Starting from the tip of Maine and ending with the peninsula of Florida, the East Coast is full of exciting places that can offer a range of cultures, climates, and communities. From the Atlantic Ocean and its rivers to rolling hills and mountains, the natural beauty cannot be understated, and it’s no wonder so many people strive to call the East Coast their home.
Whether you’re just curious about the best the East Coast has to offer or looking to make a change, you may wonder, “What are the best places to live on the East Coast?” There’s no single answer to this question, but this list has been compiled based on factors such as living quality, cost of living, job opportunities, education, crime rates, culture, diversity, and climate. Whether you love sunshine or you love snow, you can find exactly what you’re looking for in one of the cities outlined here.
If you want to learn more about the greatest communities of the East Coast and which ones you might want to avoid, read on to learn what the eastern seaboard has to offer.
12 Best Places to Live on the East Coast
With thousands of cities on the East Coast, it can be overwhelming to know which ones are the best for you to live. While this list is not exhaustive, it utilizes some of the top-ranked cities, not just on the East Coast but in the nation. Many of these locations have interesting local cultures, natural beauties, amenities, a good quality of living, safety, and strong educational systems.
12. New York, New York
No East Cost list is complete without New York City. While there are plenty of cons to living in one of the biggest cities in the world, there’s a reason so many people choose to call New York City home. As the United States’ most populous city, NYC is home to over 8,800,000 people and includes over 20,000,000 in its metropolitan area. Few cities can offer as many cultural and career opportunities as New York.
The city is made of five boroughs, which each have their own cultures and perks. New York is incredibly diverse and many racial and ethnic communities have developed a little piece of the City That Never Sleeps to call their own, so all kinds of people can feel at home in New York. Few cities can call themselves both a financial and fashion center, showing the huge range of lifestyles in NYC.
While life in New York is often portrayed as exciting and glamorous, with a median selling price of $715K and a per-square-foot price of $774 according to Realtor.com, living in New York City comes at a high cost, especially if you want to live in boroughs like Manhattan. The cost of living is also quite high, but nevertheless, with all that New York offers, New York remains one of the best East Coast cities to live in.
11. Boston, Massachusetts
Boston, Massachusetts, sometimes called Beantown is home to almost 5 million people. Not only does Boston have a lot of beautiful historic buildings, but it has also been a hub for educational opportunities and professional growth.
Educational institutions are major employers for people in Boston. Boston University, Harvard University, and Northeastern University are all major employers for people who live in Boston. Being such a well-educated area, there are also many renowned medical institutions that employ a lot of people, including Boston Children’s Hospital, Massachusetts General Hospital, and Brigham and Women’s Hospital.
Like New York, Boston gets quite expensive, and the median home sells for $716.7K. Thus, buying a home can be quite overwhelming for many families, especially as they deal with a higher cost of living. However, there’s no doubt that you pay for all the other perks that Boston has to offer quality schools, low crime, and a higher-than-average annual salary of $76,850.
10. Reading, Pennsylvania
Unless you’re from Pennsylvania or like to play Monopoly, you may not have heard of Reading, PA (pronounced Red-ing, not reed-ing). One of the four railroads on the Monopoly gameboard is the Reading Railroad, and the real-life version was an important part of the establishment of the city of Reading, which is home to just under half a million people.
Although Reading isn’t a major city like New York or Boston, there’s a lot it gives residents. Its housing costs are lower than the national average, and you can expect a home to be about $225,296. Reading has job opportunities from big companies like Boscov’s, East Penn Manufacturing, and Tower Health.
While most Reading workers earn less than average, they also benefit from a lower cost of living that helps correct lower pay. Plus, with lower-than-average crime, it’s no wonder that Reading ranks #10 of the best places to retire.
9. Manchester, Connecticut
If you’re looking for a safe place to settle down, Manchester is a small city that has a huge quality of life. Shopping, dining, and tree-lined streets make Manchester a beautiful oasis for individuals and families looking for a tranquil but robust place to live.
While many areas in Connecticut are expensive, Manchester is quite affordable and housing is below the national and state average, making this area accessible for more types of families. Most residents own their own home, and families love that Manchester’s schools are better than average.
8. Providence, Rhode Island
Located in the smallest-sized state, Providence has a metro population of 1,618,268. This New England city has close access to nearby beaches and has a hip downtown that has transformed from Providence’s industrial past.
Residents of Providence can expect higher than average salaries and often work in industries like education, tourism, finance, or healthcare. Some of the main employers in Providence include Roger Williams Medical Center, Citizens Financial Group, Brown University, and IGT.
One perk of Providence is the relatively low crime rate. With a violent crime rate of 393 per 100,000, Providence has a slightly lower crime rate than the national average and it is about on par with other communities similar in size. Thus, Providence is a relatively safe place to live.
