Young families just starting out naturally look for the best of everything, and that includes affordable homes, great schools, lots of jobs, low crime rates and lots of stuff to see and do. As such, the Realty Biz News staff got their heads together, pored over the data, wracked their brains, argued the toss, banged some heads together and finally came up with these five cities as the best places in the US to raise a young family today.
#5 Des Moines, IA
There’s more to Iowa than just politics and corn. Des Moines ranks in the top ten for both health and education, providing kids the chance to experience city living in the heart of America’s farmland.
The Science Center of Iowa is just the ticket for budding biologists and engineers, while the clear night skies are just perfect for stargazing. Add to this, Des Moines, employment prospects are good – with just a 6.1% unemployment rate, the city has one of the healthiest economies in the nation.
Entertainment wise, families have much to do. They can keep fit by walking the paved trails, or else attend one of the free yoga classes at the Grays Park Lake.
#4 Minneapolis – St. Paul, MN
The twin metropolises of Minneapolis and St. Paul are home to one of the most extensive park and recreation lands in the US. Cycle paths and jogging trails meander through more than 13 miles of Minneapolis’ famous shoreline, something that resulted in the League of American Bicyclists awarding the city a “Bike Friendly City” accolade.
Minneapolis is also a hot spot for culture. Visit the stunning Weisman Art Museum, design inspired by Gehry, a perfect place to inspire children’s interest in Architecture, or else the Hennepin Theatre Stages, where Kid’s Nights performances are a common theme.
#3 Boston, MA
Boston creeps into third place thanks to its fantastic health and education services. This is a city that clear cares about its citizens, spending a whopping $23,000 per student on education, obliterating the national average of just $9,000. Apart from its schools, Boston is also home to world class hospitals such as the Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and the Children’s Hospital Boston.
Entertainment wise, the options are good. Families can keep fit in the leafy parks, while those with kids might enjoy the Back Bay Fens, a restored saltwater marshland that has been transformed into an “urban wilds”, complete with playgrounds, community gardens and basketball courts.
#2 Austin, Texas
The fact that Austin should crop up in the number two spot on our list shouldn’t really be a surprise. Austin has it all – warm and sunny, progressive to a tee, and with some of the best schools in the country, while the bass are always biting at Town Lake and city pools stay open throughout the year.
Known as the Live Music Capital of the World, Austin is also the site of the South by Southwest film, music and interactive festival. The city is also a center of innovation – Micheal Dell began his tech company in Austin, while the likes of Facebook, Samsung and Google all have headquarters here.
Boasting of more than 27,000 acres of parkland, a generous number of pediatricians and dozens of food co-ops and farmers markets, Austin is well-rounded, healthy, almost faultless.
#1 Washington, DC
In at number one, we have our capital itself. With its history, its inspiring monuments and its breathtaking architecture, it’s not just kids that will get themselves an amazing education here. Washington DC is chock-a-block with ideal venues for family outings – with more than 44 museums, the capital comes second only to New York.
For kids, there’s no end to the fun. Gravelly Park, with its front seat views of landings and take offs at Reagan National Airport, the National Air and Space Museum and so much more. Family dinner nights are easy at quirky local favorites like Matchbox restaurants or Busboys & Poets—both provide a place adults and kids can enjoy. And, of course, any child growing up in Washington, DC, will have a special place in his heart for the famous cherry blossoms and festival held each spring.