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The Top 20 Retirement Cities in New York State

There are many great cities to retire in the state of New York. Depending on what you are looking for, there is a city in New York State that will fit the bill. Whether its proximity to New York City, low cost of living, a rural small town, activities to keep you busy, affordable independent retirement communities or access to quality healthcare, there is something for everyone.

Here are the top 20 retirement cities in New York State.

1. Ithaca

Ithaca, New York is a great city to retire in. It's a college town with both Ithaca College and Cornell University which adds a quaintness but also much to do. The city located in central New York State is both rural and cultural making it a pleasant place to live especially if you're over 65 years old. Being a college town, Ithaca has several restaurants, bookstores, concerts, shops and educational opportunities for old and young.

Located on the Cayuga Lake which is part of the Finger Lakes, Ithaca is scenic and a nature lover's paradise. The city boasts the tag "Ithaca is Gorges". The area is filled with gorges and waterfalls.

There are 25,000 acres of natural forest. The area is also a growing wine region. The Dalai Lama was so impressed by the serenity of Ithaca, he built a temple there for students of Tabetian Buddhism. The cost to live in Ithaca is below the national average. The population is just 30,600 and the median house price is $160,000, so the city is very affordable for retirees.

2. Village of Lake Placid

Lake Placid is a beautiful 2100 acre lake that is fed by the springs of the Adirondack Mountains in New York State. The 1932 and 1980 Olympics were held in Lake Placid. The summer and winter activities, the beauty of the mountains and the lake, and the clean air and water are attractive to retirees. The population of the Village of Lake Placid is just 2400 so it remains a quaint lakeside village.

There are three small islands in Lake Placid including Buck Island, Moose Island and Hawk Island. The Olympic Village has a sports complex and skiing, skating, bobsled and luge activities. Summer activities on Lake Placid and Mirror Lake include boating, fishing, water and jet skiing. The average price for a home is $314,000. There are quaint shops and a winery in the Village of Lake Placid.

3. New Paltz

New Paltz has a population of just 3400. It is home to the State University of New York in the Catskills region of the state. The small college town is close to Woodstock and Phoenicia and not far from Poughkeepsie which is a metro ride to New York City.

New Paltz has several locally owned shops and restaurants in town including bookstores and antique shops. There are great hiking, biking and walking trails around the city. For a city not too far from the "Big Apple" but with a small town college vibe, New Paltz is a nice town to spend the retirement years.

4. Mechanicville

As its name implies, Mechanicville was once home to a large flour mill, a paper mill and automobile repair shops. The city is located in eastern Saratoga County along the Champlain Canal. Mechanicville was settled in 1721 and incorporated in 1859. The city served as a major transfer yard for the railroads. The population of Mechanicville is just 5100 and the average home costs about $155,000.

The city is great for retirees because it has a low cost of living, several retirement communities and even an Alzheimer's Care center. The small town has plenty to do. There is a city dock to fish off of, parks and walking trails, pubs and restaurants, shopping and a nearby casino.

5. New Rochelle

Located in Westchester County in southeastern New York State, New Rochelle is a planned community. Young families and retirees find the area a great place to live. The population has grown recently, but the city has many affordable homes. New Rochelle has 9.3 acres of waterfront popular for yachting, sailing and rowing. There are parks and a golf course. The downtown area of New Rochelle was once industrialized and is now home to shopping, offices, 2 college campuses and a medical center. New Rochelle is a transportation hub which makes commuting possible.

6. Saratoga Springs

Saratoga Springs is located in the central eastern region of New York State just outside of the state capital, Albany. The city gets its name from the mineral springs in the area and has been a resort town for 200 years.

The quaint town is also famous for its horse races held each summer. The city buildings are mostly classical. Skidmore College is located in Saratoga Springs. It is also home to the Zankel Music Center and the Tang Modern Art Museum. Considered as the cultural hub of New York State, Beekmon Street is the arts district with its galleries, pottery and jewelry shops.

The New York City Ballet and the Philadelphia Orchestra perform in Saratoga Springs. There are plenty of nice restaurants and shops in the city. There are just 30,000 residents. The median price for a home is $250,000. The only drawback to living in Saratoga Springs is the tourism that peaks during the summers.

7. Kingston

The historic city of Kingston is one of the best places to live in retirement. The city was settled by the Dutch and was the first capital of New York State and would become a transportation hub during the nineteenth century when natural cement was discovered. The town is located 90 miles north of New York City and 60 miles south of Albany.

The population is 23,000 and the median house price is $178,000. Kingston's historic architecture has been well maintained. The town is quaint and friendly. Historic sections of the city include the Stockade District with its roofed sidewalks, the Midtown Neighborhood Broadway Corridor and the Roundout West Strand Historic District. Kingston is located on the Roundout Creek which leads to the Hudson River. Residents and tourists of the town enjoy fine dining and shopping.