7. Washington D.C.
The nation’s capital is home to many federal government institutions, making it one of the most fascinating and politically-relevant places to live. Due to its proximity to important government bodies, Washington D.C. is home to many think tanks, higher ed institutions, museums, government buildings, and historical locations.
D.C. is known for its quality public transit, which is why its transportation system has been ranked at # 4 by the U.S. News & World Report, and more than 1/3 of commuters rely on public transit to get to their jobs. There are always job opportunities developing.
The cost of living in D.C. is a major downside, which is why people who work in D.C. may choose to live in nearby areas in Virginia or Maryland to save on costs while still being part of the D.C. metropolitan area.
6. Greenwich, Connecticut
Greenwich, Connecticut is consistently chosen as one of the best places to live in Connecticut, a state known for its many prosperous communities. A scenic coastal town, Greenwich offers luxurious living that’s a less-than-an-hour commute to New York City by train. As one of the oldest towns in Connecticut, you can feel the deep culture embedded in this town.
There’s a lot that makes people from celebrities and sports stars to artists and creatives call one of the villages of Greenwich their home. While homes get costly, Greenwich offers low property taxes. Families love the excellent public school options and prestigious private schools in the area. If you like beaches, yacht clubs, fine fining, and fine arts, Greenwich offers plenty of luxury.
If you want a lot of bang for your buck, Greenwich is not the most affordable of East Coast cities and has a very competitive housing market, so when trying to buy a home, you may experience bidding wars that hike up the prices from the initial listing price.
5. Charleston, South Carolina
Going a little further down south, Charleston is a great choice for people who want to live on the East Coast but want warmer weather than northern states offer. Charleston is a popular choice for people who want to flee areas like New York or Los Angeles and the area continues to develop as its population grows.
Beautiful beaches are one of the biggest perks of Charleston, but people also love the job market too. As more people move to this area, the job market grows to accommodate all the new people. Migration to Charleston encourages big companies and industries to find a place in Charleston and further build the economy.
One concern people may have when living in Charleston is that in some areas, Charleston’s crime rate is higher than average. In violent crime areas like assault, murder, and rape, the averages are higher than the national average, while other crime areas like burglary or theft have lower rates. Keep in mind that more urban areas tend to have higher crime rates and within these areas, you can still find neighborhoods that have less crime risk.
4. Savannah, Georgia
With hot summers and mild winters, it’s no wonder that many people flock to Savannah to live in the “Hostess City.” As the oldest city in Georgia, Savannah is full of history, which creates many appealing attractions and development opportunities for a bright future.
If you’re looking to live in Savannah, you can expect the home prices to be lower than the national average. The job market is primarily composed of the service industry, Memorial Health University Medical Center, educators, and Gulfstream Aerospace Corp.
Savanah has a violent crime rate that is on par with the national average, but it has higher than average property crime that some movers may find concerning. Nevertheless, there are many opportunities that make Savanah an attractive East Cost location.
3. Richmond, Virginia
If you’re looking for Southern hospitality, Richmond, Virginia will give you a great place to call home. Richmond serves as the state’s capital. Home to more than 225,000 people, Richmond, Virginia has a lot to offer.
Some of the reasons people choose to move to Richmond include a cost of living that is 3% lower than the national average based on low housing costs and low costs in categories like groceries and transportation. The median home price is $397,254 while median rent is 1,208. Richmond also offers big employers like Wells Fargo, UPS, Capital One, and Amazon.
Richmond’s array of neighborhoods means that the area you choose can be custom fit to your lifestyle. Some neighborhoods are more family-oriented, while others may be more attuned to arts or nightlife. Richmond offers community that bigger cities cannot.
2. Melbourne, Florida
There are plenty of places you can go to in Florida if you’re looking for a place with warm and sunny climate, but many people don’t realize what a hidden gem Melbourne is. Melbourne has small-town charm with city amenities. Melbourne is home to more than 600,000 residents in its metropolitan area, and with access to beaches and other outdoor fun, you may find that you’re barely home!
Melbourne is known for being part of the Space Coast, it has so much more than the aerospace industry and other industries like tech and defense are also big in Melbourne. Of course, the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station is a major employer as is United Launch Alliance and Lockheed Martin Space Systems. Harris Corporation, Northrop Grumman, and Rockwell Collins also bring a lot of jobs. Plus, healthcare workers are always needed.
While many areas of Florida are expensive, Melbourne is one of the most affordable areas. The median home price is $217,400, which is well below the national average. Violent and property crime rates are also below average, showing that Melbourne offers a good balance of qualities to keep residents safe and happy.
1. Portland, Maine
Portland, Maine has been chosen as the U.S. News & World Report’s top place to live on the East Coast and number 7 on its list of overall best places. With a population of just over half a million, Portland Maine is just slightly less populated than its Western counterpart, Portland, Oregon. From charming cobblestone streets to refreshing coastal living, Portland, Maine is scenic and a great place to call home.
