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The Best U.S. Cities To Retire In



Everyone dreams of the day they can finally wrap up their working careers and settle into a nice and relaxing life of retirement. And though we have waited all our lives for this, it’s still hard to determine what you’re going to do with all this free time, but one thing’s for sure – you’ll move.
So the question becomes, where? There’s so many places you could move, but you want to make sure you’re going somewhere that caters to your lifestyle and allows you to reap all the benefits of not having to work anymore. Well look no further, because here we’ve compiled the best US cities to retire in.

Allentown, Pennsylvania

Allentown’s historic charm has drawn people for years, and it’s conveniently nestled in the LeHigh valley, making it close to both Philadelphia and New York City. It’s also a great for outdoorsy folks who enjoy hiking and skiing, making it an excellent place for active people to live. It’s also become increasingly modernized in recent years.

Colorado Springs, Colorado

The first thing that jumps out about Colorado in general is its natural beauty, and that’s certainly the case for Colorado Springs, which features a number of parks and close access to major ski resorts in Aspen and Vail. But it also features low cost living, a growing cultural scene, and the continued prosperous economic and business scene, making it a nice place to settle down.

Kalamazoo, Michigan

Arts and culture are at the forefront of this hidden Michigan gem, and you wouldn’t expect anything less from a place called Kalamazoo. Live music, museums, breweries and other unique attractions draw numbers of events and vendors around the town, offering constant varieties of entertainment like fairs, markets and cook-offs. You can’t really get bored here.

Spartanburg, South Carolina

Once a major railroad center in the early 1800s, Spartanburg continues to be a unique city in upstate S.C. It features the first North American BMW plant, allowing business and in turn, culture, to flourish. This pairs well with the beautiful surrounding scenery, abundant educational scene, and diverse food scenes. Rest assured, their weekends are lively and as friendly to patrons as any small town, featuring markets and many pet-friendly establishments.

Harrisburg, Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania’s capital doesn’t always get love, but retirees love it. It’s very convenient for outdoor enthusiasts, because trails run along the Susquehanna River, with the action usually culminating at Riverfront Park, which hosts many of the town’s events and festivals. It’s also quite close to the Appalachian Trail and other state parks. It’s also close to the countryside for those hoping for the quaint, small town vibe. Gettysburg and Hershey Parks are also nearby.

Winston Salem, North Carolina

Winston Salem is on the rise, and surprisingly for the south, it features a wide international feel with its numerous metro sections featuring all kinds of cultures and cuisines. However the southern charm is still present, with kind residents and no booming population, for now. However, it’s only growing as old factories turn to lofts and apartments, as development continues.

Fort Wayne, Indiana

This mid-sized Midwestern metropolitan area is a quiet, yet prosperous city in an unassuming region. The large city center hosts numerous events throughout the year and the arts and entertainment scenes are flourishing. There’s also small town charm, with multiple festivals gaining annual respect. While it’s transitioning from its old manufacturing days, this rust belt city is on the up-and-up for people to settle down.

Portland, Maine

The charm of Portland, Maine is almost indescribable. While in other places artistic living and farm-to-table dining is a new concept, it’s been around for decades here. The historic charm of cobblestone roads and the ship-packed waters make it extremely unique, and the DIY mentality of residents make it a collaborative city. The Peninsula is chalk full of urban development, combined with historic residential communities.

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

The Steel City isn’t so much of a manufacturing hub anymore, but more of a city reinventing itself into a greener and more sustainable place, even for retirees. The numerous parks that have been built give an outdoor option in a metro area, and heavy economic involvement is bringing lots of business to the city, which has also presented diverse options of all kinds. Additionally, cheaper housing for a big city make it an easy place to settle financially.

El Paso, Texas

El Paso may be westward compared to the other bigger cities in Texas, but it’s culture is not lacking in the least. Growing with more diverse populations, retirees can enjoy anything from intercultural rodeos to community sporting events. It’s rich Mexican heritage gives it that border feel, and tons of events and food options mirror this. With a growing interest for business, and numerous golf courses and and other recreational facilities, it’s a great warm place to kick back.

