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Best Cities for Families in 2023

Planning to move with your family in 2023? Using factors like schools, home prices, safety, and things to do, we’ve compiled a list of family-friendly cities for your consideration. Check out the 11 best cities for families in 2023!

Ann Arbor, MI

An aerial view of the Ann Arbor cityscape. Photo by Instagram user @tannnnnnxt.

Photo via @tannnnnnxt

  • Population: 118,087
  • Home Price: $250,200 median purchase price; $1,114 median monthly rent
  • Median Household Income: $57,697
  • Unemployment Rate: 3.4%
  • Crime Rate: Safer than 50% of U.S. cities

Home to the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor is often considered a college town. However, that doesn’t mean that it isn’t also one of the best places to raise a family in 2023! A growing 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 that make up Tree City’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 as well. Let your kids explore the natural world at Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum. Picnic, hike, and kayak at Gallup Park, Ann Arbor’s most popular recreation area. 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 Wolverines (NCAA) at the Big House, the second largest stadium in the world that consistently draws in 100,000+ fans.

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Arlington, VA

  • Population: 226,092
  • Home Price: $623,300 median purchase price; $1,861 median monthly rent
  • Median Household Income: $108,706
  • Unemployment Rate: 2.6%
  • Crime Rate: Safer than 75% 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! Here, your children can attend Arlington Public Schools, one of the top public school districts in Virginia. Health-conscious families can put the fittest city in America‘s ample green space, parks, playgrounds, and bike paths to good use. Kids will love playing in the Spraygrounds, the interactive water feature at Mosaic Park, or the immersive indoor playground at The Wonder. With our nation’s capital just across the Potomac River, parents will also be able to take advantage of family-friendly activities in Washington, DC, like catching a Washington Nationals (MLB) game at Nationals Park or visiting the National Children’s Museum.

Boston, MA

An aerial view of the Boston cityscape in autumn. Photo by Instagram user @oscarealvarez.

Photo via @oscarealvarez

  • Population: 658,279
  • Home Price: $423,200 median purchase price; $1,369 median monthly rent
  • Median Household Income: $58,516
  • Unemployment Rate: 5.5%
  • Crime Rate: Safer than 15% of U.S. cities

Did you know that Boston is among the safest cities in the U.S.? With its affordable neighborhoods, wealth of historical landmarks, and excellent schools like Eliot K-8 Innovation School and Boston Latin School—not to mention access to higher education opportunities from leading research institutions like Boston University and Ivy League school Harvard University—this is an excellent city to raise a family in 2023. Compact and highly populated, residents can access much of the city by walking the picturesque cobblestone streets—no wonder Boston is also ranked the third most walkable city in the U.S.! Here, you’ll get the amenities of a metropolitan city while still having a long list of family-friendly activities to do. Check out the Penguin Colony or the Atlantic Harbor Seals exhibits at the New England Aquarium. Immerse yourselves in the traveling exhibitions at the Museum of Fine Arts. Spend the day in nature at one of Beantown’s best leaf-peeping spots. Or catch live games from professional teams like the New England Patriots (NFL), Boston Red Sox (MLB), Boston Bruins (NHL), and the New England Revolution (MLS)!

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Columbia, MD

  • Population: 103,439
  • Home Price: $364,900 median purchase price; $1,604 median monthly rent
  • Median Household Income: $102,899
  • Unemployment Rate: 4%
  • Crime Rate: Safer than 40% of U.S. cities

In 2022, this popular Baltimore suburb ranked as the safest city in the U.S.—that alone would help earn Columbia a spot among the best cities to raise a family, but 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 Middle School, and Atholton High School. Families living in Columbia know how to have fun, as well. There are plenty of outdoor spaces for the kids to play and exercise, including neighborhood pools with water slides, 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 Art Museum, an interactive art experience the whole family can enjoy.

Grand Rapids, MI

  • Population: 193,887
  • Home Price: $113,600 median purchase price; $806 median monthly rent
  • Median Household Income: $42,019
  • Unemployment Rate: 5.7%
  • Crime Rate: Safer than 12% of U.S. cities

If your family is 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 and are great spots for walks and sight-seeing excursions. But families can still find plenty of activities in Grand Rapids! Catch a concert, performance, or Griffins (AHL) hockey match at the Van Andel Arena. Take the kids out to marvel at 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, which has activities for people of all ages. Or spend your summer days at the beach and go hiking or play on the splash pad at Millennium Park.

Irvine, CA

A wide aerial photo of Irvine's wide cityscape on a cloudless day. Photo by Instagram user @zakkortman.

