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Best Cities for Families in 2024

Planning to move with your family in 2024? Using factors like schools, affordability, safety, and things to do, these family-friendly cities are worth your consideration. Check out these 14 best cities for families in 2024!

Ann Arbor, MI

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  • Population: 121,093
  • Home Price: $346,800 median purchase price; $1,299 median monthly rent
  • Median Household Income: $69,456
  • Unemployment Rate: 2.2%
  • Crime Rate: Safer than 42% of U.S. cities

Home to the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor is often considered a college town. However, it’s also one of the best places to raise a family! A city with low crime rates, affordable housing, and great public schools like Angell Elementary School and Skyline High School—Ann Arbor offers the kind of hospitality you’d expect from a smaller Midwestern city. Exploring the tree-lined historic streets and public parks making up Tree Town’s urban forest is a great way for your family to get a feel for the area. There are countless family-friendly things to do in Ann Arbor, too. Let your kids explore the natural world in engaging exhibits like Lyons’ Country Store, H2Oh!, and more at Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum. Picnic, hike, or kayak at one of Ann Arbor’s most popular recreation areas, Gallup Park. Meet farm animals, go on a hayride, or host a birthday party at Domino’s Farms Petting Farm. Or take the whole family to cheer on the Michigan Wolverines (NCAA) at “The Big House“—the second largest stadium in the world that consistently draws in 100,000+ fans!

Arlington, VA

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  • Population: 236,434
  • Home Price: $731,700 median purchase price; $2,005 median monthly rent
  • Median Household Income: $122,604
  • Unemployment Rate: 2.2%
  • Crime Rate: Safer than 77% of U.S. cities

Whether you’re simply relocating or looking for a place to start raising kids, you’ll have your pick of family-friendly neighborhoods in Arlington. One of the best cities to live in America, Arlington boasts one of the top public school districts in Virginia, Arlington Public Schools. Health-conscious families can explore the ample green space, parks, playgrounds, and bike paths in this fittest city in America! Kids will love playing on the colorful climbing wall and running around the Spraygrounds, the interactive water feature at Mosaic Park. Practice your swing at the batting cages, cool off at the Ocean Dunes Water Park, or try to get a hole-in-one at the mini golf course at Upton Hill Regional Park—a hub of kid-friendly activities. And with the nation’s capital just across the Potomac River, parents can take advantage of family-friendly activities in Washington, DC, as well—like catching a Washington Nationals (MLB) game at Nationals Park, or visiting exhibits such as the Innovation Sandbox or Dream Machine at nearby National Children’s Museum.

Columbia, MD

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  • Population: 105,412
  • Home Price: $385,900 median purchase price; $1,733 median monthly rent
  • Median Household Income: $111,278
  • Unemployment Rate: 2.9%
  • Crime Rate: Safer than 38% of U.S. cities

In 2023, this popular Baltimore suburb ranked as one of the safest cities in the U.S.—and while that alone would help earn it a spot among the best cities to raise a family, the reasons don’t stop there. As Maryland’s first planned city, Columbia’s layout was inspired by small communities, giving it a mix of urban and suburban amenities. Howard County Public Schools has been ranked as the best public school system in Maryland, providing access to quality schools like Clarksville Elementary School, Wilde Lake High School, and Atholton High School. Families living in Columbia can take advantage of its numerous outdoor spaces, including neighborhood pools with waterslides, playgrounds, snack bars, and more! Engage with nature and learn about the ecosystem from the hiking trails, planetarium, and exhibits at the 18-acre Robinson Nature Center. For indoor kid-friendly activities in Columbia, let the kids run wild at the ocean-themed playground, Hyper Kidz. Or spark their creativity with exhibits like Stargate or Giant’s Bed at DoodleHATCH Interactive Art Museum, an interactive art experience the whole family can enjoy!

Grand Rapids, MI

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  • Population: 199,417
  • Home Price: $156,500 median purchase price; $947 median monthly rent
  • Median Household Income: $51,333
  • Unemployment Rate: 3.9%
  • Crime Rate: Safer than 5% of U.S. cities

If you’re looking to relocate somewhere safe and affordable with tons of local flair, Grand Rapids has been ranked as one of the best places to live in the country in terms of affordability and quality of life. High-ranking schools, over 2,000 acres of parks, and a close-knit community make this a fantastic city to raise kids. The public art exhibits scattered throughout the city showcase Grand Rapids’ creative spirit—plus, they’re great spots for walks and sightseeing excursions. Families can find plenty of other fun activities in Grand Rapids as well! Catch a concert, performance, or Griffins (AHL) hockey match at the Van Andel Arena. Take the kids out to meet colorful birds in the Budgie Aviary, fly through the Forest Realm Trail on the Zip Line, and see more than 230 species of animals at the John Ball Zoo. Spark their curiosity about science, history, art, and more at the Grand Rapids Public Museum. Or spend your summer days at the beach and go hiking or play on the splash pad at Millennium Park.

