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Best Places to Live in New England

Looking for the best places to live in New England? Check out this list of eight New England cities, all known for their great job opportunities, low crime rates, affordable housing, and fun local amenities!

  • Burlington, VT
  • Dover, NH
  • Hallowell, ME
  • Hanover, NH
  • Newton, MA
  • Maynard, MA
  • Stamford, CT
  • Warwick, RI

Burlington, VT

Lighthouse in the Bay in Burlington, VT. Photo by Instagram user @hannahmacleanphotos
Photo via @hannahmacleanphotos
  • Population: 42,556
  • Home Price: $264,300 median purchase price; $1,071 median monthly rent
  • Crime Rate: Safer than 41% of U.S. cities
  • Unemployment Rate: 4.5%

Located on the eastern shore of Lake Champlain, the waterfront city of Burlington is one of the best cities in New England! Home to the University of Vermont—one of the original Public Ivies—and nearly half of Vermont’s tech industry employment, Burlington is an excellent destination for students and young professionals seeking higher education and jobs in the Northeast. That said, Burlington isn’t just for the young—it’s also been named one of the best places to retire in New England!

Things to Do in Burlington

Visit ECHO, Leahy Center for Lake Champlain for an up-close look at more than 70 species of local aquatic wildlife. Stop by Lake Champlain Chocolates to try handcrafted truffles, toffee, and other sweet treats. Eat your fill of delicious vegan fare like the Napoleon Dynamite Burger or the Buddha Boi Wrap at Pingala Cafe. Indulge in a plate of Wild Blueberry Pancakes and sip on a Sweater Weather cocktail at Juniper Bar & Restaurant. Feast your eyes on art through the ages at the Fleming Museum of Art, which features a wide array of pieces from ancient Mesopotamia all the way to contemporary America. Cozy up with a cup of organic espresso at The Cosmic Grind, a laid-back, dog-friendly coffee shop in the heart of Burlington’s famous Church Street Marketplace. Or shop locally-grown produce, artisan goods, and more at the Burlington Farmers Market.

Dover, NH

City Hall in Dover, NH. Photo by Instagram user @flyingsig
Photo via @flyingsig
  • Population: 30,750
  • Home Price: $238,100 median purchase price; $1,027 median monthly rent
  • Crime Rate: Safer than 72% of U.S. cities
  • Unemployment Rate: 4%

Though it’s already the largest city in New Hampshire’s Seacoast Region, Dover continues to grow. People of all ages flock to this New England city to take advantage of the hottest job market in the state, as well as the city’s abundant outdoor recreation opportunities and close proximity to the University of New Hampshire. Dover also has a long legacy of environmental consciousness, thanks to its Conservation Commission, which has actively protected the local ecosystem since 1973 to keep green spaces and the Cocheco River waterfront clean.

Things to Do in Dover

Take your kids to the Children’s Museum of New Hampshire, where they can explore exhibits about the local ecosystem or attend a hands-on discovery camp. See colonial artifacts, natural history displays, fine art, and more at the Woodman Institute Museum. Get an incredible birds-eye view of the city by climbing the Garrison Hill Tower. Picnic on the banks of the Cocheco River at Henry Law Park. Check out the local nightlife with a trip to The Dover Brickhouse, where you can enjoy live music and sip on craft beers like the Tubular IPA or the Kentucky Breakfast Stout. Savor a Sizzling Ribeye Steak or some Coconut Shrimp at Christopher’s Third Street Grille. Grab a Popper’s Bagels and Macchiato for a quiet breakfast at Adelle’s Coffee House. Or wine and dine at Patty B’s, a locally-renowned Italian eatery with dishes like Eggplant Parmesan and Bacon-Wrapped Sea Scallops.

FIND YOUR STORE

Hallowell, ME

Old Church in Hallowell, ME. Photo by Instagram user @misterfenton
Photo via @misterfenton
  • Population: 2,427
  • Home Price: $198,900 median purchase price; $836 median monthly rent
  • Crime Rate: Safer than 84% of U.S. cities
  • Unemployment Rate: 3.5%

From its breathtaking Colonial architecture to its close-knit community feel, Hallowell is truly one of the best New England cities to live in! This small Augusta suburb along the banks of the Kennebec River offers a higher-than-average income per capita and affordable housing costs. Hallowell is also known for its charming old-world aesthetic mixed with modern culture, which helped the city earn its nickname: “New Orleans on the Kennebec.”

