What Are the Best Cities to Move to When You Have Kids in Tow?

Do you dream of selling your house to live somewhere new? A city with more potential for your young kids? Your family deserves only the best, and you shouldn’t stay in your current town simply because you already own a home there. And not just any place will do.

“When deciding on an area if you have kids, school systems, the number of parks and amenities in the community, the commute to a job, and overall safety should impact your choice,” said Dan Lesniak, co-founder of the Keri Shull Team, a top-selling real estate team in Arlington, Virginia (one of the cities that made our list).

Luckily, we’ve done the in-depth research on each of these components and compiled the data to make it easier for you. In order for a city to make this list, it had to have:

  • At least 5 above-average public elementary school districts (with a GreatSchools rating between 7-10)
  • An AreaVibes Livability Score (which factors in amenities, crime rates, education, employment, housing, and weather) higher than 65
  • A median cost of living no greater than 220 where the U.S. average is 100
  • Opportunity to find a home priced between $100,000 and $550,000
  • Plus, we took into consideration factors like free activities for families and parks in the area.

So, now all you need to do is browse this list of the top 10 best cities to move to when you have kids in tow. Select the one that resonates the most with your family’s needs, and put your house on the market.

Here’s the top 10 best cities to consider moving to with kids:

    1. Plano, Texas
    2. Ann Arbor, Michigan
    3. Arlington, Virginia
    4. Overland Park, Kansas
    5. Naperville, Illinois
    6. Irvine, California
    7. Burlington, Vermont
    8. Raleigh, North Carolina
    9. Boise, Idaho
    10. Colorado Springs, Colorado

    Plano is one of the best cities for kids.
    Source: (Nicholas Geraldine Photos/ Shutterstock)

    1. Plano, Texas

    Located just 30 minutes outside of Dallas, Plano is a mecca for families with kids. Not only are many of the public school districts ranked above average, but the suburb packs a lot of opportunity for having an only slightly above average cost of living.

    That means you’ll have more money in your pocketbook for excursions to places like the Dallas Zoo, not to mention all the free family-friendly activities right in Plano.

    The cost of housing ranges widely from $117,500 and $894,900 but as of 2019, the average home sale price was just $332,000, according to HomeLight transaction data. With the money used to sell your current home, you can budget accordingly to find a reasonably-priced residence in Plano to raise your family.

    Looking for more temperate weather and plenty of outdoor space for the kids to run and play?

    Plano offers all that and more with its 84 parks. Arbor Hills Nature Preserve is highly rated for its trails. For family nights out, you can visit Historic Downtown Plano. There’s plenty of locally-owned shops and restaurants, Movies in the Park, Family Days, and more.

    Fast stats about Plano:
    Population: 281,566
    Average home sale price (based on 2019 transaction data from HomeLight): $332,000
    GreatSchools ratings: 23 public district elementary schools rated as “above average” (earning at least a 7 out of 10)
    Livability: 91
    Cost of living: 119.8 (based on a U.S. average of 100)
    Park score: 66

    Find a top agent in Plano, TX to get more local insights.

    Ann arbor is one of the best cities for kids.
    Source: ( Traveler100/ Wikimedia Commons via Creative Commons Legal Code)

    2. Ann Arbor, Michigan

    Ann Arbor, Michigan, provides families with a mix of that small-town feel and city living, making it an ideal place to raise a growing family. And if you’re looking for a new sporting allegiance, the University of Michigan is right in the neighborhood.

    When you’re not introducing your kids to Michigan football and basketball games, there’s plenty of activities to do as a family. Visit the Ann Arbor Hands-on Museum for a day of exploration and discovery. The Creature Conservancy is another must-visit destination to learn all about new and interesting animals.

    Fast stats about Ann Arbor:
    Population: 119,303
    Average home price (based on 2019 transaction data from HomeLight): $375,000
    GreatSchools ratings: 15 public district elementary schools rated as “above average” (earning at least a 7 out of 10)
    Livability: 79
    Cost of living: 127.1
    Median home price: $355,900
    Park score: Not available

    Find a top agent in Ann Arbor, MI to get more local insights.

    Arlington is one of the best cities for kids.
    Source: (Natalia Bratslavsky/ Shutterstock)

    3. Arlington, Virginia

    Seeking a kid-friendly place to raise your family but still want to be close to a bigger city? Arlington, Virginia may be the ideal location.

    Your children can live in a city that earned an A+ ranking for its safety, attend above average schools, and be a stone’s throw away from one of the most historical destinations in the country: Washington, D.C.

    The cost of living is above average due to housing and transportation costs, so keep that in mind. But with the right real estate agent, you may be able to score an affordable home that meets your needs.

    Lesniak adds that “home prices are expensive in Arlington but proximity to the government and the tech industries make the job environment good and keep unemployment low.”

    Encourage your kids to explore the nation’s history by visiting the Arlington National Cemetery and the National 9/11 Pentagon Memorial.