Huntsville, AL

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  • Population: 199,845
  • Home Price: $184,500 median purchase price; $868 median monthly rent
  • Median Household Income: $56,758
  • Unemployment Rate: 3.2%
  • Crime Rate: Safer than 25% of U.S. cities

Known as one of the best places to live in the Southeast, Huntsville—Alabama’s Rocket City—also doubles as one of the best places to live for families. Huntsville City Schools gives parents a range of high-ranking educational options to choose from—many of which are amongst the best schools in Alabama. Parents looking for employment in Huntsville can find great opportunities in major industries like technology, space, defense, and manufacturing. And with tons of things to do in Huntsville, you’ll always have family-friendly activities to keep your kids busy! Pay a visit to rotating art exhibits, bring your pup down for Dog Days at the Garden, or walk through gardens like the Damson Aquatic Garden or Holmes Trillium Garden at the Huntsville Botanical Garden. Learn about the planets and stars in the INTUITIVE Planetarium, crawl around in the Kids Cosmos rocket, or sign up for Space Camp at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center. Or go out with the kids to discover folk tales from the Magical Talking Tree, play with building blocks on glow tables in the Light Lab, or participate in daily STEM activities in The Tinker Lab at the EarlyWorks Children’s Museum.

Madison, WI

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  • Population: 258,366
  • Home Price: $262,400 median purchase price; $1,147 median monthly rent
  • Median Household Income: $67,565
  • Unemployment Rate: 2%
  • Crime Rate: Safer than 31% of U.S. cities

One of America’s best mid-sized cities, Madison has a variety of safe, affordable neighborhoods for families to plant roots. Access to quality schools like Shorewood Hills Elementary School, Velma Hamilton Middle School, and West High School also help make Madison a fantastic place to start a family. With lakeside recreation, parks, and shopping districts, families of all sizes can find plenty of things to stay busy. Immerse yourself in art and culture by browsing the collections at the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art. Explore the Urb Garden, Possible-opolis, and Wildernest exhibits at the Madison Children’s Museum. Check out exhibits like the North American Prairie or the Tropical Rainforest Aviary at Henry Vilas Zoo. The city is also America’s top college football town, so if your family loves sports and the energy of a crowd, join thousands of fans to cheer on the Badgers (NCAA D-I) at Camp Randall Stadium, or head over to watch the Madison Radicals (UFA) play an exciting ultimate disc game at Breese Stevens Field.

Omaha, NE

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  • Population: 479,529
  • Home Price: $167,800 median purchase price; $948 median monthly rent
  • Median Household Income: $62,213
  • Unemployment Rate: 3.1%
  • Crime Rate: Safer than 11% of U.S. cities

When looking for a family-friendly city to relocate to, put Omaha on your list! This Midwestern city is one of the most affordable U.S. cities, a great place for remote work, and the ideal area for veterans and retired military to settle down. Potential homeowners or renters can find homes that won’t break their budget in affordable neighborhoods in the Omaha Metro. The Big O offers an excellent education at top-ranked schools like Columbian Elementary School, Alice Buffett Middle School, and Burke High School. For older kids or parents returning to school, there are also higher education opportunities at the University of Nebraska Omaha, Creighton University, Metropolitan Community College, and more. Plus, Omaha has a variety of family-oriented activities to explore. Make your way through the Suzanne & Walter Scott Aquarium, the world’s largest indoor desert at the Desert Dome, the Lied Jungle rainforest, and more at Henry Doorly Zoo & Aquarium—one of the best zoos in the U.S.! Visit Susie’s Station, Tinker Factory, and other rotating exhibitions at the Omaha Children’s Museum. Learn about science and art as you explore interactive exhibits like Geometry Playground, The Grid, and more at the Kiewit Luminarium. Or explore the outdoors at Gene Leahy Mall while the kids play on the Arches Playground, race down the iconic metal slides, and more at Omaha’s The RiverFront.