Photo via @zakkortman

  • Population: 246,992
  • Home Price: $718,800 median purchase price; $1,997 median monthly rent
  • Median Household Income: $93,823
  • Unemployment Rate: 4.0%
  • Crime Rate: Safer than 66% of U.S. cities

Safety is important to consider when choosing where to live while raising a family, and Irvine is one of the safest cities in the U.S. Many Irvine neighborhoods, like Oak Creek and Woodbridge, are safe and affordable places for families to settle down. And with the inclusive Irvine Unified Public School District, you’ll find diversity at highly-rated Irvine schools like University High School, Venado Middle School, and Santiago Hills Elementary. Plus, it’s full of kid-friendly activities like Knott’s Berry Farm, California’s original theme park well-known for its boysenberry menu items and interactive experiences. Other can’t-miss things to do with kids in Irvine include the Irvine Spectrum Center‘s ferris wheel and ice rink, Tanaka Farms, and King Arthur’s Carnival at the Boomers Parks, which also has mini-golf!

Madison, WI

A distant shot of the Madison skyline from across Lake Monona. Photo by Instagram user @aschultzphoto.

Photo via @aschultzphoto

  • Population: 246,034
  • Home Price: $217,000 median purchase price; $959 median monthly rent
  • Median Household Income: $56,464
  • Unemployment Rate: 3.5%
  • Crime Rate: Safer than 27% 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 it a fantastic place to start a family in the U.S. With lakeside recreation, parks, and shopping districts, families of all sizes can find plenty of things to do. Immerse yourself in art and culture by browsing the collections at the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art. Explore the Urb Garden, Trash Lab, and Wildernest exhibits at the Madison Children’s Museum. Check out exhibits like North American Prairie or Tropical Rainforest Aviary at Henry Vilas Zoo, a free thing to do in Madison. 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) at Camp Randall Stadium, or head over to watch the Madison Radicals (AUDL) play an exciting ultimate disc game at Breese Stevens Field.

Overland Park, KS

A sunny overhead shot of Overland Park's downtown area. Photo by Instagram user @kite4op.

Photo via @kite4op

  • Population: 183,775
  • Home Price: $237,100 median purchase price; $1,040 median monthly rent
  • Median Household Income: $74,789
  • Unemployment Rate: 2.8%
  • Crime Rate: Safer than 44% 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 all of Blue Valley Unified School District‘s high schools rank among Kansas’s top ten best high schools—but other high-quality options for your children include Timber Creek Elementary School, Lakewood Middle School, and Blue Valley North High School. 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 Farmer’s 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. 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

An overhead shot of the brick buildings and shops in Downtown Plano. Photo by Instagram user @camerax.

Photo via @camerax

  • Population: 279,088
  • Home Price: $248,800 median purchase price; $1,196 median monthly rent
  • Median Household Income: $85,085
  • Unemployment Rate: 3.4%
  • Crime Rate: Safer than 54% 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 a spot among the healthiest U.S. cities. For family-oriented things to do, Plano certainly delivers. Plano Parks & Recreation provides a variety of activities like aquatics, dance, gymnastics, youth and adult sports, summer camps, and more for families living in Plano. Learn about the impact of railways on Plano’s history at the Interurban Railway Museum. Marvel at nature’s beauty at the Arbor Hills Nature Preserve. Or go on a tethered balloon ride, or watch the fireworks show at the beloved Plano Balloon Festival & Run.

Raleigh, NC

 A distant view of the towering buildings in downtown Raleigh. Photo by Instagram user @elancitycenter.

Photo via @elancitycenter

  • Population: 441,326
  • Home Price: $218,200 median purchase price; $966 median monthly rent
  • Median Household Income: $58,641
  • Unemployment Rate: 4.3%
  • Crime Rate: Safer than 29% of U.S. cities

If you want to relocate to a family-friendly city with a high quality of life, consider the rapidly growing city of Raleigh. As one of the top emerging housing markets in the U.S., you can find plenty of affordable housing options 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 students 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 kids’ 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 watch professional teams like the Carolina Hurricanes (NHL) and the Raleigh Flyers (AUDL) at the Daniel Dhers Action Sports Complex—the largest complex in the world dedicated to skateboarding and BMX training.

Seattle, WA

A distant shot of downtown Seattle with Mount Rainier looming in the background. Photo by Instagram user @raymondstiehl.

Photo via @raymondstiehl

  • Population: 668,849
  • Home Price: $484,600 median purchase price; $1,266 median monthly rent
  • Median Household Income: $74,458
  • Unemployment Rate: 3.7%
  • Crime Rate: Safer than 7% 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 Pacific Northwest. Named for the lush forests that cover the surrounding mountains, Emerald City has a variety 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.


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City statistics from AreaVibes

Skyline view with skyscrapers and river at mid-day