sectors, there’s plenty of jobs that can afford a cost of living 10.4 percent lower than Denver. You’re also a stone’s throw from some stunning scenery at Pike’s Peak and Garden of the Gods. And the city’s downtown is expecting nearly $2 billion of investment in its southwest sector over the next 20 years.
Unlike many parts of Florida where the cost of living is skyrocketing, Jacksonville’s sits 17 percent lower than the national average with a median home cost of $295,278. This is especially surprising since the city’s year-round warm weather recreation is top tier: there’s over 22 miles of beach and over 1,100 miles of navigable water. The job market is the third hottest in the nation according to Biz Journals, with Bank of America, Wells Fargo, and hometown Vystar Credit Union all having big presences downtown. Though it’s the largest city by land mass in the lower 48, neighborhoods like Riverside, Avondale, and San Marco are still wonderfully walkable. The surfing isn’t exactly San Diego East, but by Florida standards it’s as good as it gets.
Yes, OK, we know Milwaukee can get cold. If weather is your only concern, this is not the place for you. But this city on the shores of Lake Michigan is teeming with culture, home of the world-renowned Milwaukee Art Museum, the Bronzeville Center for the Arts and the epic Summerfest music festival. Brewers game tailgates are some of the best you’ll find in all of baseball. Fans come to every home game with almost as much enthusiasm as they have for Lambeau. During summer, you can hike the Seven Bridges Trail in Grant Park, paddle along the Menomonee River, or do a brewery crawl on a kayak. The median home price here is under $300,000 too, so you’ll have plenty of money left to explore the city’s international food scene.
Sandy Springs, Georgia
If you like southern hospitality, the Chattahoochee River and a wide range of restaurants and recreational experiences, this city north of Atlanta might be the place for you. The job market here is solid, sitting well under the national unemployment average at 2 percent bolstered by big companies like CoxEnterprises, WestRock, and UPS. Outdoor lovers can get excited about Sandy Springs’ upwards of 20 outdoor parks, including City Springs, a 14-acre downtown greenspace with weekly farmers markets and other seasonal festivals. The city also has over 100 independent restaurants, meaning that, unlike many suburbs, you’ll find some original dining options that don’t involve all day 2-for-1 drinks.
The dream of moving to Vegas and buying a house pretty much died with its post-COVID population boom, but the thriving suburb of Summerlin is still solidly affordable. Median home prices here juuuusstt top half a million. The city is delightfully livable, combining sunny weather and minimal traffic congestion with a diverse population and culture. Summerlin is home of the AAA Las Vegas Aviators who play in Las Vegas Pallpark, one of the most awarded parks in the minor leagues. Summerlin is also home of the Stanley Cup, which might make a lot of Canadians cry, but is great for the city. The NHL champion Golden Knights have their practice facility and headquarters here, too. AND, the city has 10 golf courses, 250 city parks, and is only an 11.9 mile drive from the heart of Las Vegas.
West Lafayette, Indiana
The home of Purdue University isn’t some small, old college town with a disproportionate number of bars and frat houses. Within its 13.82 square miles, West Lafayette is packed with nightlife, theater, shopping, music and museum experiences—all with a cost of living 9 percent lower than the national average. The median one-bedroom apartment rent is $875, which goes a long way if you’re able to score a job in its booming biotech industry. There is, of course, the intangible energy of living near a major university, with big time sports during the fall and spring and an abundance of educated people living around you. There’s no shortage of outdoor activities either, as Happy Hollow Park, Celery Bog Nature Area, and Wabash River give residents the opportunity to explore underrated Indiana landscapes.