Knoxville, Tennessee

Knoxville may not be the first city you think of in Tennessee, but it’s subtle nature and multicultural community allow it to stand out from other counterparts. There’s a number of unique shops downtown, and exquisite nature like the Great Smoky Mountains and Cumberland Gap National Parks are only a short venture away. Minor league and collegiate sports also attract large audiences, whole affordability and growing economics provide additional incentive.

Austin, Texas

It’s no secret that Austin is one of the fastest growing cities in the country, and that’s because retirees are moving here too! Perched on the Colorado River, the city is bustling with culture and activities for all walks of life. Whether live music, fine dining, or lively shopping centers are your thing, Austin has something for you. There’s also rich history, with a mix of attractions from the LBJ Presidential Library to more modern theaters highlighting the areas bustling film industry.

Raleigh/Durham, North Carolina

This tri-city region, which also includes Chapel Hill, is primarily known for its collegiate rivalries, but its successful economic strategies have ushered in much more than just students. The diversifying and booming community has seen influxes in things like nationally recognized breweries and tons of farmers markets and other art fairs. There’s also tons of green land and museums and things of that nature for those who prefer the more quiet and peaceful activities.

Charleston, South Carolina

Charleston is southern charm at its finest, with a beautiful landscape that features its historical roots intertwined with new commercial development that’s only brought more arts, culture and nightlife to an already bustling city. The old cobblestone streets and comfort foods also pair with the waterfront and seafood, which does well to give the city an immaculate cuisine variety. Tons of markets and events happen monthly, and beaches are only a short distance from downtown.

Salisbury, Maryland

Salisbury is one of the fastest growing places in Maryland, and if you ask locals, it’s to no surprise. This metro hub in between Maryland and Delaware offers the small town feel while also having a rural surrounding area, which explains them hosting the National Folk Festival once a year. It’s also close to Virginia, allowing retirees close locations to many neighboring cities. Despite the recent growth, Salisbury continues to be the perfect place to retire.

Pensacola, Florida

Pensacola is pretty much an outlier as far as locations in Florida go, but the panhandle city has a rich history that’s spanned five separate rulings from the Spanish to the French, and also has a historically rich Native American heritage. The beaches on the Gulf of Mexico bring fisherman and vacationers alike, and there’s even some military significance in the area. All in all, it’s a homey Florida city to settle in.

San Antonio, Texas

Home to the Alamo, San Antonio provides all the big city feel with famous attractions and plenty of unique cultural activities for everyone to enjoy. Whether you like a laid back lifestyle or hitting all the entertainment venues downtown, San Antonio offers a comfortable surrounding area that presents a casual vibe that pairs nicely with that rustic, old west heritage. It’s becoming apparent why it’s one of the best places to retire in Texas.

Charlotte, North Carolina

Charlotte’s evolved past your typical southern town, but it hasn’t lost that charm. With a historic feel but rising metropolitan energy, the premier North Carolina city is now a melting pot of locals who bring all types of cuisines and arts to the table. Not to mention it offers affordable living in a big city, which features everything from national events to professional sports teams.

Houston, Texas

Houston is a premier American town, and it’s become one of the strongest industrial cities in the country. All this growth has provided a positive economic impact on the region, and it’s drawing a lot of new residents. Houston is affordable in comparison to other large cities, and though millions have moved there, they’re still expanding. All that, plus you can’t forget the immense amount of entertainment and food options that come with a place of Houston’s size.

Grand Rapids, Michigan

Grand Rapids is the perfect example of a midwestern college town turned up-and-coming city. Between the rise of craft breweries and arts and unique shops gaining popularity, Grand Rapids’ location on the Grand River has also brought a growing economy, long from the days when only furniture production dominated the town. With a diversifying locale, and booming industries, the town’s only benefitted in quality of living and desirable amenities, even for lowkey retirees.

