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The 20 Best Places to Live in Upstate New York


If you are relocating and your area of choice is Upstate New York, then you will find significant differences between each of the locations. Each city or town has pros and cons, so the different locations will appeal to different people.

You should consider the various features of each location to decide which area best meets your needs. Some of the factors to think about are the property prices, the cost of living, the community's diversity, the quality of the public schools, crime rates and safety, recreational and leisure activities, and the overall quality of life on offer.

Each person will rank the importance of these factors differently depending on their lifestyle and personal tastes. Taking all the factors into account, here are the 20 best places to live in Upstate New York.


20. Lansing

According to Niche, Lansing is a small town in Upstate New York that has a population of fewer than four thousand people. It is located in Tompkins County, and it is considered one of the best places to live in the state for a variety of reasons.

First, it is an excellent place to raise a family as there are highly-rated public schools and various family-oriented activities. Second, it is great for young professionals as there are good transport links, decent nightlife, and plenty of employment opportunities. Finally, the community's diversity is an appealing feature for many people.

Clarence Center

19. Clarence Center

Clarence Center is a suburb of Buffalo in Upstate New York that has a population of just over three thousand people. There are many pros to choosing this location to call home.

Some of its best features are the outstanding public schools, the reasonable cost of living, the family-oriented activities, and the diverse job opportunities. However, there are also some downsides, including a lack of community diversity and poor nightlife.

East Aurora

18. East Aurora

East Aurora is one of the many locations in Erie County that is considered one of the best places to live in Upstate New York. There is a strong sense of community in this town, which has a population of more than six thousand residents.

Some of the best features of East Aurora are the excellent schools, the range of activities for people of all ages to enjoy, the low crime rates, the reasonable cost of living, and the variety of jobs available.


17. Fayetteville

Located in Onondaga County, Fayetteville is a suburb of Syracuse with a population of a little over four thousand. It is such an amazing place to live that there are almost no negatives to living in the area.

It is ranked highly for safety, education, job opportunities, outdoor activities, and cost of living. There are also diverse housing options, with properties available to rent or purchase in various styles and sizes.

Gang Mills

16. Gang Mills

Gang Mills in Steuben County has a median home price of less than $170 thousand, while the median household income is around $87 thousand. The income to property price ratio means that Gang Mills is an affordable place to live.

According to Best Places, the unemployment rate in Gang Mills is just four percent, and the job market is growing. This hamlet is also a wonderful place to live for families due to the range of activities to enjoy in the surrounding area and excellent public schools.

Country Knolls

15. Country Knolls

A village in Saratoga County, Country Knolls is home to just over two thousand residents. It is considered an affordable place to live as the average house price is $271 thousand, while residents enjoy a median household income that is significantly above the state average at more than $107 thousand.

Therefore, there is a good ratio between income and property prices. In addition to the reasonable cost of living in Country Knolls, it also boasts highly-rated schools and plentiful employment opportunities.


14. Fairport

The New York State Canal System passes through Fairport, which is a village with a population of just over five thousand residents and is famous for its breweries. Some of the many positive features of this location are the range of leisure activities for residents and visitors to enjoy, the reasonable cost of living, the job opportunities, and the excellent schools.


13. Menands

The affordability is one of the biggest draws to Menands in Albany County. The median house price is around $212 thousand, and the median household income is $65 thousand. It is only a small community, as there are under four thousand people living in this location.

Despite its small size, it has a dense suburban feel, and there are plenty of activities for people of all ages and interests to enjoy. The residents also enjoy the community's diversity.


12. Hamilton

The diverse range of activities to enjoy in Hamilton, Madison County, is one of the features that appeal to the four thousand residents the most. This village in Upstate New York is home to Colgate University, and it is where the 2017 movie 'Pottersville' was filmed.

There are almost no negatives to living in Hamilton, as it ranks highly in every factor you would consider. Therefore, it has a great choice of public schools, there are jobs in a variety of sectors, it is an affordable place to live, and there are plenty of things to see and do in the area.


11. Eggertsville

Eggertsville is a city in Erie County that just misses out on a position in the top ten best places to live in Upstate New York. It has a population of around 16 thousand people. Despite this location having many appealing features, it is a surprisingly affordable place to live.

The median household income is around $68 thousand, while the average home price is $129 thousand. This location has many parks, bars, and restaurants to enjoy, and it has a vibrant nightlife.

Therefore, it is ideally suited to people who enjoy a busy lifestyle and enjoy getting out of the house. Other positives include the community diversity, the high standard of the schools, and the plentiful job opportunities.


10. Williamsville

The outdoor space in Williamsville, Erie County, is one of the city's most appealing features. It is famous for Glen Park, which is home to Glen Falls. It is a small city with a population of just over five thousand people, so there is a strong sense of community.

