Goodbye, high rises and taxicabs, hello life in the ‘burbs! With more people than ever working from home and surges in suburban real estate, it’s clear that some American workers are abandoning city life for a more affordable place to live. If you’re searching for a new place to call home, check out these top 10 up-and-coming suburban cities in the U.S.
1. Ardmore, PA
Suburb of: Philadelphia
Population: approx. 13,083
Cost of Living Index Score: 117.4
If you want to enjoy the value of living in the suburbs along with the perks of city life, Ardmore offers the best of both worlds! Unsurprisingly, it’s a popular destination for young professionals and families alike.
This business hub supports hosts employers in a wide range of industries, including healthcare, retail, and financial services. Bryn Mawr Hospital, UnitedHealth Group, Deloitte, and UPS are just a few top employers in the area.
Access to Amtrak and SEPTA trains and the Route 44 bus make commutes a breeze. Plus, the Ardmore is well-known for its walkability!
But don’t get the wrong impression — Ardmore isn’t all work and no play! The bustling city boasts entertainment hotspots like Vernon V. Young Memorial Park, which has sports facilities, a playground, picnic tables, and a community pool. Additionally, the community is a hot spot for shopping, dining, and nightlife, with plenty of seasonal festivals and exciting events year-round!
2. Carmel, IN
Suburb of: Indianapolis
Population: approx. 90,163
Cost of Living Index Score: 113.9
With its high-ranking schools, affordable housing, and an abundance of job opportunities, Carmel seems to be hands-down the best place to live in Indiana. The city’s popular pedestrian highway, Monon Trail, runs from Westfield, through Carmel, down to Indianapolis.
Carmel’s Central Park has natural wetlands, a boardwalk, skate park, gardens, fitness facilities, and an indoor/outdoor water park. Country Living Magazine named Carmel’s Main Street one of America’s best— it’s lined with shops, art galleries, bars, and restaurants for everyone to enjoy.
3. Cary, NC
Suburb of: Raleigh
Population: approx. 163,266
Cost of Living Index Score: 115
Cary is one of the top two places to live in North Carolina and one of the fastest-growing up-and-coming suburbs in the South. Its prime location, nestled near Research Triangle Park, makes job opportunities abundant — with top companies like Cisco Systems, Inc., IBM, Biogen, and the CDC, all located in the area.
Kiddos from elementary through college age are primed for success as the Wake County Public School System’s high ratings, and in-state college options include some of the country’s best public education options.
Soccer and baseball are a big deal in this city thanks to the many soccer clubs and USA Baseball National Training Complex. There are also plenty of spots to enjoy delicious food, great beer, fabulous shopping, and the state’s natural beauty.
4. Clayton, MO
Suburb of: St Louis
Population: approx. 16,448
Cost of Living Index Score: 157.4
Clayton is one of the top suburbs of St. Louis and offers everything from high-rises and historic buildings to single-family homes and multi-family apartments. Clayton earned the number two spot on Niche.com overall and number one for public schools statewide.
Community parks and recreational areas make up 81 percent of public land in Clayton! Every year, Clayton brings in more than 150,000 visitors to enjoy the Saint Louis Art Fair. Food festivals and other events are also regular occasions in this lively suburb.
If you ever get bored (chances are slim), popular St. Louis attractions like Busch Stadium, the Saint Louis Zoo, Fox Theatre, and the Missouri Botanical Garden are only about 15 minutes away.
5. Holly Hills, CO
Suburb of: Denver
Population: approx. 2,909
Cost of Living Index Score: 137.6
If you’re looking to really settle in, Holly Hills seems like the place to do it — 93 percent of residents own their homes as opposed to renting, and it was named “Best Place to Buy a Home,” “Best Place to Live,” and “Best Place to Raise a Family” in Colorado.
In an article by the Denver Post, a spokeswoman explained, “Holly Hills rose to No. 1 by excelling in factors like cost of living, local housing, area public schools, diversity, and walkability.” In the same article, a resident described this suburb as “a mini-city in and of itself,” though it’s only about a 20-minute drive or a quick ride on the light rail to Denver.
