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Moving Out? Here Are 15 USA Cities With Surprisingly Cheap Rent (10 You Wish You Could Afford)

Contemplating a move to a new city in this day and age is akin to Columbus setting out in search of a brave new world. Given the speed with which everything in our giant country is changing – from formerly sketchy neighborhoods being re-gentrified by hipsters at warp speed, to a fiercely fluctuating job market, this is a prime time for choosing a new hometown you can grow to love. Practicality is the essence of keeping your sanity, and most especially if you don’t already have a job lined up, you’ll want to pick a city you can move to and actually survive in while you settle in.

The vast cultural patchwork quilt that is the United States can leave potential movers feeling daunted. When deciding where to move, keep in mind that your passions and hobbies need to find a new home as well. Winter sports enthusiasts will be sadly disappointed if they end up in Alabama, while all the gourmet farm-to-table foodie culture in the world will not pacify a beach-lover who’s suddenly stuck in Colorado Springs.

Renting may be the new owning, according to many business publications, but that doesn’t mean it’s necessarily more affordable. So for all of us who’d love to live a Malibu beach house but know dang well that it’s not happening anytime soon, here, in no particular order as far as median cost of rent, is a carefully curated list of 15 cool, livable, affordable and exciting US cities that are well worth your consideration.

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25 Tucson, Arizona (Surprisingly Cheap)

via:Arizona for Boomers

Enthusiasts of this mid–size city claim it’s the best kept secret in the country. Surrounded by five mountain ranges, with 350 days of sunshine every year, it’s a hiker, biker and runner’s paradise. If fresh air, wide-open spaces, incredible sunsets and lazy days poolside appeal to you, Tucson has all of that in spades. It’s a city known to be welcoming and friendly to small-business owners and entrepreneurs and boasts a thriving arts and downtown food scene.

Tucson's geographical location – six hours drive from sand and surf in California and five hours drive from Colorado ski resorts make it quite amenable for those who love their ski and beach vacays. Featuring an excellent educational system with many options, a revamped modern downtown, plenty of colorful Southwestern architecture, Tucson is like Phoenix’s younger, cooler, sweeter cousin; a college town that’s perfect for grown-ups too. Median rent for a one-bedroom apartment is just $970.

24 Fayetteville, Arkansas (Surprisingly Cheap)

via:Lonely Planet

According to US News & World Report, Fayetteville comes in at a stunning 5th place in their most recent Best Places To Live index. Not surprising when you consider that it’s an unusually cool, funky, artsy town with a liberal vibe, home to several famous contemporary novelists, poets and artists.

The incredible Botanical Garden of the Ozarks makes this a city that’s especially inviting for avid gardeners. Their yearly Fayetteville Roots Festival brings top Americana acts to the area, which tells you a little bit about the tastes of many residents. Think Austin, but less noisy!

Culture is in the air 24/7 thanks to the Fayetteville Underground, a no-profit art organization with several galleries. The original home of the Clintons, Fayetteville’s lovely 1800’s Downtown Square & Gardens area features a gorgeous manicured park, an enormous beloved farmers market and plenty of great shops and restaurants. All of this comes at the astonishingly low price of $645 for a one-bedroom apartment. Houses rent for similarly low rates.

23 Nashville, Tennessee  (Surprisingly Cheap)

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Good news! The “it” city is still surprisingly affordable, with a median rent of $900 for a one-bedroom. Diversity and tolerance are Nashville’s middle names these days, with a huge annual LGBTQ Pride festival, and a thriving multicultural downtown arts scene. While the Country music genre dominates the town and is its beating heart, rock, pop, blues, rap, jazz and classical music are all represented at the many shows and venues all over town daily. Keith Urban and Garth Brooks are commonly sighted in Whole Foods, but nobody pays attention or asks for an autograph. Nashvillians are cool like that.

It’ll be hard to meet a stranger in Nashville: the people are unfailingly friendly and inclusive and love to socialize and gossip, in the great Southern tradition. If you can stand humidity in the summer and some snow in the winter, Nashville is the place for you: its four seasons all differ radically, making for beautiful changing leaves and flowers. Allergy sufferers should stock up on Claritin, though! Boat and lake culture is big in Nashville: if you don’t own a boat, you will need to get to know someone who does! Similarly, canoeing and kayaking on the several beautiful rivers in the vicinity are summer traditions, and make for great dog-friendly adventures.