Williamsville is a comparatively affordable place to live, with average house prices around $164 thousand. Williamsville has a dense suburban fell, and there are plenty of bars, restaurants, and parks for residents to enjoy.

In addition to the affordability of the area, Williamsville ranks highly for education, nightlife, jobs, and safety.

Cayuga Heights

9. Cayuga Heights

You will find Cayuga Heights in Tompkins, and it has a tiny population of under four thousand residents. The median house prices are higher than the average for Upstate New York at $331 thousand.

However, the properties remain affordable as the median household income is also high at $85 thousand. On the other hand, the general cost of living in Cayuga Heights is considered expensive.

Despite the costs, this area has plenty to encourage people to make it their home. For example, there are great schools, a lively nightlife, strong transport links, and a good choice of leisure activities.


8. Brighton

Located in Monroe County, Brighton has a population of under 37 thousand people, says New York Upstate. It is a suburb of Rochester that is considered an affordable place to live, as the median house price is just over $171 thousand, while the median household income is $67 thousand. Brighton scores highly across the board, so it is little wonder that it is in the top ten best places to live in Upstate New York.


7. Hudson

Hudson in Hudson Valley, Columbia County, is a small city with a population of just six thousand people. Despite its diminutive size, this location has a lot to offer its residents.

It is a fantastic place to live for those who are interested in culture and the arts, and it is also an up-and-coming area for business. Furthermore, Hudson has easy access to New York City, and it boasts wonderful parks and trails.

Saratoga Springs

6. Saratoga Springs

Known as the Spa City, Saratoga Springs is just a couple of hours from New York City. It is a fantastic place to live for those who enjoy the outdoors, especially winter sports enthusiasts.

The high quality of life on offer is reflected in the property prices, and the median house price in this city is $450 thousand. However, this small city's residents may well argue that the high prices are worth it to enjoy living in such a beautiful area.

There are 28 thousand people living in Saratoga Springs, and the area has an exceptionally low crime rate.


5. Ithaca

Ithaca is a college town in Tompkins County with a population of around 30 thousand residents. It is known as a picturesque location, as there are miles of lakefront, waterfalls, gorges, and a surrounding landscape that is the perfect setting for a variety of outdoor and recreational pursuits.

The job market is growing fast, and this has led to a competitive housing market. The situation has driven up house prices, and the median home price is now around $242 thousand.

However, the highly-rated public schools, modern developments, and beautiful surroundings make it a price worth paying to enjoy the quality of life.


4. Albany

Albany in Capital District has a population of approximately 98 thousand people. The charm of this city is what many of the residents find appealing. The architecture in the downtown area spans more than 400 years, and there are multiple historical attractions.

Albany is set against a beautiful backdrop as it sits between the Hudson Valley and the Adirondack Mountains. Other reasons to consider living in this area are the outstanding public schools and further education establishments, the cultural scene, and the affordable property and rental prices.


3. Syracuse

Syracuse consistently makes it onto lists of the best places to live in New York State. One reason for this is the range of activities there are to enjoy, with something to suit all ages and interests.

There are restaurants, bars, shopping malls, family-oriented attractions, and leisure activities. You can also enjoy outdoor activities due to the city's proximity to Onondaga Lake.

There is an element of convenience to loving in Syracuse, which has a population of $146 thousand, as it is one of the most walkable cities in Upstate New York, and all the amenities are located close together. With a median property price of $115 thousand, it is also an affordable place to live.


2. Rochester

Located in Monroe County, Rochester is the third-most populous city in New York, with 210 thousand residents. There are many pros to living in this city, including a tight-knit community, ample employment opportunities in various sectors, and excellent transport links.

Furthermore, it is one of the most affordable areas in Upstate New York, as the median house price in Rochester is around $125 thousand.


1. Buffalo

According to Life Storage, the best place to live in Upstate New York is Buffalo in Erie County. The city's waterfront has undergone an impressive revitalization, so it boasts outstanding restaurants and bars, and there is a diverse range of activities to enjoy, including outdoor yoga, cycling, and kayaking.

There are excellent public schools in the area, and the technology industry is booming. Therefore, it is a great option for both families and young professionals or entrepreneurs in the tech industry. Despite having a population of 261 thousand, Buffalo has retained a strong sense of community. Furthermore, the properties are affordable, as the median house price of $140 thousand.

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Liz Flynn

Written by Liz Flynn

Liz Flynn has worked as a full-time writer since 2010 after leaving a career in education. She finds almost all topics she writes about interesting, but her favorite subjects are travel and food. Liz loves the process of researching information, learning new things, and putting into words what others who share her interests might like to read. Although she spends most of her time writing, she also enjoys spending time with her husband and four children, watching films, cooking, dining out, reading, motorsports, gaming, and walking along the beach next to her house with her dog.

Read more posts by Liz Flynn

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