6. Los Alamos, NM
Suburb of: Santa Fe
Population: approx. 12,373
Cost of Living Index Score: 103.2
Los Alamos landed the number one spot for “Best Places To Live For Both Families And Young Professionals” in New Mexico. A resident describes the people of Los Alamos as a “health-conscious community of lifelong learners,” which is no surprise when you note all it has to offer. As home to the Los Alamos National Laboratory, it seems natural that education is prioritized here.
Residents have access to the Bradbury Science Museum and a large public library, history museum, and nature center. And while there is an abundance of trails and parks to explore right in Los Alamos, this suburb is also a gateway to three national parks: Bandelier National Monument, the Valles Caldera National Preserve, and the new Manhattan Project National Historical Park. Their slogan, Where Discoveries Are Made, is fitting for this unique place.
7. North Bethesda, MD
Suburb of: Washington D.C.
Population: approx. 50,262
Cost of Living Index Score: 134.6
Perhaps because of its effortless commute to Washington D.C. (just a short METRO ride away), North Bethesda is rated the number one “Best Suburbs for Young Professionals in Maryland.”
It’s a lively urban center known for its excellent shopping, diverse dining, and trendy places on Bethesda Row and Pike & Rose. Other popular spots include the Arts & Entertainment District, the Jazz and Supper Club, Strathmore, and the Farm Women’s Co-operative Market. In North Bethesda, you get the urban feel without the big city headache.
8. Okemos, MI
Suburb of: Lansing
Population: approx. 23,912
Cost of Living Index Score: 99.2
Okemos is just 10 miles from the state capital, Lansing. As host to Michigan State University, many young professionals and most faculty and staff of the university call this college town home, making it a diverse community—and no wonder, since it ranks number one on Niche.com’s lists of “Best Places to Live in Michigan,” “Best Places for Young Professionals in Lansing Area,” and “Best Suburbs to Live in Michigan.”
In their downtime, Okemos residents enjoy the Harris Nature Center and its five miles of nature trails, Meridian Mall, and local breweries and restaurants.
9. Short Pump, VA
Suburb of: Richmond
Population: approx. 27,526
Cost of Living Index Score: 111.5
Short Pump is fun for the whole family! Parents and kiddos will love exploring the many trails throughout Deep Run Park, the Children’s Museum of Richmond, and dining or shopping at the Short Pump Town Center open-air mall. Because of its highly-rated public schools, access to jobs, and cost of living (four percent under the national average), Niche.com names Short Pump “#1 Best Places to Live in Richmond.”
10. Sugar Land, TX
Suburb of: Houston
Population: approx. 118,600
Cost of Living: 114.6
Sugar Land scores almost straight A’s on Niche.com, including quality of public schools, housing, jobs, diversity, and health. It is also home to a saltwater aquarium and a digital dome theater at the Houston Museum of Natural Science at Sugar Land.
Sugar Land Memorial Park regularly features Food Truck Fridays, the Farmer’s Market at Imperial is open most weekends, and there are more than 30 shopping areas, including First Colony Mall and Town Square. Southwest of Houston, Sugar Land is also just three hours from Austin and the Hill Country, great for weekend getaways.
What to Do Before Moving Away from the City
Moving to the suburbs from the city is exciting, but it comes with several things to consider. Be sure to think through how your lifestyle and expenses may change.
First, decide whether you want to buy or rent a home. Owning a home means you won’t have a landlord to mow the lawn or fix the leak in your kitchen sink—maintenance and upkeep will be your responsibility. Take property tax, HOA dues, and a potential increase in utilities and garbage costs into account as well.
Be sure to consider how transportation might change—you most likely will be trading in your subway pass for a car, or even two if your family is managing different commutes to work, toting around kiddos, or other commitments. Finally, plan financially and adjust your budget accordingly.
And if you’re moving from a city apartment into a suburban house, you’ll need to consider the additional furniture to fill your new space. Renting furniture or buying second-hand instead can soften the financial blow of a big move.
When you’re ready to give suburban life a trial run, consider renting furniture from CORT. You can find whole-home furniture subscriptions for your temporary move. And when the time comes to make your stay permanent, you can extend your furniture subscription or end it altogether to invest in long-term pieces. Renting is a win-win!