Many people believe that in order to get a fresh perspective on life, you need to start over. Pack up your things and move to new surroundings for greater opportunities. We’ve compiled this short list of popular US cities, for those looking to start a new, based on their relatively low cost of living, affordable housing, unique atmospheres and desirable locations:
According to Forbes, Houston ranks #2 among American’s Fastest Growing Metropolitan Areas in terms of population and economy. With over 2.1 million residents, it’s the largest city in the state of Texas. It’s also the most popular destination for America’s relocating professionals. The low tax rates and cost of living in Houston makes the city a desirable place to begin a new as the average household income is $58,567 and median home price is $163,800. Among the urban sprawl, Houston offers beautiful parks and natural landscapes. Just a short drive away, you’ll find Galveston’s beaches, the Gulf of Mexico, farm land and open prairies. The weather in Houston is warm and mild year-round. However, June through August is very hot and humid with an average of 99 days above 90°F. Scattered showers and thunderstorms are common. For commuters, Houston’s traffic is a bear. However, many are taking to the streets as the city boasts over 160 miles of dedicated bikeways and a new bicycle sharing program called Houston B-Cycle. The program operates 18 pick-up and drop-off stations across the metro area. For students, collegiate education in Houston is top-notch at The University of Houston, Texas Southern University, and Rice University. For the cowboy at heart, Houston’s Livestock Show and Rodeo is the place to be in early spring. It’s the largest annual livestock show and rodeo anywhere in the world. For sports fans, Houstonians root for MLB’s Houston Astros, NFL’s Houston Texans and MLS’s Houston Dynamos. For the aspiring astronaut, Houston is home to NASA’s Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center.
This state capital was recently ranked as the Best City for Working Moms. With a small town feel, it’s a great place to start a family. Columbus is home to the nation’s best public zoo, the Columbus Zoo & Aquarium, home to Jungle Jack Hanna. Annual festivities in Columbus include the Ohio State Fair, one of the largest state fairs in the country, as well as the Columbus Arts Festival and the Jazz and Ribs Festival, both of which occur on the city’s beautiful downtown riverfront. With great education opportunities and a low unemployment rate, residents live comfortably in Columbus. The median household income is $53,183 while the average home price is $134, 200. Public transportation is not a necessity in this city as 83.62% of people commute to and from work every day by private automobile. Popular neighborhoods are German Village and Short North. The remarkably large, all-brick German Village sits .5 miles south of downtown, featuring beer halls, cobbled streets and ornate architecture. Short North is located just north of downtown. On High Street, you’ll find contemporary art galleries, restaurants and jazz bars. Columbus knows team spirit! The NCAA Division 1 Ohio State University (OSU) Buckeyes are the team to beat in Columbus. The team has won seven national championships and born seven Heisman trophy winners. Coupled with a great track record, OSU is one of the largest college campuses in the US. In 2009, U.S. News and World Report ranked it #19 in the list of Best Public Universities. The school’s graduate programs place in the Top 5 for the country, including: #5 for best veterinary program and #5 for best pharmacy program. Columbus is also home to NHL’s Columbus Blue Jackets and MLS’s Columbus Crew. In 2013, Forbes gave Columbus an A rating as one of the Top Cities for Business in the U.S. The city has four Fortune 500 corporations including Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company, American Electric Power, L Brands (parent company of Victoria’s Secret, Bath & Body Works) and Big Lots. The major industries in Columbus are Insurance, Education, Banking, Retail, Military and Product Manufacturing. Due to the cities’ proximity to natural resources, the local economy profits from the processing of coal, natural gas, limestone and sandstone.
Seattle is one of the most beautiful urban centers in the country. Located on Puget Sound with magnificent mountain ranges as a backdrop, outdoor enthusiasts will find plenty of spots to hike, bike, hunt, boat, ski and fish. Although Seattle has a reputation for rain, it averages 36 inches a year, still less rain than the national average. The annual temperature in Seattle is quite mild, with pleasant summers and very little snow in the winter, except in the nearby mountains. Aerospace is a major industry in Seattle employing 82,000 people across 650 companies including Boeing’s assembly operations. Information technology is another heavy hitter as Microsoft, Amazon.com and Real Networks generate over $12.8 billion in annual revenue. Over 78,000 jobs are held in Clean Energy and Technology. Healthcare and Biotechnology employ 96,000 people and account for $10 billion in annual revenue. Marine technology accounts for annual revenues of $1.7 billion. Major employers in the area are Costco Wholesale Corp., Microsoft, Amazon.com, Nordstrom Inc, Expeditors International and Expedia, Inc. The unemployment rate in Seattle is 7.6 percent, also lower than the national average. The median household income is $67,900 and average home cost is $324,400. There’s a thriving performing arts scene in Seattle as the widely respected Seattle Opera, Seattle Symphony Orchestra, The Pacific Northwest Ballet, Seattle International Film Festival and Bumbershoot Music Festival attract the talented and passionate to Seattle. Its’ world-famous downtown shopping center, Pike Place Market, boasts a fresh farmers market and wares by local artisans. In 2007, the city opened The Olympic Sculpture Park, transforming the former industrial site into a beautiful green space with 20+ groundbreaking sculptures set along the water-front. For a bit of history, take a tour of the city that once was, long-buried beneath the current-day Pioneer Square district. After the Great Seattle Fire of 1889, the current city was rebuilt over the top of the ruins.
