Spanning just 110 miles from east to west and 70 miles from north to south, Connecticut is by no means big, but it’s packing a mighty punch, all the same. With its stunning coastline, acres of densely forested hiking trails, and thriving arts and cultural scene, its reputation as one of the US’s most desirable states isn’t unfounded. If you have your heart set on moving to this top destination (and why wouldn’t you?), the only problem you face is choosing which of its many excellent towns, cities, and neighborhoods to live. Fortunately, help is on hand with our round-up of the 20 very best places to live in Connecticut.
For the sum of $385,100, you could buy a good-sized family home in Orange, a small town of 13,981 residents that has more than its few share of attractions. Competing for attention with its great school system is a low crime rate, quiet, safe neighborhoods, a family-friendly, welcoming community and access to the kind of job opportunities that support the very healthy median income of $109,538.
According to The Crazy Tourist, parents who want the very best for their child, and who aren’t afraid to pay the $1,262,400 it takes to own a home here, would do well to consider Riverside, where the public school system ranks as one of the best around. Even if the schools weren’t quite so good as they are, this small suburb of New York City would still have plenty to recommend it, thanks to its easy commuting distance to the city, abundance of amenities and excellent public services, safe streets, and the offer of an average median income that, at $193,194, ranks as one of the highest in the state.
Considering that house prices in Connecticut tend to be on the higher end of the scale, Mansfield’s median home value of just $233,100 makes a very nice change. In addition to the affordable housing, it also boasts some great public amenities, some A-grade state schools, a good range of parks and outdoor spaces, and a vibrant, family-orientated community.
With its stunning array of parks, shopping venues, music festivals, and beaches, Fairfield is as much a delight to its residents as it is to the thousands of tourists that flood the area each summer. While home values are on the higher end of the spectrum at $597,900, few would raise an eyebrow at the price when they consider just much bang they get for their buck in this delightful little corner of Connecticut.
16. New Canaan
No, housing in New Canaan is not what anyone would call affordable, but if you can stretch to the $1,439,600 it takes to buy a piece of prime real estate in this highly desirable suburb, you’ll find yourself very pleased indeed. Not only can residents expect to earn the distinctly unaverage median income of $174,677, they can also expect to enjoy some of the state’s finest schools, sparkling clean streets, a low crime rate, some stunning parks and outdoor areas, a thriving arts scene, and easy access to NYC’s bountiful job opportunities, shopping and cultural highlights.
Newfield is a neighborhood in Stamford, Connecticut, and as Stamford neighborhoods go, it’s one of, if not the, very best. The crime rate is next to nonexistent, while the buzzing downtown with its surplus of restaurants and activities guarantees plenty of entertainment for its 24,755 residents. The only area that could stand some improvement is the school system, which, while by no means bad, is not quite so good as some of our higher-ranking entries.
There’s no questioning Greenwich’s exceptional desirability. Along with the low crime, the good police presence, world-class schools, and excellent job prospects, the number of opportunities for outdoor lovers to get their fix of nature is outstanding, with multiple Audubon preserves for hiking, beautiful parks and playgrounds, and access to the lovely Todd's Point Beach. As you can imagine, your bank account needs to fall in line with the desirable status of the suburb: expect to pay around $1,217,500 for a good-sized family home here.
With a population of 34,688, Glastonbury manages to combine the attractions, amenities and recreational opportunities of big city living with a small town, friendly vibe. Crime is low, while the median income is comfortingly high at $111,645. The schools rank as some of the best around (with both Glastonbury High School and Gideon Welles School setting the bar when it comes to test scores and graduation rates). Housing may be relatively expensive, but this is a clear case of “you get what you for”.
12. Cos Cob
If you can gloss over the fact a 3-bedroom house in Cos Cob costs a stonking $1,038,100, you’ll find little to disappoint in this beautiful little suburb of New York City. Crime is so far towards the lower end of the spectrum, it may well have fallen off. Its proximity to the financial and business hubs of NYC, meanwhile, guarantees plenty of highly paid jobs – so highly paid, in fact, that most households can expect an average income of $135,417. Amenities are just as outstanding as the job prospects… while you may not find much by way of a rocking nightlife, there’s more than enough wine bars and restaurants to make up for it.
If you can stretch to the $327,900 it takes to buy a property in the delightful Hartford suburb of Farmington (or failing that, the $1,277 it’ll cost you in monthly rent), you’re in for a treat. Crime is exceptionally low, while its rich history, beautiful homes, excellent schools, and the outstanding natural beauty of its surrounds make for a very desirable place indeed.