Artsy and green-thumbed people will fall in love with Cheekwood and its gardens. Classical music buffs will rave about the Nashville Symphony and its architecturally wondrous home, the Schemmerhorn. Nashville is a conglomerate of different neighborhoods, each with their own style and type of residents. Some areas are more affordable than others, so checking out the whole city, meeting some new people and finding out where you fit in should be your failsafe plan.

22 Colorado Springs, Colorado  (Surprisingly Cheap)

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If you’re moving to “The Springs” you had better like fondue. It’s the unofficial required dish for all residents. The two best restaurants in town feature fondue of all kinds, including steak and lobster cooked in a fondue pot. It’s also a beer lover’s paradise, with several great local breweries and the annual Colorado Springs beer festival. Skiers can literally hop, skip or jump to several resorts including Monarch Mountain, Vail and Aspen.

This town was built around the concept of health and wellness and is saturated with spas, mineral springs and health centers. Fitness freaks abound, so if you’re active and enjoy the outdoors and some challenging terrain, you will feel right at home here. Music lovers will enjoy the Colorado Springs Philharmonic and its home venue, the Pikes Peak Center, which hosts rock and country acts regularly.

If you’re looking for grand views, clear sunny skies and a nice climate, this is your spot!

One caveat: the job market is tough and competitive, so make sure you allot ample time to find your niche if you decide “The Springs” is for you. At any rate, housing is affordable, $1013 for a one-bedroom will probably not break the bank.

21 Boise, Idaho  (Surprisingly Cheap)

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Residents of Boise keep 74% of their income after paying for housing, according to a recent study. It’s also ranked 23rd Best Place To Live In The US, by US News And World Report. With an average rent of $842, it makes fiscal sense to consider moving here. And you’ll be pleased to know that it’s a pretty fabulous place. Outdoorsy types will fall in love with the rivers, mountains, lakes and canyons and all the recreational options they offer. It boasts an extremely low unemployment rate, which is no surprise; since downtown Boise is booming with new businesses, cool companies and truly gourmet restaurants.

Culture vultures will dig the opera and the ballet, and couples will be glad to know that Boise has been ranked as the best place to raise a family by a slew of experts. It also has one of the lowest crime rates in the country, making it a very safe and tranquil option for those who don’t care for big city problems. Essentially, Boise is a nice community, full of thoughtful, civic-minded folks, with a mild and tolerable climate year-round.

20 Salt Lake City, Utah  (Surprisingly Cheap)

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Ranked 15th on the Best Places To Live list, Salt Lake City is quite different than many people expect from a town ruled by Mormons. There are coffee shops serving delicious brews, and many restaurants now have liquor licenses. Health nuts will enjoy the vegan and vegetarian café subculture, which is thriving in all parts of the city. It’s a quick drive to five amazing national parks and several top-notch ski resorts, not to mention its proximity to Park City and their prestigious annual Sundance Film Festival.

There are plenty of kid-friendly activities too, including a fabulous aquarium. If you’re looking to get in with a dynamic company, you will find the employment options and salaries in Salt Lake City are excellent. From free rock concerts in Pioneer Park to a friendly, competitive and fun biking culture, it’s a place that offers that elusive work/life balance that we’re all supposed to be seeking. An average rate of $1097 for a one-bedroom makes it affordable, to boot.

19 Charlotte, North Carolina  (Surprisingly Cheap)

via:Henderson Properties

There are so many things to love about Charlotte, the new jewel of the south.

Charlotte boasts location and proximity to the mountains and the ocean, has tight-knit caring communities and a lower than average cost of living - $960 gets you a nice one bedroom.

Employment opportunities abound, since Charlotte is teeming with banks and Fortune 500 companies.

Charlotte’s neighborhoods are diverse and different so it will pay to spend some time checking out the options to find your niche. Uptown is teeming with nightlife, great dining and entertainment, a good choice for young professionals. More artsy alternative types will feel at home in the NoDa arts community, or South End, home to many entrepreneurs. The public transportation options are a blessing: residents can get around easily by taking streetcars or the Light Rail system.

Charlotte’s residents have access to great museums, plenty of festivals and all kinds of outdoor activities nearby, including whitewater rafting and rock climbing. With restaurants highly rated by Zagat and 18 craft breweries to experience, Charlotte is truly foodie heaven. If you are looking for a dynamic city for a price you can live with, you will find nirvana in Charlotte.

18 Charleston, South Carolina  (Surprisingly Cheap)

via:Travel Channel

Devotees of history, architecture and romance will find Charleston perfect, with its cobbled streets, historic homes and glorious art galleries. Award-winning restaurants offer genuine Southern hospitality, low country food and incredible wine. Delightful beaches close by promise great weekends to residents who love the ocean.

