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3 of the Best Cities to Live in the Southern USA

Updated on February 12, 2010

Choosing 3 of the Best Cities in the South

These three cities in the southern USA were chosen for two very important reasons: the cost of living is low, but the quality of life is high. What more can a person ask for when choosing a place to live?

These cities would be excellent choices for both families starting out with young children and people looking for a place to retire. The truth is, these are excellent cities to call home, period. Unless of course, you hate heat or humidity. These cities are in the south, after all. The cities are listed in alphabetical order.

Asheville, NC

Morning in the Appalachian Mountains
Morning in the Appalachian Mountains

Asheville, North Carolina - One of the Best Cities to Live in the South

First on the list of best cities to live in the southern USA is Asheville, North Carolina. Asheville has been chosen as a best city to live by many magazines, books, and websites. There is a reason for Asheville's popularity. The population of Asheville isn't large, only about 70,000 people. Yet Asheville, NC offers an abundance of recreation and educational opportunities.

The price of homes in Asheville, NC is much lower than the national average- below $200,000. The median household income is also lower, but so is the cost of living. The unemployment rate for the city of Asheville is about average for the nation.

There are so many reasons Asheville is a popular city to live. It is nestled in the heart of the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains, which is some of the prettiest scenery in the United States. Just stepping out onto your front porch is an experience in itself.

The culture in Asheville is in line with much larger cities. There is an active community of artists. Lots of events such as concerts, sports and exhibits occur frequently at the local University of North Carolina at Asheville, a 4 year institution. Plenty of hiking trails, parks, and campgrounds surround the city for recreational opportunities.

Austin, TX

Austin, Texas

Austin, Texas is next on the list of best places to live in the southern USA. Austin has a population of about 700,000 people. The median household income is about average. The financial factors that make Austin enticing are many. The price of homes in Austin is lower than the national average, as well as the cost of living in general. Unemployment rates in Austin are lower than the national average. As a matter of fact, estimates of future job growth for the city of Austin are very bright, way above the national norms.

There are several other reasons to live in Austin, Texas. Austin has a greater number of people with higher education degrees than in many regions. The largest college in the United States is located in Austin. This provides many opportunities for taking college level classes, as well as attending college sports events and other college-related activities.

The nightlife in Austin is fantastic. The music can be compared to cities like Memphis or Nashville. There are five star restaurants, fun local pubs, and an eclectic mix of cultures.

Reasons Why Austin, Texas Is One of the Best Cities in the South

More Information About Austin, TX

Fayetteville, AR

Fayetteville, Arkansas

Fayetteville, Arkansas is another southern city worth considering as your hometown. The population is less than 100,000 people so it retains a small town feel. The price of homes and median household incomes in Fayetteville are lower than across most of the United States. But the cost of living in Fayetteville is also considerably lower, more than 10% lower than national levels. Unemployment rates in Fayetteville are also much lower than in the rest of the nation. On top of that, estimated job growth for Fayetteville is much higher than expected for other US cities.

Fayetteville is a utopia for nature lovers and outdoor sports enthusiasts. The place is surrounded by hiking trails, parks, campgrounds, streams, and lakes. It is in the Ozark mountains region and supplies plenty of photographic opportunities. Fayetteville's climate is also very pleasant, neither very hot or very cold.

The University of Arkansas is located here as well. Watch sporting events, go to art exhibits, take a few classes.

If that's not enough, Fayetteville boasts many excellent restaurants and nightclubs. There are many nice shopping opportunities as well.

Fayetteville is a good fit for both the outdoorsy type and the person that wants to be surrounded by beauty and culture.

Some of the Reasons Why Fayetteville, Arkansas Is One of the Best Cities to Live in the South

3 of the Best Cities to Live in the Southern USA Comments

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    • grill'n guy profile image

      grill'n guy 9 years ago from San Diego

      Interesting that you have chosen three college towns for your list. I was born and raised in a college town and since graduating from that institution, I have lived in five other communities. Three of those were also college towns, including the present one and I simply found the two other places lacked the unique energy and renewal that fresh youthful learners bring with them. I know very little about Asheville or Fayetteville, but Austin is so cool one forgets it is in the country of Texas! Another fine Hub Angela.