    When your kids are old enough, plan family day trips to Washington, D.C., to visit all the museums and monuments. For all those hot, summer stretches, Upton Hill Regional Park should be at the top of your list. Play mini golf, ride the slides at the Ocean Dunes Waterpark, and hit the batting cages.

    Need a free activity to do as a family? Dan suggests hitting one of the numerous hike and bike trails in Arlington such as Rocky Run Park, Custis Trail, WOD Trail, and Mt. Vernon Trail which runs along the river across from D.C.

    Fast stats about Arlington:
    Population: 229,534
    GreatSchools ratings: 10 public district elementary schools rated as “above average” (earning at least a 7 out of 10)
    Average home price (based on 2019 transaction data from HomeLight): $704,000
    Livability: 81
    Cost of living: 192.3
    Median home price: $684,400
    Park score: 81.6

    Find a top agent in Arlington, VA for more local insights.

    Overland Park is one of the best cities for kids.
    Source: (Anne Preble/ Unsplash)

    4. Overland Park, Kansas

    Overland Park, Kansas, is just 20 minutes outside of Kansas City, making it a great location to settle with your young family. You’re still close to city life for work and entertainment. At the same time you can offer your kids a suburban upbringing in a city that earned an A- rating for overall crime.

    Your kids will also get the best education possible at any of the schools in the city since they are all ranked above the state average.

    Luckily, the cost of living in Overland Park is only slightly above average in comparison to the rest of the country. So, you should be able to find an affordable home that your family loves.

    During the warmer months, your family can spend Saturday mornings browsing the Farmers’ Market to buy fresh produce and to get to know the community. Another must-visit destination is Deanna Rose Children’s Farmstead where your kids can feed goats, ride in a carriage, and more. Colder days can be spent in the Museum at Prairiefire doing hands-on science activities.

    Fast stats about Overland Park:
    Population: 186,147
    Average home price (based on 2019 transaction data from HomeLight): $323,000
    GreatSchools ratings: 12 public district elementary schools rated as “above average” (earning at least a 7 out of 10)
    Livability: 83
    Cost of living: 119.6
    Median home price: $296,400
    Park score: N/A

    Find a top agent in Overland Park, KS to get more local insights.

    Naperville is one of the best cities for kids.
    Source: (Jeremiah Higgins/ Unsplash)

    5. Naperville, Illinois

    While the cost of living is a bit high in Naperville, the city makes up for it in all it offers young families. Your children will experience growing up in a suburb well-known for its low crime and for its above average schools.

    Its proximity to Chicago makes it ideal for parents who want to commute to work in a larger city. Plus, your children will look forward to day trips exploring the Windy City.

    Homes are a bit pricier in Naperville with average sale prices clocking in at $395,000 in 2019. However, with the right real estate agent who knows all the inventory, you’re better positioned secure a house within your budget to raise your family in.

    The Naperville Riverwalk will be your family’s hang out spot in town (and the city even offers free parking). The riverwalk includes covered bridges, fountains like the Dandelion Fountain, walking paths, and the Centennial Beach. What about when the weather isn’t ideal? Your family can become a frequent visitor to the Dupage Children’s Museum where you can spend time playing, learning, and discovering together.

    Fast stats about Naperville:
    Population: 146,431
    Average home price (based on 2019 transaction data from HomeLight): $395,000
    GreatSchools ratings: 26 public district elementary schools rated as “above average” (earning at least a 7 out of 10)
    Livability: 75
    Cost of living: 143
    Median home price: $387,000
    Park score: N/A

    Find a top agent in Naperville, IL to get more local insights.

    Burlington is one of the best cities for kids.
    Source: (Rob Rudeski/ Shutterstock)

    6. Burlington, Vermont

    When you think of the East Coast, you picture bustling cities or charming, idyllic towns. If you’re in search of the latter, Burlington, Vermont is right up your alley. Forbes even named it one of the prettiest towns in America.

    Although it’s a small town, you’re only 45 minutes from the Canadian border. There’s also a large airport nearby, and the University of Vermont is in town. For your kids, the schools are ranked among some of the best receiving average to above average rankings. Safety is not an issue as the city earns an A- in terms of crime.

    Church Street Marketplace is located in the heart of downtown Burlington. Head to the outdoor mall to shop, eat, attend festivals, and more as a family. The ECHO Leahy Center is an interactive museum focused on Lake Champlain and marine life. On that note, your kids will grow up enjoying time spent near Lake Champlain wandering the waterfront and sailing.

    Fast stats about Burlington:
    Population: 42,453
    Average home price (based on 2019 transaction data from HomeLight): $335,000
    GreatSchools ratings: 5 public district elementary schools rated as “above average” (earning at least a 7 out of 10)
    Livability: 66
    Cost of living: 118.5
    Median home price: $296,800
    Park score: N/A

    Find a top agent in Burlington, VT for more local insights.