Overland Park, KS

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  • Population: 193,412
  • Home Price: $295,800 median purchase price; $1,200 median monthly rent
  • Median Household Income: $87,629
  • Unemployment Rate: 2.3%
  • Crime Rate: Safer than 40% of U.S. cities

As one of the best places to live in the Midwest, families moving to the Sunflower State should look no further than Overland Park! Not only do many of the high schools in the Blue Valley Unified School District rank among Kansas’s top ten best high schools—but there are high-quality options for younger children like Timber Creek Elementary School and Lakewood Middle School as well. Curious about what family-friendly activities Overland Park has to offer? The Overland Park Arboretum & Botanical Gardens, Strang Park, and Thompson Park give plenty of options for outdoor recreation. Get hands-on with fossils and live bugs at the kid-oriented Museum at Prairiefire. Plan a trip to the Overland Park Farmers Market, which has been providing farm-fresh produce and goods to families for over 40 years. Host a birthday party or learn to roller skate at Skate City. Or make a short drive to nearby Kansas City to watch professional sports teams like the Kansas City Royals (MLB) or Kansas City Chiefs (NFL) play.

Plano, TX

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  • Population: 288,870
  • Home Price: $341,800 median purchase price; $1,447 median monthly rent
  • Median Household Income: $96,348
  • Unemployment Rate: 2.8%
  • Crime Rate: Safer than 56% of U.S. cities

Families relocating to Texas will find Plano to be a great option for a number of reasons. Not only is it among the safest cities to live—but quality schools in Plano like Wyatt Elementary School, Renner Middle School, and Jasper High School have made the city recognizable for having one of the best school districts in Texas. The City of Excellence also excels at promoting health, and between its many outdoor amenities and the Connect4Health initiative, Plano has earned a spot among the healthiest U.S. cities. And for kid-friendly things to do in the area, Plano certainly delivers. Families living in Plano can find activities like aquatics, gymnastics, youth and adult sports, summer camps, and more through Plano Parks & Recreation. Learn about the impact of railways on Plano’s history at the Interurban Railway Museum. Marvel at nature’s beauty while hiking or cycling at the 200-acre Arbor Hills Nature Preserve. Or enjoy live music, fireworks, and the iconic hot air balloon show at the beloved Plano Balloon Festival.

Raleigh, NC

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  • Population: 469,698
  • Home Price: $266,900 median purchase price; $1,175 median monthly rent
  • Median Household Income: $69,720
  • Unemployment Rate: 3%
  • Crime Rate: Safer than 22% of U.S. cities

If you want to relocate to a big U.S. city that is family-friendly and boasts a high quality of life, consider the rapidly growing city of Raleigh. Home to one of the top emerging housing markets in the U.S., you can find plenty of affordable neighborhoods here. Plus, the city’s close proximity to Research Triangle Park—and multiple high-ranking universities—makes it one of the best cities in the U.S. for jobs, too! Younger kids can enroll in great local schools like Quest Academy, Exploris Middle School, and Raleigh Charter High School. The City of Oaks is no slouch when it comes to family-friendly things to do, either. Stretch your minds with exhibits like imagiFAB, the Kid Grid, and Sun Sprouts at the Marbles Kids Museum. Enjoy walking through the various dioramas, theaters, and interactive experiences at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences. Ride the carousel, rent a pedal boat, or let your kids run wild on the playgrounds at Pullen Park. Or root for professional teams like the Carolina Hurricanes (NHL) at PNC Arena and the Carolina Flyers (UFA) at Durham County Memorial Stadium.

Round Rock, TX

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  • Population: 128,812
  • Home Price: $259,400 median purchase price; $1,345 median monthly rent
  • Median Household Income: $86,121
  • Unemployment Rate: 3.6%
  • Crime Rate: Safer than 58% of U.S. cities

Round Rock has earned its spot as one of the best towns to raise a family in the U.S. This Central Texas city boasts an affordable cost of living that’s 10% lower than nearby Austin—but Austin’s big-city amenities and attractions are just a short 30-minute drive away! Plus, Round Rock itself has plenty to offer families. Rest easy when you enroll your children in the Round Rock Independent School District, which is known for its low student-teacher ratio. If you’re looking for fun things to do in Round Rock with the family, there’s no shortage of options! Grab a bite to eat and shop at major chains like Target, Michaels, and Best Buy at the Round Rock Crossing shopping plaza. Sign up for a library card to check out books, attend weekly events like Family Storytime, or enter teens into the Young Author Writing Contest at the Round Rock Public Library. Swing across the zip line, climb on Adventure Hill, or push each other in the Swing Pod at Play for All Abilities Park—a 140,000-square-foot outdoor park. Or attend local, regional, and national sports tournaments, sign the kids up for Sports Camps during the summer, and more at the Round Rock Sports Center.