Things to Do in Hallowell

Hike the trailhead or check out the house museum at Vaughan Woods & Historic Homestead. Take an art class or catch a touring art exhibition at Harlow Gallery. Watch a performance put on by local thespians at Maine’s oldest continuously operating theater, the Gaslight Theater. Browse the stacks and check out books for free at the historic Hubbard Free Library, the oldest library in the state still serving its original purpose. Order unique dishes like Kimchi Burgers or Spiced Haddock Tacos at Slates Restaurant & Bakery. Jam out to live music, play some trivia, and join the Mug Club to try a rotating menu of on-tap brews at the Liberal Cup. Or treat your sweet tooth to classic confections like Caramel Toffee and Malted Milk Balls at Scrummy Afters.

Hanover, NH

Fall Foliage on Road at Dartmouth College in Hanover, NH. Photo by Instagram user @jd.powell
Photo via @jd.powell
  • Population: 8,482
  • Home Price: $469,300 median purchase price; $1,435 median monthly rent
  • Crime Rate: Safer than 82% of U.S. cities
  • Unemployment Rate: 1.2%

Nestled in the scenic Upper Connecticut River Valley about an hour outside of Manchester and Concord, Hanover is one of the best small towns in New Hampshire! This New England city offers a little bit of everything for residents. It’s home to Dartmouth College, an Ivy League institution and one of the world’s greatest universities. It’s been called a “smart place to retire” because of its excellent health care system and no taxes on Social Security benefits. And Hanover has a top-rated public school district dedicated to its local kids!

Things to Do in Hanover

Experience hands-on learning the whole family can enjoy at Montshire Museum of Science. Marvel at the eclectic and ever-changing collection of oddities at the quirky Main Street Museum. Hike Moose Mountain, a great ridge on the Appalachian Trail to see local flora and fauna up close. Grab your ski gear and hit the slopes at Dartmouth Skiway and Suicide Six Ski Area. See art from Australia, Europe, Africa, and beyond at the Hood Museum of Art. Try authentic Himalayan dishes like Gundruk Soup at Base Camp Cafe. Dig into classic American dishes with a twist like the Maple Turkey Burger at Molly’s Restaurant. Or kick back with a Tangled Up in Blue cocktail on the patio at Murphy’s on the Green.

Newton, MA

Newton City Hall and War Memorial in Newton, MA. Photo by Instagram user @preservationproblems
Photo via @preservationproblems
  • Population: 88,317
  • Home Price: $788,500 median purchase price; $1,733 median monthly rent
  • Crime Rate: Safer than 85% of U.S. cities
  • Unemployment Rate: 2.9%

Newton may be a suburb of Boston, but this New England city offers more than just proximity to the state capital. The local school district, Newton Public Schools, has received high praise for its superior academic performance, and there are several colleges in the area, including Lasell University and Boston College, making it an ideal home for students, young professionals, and families alike. In addition, the aptly-nicknamed Garden City has tons of green spaces, golf courses, parks, and more to keep residents active throughout the year.

Things to Do in Newton

Rock climb, jog, and birdwatch among gorgeous scenery at Webster Woods & Hammond Pond. Learn about Newton’s local history—including the area’s ties to the Underground Railroad—at the Jackson Homestead and Museum. Visit the Echo Bridge at Hemlock Gorge to take in spectacular views and experience the acoustic anomaly that gave this historic masonry bridge its name. See what life was like in the 1700s by visiting the Durant-Kendrick House & Grounds for a first-hand look at period rooms and exhibits from America’s past. Chow down on a Farm Grill Kabob or some Chicken Lemon Soup at The Farm Grill & Rotisserie. Try the Painted Hills Bistro Steak and other rustic American favorites at Buttonwood. Or order a glass at Strawberry Mango Rose Sangria or a bottle of Pinot Noir from District 118 Kitchen & Bar.