    • Angela Harris profile image
      Author

      Angela Harris 9 years ago from Around the USA

      Thanks, Grill'n Guy. I do have an affinity towns. Like you mentioned, they have a unique, youthful energy. Norman, Oklahoma is a favorite college town of mine. But it doesn't qualify as the south, so it didn't make the cut.

    • starrkissed profile image

      starrkissed 8 years ago from Arizona

      I have never been to any of those towns, but I've been to Dallas, TX and Fayetteville, NC. I'll have to check out these 3 cities sometime in the future. :)

    • 02SmithA profile image

      02SmithA 8 years ago from Ohio

      I especially like the looks of Asheville North Carolina. I've been there once, but don't remember it too well. I think the whole state of North Carolina is pretty nice.

    • allshookup profile image

      allshookup 8 years ago from The South, United States

      We sent a week in Fayetteville AK last year. It was really nice. I would never consider living in a city. But, we did enjoy staying there. Great places to eat and always something to do. If I was forced to move to a city, that would be a consideration. I live in a rural town (when I say rural, I mean the sticks. I live about 30 mintues from a town of 8,000 people) and have all my life, so I guess I'm not a city girl. But that's ok. That makes it that much more exciting to visit cities. Good hub! I'd love to see you make more hubs about the south and things to do down here. I'm always looking for adventures!

    • Sandilyn profile image

      Sandilyn 8 years ago from Port Orange, FL

      Interesting article. Ashevilles has been a favorite for many years and is a great place to live. The area is breathtaking and employment is good there.

      Austin is also another great choice. I have heard many wonderful things about the area and the quality of life there.

      I had not considered your third choice. With it being a small town I assume that most of the employment must be based around the college. The area does look fantastic. Makes me want to check it out!

    • profile image

      aletarw 8 years ago

      I don't get the attraction to Asheville unless one loves mountains. My husband and I toured and visited with a real estate agent. We fond that there are few jobs except retail. Additionally, the housing cost is not exactly low if you want urban living.

    • nancydodds1 profile image

      nancydodds1 8 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Nice hub. Congrates you had done good work.

    • desert blondie profile image

      desert blondie 8 years ago from Palm trees, swimming pools, lots of sand, lots of sunscreen

      I've been doing a bit of research myself...AND I'm a native Oklahoman...so kind of familiar with certain elements of southern city living. Take Austin OFF your list if you're not a techno-savvy type...the cost of livving, by TX standards, really high. The other areas...go for! Both great parts of USA...and still very 'low cost' compared to major cities ... Chicago, Houston, NYC, L.A. Boston, etc,.

      IF you're even remotely from 'the south' would highly recommend both these areas...both beautiful...full of southern charm...definitely more active economies than 'rust belt' areas...go for it !

      Hope all works for you! Since your profile notes that you're from "around the USA" am guessing that all of these locales would be fantastic! BEST!

    • lori763 profile image

      lori763 8 years ago from SWFL

      I have always wanted to go to Asheville, but have not made it yet. You have encouraged me to think about it again:)

    • profile image

      lonestarstate 8 years ago

      Austin is a great town with friendly people, great music, and good Texas food. It is one of if not the best city in Texas and around the country. There is always something to do in Austin and you never get bored. It is also a beautiful city and not to mention the great University of Texas with the very popular Texas Longhorn football team. If anyone is looking to go to college the University of Texas is an amazing school with a family atmosphere and neat traditions and if you like football the Longhorns are very fun to go watch, almost 100,000 people show up to the games and that is more than any other college football team and more than the College National Championship game. I am sorry if this is long but I love Austin so much that I recommend everyone to visit there.

    • profile image

      angel 8 years ago

      Don't forget Athens, GA! It's gotta be one of the coolest cities in the world!

      Also, I never really thought of Texas as Southern. To me, the South ends at the Louisiana border.

    • Austinstar profile image

      Austinstar 7 years ago from Somewhere in the universe

      OK, everyone STOP moving to Austin! No one tells you about the SCORPIONS! and the Cedar Fever! and the traffic problems, and the new Toll Roads! There is NO east/west corridors only north/south ones. There is NO loop even though they claim "Loop 1". Everything is Burnt Orange! 700,000 was so 10 years ago, now we have over a million! So STOP moving to Austin, OK! I promise I won't move to your city!