    Irvine is one of the best cities for kids.
    Source: (Cameron Stow/ Unsplash)

    7. Irvine, California

    Always dreamed of living in the Golden State? Noted as one of the wealthiest and safest cities in the country, Irvine, California, may be the right place to grow your family. It earned an A+ rating in regards to crime rates, and you won’t struggle to find a good school to enroll your kids in. They all earn high marks.

    You need to be prepared for a higher cost of living, though. Housing and transportation make this city one of the more expensive.

    Your kids will appreciate that Disneyland is right around the corner. On special occasions like birthdays and holidays, you family can make a tradition out of day trips to the most magical place on Earth. A more affordable pastime is the Adventure Playground where your kids can play in a tree house, draw on an outdoor art wall, and enjoy a sensory garden.

    Fast stats about Irvine:
    Population: 256,870
    Average home price (based on 2019 transaction data from HomeLight): $961,000
    GreatSchools ratings: 27 public district elementary schools rated as “above average” (earning at least a 7 out of 10)
    Livability: 82
    Cost of living: 211.5
    Median home price: $853,200
    Park score: 73.4

    Find a top agent in Irvine, CA for more local insights.

    Raleigh is one of the best cities for kids.
    Source: (Cameron Stow/ Unsplash)

    8. Raleigh, North Carolina

    Big cities may not be your thing. Even so, you may you want your family to grow up in a bustling, growing metropolis. If so, Raleigh, North Carolina, is an option to add to your list of best cities to move to with kids. USA Today voted it one of the top most livable cities in the United States, noting that it has grown by nearly 30% in population in the last decade.

    Raleigh is known for small-town Southern charm blended with a growing metropolis area. When your kids aren’t attending above average schools, they’ll enjoy the temperate climate and activities Raleigh has to offer.

    They will love the Marbles Museum located in downtown where they can play hands-on while learning. Pullen Park is also a must-see with its carousel, miniature train, paddle boats, playgrounds, and recreational areas, and theatre.

    Fast stats about Raleigh:
    Population: 449,477
    Average home sale price (based on 2019 transaction data from HomeLight): $332,000
    GreatSchools ratings: 5 public district elementary schools rated as “above average” (earning at least a 7 out of 10)
    Livability: 78
    Cost of living: 111
    Median home price: $260,100
    Park score: 58.6

    Find a top agent in Raleigh to get more local insights.

    Boise is one of the best cities for kids.
    Source: (Kevin Fitzgerald/ Unsplash)

    9. Boise, Idaho

    A gem of the Midwest, Boise, Idaho, is full of state and national parks and plenty of history. While you’re still new to the area, take a trip to the Idaho State Historical Society located in Boise to acquaint your family with your new home.

    Boise National Park will become a favorite weekend activity for your family. From hiking the trails, to exploring the lakes and reservoirs, to camping, the opportunities to be one with nature are endless.

    Your kids will also love other unique offerings in Boise like the Idaho Museum of Geology and Mining and the Discovery Center of Idaho where they can learn through interactive activities.

    Fast stats about Boise:
    Population: 220,859
    Average home sale price (based on 2019 transaction data from HomeLight): $288,000
    GreatSchools ratings: 15 public district elementary schools rated as “above average” (earning at least a 7 out of 10) compared to others in the state
    Livability: 80
    Cost of living: 106.7
    Median home price: $255,100
    Park score: 60.6

    Find a top agent in Boise, ID to get more local insights.

    Colorado Springs is one of the best cities for kids.
    Source: (Chaz McGregor/ Unsplash)

    10. Colorado Springs, Colorado

    Not ready to give up city life but need more green space to raise your growing family? Colorado Springs, Colorado, should be at the top of your list. After you adjust to the altitude difference, you’ll love the 300 days of sunshine, views of mountains and wildlife, and the outdoor activities that come with each season.

    With the opportunity to hike, camp, and ski, your kids will grow up in an active environment. They’ll also receive an above average education in one of the many top-rated schools in the area.

    Be sure to explore Pikes Peak and the Garden of the Gods nature center. For those days that aren’t as sunny, visit the Dinosaur Resource Center to learn about fossils or the Penny Arcade for old school arcade games the whole family will enjoy.

    Even though you may spend most of your time outside, you still need to find the ideal home for your growing family.

    Fast stats about Colorado Springs:
    Population: 450,000
    Average home sale price (based on 2019 transaction data from HomeLight): $337,000
    GreatSchools ratings: 28 public district elementary schools rated as “above average” (earning at least a 7 out of 10) compared to others in the state
    School systems: Above average
    Livability: 69
    Cost of living: 112.9
    Median home price: $272,100
    Park score: 49.9

    Find a top agent in Colorado Springs, CO to get more local insights.

    With all of these kid-friendly cities to choose from, you’re probably eager to get your house on the market. Once you receive an offer on your current home, you can sell it and be on your way to one of these 10 best cities to move to when you have kids.

    Article Image Source: (Jenn Evelyn-Ann/ Unsplash)

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