If Boulder was a person rather than a place, he or she would be getting a swelled head about now.
What a shock!
How close? Count down the top ten below, complete with photos, plus text and a data breakdown from Livability.com.
Note: For more details about the numbers below, click here.
The band R.E.M. sang, "Don't go back to Rockville," but the smart residents never left this Best Place to Live in the first place. The surrounding public sector jobs keep the economy on an even keel and attracts high-skilled, highly paid residents who enjoy the small-town life while often working in nearby Silver Spring, Baltimore and Washington D.C. LivScore: 631 Economics: 68 Healthcare: 39 Housing: 64 Social and Civic Capital: 76 Education: 62 Amenities: 71 Demographics: 66 Infrastructure: 63
The dry heat in Reno isn't as hot as other parts of the state, and the Sierra Nevada mountains are just waiting to be climbed. Quick commutes, natural amenities, culture and casinos make Reno a great place to live. The affordable and plentiful hotels can accommodate visitors who want to visit this great city. LivScore: 631 Economics: 53 Healthcare: 83 Housing: 45 Social and Civic Capital: 51 Education: 70 Amenities: 90 Demographics: 66 Infrastructure: 48
A truly year-round climate makes outdoor recreation in Eugene possible through four temperate seasons. It's no wonder Eugene has one of the highest scores for amenities. This leads to low traffic congestion because people bike and walk to work, farmers markets, dining and nightlife. Spending time in the area gets residents engaged in the community and its continual improvement. LivScore: 633 Economics: 53 Healthcare: 63 Housing: 49 Social and Civic Capital: 77 Education: 81 Amenities: 87 Demographics: 35 Infrastructure: 65
Salt Lake City, Utah
Livability in Salt Lake City is tied to the working community, which maintains its qualities through strong support of locally owned businesses - many of which grow out of the University of Utah. The city's beautiful setting, strong community and emphasis on family living make it a great place to live and work. LivScore: 635 Economics: 52 Healthcare: 86 Housing: 45 Social and Civic Capital: 54 Education: 73 Amenities: 83 Demographics: 50 Infrastructure: 66
Rochester is home of the Mayo Clinic and much more. In recent years, the population has grown, diversified and added younger residents causing the downtown to perk up, creating a more livable space for residents and visitors to gather and enjoy. And of course having one of the world's most well-known hospitals means quality health care is just around the corner. LivScore: 636 Economics: 69 Healthcare: 56 Housing: 68 Social and Civic Capital: 62 Education: 71 Amenities: 70 Demographics: 63 Infrastructure: 48
Miami Beach, Florida
Miami Beach packs a lot of amenities into a tiny stretch of oceanfront, just seven miles long and one mile wide, including museums, art deco buildings, shopping and cuisine. Oh, and let's not forget the beach. It all adds up to a city striving to be more livable for the diverse communities that call it home. LivScore: 639 Economics: 54 Healthcare: 82 Housing: 25 Social and Civic Capital: 68 Education: 68 Amenities: 89 Demographics: 58 Infrastructure: 76
Durham, North CarolinaIt's hard to separate Durham from its anchor, Duke University. But the city's history goes back through tobacco production, textiles and agriculture. Durham has embraced its roots as it has remade itself as a research and technology hub - with great food - in the last half century. LivScore: 640 Economics: 60 Healthcare: 78 Housing: 47 Social and Civic Capital: 52 Education: 70 Amenities: 84 Demographics: 73 Infrastructure: 50
Berkeley is evolving its hippie past, allowing for denser development but keeping its focus on local businesses and culture. The town, home to the popular University of California campus, is reinvesting in a livable, energetic downtown area filled with great places to eat and shop. LivScore: 643 Economics: 58 Healthcare: 57 Housing: 41 Social and Civic Capital: 76 Education: 89 Amenities: 79 Demographics: 56 Infrastructure: 68
Boulder has incomparable outdoor offerings like the Rocky Mountain foothills, the Flatirons, and its rivers and bike trails. But there's plenty for residents and visitors to do indoors as well with shopping at the Pearl Street Mall and downtown eateries and brew pubs. LivScore: 643 Economics: 54 Healthcare: 73 Housing: 57 Social and Civic Capital: 70 Education: 89 Amenities: 78 Demographics: 25 Infrastructure: 70
Palo Alto, California
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Take mild weather, a thriving economy, great cultural and natural amenities; add in not one, but two downtowns surrounded by housing; and finally, drop in one of the highest-ranked universities in the world, and you'll find yourself in Palo Alto, Livability.com's 2014 Best Place to Live.
LivScore: 646 Economics: 54 Healthcare: 46 Housing: 51 Social and Civic Capital: 74 Education: 85 Amenities: 82 Demographics: 69 Infrastructure: 67
More from our Lists & Weirdness archive: "Top ten 'You know you're from Boulder when....' punchlines."