Best Places to Live in America--A Recap 1999-2009
Money Magazine "10 Best Places to Live in America"
Every year Money Magazine picks the top 10 best places to live in America. Here is a quick synopsis of the #1 places to live from 1999 to 2009. The winners are rated on economic opportunity, good schools, safe streets, things to do and a sense of community.
The town I live in presently made the 10 best places to live in the USA a few years ago. I am very happy with the each of the indicators that Money Magazine uses. The schools are some of the best in the country. There are many economic opportunities, even in this day. The town has a very strong sense of community. There is always something to do without leaving town. I feel secure that my children are safe when they are out.
I am not sure how Money Magazine does it, but they sure picked a winner in this small town! They look all over the county for places with the best opportunity and best lifestyle. They list realistic pros and cons for each pick. If you want to move, but you don't know where, look at Money Magazines picks to help you choose.
San Francisco, CA
Top Pick 1999--San Francisco, CA
San Francisco is a techie's dream. Situated close to Silicone Valley, it is also a hub of biotechnology and biomedical companies. The city is continually in need of professionals with expertise in these areas.
Museums, sporting events, and performing arts abound in the city. They have opera, ballet, symphony orchestra and theatres staging live performances. Let's not forget the Fillmore is in San Francisco. The Fillmore was the first to stage such greats as the Grateful Dead, Janice Joplin and Jefferson Airplane.
A plethora of universities and colleges exist in San Francisco. San Francisco State University has different graduate and undergraduate programs in over 100 specialties. There are also specialized centers of higher learning such as music schools, culinary schools and art schools. The Academy of Art University is said to be the largest of it's kind in the United States.
Outdoor recreational opportunities are one reason people flock to this city. You can be skiing, sailing or hiking in top rated areas within a few hours drive. Wine country is only a couple of hours away. You can ride in the famous cable cars for a day of shopping. San Francisco has so much to do, time is the only deterrent.
Top Pick 2000--Portland, OR
Portland, OR, also known as "The City of Roses", is famous for it's parks and gardens. Forest Park covers 5,000 acres and is one of the largest parks found within city limits in America. It is renowned for being the largest urban forest in the United States, extending 8 miles along the Willamette River.
Portland is the home of many creative personalities. Matt Groening, the creator ot the Simpsons and Futurama, lives here. Sam Elliot, most recently seen in "The Golden Compass", graduated from high school in Portland.
June in Portland stars the annual Portland Rose Festival that features 2 parades, carnival rides and the famous dragon boat races. Portland is host to several beer festivals, such as the Oregon Brewers Festival. This festival is held on the last weekend in July and is known for being the largest outdoor craft beer festival in America.
Portland is the headquarters for Adidas, Nike and Columbia Sportswear. Portland is the largest shipper of wheat in the United States. The cost of electricity is very low in Portland due to the many river dams. This has led to the expansion of aluminum production. Steel production is another major employer.
New York City
Top Pick 2001--New York City, NY
New York City is home to many internationally recognized icons. Wall Street, the Statue of Liberty, the Empire State Building, and the United Nations headquarters are all found here. It was home to the tallest buildings in the world, the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center, until September 11, 2001 when terrorist attacks destroyed them.
New York City has over 28,000 acres of parks overall. The most famous of these is Central Park. Somewhere between 25 million and 30 million people visit Central Park every year. A zoo, extensive walking trails and two ice skating rinks can be found in Central Park. Central Park has been a National Historic Landmark since 1963.
A hodgepodge of cultures exist side by side in New York City. You can find restaurants for every imaginable cuisine. The Statue of Liberty was the first sight of millions of immigrants arriving at nearby Ellis Island. New York City is home of the largest Saint Patrick's day parade in America.
New York City is a global focus of international commerce and business. One of the main cities in the world for finance, several major international corporations are headquartered here. Park Avenue has some of the most expensive real estate in the world. Midtown Manhattan holds the record of having the most city skyscrapers. Lower Manhattan is home to the New York Stock Exchange, Wall Street and NASDAQ.
Orange County, CA
Top Pick 2002--Orange County, CA
Orange County, CA is unique in that there is no one city that is considered the center. Four of the main cities are Anaheim, Santa Ana, Huntington Beach and Irvine. Anaheim is know for it's tourism and is the home of Disneyland. Santa Ana is the governmental seat of the county. Irvine is the business center.
Huntington Beach is one of the surf capitals of the USA. It has beaches facing in four different directions, southwest, west, south, and northwest. The US Open for Surfing occurs here every year. Other famous events are the biathlon hosted by the Bolsa Chica & Huntington State Beach Lifeguards and the Super 7 Paintball Championships.
Gateway, Linksys, and Activision Blizzard are all headquartered in Orange County, CA. Western Digital, Oakley, Inc. and Taco Bell are also headquartered here. Tourism is a big business in Orange County. The beautiful weather, lovely beaches and Disneyland all combine for tons of visitors.
Top Pick 2003--Naperville, IL
Naperville, IL is the 5th largest city in Illinois. It covers 36 square miles located close to Chicago. Naperville is home to two museums, many art galleries and a performing arts association. The best library system in the country is also found here. In 2016 Naperville was rated the safest city by Niche.com.