Maynard, MA

Clocktower Place in Maynard, MA. Photo by Instagram user @jaimefloresphotography
Photo via @jaimefloresphotography
  • Population: 10,526
  • Home Price: $327,600 median purchase price; $1,110 median monthly rent
  • Crime Rate: Safer than 67% of U.S. cities
  • Unemployment Rate: 3.1%

If you’re moving to Massachusetts, Maynard may be the perfect city for you. Situated along the Assabet River, this Boston suburb is just under an hour away from the city center and boasts a strong tech industry, making it one of the best New England cities for young professionals! Maynard is also an incredibly walkable city, particularly within its beloved Assabet Village Cultural District, which is home to everything from live music venues and performing arts spaces to trendy restaurants and bars.

Things to Do in Maynard

Climb The Mill Clock, the oldest functioning hand-wound clocktower in the U.S., for an aerial view of the city. Experience a piece of literary history at Walden Pond State Reservation, the famed retreat of author Henry David Thoreau. See an ever-changing collection of contemporary New England art at ArtSpace Maynard. Catch a play or an improv performance at Acme Theater. Tee off at the scenic nine-hole Maynard Golf Course. Enjoy a Hungry Harry Waffle or a Babico’s Double Burger at Babico’s Cafe. Cool off in the summertime with a Chocolate Mint Oreo cone at Erickson’s Ice Cream. Or grab a Northern Rabbit Malt or a Nitwit Black IPA from Amory’s Tomb Brewing Co., named after Amory Maynard, one of the city’s founders.

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Stamford, CT

Harbor Point with Storms Rolling in in Stamford, CT. Photo by Instagram user @katerac
Photo via @katerac
  • Population: 127,410
  • Home Price: $504,200; $1,656 median monthly rent
  • Crime Rate: Safer than 57% of U.S. cities
  • Unemployment Rate: 5.9%

About 45 minutes north of New York City sits Stamford, one of New England’s best places to live! This city along Long Island Sound has one of Connecticut’s best labor markets, thanks to its low unemployment rate and job opportunities with top employers like Indeed and Stamford Health Group. But that’s not all the city has to offer! Stamford residents are never short on things to do, thanks to the city’s art, culture, and entertainment.

Things to Do in Stamford

Spend the day stargazing at the planetarium, marveling at early 20th-century architecture at the Bendel Mansion, or touring one of the rotating exhibitions at the Stamford Museum & Nature Center. Go fishing, fly a kite, or hike the trails at Cove Island Park. Walk through beautiful gardens or take your kids on a scavenger hunt at the Bartlett Arboretum & Garden. Get tickets for a show at The Palace Theatre, which hosts musical acts, comedy sets, magic shows, plays, and more. Indulge in surf-n-turf dishes like Crab Cakes or The Whale Burger at Sign of the Whale. Enjoy a fine dining experience with fresh, seasonal dishes like Wild Striped Bass and hand-crafted cocktails at Table 104. Or treat yourself to confectionary creations like Wild Berry Ice Cream in a Crepe Cone at T-Swirl Crepe.

Warwick, RI

Rocky Point Park Beach in Warwick, RI. Photo by Instagram user @hillary4297
Photo via @hillary4297
  • Population: 81,881
  • Home Price: $195,700 median purchase price; $1,091 median monthly rent
  • Crime Rate: Safer than 62% of U.S. cities
  • Unemployment Rate: 4.8%

Warwick might be a budding Rhode Island business hub just 20 minutes south of Providence, but it also has approximately 39 miles of coastline and more than 850 acres worth of recreational areas, making it an excellent home for anyone who loves being outside. Looking for higher education in New England? Warwick is also close to both the Community College of Rhode Island and New England Institute of Technology!

Things to Do in Warwick

Get some sun on the beach or go kayaking at Conimicut Point. Camp out in the New England wilderness or hike the trails at Rocky Point State Park. Go on a walking tour of Apponaug Village to see historic sites like the Jaheel Westcott House, Odd Fellows Hall, and Apponaug Cove. Experience plays of consequence, parodies, and statement pieces at Rhode Island’s leading progressive theatre, The Gamm. Stop by Iggy’s to order a cup of White Chowder from New England’s oldest boardwalk restaurant. Quench your thirst with a cold pint paired with a plate of nachos at Tavern 12. Start your day with The Hearty Breakfast and a cup of fresh-brewed coffee at Cafe Tempo. Or try unique cocktails like the frozen Almond Joy and catch live music on the weekends at Chelo’s.

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City statistics from AreaVibes

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Moving to New England? These top cities in Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Vermont, and Maine offer affordable housing, strong job markets, and more! via @extraspace