San Jose, CA

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  • Population: 1,029,409
  • Home Price: $925,800 median purchase price; $2,232 median monthly rent
  • Median Household Income: $117,324
  • Unemployment Rate: 3.2%
  • Crime Rate: Safer than 23% of U.S. cities

If you’re interested in living near the heart of Silicon Valley, San Jose could be perfect place for you! Families looking to buy a home in San Jose will find safe, affordable neighborhoods in this conveniently located Northern California suburb. With great access to some of the best schools in San Jose, like Murdock-Portal Elementary School, Miller Middle School, and Lynbrook High School, school-aged kids will benefit from a robust education. Interested in family-fun in San Jose? Check out the permanent collection of more than 2,000 pieces of artwork, or explore rotating exhibitions like Encode/Store/Retrieve and Nuts and Who’s: A Candy Store Sampler at the San Jose Museum of Art. Learn about Lupe the Mammoth in the Mammoth Discovery! exhibit, view art created by children in the Art Gallery, or learn about the importance of fresh fruits and vegetables in the Rainbow Market at the Children’s Discovery Museum of San Jose. Don’t miss stunning seasonal performances such as Mean Girls, Charlie And The Chocolate Factory, Junie B. Jones, and more at the CMT San Jose. Or get into San Jose sports culture by cheering on the San Jose Earthquakes (MLS) at PayPal Park, the San Jose Sharks (NHL) at the SAP Center, or the San Jose Barracuda (AHL) at Tech CU Arena.

Seattle, WA

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  • Population: 741,251
  • Home Price: $713,600 median purchase price; $1,702 median monthly rent
  • Median Household Income: $97,185
  • Unemployment Rate: 3%
  • Crime Rate: Safer than 5% of U.S. cities

Home to safe, affordable neighborhoods and top Washington schools like Cascadia Elementary School and Garfield High School, it’s easy to see why Seattle is one of the best cities for young families. Seattle’s cooling rental market also means that spacious homes are becoming more affordable for families moving to the West Coast. Named for the lush forests that cover the surrounding mountains, Emerald City has tons of outdoor activities for the whole family to enjoy. Explore beaches, forests, cliffs, and more at Discovery Park, or visit one of Seattle’s many whale-viewing sites to see a natural phenomenon in action. Catch an aerial view of Rain City from the iconic Space Needle. Check out a variety of fun, educational programs on music, movies, art, and hot cultural trends at the Museum of Pop Culture. Or for the athletes and sports lovers in your family, pro teams like the Seattle Seahawks (NFL), Seattle Mariners (MLB), Seattle Sounders (MLS), Seattle Storm (WNBA), and Seattle Kraken (NHL) will provide plenty of entertainment.

Virginia Beach, VA

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  • Population: 450,882
  • Home Price: $287,400 median purchase price; $1,380 median monthly rent
  • Median Household Income: $78,136
  • Unemployment Rate: 2.8%
  • Crime Rate: Safer than 64% of U.S. cities

Considered one of the best places to live on the East Coast, it’s no surprise that VA Beach is also one of the best places to raise a family. With plenty of options for affordable housing in Virginia Beach along safe streets, this city is great for growing families. Find top-quality education for your kiddos at highly-rated Virginia Beach Public Schools like Kingston Elementary School, Old Donation School, and Princess Anne High School. Locals also have access to amazing beaches that span the Atlantic Ocean and the Chesapeake Bay, meaning you’ll be no stranger to a family beach day. But the family fun doesn’t stop there! Come face to face with sea animals like turtles, stingrays, and more at exhibits like the Light Tower Aquarium, Ray Touch Pool, and Norfolk Canyon Aquarium at the Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center. Buy season tickets to access thrilling water activities like the Tropi-Cool Activity Pool, Operation Splashdown, Runaway Bay, and more all summer long at Ocean Breeze Waterpark. Or ride ponies, feed farm animals, and make your way through the TreeWalk Adventure obstacle course at Hunt Club Farm.

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About Mike Beutler

Mike Beutler is a writer and digital content specialist who transitioned to self storage in 2020 after several years in the airline industry. His travels cultivated a passion for exploring cities across the U.S. and abroad and inspired him to learn more about practical insights for urban living. With 14 moves under his belt, both locally and cross-country, he also has a passion for minimalism and organization, and sharing tips to help others make any space feel like home while staying organized.