Charlotte, North Carolina
In 2013, Charlotte was recognized among Rent.com’s Top 10 Best Cities for Newlyweds, Nerdwallet’s Most Desirable Places to Purchase a Home and Forbes.com Best Big Cities for Jobs, making this destination a great city to consider. Second to New York City, Charlotte is the nation’s largest financial center where Bank of America and Wells Fargo’s eastern operations are based. It is also home to ten Fortune 500 companies including Bank of America, Lowe’s, Goodrich Corporation, and Chiquita Brands. The city’s current job growth is at a steady 3.1% rate. The median income for a household in the city is $51,572 and median home price at $155,600. Charlotte is home to the NFL’s Carolina Panthers, the NBA’s Charlotte Bobcats and the Charlotte Hounds of Major League Lacrosse. It is also home to the NASCAR Hall of Fame and the U.S. National Whitewater Center, the training home for the U.S. Olympic Whitewater team. Charlotte is home to a number of notable universities and colleges such as Johnson C. Smith University, Johnson & Wales University, Queens University of Charlotte, and the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. Located nearby, Davidson College is ranked in the Top 10 nationally among liberal arts colleges, according to U.S. News & World Report. Sightseers in Charlotte enjoy the Mecklenburg County park system, which includes 175 parks with more than 14,000 acres, plus an extensive growing greenway system. James K. Polk Memorial, a state historic site devoted to the country’s eleventh president with log buildings and their furnishings that serve as period pieces dating from the early 1800s and a visitor’s center featuring a film on Polk’s life. Culturally minded residents and visitors in Charlotte can view a wide array of collections at the Mint Museum of Art, founded in 1936, that houses more than 27,000 items including American art, pre-Columbian art, and American and European ceramics by such artists as Winslow Homer, Andrew Wyeth, and Frederic Remington. A three-day Spring Fest, which draws more than 300,000 people uptown to celebrate the rites of spring each April. The city also celebrates the 600 Festival, an auto-racing event tied to the Coca-Cola 600 that includes a parade, fireworks, and unusual competitive events such as a bathtub derby and culminates with a charity ball. The crown jewel of Charlotte’s arts scene is the North Carolina Blumenthal Performing Arts Center, home to the Charlotte Symphony, which offers 115 performances each season with frequent guest artists; and Opera Carolina.
Minneapolis-Saint Paul (Twin Cities), Minnesota
For two consecutive years, the American College of Sports Medicine has named Minneapolis–Saint Paul (aka the Twin Cities) the Healthiest Metropolitan Area in America! In 2010, the Twin Cities reported a population of 3.3 million people and is growing rapidly (projected to increase to 4 million within 20 years). Real estate in the Twin Cities is desirable as the median home price is $169,400 for the average household earning $63,772. The Twin Cities experiences the coldest climate of any major metropolitan area in the US. The monthly average high temperatures range from 21.9 °F in January to 83.3 °F in July. However, this climate makes outdoor activities such as ice fishing, hunting, snowmobiling and ATV riding great exercise. Sports fans are as relentless as the winter weather in the Twin Cities, rooting for MLB’s Minnesota Twins and NFL’s Minnesota Vikings. The area has the second largest economy in the Midwest, succeeded by Chicago. Medicine is a major industry for the Twin Cities as the University of Minnesota has joined other institutions to perform significant research on medical device technology. Minneapolis-St Paul is home to industry leader, Medtronics. Several Fortune 500 companies are headquartered here including UnitedHealth Group, Target, Best Buy, Supervalu, 3M, General Mills, Land O’Lakes, Ameriprise Financial, Ecolab and St. Jude Medical. The city’s largest private employers include Cargill, Carlson, Andersen, Erickson Companies and Schwan Foods. For entertainment, shoppers enjoy the Twin Cities distinctive boutiques and the largest retail center in the country – The Mall of America. With the Guthrie Theater, Walker Art Center, Minnesota Orchestra, St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, renowned theater, music, and visual arts centers make Minnesota home to one of the most vibrant arts scenes in the country.
If you had the chance to start over, where would you go?