- Michael Rubenstein
Embracing Life at Its Fullest
En español | What does it take to be a top-10 neighborhood? Proximity to jobs helps. Plenty of housing, especially apartments and condos. Amenities of all kinds that are easy to reach. Healthy lifestyles are a big plus. All factors built into the Livability Index come into play. Not every top neighborhood scores well in every category: Crime is a problem in some, traffic in others. But these neighborhoods have special qualities that help them rise to the top of our list.1 of 12
- Courtesy Focal Flame Photography/Greater Madison Convention & Visitors Bureau
Mifflin West, Madison, Wis.
Condos and apartments blend with single-family houses in this eclectic neighborhood within walking distance of parks, lakes, shopping, a performing arts center, the state Capitol and all the university amenities. Minimal congestion, frequent buses. High voting rate.2 of 12
- Christian Heeb/laif/Redux
Upper West Side, Manhattan
Great restaurants, world-class culture, easy access to gyms and Central Park jogging paths. Expensive housing, but a walkable neighborhood with cheap and convenient mass transit. Multigenerational community.3 of 12
- Denise Chambers
Downtown Crossing, Boston
A shopping district in transition to more mixed use with high-rise residences. Adjacent to Boston Common (and all of its recreational amenities), the theater district and the financial district. Stations for three main rail lines are nearby. Some streets are for pedestrians only.4 of 12
- Preston Gannaway
South of Market, San Francisco
Residents of this health-conscious neighborhood have low obesity and smoking rates and abundant options for nutritious food. It’s close to downtown and has a burgeoning arts scene. LGBT-friendly5 of 12
- RosaIreneBetancourt 8 / Alamy
Washburn, La Crosse, Wis.
Low-density mix of apartments and single-family homes close to a number of universities and a retail district. Midwest-nice neighborhood with low crime, excellent air quality, low speed limits and above-average high school graduation rates.6 of 12
- Danita Delimont/Getty Images
Downtown, Sioux Falls, S.D.
The hub of this fast-growing midsize city features a mix of small-town and big-city characteristics: affordable multifamily housing, high-quality health care, low levels of income inequality.7 of 12
- Mark Sauer/Mesabi Daily News/AP Images
Southside, Virginia, Minn.
Traffic-free living in a small-town community in the Iron Range with affordable single-family homes and hockey-crazy residents. The area is known for community engagement, voluntarism and an emphasis on education.8 of 12
- Courtesy Bismarck-Mandan Convention & Visitors Bureau
Downtown, Bismarck, N.D.
Low unemployment, high civic involvement, good prospects for upward mobility in state capital energized by fracking boom. Mix of multifamily and single-family housing with monthly costs well below the national average.9 of 12
- Courtesy Howard Frisk/Visit Seattle.org
Healthy foods, a walkable neighborhood, access to parks and low smoking rates help keep residents out of hospitals for preventable conditions. Strong mix of residential, retail, office and cultural uses.10 of 12
- Jebb Harris/The Orange County Register/ZUMAPRESS.com/Alamy
Downtown, Los Alamos, N.M.
Main street atmosphere, fresh air, clean water and gorgeous scenery at 7,355 feet. Economic opportunity is high, crime is low and good-paying jobs are within a short commute by car. Good entertainment options.11 of 12
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Use the AARP Livability Index tool to see where your neighborhood or favorite city ranks