Tampa, Florida

Tampa, Florida has been on the rise for some time, but you could say they’re finally hitting their stride. With premier shopping and dining popping up everywhere, there’s the balance between big city lifestyle and the surrounding areas with beaches and outdoor activities. Then you have all the museums, sports and entertainment you could need, coupled with very unique regions like Ybor City, previously the cigar capital of the world, thanks to its Spanish and Latino roots.

Chatanooga, Tennessee

Chattanooga is an unassuming Tennessee city that’s only looking up. Chattanooga invested $120 million in their riverfront project in 2005, and it’s paying off, as now multiple festivals have established popularity, in addition to drawing numerous new businesses. There’s also the classic southern hospitality, filled with farmers markets, owner operated businesses, and of course, great Tennessee scenery.

Lakeland, Florida

The town of Lakeland, Florida has 38 lakes in its vicinity, which makes its name quite apt. With a mix of Floridian history and natural beauty, Lakeland directly caters to those looking for outdoorsy life in central florida. Big cities like Tampa and Orlando are nearby, and springs, beaches, and hiking trails are readily accessible, making it an ideal location to get a remote feel in a populated state.

Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas

Dallas-Fort Worth area is the epitome of Texas living. Larger than life atmosphere, diverse and unique cultural integration, and all the wonders and hidden gems that come with big city life. This metropolitan center is a lively place filled with tons of diversity and surprisingly homey atmosphere despite the size of the area. Whether in the suburbs or metro district, Dallas continues to cater to its growing population with pride and class, leaving no one behind.

Orlando, Florida

Orlando is no stranger to the national scene, and even lesser so for the retired folk. While the younger families are downtown or at Disney, retirees can be found all over the Orlando area in the surrounding suburbs which allow affordable living in some fine neighborhoods. However, that’ll never discount the countless options of entertainment available in all of the areas close by. Orlando only continues to offer more, and has solidified itself as a great retirement community.

Daytona Beach, Florida

Daytona Beach is an east coast gem in Florida, and fishing, beaches, racing, motorcycles and more are in abundance. With an ever-growing population, a wide variety of living possibilities are available, and it’s close proximity to cities like Jacksonville and Orlando make it a nicely tucked away suburb. Tons of events come to town if you’re interested, but for most, the beaches and small town feel keep a lot of retirees coming in each year.

Manchester, New Hampshire

Despite the small nature of a state like New Hampshire, the quaint town settled in between the mountain ranges and forests make it an ideal location to settle down. It’s not just college kids, although they have helped attract a younger generation, but the economic resilience and political see-saw nature keep in the national eye. Retirees love it regardless thanks to the skiing, hiking, and other outdoor activities the area provides.

Jacksonville, Florida

Jacksonville is not only one of Florida’s largest city centers, but also one of the largest metropolitan districts in the U.S. With a wide variety of neighborhoods and cultural diversity, Jacksonville continues to grow with endless amounts of restaurants and shops, with nearby areas providing beaches, marshes, and parks with areas to hike and kayak. With the metro area only growing, there’s still much to develop in Jacksonville.

Nashville, Tennessee

You can’t say enough about Nashville and their cultural contributions to Americana history and culture. Between the music history and iconic venues such as the Grand Ole Opry and Ryman Auditorium, you can’t dismiss the lively vibe of the Music City. Businesses have been flocking, the national attention is picking up, and Nashville is becoming more of a destination. For retirees, what better situation to move into. The living costs and benefits are palpable.

Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

Myrtle Beach may seem like a touristy destination exclusively for beachgoers, but it’s actually a beautiful town rich in history, and perfect for retirees to get into a great climate for a fantastic price. There’s no shortage of exceptional restaurants, and just because it’s a travel hub doesn’t mean the amenities are reserved for the travelers. There’s also a plentiful amount of local businesses, making it easy to enjoy that hometown feel.