    • Austin Dwelling profile image

      Austin Dwelling 7 years ago from Austin, TX

      I moved to Austin 4 years ago and I am never moving back. Sorry AustinStar:)

    • profile image

      Sean 7 years ago

      Miami Beach. How can that not be listed? Pros: great nightlife (5am last call), abundant celebrities, all 4 major US sports at PRO level, concerts, theater, dance. Lincoln Road. Vastly different backgrounds of people from northeast to South America to Europe. Incredible dining. Moderate public transport. Great weather, even in the summer (10 degrees cooler on average than mainland). Low cost of living, a 1br apartment averages $900, similar to college towns in the north. Very sophisticated intelligent northern attitude and intellect. Think NYC south at 50% NYC prices -NYC winters.

      Cons

      Not NYC. Letterman? Stewart? Colbert? Joker formerly known as Late Night? SNL? Subway system that works 24/7? First line at new culture? Not here. 2nd rate, but so is every American city next to NYC.

      Humidity:temps may be 85 in August, but it feels like 100, though since its only a mile and a half wide you usually have a good breeze off the beach or the bay and EVERYTHING is air conditioned.

      Costs a fortune to buy real estate. Renters paradise, buyers market died off a decade ago.

      Hurricanes: Only 3 in the last 15 years, so again its not typical Florida as Cuba the Bahamas and the state protect it on all sides, but big sotrms (see Andrew, Wilma) can still slip through.

    • profile image

      Sean 7 years ago

      err if you still approve comments and can edit (I can't since it's not yet approved) please fix sotrms to storms lol

    • profile image

      Tiah 6 years ago

      I think some of you are forgetting this is not the top 3 best cities in general.. this is for the south..

      asheville is nice.. but i'm still not sure how i feel about it totally..

    • GreenMtnRealty profile image

      GreenMtnRealty 6 years ago from Asheville North Carolina

      I haven't met anyone yet that moved to Asheville and then wanted to leave - truly a great town with great people.

    • profile image

      Marie 6 years ago

      Asheville is not a cheap place to live.

      All of the local people call it 8 dollar an hour Asheville. It is beautiful here and has a lot of nice people.

      But the cost is outragous and wages are very low.

    • profile image

      Dena 6 years ago

      I'm moving to all three! Ha!

    • profile image

      katlynn 6 years ago

      I'm young still and its not time for me to move off because I won't be doing that until I'm done with college. I recently moved to texas from ohio and although I do love ohio, I love it in the south. Thing is most cities in texas are hugee and I'm a small town girl, so any suggestions on small towns to live in ANYWHERE where its warm mostly lol would be nice. Email me at kl82793@yahoo.com. Thankss (:

    • profile image

      mozmeelsadsfdsgf 6 years ago

      Someone wrote in to say that there are no jobs in North or South Carolina. Not so! -

      January 24, 2011 on SimplyHired.com job lisings

      North Carolina - 115,464 Jobs

      South Carolina - 48,660 Jobs

    • profile image

      brett 6 years ago

      I moved from Malibu, California to Fayetteville. Not regretting it one bit, now I have three times the money and 10 times the house...so if I want, I can vacation in malibu anytime!

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 6 years ago from the short journey

      Neat hub with interesting comments.

      Would like to link this to my accents on a comfortable heritage hub if you have no objection. Thanks.

    • profile image

      DeeDee. 5 years ago

      anyone know about retiring in Sarasota,Fla

    • profile image

      Zorita 5 years ago

      Im moveing from lex ky.and looking to move south.im having a baby and starting over so if anyone no the best place email me.newton.28@live.com thanks

    • profile image

      Awesome 5 years ago

      I never been to NC, but I live in Arkansas and its pretty fun! U get to dig for diomands. I dont like Texas much, but I luv Arkansas

    • kayecandles profile image

      kayecandles 5 years ago

      I would have chosen Charleston, SC :)

    • profile image

      Jason 5 years ago

      Strongly considering someplace like Asheville, and Fayetville sounds like another good option. Really just can't wait to get out of the northeast. Sarasota Florida is also a very nice place to retire, my great grandparents lived well in to their 80s in Sarasota and seemed to really enjoy it there.

    • kayecandles profile image

      kayecandles 5 years ago

      sarasota is beautiful

    • profile image

      ElleBee 4 years ago

      These all look like great cities! I've only been to Austin. It is a great place, but I don't know if I could see myself living there (heat could be a bit much for me, and I'm not much of a city person besides). I think Asheville would be my favorite on this list - not too large, not too hot, and beautiful mountain scenery!

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