This is a family friendly town with low crime rates and outstanding schools. The Riverwalk bordering the DuPage River covers 4 miles. A portion goes through downtown Naperville. The Main Street Promenade is a mix of retail stores and restaurants at street level. Above the stores and restaurants are condos and lofts. Walking is a pleasure in Naperville!
The Ogden Avenue Strip is the largest collection of car dealerships in the country. Every major automobile manufacturer is represented. Bell Labs and Western Electric are among the many national companies with headquarters in Naperville. Naperville was known as one of the fastest growing communities in the 1990's.
Top Pick 2004--Charlottesville, VA
Charlottesville, Va is an alluring town nestled in the outskirts of the Blue Ridge Mountains. The town is home to three past president's homes, the most famous of which is Thomas Jefferson's Monticello. The largest outdoor pedestrian mall is found in Charlottesville. The Downtown Mall has dozens of stores, restaurants and attractions.
The University of Virginia is located in Charlottesville, giving it a reputation as an delightful college town. The University of Virginia Medical Center is world renowned. The Dogwood Festival held in April is a wonderful week long event culminating in a parade followed by the Dogwood Festival Queens Ball.
Charlottesville is a heaven for readers and writers and hosts the annual Charlottesville Festival of the Book. The Festival of the Book is held to bring readers and writers together to celebrate all things literary. It has grown into the largest gathering of writers and readers in the Mid Atlantic Region.
Video of Moorestown, NJ
Top Pick 2005--Moorestown, NJ
Moorestown, NJ is located in south central New Jersey, east of Philadelphia, PA. Moorestown's strong sense of community made it a perfect pick for the #1 place to live in America in 2005. It is known for having one of the best school systems in New Jersey. Graceful Victorian homes and a walkable downtown add to the allure of this enchanting town.
Moorestown was originally a Quaker town. All liquor sales were originally banned in 1915, and it is still a dry town today. Referendums were introduced to allow liquor sales in 1935, 1953 and 2007. Each time they failed to get the required votes.
The third Sunday in September is Family Fun Day in Moorestown. A wide varitey of entertainment, from sports to music and stage acts, can be found at Family Fun Days. The entire community is invited for this afternoon of fun.
Fort Collins, CO
Top Pick 2006--Fort Collins, CO
Fort Collins, CO is located about 60 miles north of Denver and is home to Colorado State University. Fort Collins has a low crime rate, good job market and a wide variety of outdoor activities. It started as a military outpost for the US army and has grown into the fifth most populated city in Colorado.
A large college aged population inhabit this city and drives the fun activities and the prosperous music scene. Micro-breweries have a thriving business in Fort Collins. The Colorado Brewers Festival is held yearly, featuring beer from as many as 45 breweries.
Old Town, the historic shopping district, is well known for it's many festivals. A favorite is the New West Fest. This free festival has been held annually for 20 years. The festival features arts, crafts, food, a Kid's World, 7 stages of entertainment and a couple of beer gardens. The festival takes place Friday to Sunday giving residents hours of enjoyment!
Top Pick 2007--Middleton, WI
Middleton, WI has many parks and bike trails and is known as a family town. It is a western suburb of Wisconsin's state capital of Madison. The town sports a pool complete with water slide. Nearby Lake Mendota supplies water fun like sailing and swimming.
Downtown hosts shops, spas and a variety of restaurants. Take a lazy walk through the downtown area to enjoy unique shops and a pleasing ambience. Stop for a snack at one of the appetizing eateries, such as the Bristled Boar Saloon & Grill.
In the winter enjoy the many cross country skiing trails or one of the ice skating rinks. Stop by the world famous Mustard Museum featuring the most unique collection of mustards in the world. Visit the General Store, also known as "The Friendly Store" to find out why Middleton's nickname is "The Good Neighbor City".
Top Pick 2008--Plymouth, MN
Plymouth, MN is known for its outdoor amphitheater, first rate school system, and abundant outdoor activities. The Hilde Performance Center is home to dozens of outdoor performances during the summer months. The annual Music in Plymouth concert is held each 4th of July weekend and is followed by fireworks.
February finds Plymouth residents enjoying the annual Fire and Ice Festival. This festival takes place on the ice and includes ice fishing, dog sledding demos, and fireworks. Some of the odder activities include mini-golf and bowling, not the usual for on the ice!
Plymouth is the third largest suburb of the Minneapolis-St. Paul metro area. It is located about 10 miles from downtown Minneapolis makes it an easy commute. However, Plymouth has over 50,000 jobs within city limits. Computer related industry, telecommunications and high-tech research are just a few of the main employers in Plymouth.
Money Magazine Best Places to Live LInk
- How Money Magazine Chooses The Best Places To Live
Methodology: To create MONEY’s Best Places to Live ranking, we collected and analyzed 170,000 data points covering about 2,400 places.
- Money Magazine "The Best Places to Live 2017
Here are the 2017 MONEY’s Best Places to Live in the United States, including info on jobs, housing, and schools.
© 2009 Kari Poulsen