Charleston has been named top city in the US by Travel & Leisure Magazine for five years running. There is a reason for that! The locals are notoriously friendly and helpful, the climate is pretty much ideal and the city offers a huge variety of things to do. You can travel back in time by visiting the many historically significant, perfectly preserved sites, or picnic in enchanting parks, walk on lovely nature trails or plan a camping trip at James Island County Park, offering 650 acres of awesome trails.

Charleston has a strong economy, boosted by an influx of millenials. Salaries are good and the city has been rated high on the list of great places to raise a family. A safe city, good schools and masses of activities for children make it ideal for those wanting to find the right place to put down roots.

Charleston has five ideal neighborhoods to live in, all of which have affordable housing options. A nice apartment can be had for $1009 and there are plenty of affordable houses for rent.

17 Grand Rapids, Michigan  (Surprisingly Cheap)

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Rated 12th on the Best Places to Live list, Grand Rapids is an interesting, alternative choice for a city to move to. The entire city radiates small-town Midwestern warmth, and new residents will find plenty of locals to show them around. With a history of furniture production dating back to the 1800’s, Grand Rapids has now evolved into a real city with a thriving economy, promising job market and lots of cool things to do.

The population of Grand Rapids is amazingly diverse. A strong LGBTQ community, hosts a glorious annual Pride event, and it is also home to well-known and up and coming musicians, artists and chefs. The main attractions of the city are the craft brewery scene, one of the best in the country, the Easttown Street Fair, and its proximity to a range of gorgeous sandy beaches on the lakeshore.

Expedia also recently named Grand Rapids as one of America’s greenest cities: here you will find innovative recycling programs, conscious-minded citizens and farmers markets aplenty. In the summer, the entire area is transformed into an internationally renowned art festival.

While the food scene is not as forward thinking as in some other cities, there is a definite focus on healthy whole foods and clean eating.

If you’re artsy, beachy and love a good hot dog, Grand Rapids is waiting for you! A one-bedroom apartment in a good neighborhood goes for around $786.

16 Fort Meyers, Florida  (Surprisingly Cheap)

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Once you fall in love with Southwest Florida, nowhere else will ever move your soul. The laid-back, warm people, stunning beaches and unrivaled fresh seafood in this area just warm your heart every time. Fort Meyers is an unassuming, quiet place, with a mid-size metro center. Its downtown area is wonderful, many of the buildings have been preserved to display their heritage, and there is a variety of shops and restaurants are good quality and dog-friendly.

Year round, there are interesting festivals and parades, and plenty of art galleries and historic sites worth taking in. The pride of Fort Meyers is its beach culture: Fort Meyers Beach, Sanibel Island, Lover’s Key and Bonita Beach are just a few miles away.

Everyday living tends to be very affordable here, in part thanks to the lack of state income taxes.

Fort Meyers is truly an up and coming city with a growing young professionals community. A one-bedroom apartment will set you back a very reasonable $984.

15 San Antonio, Texas  (Surprisingly Cheap)

via:San Antonio Current

Many who have moved here and found the lifestyle less hectic, but the cultural offerings as good or better than the state’s capital have dubbed San Antonio “the new Austin”. In general, it has a welcoming, warm vibe, and a multi-cultural community that serves up to-die-for authentic Mexican food, fabulous food trucks as well as modern gourmet dishes and authentic BBQ. Foodies will love the city’s chef-driven restaurants that focus on artisanal, seasonal and local ingredients.

San Antonio neighborhoods are truly picturesque, although home prices and rental prices are still fairly low, there is a plethora of fabulous housing options. The city is seeing reliable job growth and low unemployment, and the quality of life overall is very good.

It also features lot of green space – a huge park located within the city, the rural, family-friendly Eisenhower park nearby, and of course, the River Walk. History buffs can visit the actual Alamo, the beautiful San Fernando Cathedral, one of the oldest Catholic Cathedrals, and the stunning Spanish Governor’s Palace.

$909 gets you a nice apartment. But if you’re looking for more space, with older, renovated homes for rent in various charming neighborhoods, you are sure to find something reasonable, serene and appealing.

14 Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN  (Surprisingly Cheap)

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If you don’t mind snow and prefer a big city with all the pros that big cities bring to the table, in terms of a huge and diverse food scene, plenty of year-round sports and entertainment and a mix of great architecture, Minneapolis/St. Paul may be for you. These two cities, separated by the Mississippi river, offer different experiences: both have bustling cosmopolitan centers, surrounded by pleasant and affordable neighborhoods and suburbs.