Melbourne, Florida

Melbourne is a part of Florida’s Space Coast, which is highlighted by the area’s numerous space launches of satellites, spacecraft and rockets from nearby Kennedy Space Center. But Melbourne has a lot of other things to offer, including awesome beaches, a fine arts district, and a ton of bars and shops to help satisfy the demand. There’s also lots of museums and galleries, and the surrounding rivers and parks allow a wide variety of nautical activities to be enjoyed.

Miami, Florida

Miami is almost a place without need of introduction, but it’s also a place retirees don’t mind making home, despite the reputation it has as a party capital. With an insanely diverse population and entertainment and dining options far and wide. While there surely is a younger, more businessy vibe, empty nesters sure enjoy the relaxed beaches and many resort-style amenities, while also having access to national parks and other nature close by.

Asheville, North Carolina

Asheville is one of the most promising blossoming cities in the U.S., with a quirky personality that is equal parts weird and unique. Located 2,000 ft. up on the Blue Ridge Parkway, Asheville offers lots of hiking, skiing and other mountainous activities, while providing local breweries, fine coffee, and numerous other specialty shops and restaurants for patrons. The downtown area is as hip as can be, and many retirees enjoy settling here for the plentiful art and creative galleries that help give the city an extremely unique and appealing nature.

Ann Arbor, Michigan

Best Known as the home of the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor is carving out a new identity that’s catering to a more urban and outdoorsy culture, while also welcoming industry and retirees alike. Historic main street features all your classics from coffee shops to bookstores, but the cultural destinations are plentiful and Detroit is only a short ride away. Located on the Huron River, there’s also lots of outdoor recreation that can be had in the surrounding hillsides.

Ocala, Florida

Ocala may be known for its equestrian roots, but the hidden Florida town is in a prime location to both Florida’s natural beauty like springs and beaches, but also offers small, farm-to-table style businesses and restaurants, keeping it relevant despite the small town feel. With historic areas featuring Victorian homes and lots of creative entrepreneurs, Ocala is a relaxing place.

Lancaster, Pennsylvania

When you think Lancaster you may initially think of the Amish, and while you’re not wrong, it’s so much more than that. Nestled in the farmlands is a historic city with a ton of potential, and local shop owners and growers are making the most of it. The communities have come together to provide a wide array of entertainment, and the city offers niche shopping to cater to almost any need. With trendy festivals and unique events that draw visitors from all over, it’s a true home.

Naples, Florida

Naples is a much forgotten Florida city considering it’s located so far southwest that it lies in between the Everglades and the Gulf of Mexico. But don’t let proximity fool you, because retirees have been flocking here for years. Golf courses, fishing, and shopping are abundant, and quiet farm towns offer easy getaways outside of the city. But all that is worth it for the beaches and lack of income tax.

Port St. Lucie, Florida

Port St. Lucie offers what its larger neighbors in Ft. Lauderdale and Cocoa Beach don’t, with much more relaxed suburbs and a whole lot of access to water for fishing, boating, and all the water sports in between. The town is quiet and clean, and property tends to be cheaper than most other big Florida towns. Along the St. Lucie river, the town also features many markets and offers premier golf courses.

Fort Myers, Florida

Fort Myers lies near the Caloosahatchee River in Southwest Florida, and the midsized metro area has expanded from it’s old town heritage into a prime location for retirees thanks to the immersive downtown, complete with Museums, theaters, art galleries, and more. With tons to love about the beaches in and around the area, it’d be hard not to feel like you’re living in paradise in Fort Myers.

Sarasota, Florida

Seeing a trend here? Florida is a great place to retire, but Sarasota may be the best of them all. Also located on the Gulf Coast, this warm haven has become a mecca for retirees, and that also has to do with its prime location in relation to many fun surrounding cities like Tampa. With the town and business in it booming, it continues to evolve culturally and within means of entertainment, offering lots of different restaurants, theaters, and of course, the beautiful beaches and waterways.

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