Some quick facts about Woodbridge: $478,600 is what you can expect to pay for a 3-bedroom family home; 8,907 residents make up the happy, friendly community; 40% of its population has a masters degree or higher, while another 28% has a bachelor’s degree; most households can expect a median income of $138,320; children have access to one of the best educational systems in CT. Factor in a community farm which offers free workshops, weekly craft activities in the town center, and summer concerts on the town green, and it’ll come as little surprise to learn this little town is considered one of the most desirable in the state.
If you fancy setting up camp somewhere where you can expect the very mighty median income of $151,399, you may want to consider Ridgefield. Along with a hefty salary, you can expect a first-class school system, safe, clean streets with little to no crime, a great sense of community, an outstanding calendar of events and festivities, and more than enough shops, restaurants, and recreational venues to keep all but the most hard-core city slicker well-kept in entertainment.
With 12,169 residents to its name, Downton may not be New Haven’s largest neighborhoods, but its certainty among its best. Housing is supremely affordable, with a decently sized family home coming in at around $159,765. The amenities are as bountiful as you’d expect of a college town, while the restaurant scene is flouring.
7. Old Greenwich
Ranked by Niche as #1 in Best Places to Raise a Family in Connecticut, there’s no denying Old Greenwich’s appeal. Granted, housing isn’t cheap (expect to lay down $1,386,700 for a decently sized 3-bedroom house), but what you get for your money makes the investment more than worthwhile. Chief among its benefits is the easy commute to NYC, and the plentiful job opportunities that affords (not to mention the median household income of $236,250). The amenities, schools, safe streets, and friendly community are all equally outstanding, while its close proximity to the beach is the cherry on top.
If $1,152,100 for a 3-bedroom family house brings a tear to your eye and a lump to your throat, move swiftly on. If you’re in a fortunate enough position to prioritize quality of life over affordable housing, then cast your eyes in the direction of Westport, a suburb of New York City that may cost the earth to move into, but guarantees 100% satisfaction if you do. Crime is low, the streets are sparkling, the neighbors are friendly, the schools are stellar, and the job opportunities are bountiful (so bountiful, in fact, that most households can expect the tidy income of $181,360). Add a thriving community arts and theatre scene, a laid-back vibe, and an easy commute into NYC, and you can understand what makes Westport so special… and expensive.
2,935 residents live in Weatogue, and very happy they are with their choice to. With some of Connecticut’s best state schools, some beautiful parks, a strong police presence (and correspondingly low crime rate), a full calendar of parades, fairs, and music festivals, and friendly neighbors, it’s understandable why this small Hartford suburb is so high on so many families wish lists.
Southport may only have a population of 1,687, but there’s no denying its huge number of attributes. The state schools servicing the area are first-rate, while the job market is sufficiently booming to support a median household income of $200,139. We’ll leave the last word to a local resident, who, judging from her comment on Niche, couldn’t think any higher of her home if she tried. “I moved from the Lake Hills section of Fairfield to Southport about 13 years ago, and I love it here! There is a great sense of community and it feels like you are back in time when you enter the Southport Historic District. Everything is walking or biking distance away, which is a great plus. The restaurant scene is very nice with the Artisan and the Gray Goose representing the posh side of Southport. Southport cares a lot about the environment and nature, with Southport Park being a great little destination, and there is an ecological restoration taking place east of Pease Ave, South of Mill Hill Terrace, and north of I-95.”
According to Area Vibes, the cost of living in Simsbury is 25% more expensive than the US average, and 20% more expensive than the Connecticut average. A significant amount, but one that’s more than offset by the other stats and facts about this gorgeous suburb. The total crime rate of 1318 per 100k residents is 52% lower than the US average, while high school graduation rates are 15% higher than the national average (test scores are even better at 50% higher than the average). Throw in some first-class amenities, a diverse, welcoming community, and the kind of job market that’s able to support the highly attractive household median income of $116,444, and it’s understandable why so many people dream of living here.
With a population of 18,381, Avon may not be Hartford’s biggest suburb, but it certainly ranks as one of the best. Property retails for the hefty sum of $378,000, but few would quibble over the price when it comes with such a serious bunch of perks. Crime is almost too low to warrant a mention, while the strong job market assures most residents of a median household income of $125,536. Schools are of an exceptional quality, while its close proximity to neighboring towns such as West Hartford, Simsbury, Collinsville, and Farmington guarantees that if for any reason you can’t find what you’re looking for on your doorstep, you won’t have too far to go to get it.
1. West Hartford
The suburb of West Hatfield has more than enough to offer its healthy population of 63,360. In addition to offering some outstanding restaurants, bars, and retail destinations, it has some of the best schools in the state, along with one of the lowest crime rates. Job opportunities are plentiful, with most households earning a very robust median income of $95,298. Naturally, a destination this desirable comes with some hefty property prices, but even so, most consider the privilege of living in Connecticut’s most desirable area worth the $326,000 price tag.
Written by Garrett Parker
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