Ranked #9 on the Best Places To Live list, residents definitely appreciate spending only a quarter of their income on housing, on average, with a median monthly rent of only $963.

Founded around the wheat and timber trade in the 1800’s, Minneapolis has grown into an economic hub, with headquarters to major corporations, so employment is fairly plentiful and wages are higher than average.

Although high traffic and congestion are probably not on your bucket list of preferred options in a new town, the public transportation system here is clean, extensive and always growing.

While winters can be brutally cold, spring, summer and fall are temperate and attract a wealth of festivals and concerts, with activities centered around its many lakes, creeks and parks. With three major renowned museums and a thriving music scene, Minneapolis/St Paul is a fairly liberal and tolerant place to live, with an unrivaled performing arts culture, including the Minnesota Orchestra and several vibrant theater districts.

13 Raleigh/Durham, North Carolina (Surprisingly Cheap)

via:Nextdoor Blog

You don’t have to be a fan of James Taylor to have Carolina on your mind. This metro area, which also includes the beautiful community of Chapel Hill, is home to 11 world-class universities. Top-paying jobs are readily available within in its “research triangle” and it boasts one of the top craft brewery scenes in the country.

With a median monthly rent of just $947, and a relatively low cost of living, it’s a less stressful lifestyle than one might find in other similar cities.

Of course, it helps that this area is two to four hours drive to scenic Atlantic coast beaches and great skiing. Home to the Carolina Ballet, the North Carolina Symphony and a sterling modern art museum, Raleigh/Durham has plenty of cultural options. Its 66-acre Pullen park boasts rides, paddle boating, picnicking and tons of kid-friendly activities. This area is about as family-friendly as it gets, with excellent quality public schools, not to mention the unparalleled Museum of Natural Sciences.

Other nearby lakes and parks and perfect for camping, boating and biking: there is always plenty to do for all types of weekend warriors. Raleigh/Durham is ideal for those who’ve outgrown a taste for rowdy nightlife: although it features a growing live music scene, generally it’s peaceful, green and full of historic districts and neighborhoods to choose from. With 1200 restaurants and a wonderful downtown Farmer’s Market, it’s made for foodies and cooks.

Durham is also known for its extreme dog-friendliness (Fido’s welcome at many restaurants, trails and gardens) as well as its hip food truck scene. Ranked the second most educated city in America by Forbes Magazine, Raleigh/Durham is rife with sweet southern charm and interesting, absolutely unique people.

12 Houston, Texas  (Surprisingly Cheap)

via:365 Things to Do in Houston

Yes you read that right: Houston, Texas made it onto this list, and here are some good reasons why!

Although it bears the reputation of being a huge and sometimes dodgy place, Houston has made a remarkable economic recovery from the national downturn, and is chock-full of good jobs, awesome food and affordable housing options. Its median rent is $995

The Magnolia City (or H-Town) is one of the fastest-growing cities in America and is attracting progressives and Millennials to the tune of 275 new residents per day due to its affordability and opportunity.

Houston is home to a wonderful ever-changing art scene, with many museums and galleries, and a rich theater community. Sports fans have their choices of teams to cheer for and games to attend, and one can soak up different cultures year-round at Discovery Green, an urban green space in the heart of the city that hosts over 600 free festivals and events all year round.

Although the weather in Houston can be downright hateful during the summer, spring and fall make up for it in terms of beautiful scenery. Houston is a true multi-cultural melting pot, and as its diversity grows, so does its tolerance. All in all, Houston is having its official moment in the limelight these days, and it’s worth a good long look as a place to move to if you like the idea of a bigger paycheck and a million possibilities. Just don’t forget to pack bug spray. Lots of it.

11 Huntsville, Alabama  (Surprisingly Cheap)

via:Livability

Coming in at a shocking #7 on the Best Places To Live list, this unassuming yet fast-growing Deep South city has much to offer, in part thanks to the large presence of NASA in the community. It’s a great choice if you’re looking for a job in aerospace. defense or other tech industries, as new companies pop up and employment opportunities abound.

Craft breweries are big here and they have their own annual festival. Residents are proud of their local food and produce, and Huntsville is absolutely jam-packed with farmers markets. Lowe Mills ARTS & Entertainment space features art galleries, live performances and plenty of classes in everything from painting to hula-hooping. Nearby Green Mountain is home to gorgeous nature trails, beautiful woodland and some grand views.