8. Poughkeepsie

Poughkeepsie is a town of approximately 32,700 residents located halfway between New York City and Albany in the Hudson River Valley. It was settled by the Dutch in the seventeenth century and is called "The Queen City On the Hudson". There are several retirement and independent living communities in the city of Poughkeepsie making it affordable and desirable for those 55 and older.

The average home in the city costs approximately $200,000. There is much to do and see in Poughkeepsie. The city is famous for its Hudson River Walk. There are many shops and restaurants in the Poughkeepsie Galleria. Sports are popular in Poughkeepsie which is the home of the minor league baseball team the Hudson Valley Renegades. Basketball, ice hockey and wrestling are also popular in Poughkeepsie.

There is a strong cultural presence in the city with the Bardaven 1869 Opera House, museums and Vassar College. IBM is also located in Poughkeepsie, New York.

9. Middletown

Middletown is located north of New York City in the Hudson Valley. The town is nestled in the foothills of the Shawangunk Mountains near the Wallkill River. Middletown grew during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries when the railroads were built in the area attracting small manufacturing businesses to the town.

Retirees in Middletown can enjoy the quaintness of a small historic town in the beautiful Hudson Valley with a low cost of living near New York City. The town's population is 28,000. The median house cost is $180,000. The city is built around neighborhood churches and a downtown area with ethnic eateries, bowling, a library, and movie theaters including the historic Paramount Theater. There is a nearby harness horse racing center. The Orange Regional Medical Center offers quality care.

10. Ogdensburg

Ogdensburg, New York is located on the northern border of New York State along the St. Lawrence River. Ogdenburg is the location of the only United States Port along the St. Lawrence River. The city was named for Samuel Ogden, an eighteenth century American land owner and developer. Ogdensburg has several active retirement communities.

There is much to do and see between riverfront activities, golf, hiking, shopping, and art. The population of the city is 11,000 and the average cost of a home is just $100,000. Ogdensburg is a beautiful and affordable place to retire in New York State.

11. Peekskill

Peekskill is a suburb of New York City and a great place to retire if you want to stay close to the "Big Apple". The population of Peekskill is just 24,000 and the average house costs $300,000. The city is located on the eastern side of the Hudson River.

The area played a major role in early American industrialization. Several major companies were headquartered in Peekskill including the company that would become Crayola. As the population dwindled in the 1980's, Peekskill revamped itself by renovating the city hospital, Hudson Valley Hospital, and creating an art community on the city's main street.

The art community attracted many up and coming artists because of the lower rent than the SoHo neighborhood in New York City. In order to keep the city active, the city of Peekskill created artist lofts so the artists would stay in the city after 5 pm.

Along with thee Peekskill Coffee House, the Center for the Arts, which is housed in a 1930's movie theater, has a variety of attractions including movies, drama, comedies and independent films.

12. Glen Cove

For those retirees looking for something on Long Island, Glen Cove is beautiful city to live. There are several retirement communities located in the city and there are many activities to enjoy.

The city has a diverse population of about 27,000. The housing is a bit expensive with many homes averaging $400,000 to purchase. The city of Glen Cove was designed by the US Army Corps of Engineers and was home to several manufacturing companies during the twentieth century. The city is still has some industry and estates that are open to the public.

Easily accessible rail and bus provides transportation to neighboring cities and to New York City. There are restaurants and shopping, museums, waterfront activities and Morgan Park which hosts free summer concerts.

13. Village of Clinton

The small town of Clinton in Oneida County, New York is a great place to retire. The historic Village of Clinton was named for George Clinton, the first governor of New York. Clinton offers a rural environment, low cost of living and plenty of activities to keep you busy. The village is home to Hamilton College. Sports are popular in Clinton especially ice hockey and soccer.

There are several quaint bed and breakfasts in Clinton. Golfing, boating and enjoying the city's parks are all popular activities. The Village of Clinton has a vibrant restaurant and shopping scene as well as nightclubs. The average cost to purchase a home in the Village of Clinton is just $176,000.

14. Carmel

Carmel, New York is located north of New York City in Putnam County. It is a larger city with a quaint small city appeal. The city was settled by George Hughson in 1740. The Putnam County Courthouse is the second oldest courthouse in the United States still in operation.

The cost of living in Carmel, New York is not inexpensive. House cost an average of $338,000. There is much to see and do in Carmel including state parks, hiking trails, the Centennial Golf Club, the Chuang Yen Monastery and shopping, dining and pubs.