One of the standout features of Portland, Maine, is its low crime rates. The violent crime rate per 100,000 people is significantly lower than the national average at only 82.9. The property crime rate is also lower than the national average and many similarly sized areas at 892.4.
Portland also stands out because it has a promising job market with lots of demand in the healthcare, information technology, and manufacturing industries. Many telecommuters also call Portland home. While Portland offers a low unemployment rate, there are still many low-wage jobs and a high cost of living that can be a barrier for some people who want to call Portland home.
Factors to Consider When Choosing a Place to Live on the East Coast
There are a lot of things you’ll want to think about before settling down on the East Coast. Think about factors that are most important to your happiness and then make decisions based on cities that reflect what is most important to you.
- Determine the kind of lifestyle you want to live.
- Decide what kind of climate is your preference. The climate will help you narrow down the cities on your list greatly.
- Check to see if the city has career opportunities in your industry or desired industry.
- Think about the kinds of schools that are in the city you are considering. If you have kids or plan to have kids, this may be a big consideration.
- Consider what kind of crime rates you are comfortable with. Commonly, bigger cities tend to have higher crime rates, but those crime rates may be worth the risk for certain amenities and cultural opportunities.
3 Places on the East Coast You Should Avoid
The East Coast is full of lovely cities and towns that will offer residents perks like good weather, low crime rates, and a high quality of life, but not all East Coast locations will have as many good qualities, and the following places may be ones you want to avoid.
3. Bridgeport, Connecticut
While much of Connecticut is known for having beautiful cities, Bridgeport has a notable poverty rate and ranks among the top cities for violent crime In the United States and has a crime rate that is 86.6% higher than other cities. Its murder rate of 16.6 per 100,000 is especially concerning. It has been given the dishonor of being one of the top 50 worst cities to live by 24/7 Wall St.
2. Newburg, New York
Despite the East Coast being known for having many dazzling cities, Newburgh comes in the top ten percent of cities with the most crimes with a crime rate higher than nearly 95% of all cities. Not only is this number high, but it is drastically higher than nearby cities like New Windsor, Cornwall, or Beacon.
Newburg is also within the top ten percent of the most poverty-stricken areas. One major problem is that although the median income is more than $20,000 below the national average, the living costs are nearly 20% above the national average, meaning that even people who make higher incomes may suffer from the high cost of living.
1. Bridgeton, New Jersey
Ranked as America’s 13th worst place to live. Having both its poverty and violent crime rates within the top ten percent of the United States, Bridgeton, New Jersey has a lot of obstacles it must overcome to keep up with other New Jersey cities.
This area has less than half of the statewide median household earning of $76,475. Bridgeton is also expensive to live in despite meager earnings and the high cost of living makes it hard for Bridgeton to keep up with other cities.
The East Coast includes hundreds of cities, which means it’s a huge challenge to narrow down which city or even state you’ll want to live in if you plan on moving to an East Coast location. You likely have many questions. The following questions represent some of the most common questions people have and they may help you clarify what East Coast living is like.
Each East Coast state has a unique culture and climate, but there are certain areas that people love to move to for their offerings. Many of the fastest-growing cities are in East Coast states like Florida, South Carolina, North Carolina, Maryland, or Maine.
When determining what the best East Coast cities to live in, you have to determine what’s important to you. If you want a big city rush, cities like NYC or Philly may give you the big city rush that you want. If you are looking for a warmer climate, cities like Daytona Beach or Charleston could be the right choice for you. For the quaint charm of New England Providence, Boston, or Manchester are great options, and if you want to be near Canada, go for Portland Maine! The East Coast is diverse, meaning the best city for each person is diverse too.
There are plenty of expensive places on the East Coast, but few area compare to New York City. In a ranking of the 15 top cities based on living costs. New York City’s borough of Manhattan was ranked #1 with an index score of 222, compared to the national average score of 100. NYC’s Brooklyn also made the list at #4. Queens was the third NYC borough to make the list. Other East Coast locations on the list include Washington D.C., Boston, Arlington (Virginia), Bethesda-Gaithersburg-Frederick (Maryland), and Nassau County (New York)
Safety is associated with a number of factors; for example, some people may want economic safety so they know their finances will be stable, while others will want cultural safety to know that their cultural values and histories will be cherished where they live. However, when discussing safety, most people look to crime rates, and when cities have more crime, they also tend to have worsened social and economic safeguards as well.
According to Forbes, Virginia Beach Virginia has been ranked as the second safest large city in the United Sates and the top contender on the East Coast. Other East Coast locations like New York City, Charlotte, Boston, and Charlotte made the list.
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Written by Allen Lee
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