Huntsville's Five Points district is home to trendy living spaces, chic restaurants, galleries and boutiques. With an average annual income of $55,441 and an average rental cost of $750, you can definitely enjoy the finer things in life.

When you consider the low cost of living, low unemployment, good quality of life, beautiful surrounding countryside you will see why people are moving to “Rocket City”. Summers are hot and sticky, but those with an adventurous spirit can jump in the car for a 5-hour trip down to the Gulf, to explore some of the most beautiful beaches and clearest water in the country.

10 San Francisco, California (Keep dreaming)

via:Bay City Guide

Now that we’ve uncovered some cities where your dollar will stretch like your favorite comfy old sweatpants and offer a good quality of life, let us turn to the cities where the 1% live and play with little or no worries about the cost of housing.

Oh San Francisco! Your quaint cable cars, soaring hills, breathtaking views and unbelievable dining scene could make a grown man cry. The city itself is a veritable wonderland of cultural attractions - ballet, opera, theater, museums, dance – the list is endless. And a quick trip over the Golden Gate Bridge takes you to Marin, with its uber-upscale hippie towns, awesome hiking, pretty beaches and expensive sailboats.

From there, it's another short jaunt up to Napa and Sonoma, home of the country’s best wines and (arguably) most picturesque countryside.

While a nice one-bedroom rents for $3,442, be aware that according to the personal finance folks at GOBankingRates, you’ll need to be earning $123,268 to live comfortably here.

In short, it’s the second most expensive city in the country, and well worth every penny.

9 Los Angeles, California (Keep dreaming)

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Surf’s up, dude! That is, if you’re taking home at least $87,260 a year and don’t mind living in the headache-inducing San Fernando Valley.

Life in LA is always exciting, and with the city in a constant state of re-gentrification, in fact there are plenty of cool neighborhoods to put down roots in. As well as being the home of the movie industry, where salaries are generally excellent across the board, it is also fast becoming a hub for start-up companies.

Long golden beaches, the sprawling hills of Hollywood, Griffith Park and Santa Monica/Venice make Los Angeles an oasis for outdoorsy types, while the food scene is constantly growing and always surprising.

If you can afford at least $2300 a month for a decent one-bedroom, you’re in luck: you may actually be close to affording the lifestyle of the rich and infamous.

8 Manhattan, New York (Keep dreaming)

via:Luxury Rentals Manhattan

There are only two kinds of people in this world: those who would do anything to live in the Big Apple, and those who would do anything to avoid it. While it is much too noisy, busy, cramped and dirty for country-loving folks, native New Yorkers and their firmly transplanted neighbors adore every inch of every borough.

Maybe you’re a confirmed culture maven who can’t live without Broadway shows, great plays, iconic restaurants and chic gallery openings. If so, as long as you can shell out $4063 a month for 500 square feet in Manhattan (if you’re lucky) or $2800 in Brooklyn, pack your bags and start spreading the news!

If you make about $100,000 a year, you’ll probably find a closet-sized place to live with your name on it. Until then, keep dreaming!

7 Boston, Massachusetts (Keep dreaming)

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Sadly, the median income in Boston isn’t currently keeping up with the average rental price of $2100, meaning that many people struggle to make ends meet each month. That’s no way to live, so if you want to rub shoulders with the country’s intellectual elite, you should plan on earning around $90,000 a year. Then you will actually be able to enjoy the most historically and socially significant city in the country, and revel in its incredible dining scene and cluster of unique, architecturally marvelous neighborhoods.

While Boston is certainly an extraordinary city, and home to the Red Sox Fenway Park, life here doesn’t come cheap, and if you’re not involved in something pretty lucrative, it’s a much better place to visit than reside in.

6 Oakland, California (Keep dreaming)

via:inside Higher Ed

One of the most liberal areas of the country, Oakland/Berkeley attracts some of the most brilliant intellectuals and most interesting artists and entrepreneurs in the country. Start with a drive through the Berkeley hills to check out the incredible architecture of the homes here, a tour of the glorious Berkeley rose garden, followed by dinner at Alice Waters’ iconic restaurant Chez Panisse. This will give you a flavor of what living here is really like.

Oakland’s rent is much cheaper than San Francisco’s, at $2,280, and its temperate warmer climate and easy driving and parking give it an edge over “The City” of SF. Oakland is also full of fabulous restaurants that are fairly affordable, thanks to the cultural diversity of its residents.

Local artists have beautified all the public spaces, and it is home to the Parkway, Paramount and Fox theaters, which attract some of the best music acts and performing arts groups in the world.

