12. Iowa City, Iowa: The joke is that no one comes here for the weather – but thanks to the University of Iowa, three medical centers, and a small-business development center, the job climate is good. The main attraction is a widely held sense of a safe haven, plus small town friendliness, an urbane art, music, and literary scene and a bustling downtown pedestrian mall.
13. Portsmouth, New Hampshire: The historic Market Square boasts lobster restaurants, boutiques, art galleries and used bookstores. It is also a working waterfront where busy tugboats and tankers dock along the Piscataqua River. High tech companies have found a home here, and the city features good restaurants and a hopping cultural scene without big-city hassles.
14. Spokane, Washington: Located where the Columbia River Valley rises to meet the forests of the northern Rockies, Spokane is a darn good buy with low utility costs, no income tax, and housing costs below national prices. The crown jewel is Riverfront Park, which has summer concerts, an ice skating rink and a beautifully restored carousel. The Rockies offer fishing, hiking, boating and skiing, and Spokane was recently named one of the best places in the country to play golf. The college helps support plays, music, restaurants, and clubs, and Spokane boasts its own symphony, opera house and a well-respected jazz orchestra.
15. Ashland, Oregon: Thousands of people descend each year on this liberal enclave tucked in the foothills of the Siskiyou Mountains for the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. The town offers four mild seasons, and a dazzling array of theater beyond Shakespeare. Recreational opportunities include walking and biking in Lithia Park, a downtown oasis, and skiing and camping in nearby mountains. People 65 and older can take any class free of charge at Southern Oregon University.
AARP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan membership organization dedicated to making life better for people 50 and over. We provide information and resources; engage in legislative, regulatory and legal advocacy; assist members in serving their communities; and offer a wide range of unique benefits, special products, and services for our members. These include AARP The Magazine, published bimonthly; AARP Bulletin, our monthly newspaper; Segunda Juventud, our quarterly newspaper in Spanish; NRTA Live and Learn, our quarterly newsletter for National Retired Teachers Association members; and our Web site, www.aarp.org. We have staffed offices in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.