15. Tarrytown-Sleepy Hollow

Tarrytown is a nice place to live in retirement if you would like to be near New York City and don't mind the higher cost of living. Although the average home in Tarrytown costs $500,000, it is still less expensive than other New York City suburbs like Scarsdale or Chappaque. The town has a population of just 11,000. It is quiet and quaint with a definite small town feel.

The people are friendly and specialty shops include antique stores and chocolate shops. There are several small art galleries in Tarrytown. Sleepy Hollow was immortalized in Washington Irving's gothic short story and later in film and television. Located along the Old Croton Aqueduct, there is a tranquil bike and walking path. There is a senior activities center in Tarrytown-Sleepy Hollow which provides retirees with many activities including day trips and yoga classes.

16. Millbrook

If you're looking for a retirement community that is close to New York and as quaint as it is affluent, Millbrook may be the town for you. Millbrook is called the "low key Hamptons". Located just 90 miles north of New York in the beautiful Hudson Valley, Millbrook is quaint yet elegant. The town has a population of just 1450. The average cost of a home is $260,000.

There is much to do and see in and around Middlebrook. The Hitchcock Estate was used in the 1960's by Timothy Leary as a venue for his psychedelic movement. The Wing Castle was built in 1970 by artists Peter and Toni Ann Wing using reclaimed architecture. The beautiful town of Middlebrook is filled with bed and breakfasts and antique shops. There is a winery, the Trevor Zoo and horse farms.

17. Clayton

The Village of Clayton is a quaint, sophisticated riverfront town in upstate New York. The town is located on a peninsula between the French Creek Bay and Goose Bay on the banks of the St. Lawrence River. The Village of Clayton was settled in 1801 and named for John M. Clayton, a politician from Delaware. If you don't mind the tourists, the Village of Clayton is a great place to enjoy your retirement years.

The town has a population of 5100. Attractions include two state parks, an antique boat museum, the Clayton Opera House, the Rock Street Lighthouse, Coyote Moon Winery and the Clayton Distillery. The area of Riverside Drive and James Street is filled with specialty shops and restaurants right on the waterfront.

18. Union Springs

Union Springs is a village located on the eastern shores of Lake Cayuga. The lake is the largest of New York State's Finger Lakes in the central part of the state. The quaint village was settled as part of a Jesuit Mission and was named for the mineral springs in the area.

Union Springs has a population of 1200. It attracts tourists but is also a great small town to retire in. The median house price is $200,000 and the cost of living is not very high.

For retirees looking for a charming place to live where the natural beauty can be enjoyed and activities appeal to people of all ages, the village of Union Springs is a good choice. Aside from the lakefront activities that can be enjoyed like fishing and boating, the city offers two parks, museums, shopping, coffee shops and restaurants.

19. Saranac Lake

Located within Adirondack Park, Saranac Lake is a small village surrounded by natural beauty. Named for the nearby Upper, Middle and Lower Saranac Lakes, the town is home to 5400 people. Saranac Lake is just 9 miles west of Lake Placid.

During the nineteenth century the city served as a healing place for people with tuberculosis. "Cure Cottages" were used by the ill to be able to breath better in the fresh mountain air. The median house price is $200,000, and with a low cost of living, the town is a nice spot for retirees. If you enjoy the outdoors and lakeside activities, Saranac Lake is a lovely town.

The only drawback is dealing with tourists. However, aside from waterfront activities including fishing, canoeing and kayaking, the town of Saranac Lake has the Mountain Pisgah Ski Center, the Adirondack Scenic Railroad and shops and restaurants.

The beautiful Hotel Saranac is a model of Art Deco design. Robert Louis Stevenson owned a cottage on Saranac Lake and it is now a museum. The town is home to the Adirondack Artists Guild and is also home to the Pendragen Theatre and The Waterhole Theatre.

20. Elmira

The city of Elmira is located in the southern tier of New York State and is a convenient and nice city in which to retire. Elmira is close to the Pennsylvania border. In the nineteenth century, the town was a transportation hub providing a New York City to Buffalo route.

There are 30,000 people living in Elmira and the cost of living is low. There are several independent retirement communities. Houses average just $100,000. The city has a baseball and a hockey team. It still has a drive-in movie theater.

The Chemung Valley History Museum houses Civil War artifacts. Other museums include the Arnot Art Museum and the Tanglewood Community Nature Center and Museum. Harris Hill Park offers biking, walking and running trails.

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Garrett Parker

Written by Garrett Parker

Garrett by trade is a personal finance freelance writer and journalist. With over 10 years experience he's covered businesses, CEOs, and investments. However he does like to take on other topics involving some of his personal interests like automobiles, future technologies, and anything else that could change the world.

Read more posts by Garrett Parker

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