If you’re a left-leaning arty secret hippie, Oakland is your city of dreams. As long as you’re bringing home $80,000 a year, that is.

5 Washington, DC (Keep dreaming)

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Living near the power players costs money: $2200 a month in rent, to be exact. Groceries and life in general is expensive compared to other cities, although the fact that there is decent public transportation offsets that a smidge. You’ll need to be making $90,811 to fit in here and enjoy your life. And what’s not to enjoy? People in D.C. tend to dress beautifully compared to, say, Cleveland, and there are historic fine dining establishments aplenty, as well as performances at the Kennedy Center, many of the country’s finest museums, great shopping and festivals year-round.

D.C.’s proximity to popular weekend getaway spots in nearby Virginia and Maryland is a nice plus, and the public school system is recognized as being one of the country’s best. Living in Washington D.C. has been called “fascinating but stressful” by many who have moved here, yet few regret it. It’s an undeniably classy town, full of bright ambitious folks of all ages.

4 Miami, Florida (Keep dreaming)

via:Wikipedia

If the allure of Miami nightlife and beaches has you hooked, nobody could blame you. Living in Miami is a wild and crazy, noisy and incredible experience. Beautiful people abound, so if you’re a gym rat, active and not averse to the odd Botox injection or quick implant, you’ll fit right in.

The strong Latin culture at the city’s heart means that breathtakingly good restaurants abound. It’s a short drive to South Beach, and not far from West Palm, Boca Raton and Palm Beach, for those who dream of having an enviable social life and mixing with the glitterati.

Rent will cost around $1900 for a modest apartment, but be aware that salaries in Miami are notoriously low compared to the total cost of living.

You will need to have a great job secured before even thinking about moving here, and if you don’t make at least $85,000, you will definitely not be living the dream.

3 Honolulu, Hawaii (Keep dreaming)

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As the Gateway to Hawaii - this city makes the list because it fulfils the dream of access to the world’s most beautiful beaches and landscape. But guess what? It has also been ranked as one of the most livable, safe bigger cities in the US. Rent will cost you around $1900 and it’ll take about $78,000 a year to live comfortably.

According to a recent Gallup poll, Hawaii ranks #1 in the US for happiness of its residents. Entrepreneurs will be interested to know that Honolulu now boasts a booming start-up culture and a major venture capital accelerator.

From paddle boarding and surfing to hiking and biking, Honolulu is paradise for sports enthusiasts. Fishing opportunities are everywhere, and the presence of gorgeous fresh fish on the menu of almost every restaurant is proof positive of that.

Honolulu is ultra-friendly and family-oriented, and although it’s certainly not cheap to live here, if you’re dreaming about moving here and you have a great business idea, you may even be able to swing it.

2 Seattle, Washington (Keep dreaming)

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If you’re contemplating moving to Kurt Cobain’s old stomping grounds, good for you! Just make sure you’re earning an astonishing $90,000 a year to live decently.

Seattle’s rents are rising every day, mainly because of the expansion of Amazon and the influx of Millennials. Rent will run you $1975. And it rains. All the time.

Nevertheless, it was recently voted Most Popular City to live in, perhaps because of its strong economy and edgy music and arts culture. Seattle is also America’s #1 Most Literate City, with tons of libraries, book festivals and local bloggers.

You’ll eat very well here too, as the city has a diverse food culture with many Asian eateries. Seattle has some very firm social rules that every resident plays by. If you don’t recycle, you will be fined. If you don’t participate in the many outdoor activities the area has to offer, people will look at you funny. Even so, it’s easy to see why somebody could dream about moving to Seattle. It’s one of the most progressive cities in the nation.

1 Austin, Texas (Keep dreaming)

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Austin is holding firm in its #1 spot on the Best Places To Live list. People are just crazy about this city and cannot be talked out of it.

Rent is not crazy expensive: $1400 will get you a one bedroom in a good area of town. But the lifestyle costs money.

A truly unbelievable variety of live music venues and restaurants, music festivals and hill country adventures will blow your mind and lighten your wallet.

Austin is the hub for literally hundreds of pre-IPO tech companies. There is great money to be made and fantastic jobs to be had if you have the qualifications to snag them.

Whether you’re hiking, biking on miles of green trails, waterskiing on Lake Travis, or spending the day with a picnic at Hamilton Springs or Barton Springs, you’ll come home recharged and spiritually refreshed.  As long as you make around $57,000 annually, it is all within your reach.

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