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15 best cities in the US for apartment living

Whether you’re changing jobs, looking for a new adventure, or one of the other dozens of reasons you might be relocating, the process can be difficult. Getting to know a new city is daunting – from the restaurants, to the transit, to the top attractions. That is not even mentioning the search for affordable, quality housing in an apartment building. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a ready-made leg up by moving specifically to a city that is fantastic for those who live in apartments? Plenty of inventory, a large quantity of professionally managed apartment buildings or housing converted to apartments, a low cost of living, and a ton of attractions for all ages. Sounds wonderful, right? Cities like this are located all around the country and are ready to welcome you.

Apartment Advisor created this list of 15 best cities for apartment living based on resident reviews, available inventory, area attractions, cost of living, and much more. We hope this list helps inspire you for your next move.

Decatur, Alabama

Why it’s popular: A transportation hub and manufacturing center for Alabama, Decatur’s strategic location along the Tennessee River and a cross between important rail lines helped the city grow quickly and attract new business as the years have passed. Cost of living, unemployment, and crime are all low for the state. Nearby Huntsville (25 miles) provides many more jobs and attractions. Locals love the mild winters, though summer can get quite humid.

Boulder, Colorado

Why it’s popular: A college town, University of Colorado’s main campus is in Boulder and provides all the typical benefits of such – plenty of top shelf apartments, college sports games to attend, and lots of nightlife and restaurants. Many of Boulder’s main attractions are located within a two-mile radius of the city center, so finding an apartment in that zone is crucial – though there are many to rent in the unspoiled beauty a bit outside the main strip. An outdoorsman’s dream in all four seasons. With Rocky Mountain skiing and snowboarding near by, as well as famous trails for hiking like Chautauqua and Flatirons, you’ll never run out of fresh air or things to do. The farm-to-table movement is strong here, as many restaurants embrace local, seasonal, and artisan cooking. For the intellectual, Boulder offers independent bookstores that sell rare works.

Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Why it’s popular: Fort Lauderdale offers a sunny, warm climate that some may dub “perfection”. Nicknamed the “Venice of America” because of its scenic canals and outdoor charm. In fact, nearly 40,000 residents live aboard their boats. This ocean-front community is filled with artists, beautiful homes and waterways, great restaurants and miles of beautiful beaches framed by a picturesque serpentine wall. Go for a swim daily in the blue-green waters of the Atlantic Ocean at Fort Lauderdale Beach. Dine al fresco at one of the many eateries on Las Olas Boulevard or simply poke around the variety of shops and boutiques.Fort Lauderdale’s downtown is thriving; unemployment is low, incomes are growing, and offices are full.

Statesboro, Georgia

Why it’s popular: Downtown Statesboro is a blend of historic southern charm and a smart college town vibe. Residents love the sunny weather, the low cost of living, high graduation rates, and lots of local amenities. The Main Street Farmers Market is wonderful to shop at on the weekend and the school come with rave reviews from generations of Statesboro residents. The Jimps and Clito neighborhoods are where the best apartments and homes can be rented. Culture and architecture are major draws here, with a number of buildings are on the National Register of Historic Places, and the galleries and stage of the Averitt Center for the Arts right downtown. Georgia Southern University brings a burst of energy and keeps the area lively.The McTell Trail – a beautiful one mile greenway – connects Downtown to the Georgia Southern University campus.

Fort Wayne, Indiana

Why it’s popular: Fort Wayne is a business center and the second largest city in Indiana, but it has a feeling of community and small-town charm that belies a city of its stature. Cost of living is low, and luxury condos downtown mix with historic apartment buildings for an impressive array of choices for apartment dwellers. In fact, the typical Fort Wayne resident spends just 24 percent of their monthly income on housing costs, which is 4 percent under what most mortgage experts suggest. Fort Wayne’s recreational amenities, arts and cultural offerings are a surprising and welcome draw for residents in this Midwestern city. General Motors, Lincoln Financial Group, Parkview Health System and Lutheran Health Network are among the leading job providers in Fort Wayne. Three minor league sports teams, 15 museums and art galleries, 86 public parks, a zoo, orchestra, and many annual events give residents plenty of things to do.

Ames, Iowa

Why it’s popular: Nearby Iowa State University makes up most of the population of this quaint Iowa town and employs over 10,000 people. Plenty of affordable housing for college students and residents. Featuring a wide variety of shopping including both big box stores and a thriving small business area downtown. A good offering of plays, concerts, and other events due to the University. A bountiful farmers market, good bike paths, plenty of golfing opportunities and manicured, fun parks. Reiman Gardens, a 17-acre horticulture site and butterfly house is a must-visit.

Lexington, Kentucky

Why it’s popular: A welcoming, inclusive community, Lexington is home to over 400 horse farms and is the “Horse Capital of the World”. It is much more than the equine industry though, with affordability, a vibrant cultural scene, and a highly educated population. There is an emerging technology scene and an entrepreneurial spirit here, which is drawing young people who want to stay and live and raise families. Easy access to working and playing in Louisville is a major plus, as well as the overall low crime rate. The workforce is strong in manufacturing, technology and entrepreneurial support. Lexington is home to over 100 parks, plenty of golf, and wildlife preserves.

Ann Arbor, Michigan

Why it’s popular: A college town that has undeniable energy, Ann Arbor lives and dies with the success of their beloved Big Blue sports teams from the University of Michigan. The schools are top notch – from the famed University on down. Cocktail bars, breweries, and distilleries are cropping up to support a growing culture to match the already bustling restaurant scene with farm-to-table foods. The city is also full of local history, and the museum culture is growing. The cost of living and housing costs are higher than other towns on this list, but you receive so much more in atmosphere, activities, and culture.

Duluth, Minnesota

Why it’s popular: A Minnesota gem with industrial charm, Duluth features an attractive waterfront setting that is constantly being upgraded and renovated to attract new residents. Eat and party down on the water in Canal Park, or enjoy the outdoor opportunities Duluth offers like skiing, hiking, and biking. Take a photograph of the Aerial Lift Bridge shop at the DeWitt-Seitz Marketplace. There are over 30 neighborhoods for apartment renters to choose from – for a more laid back atmosphere live in Bayview Heights, for a younger crowd, live in Chester Park. Cold weather is a major factor here, so be prepared! Cold doesn’t seem to bother the locals though, as Duluth is routinely voted one of the happiest cities in America.

Lincoln, Nebraska

Why it’s popular: This happy, thriving city has so much to offer in what’s normally a fly-over state. Lincoln is once again, as many on this list, a college town with the University of Nebraska nearby. The university employs many residents, as well as local stalwarts Goodyear and plenty of smaller businesses in printing, manufacturing, and insurance. A low cost of living and tiny unemployment rate makes renting an apartment a budget-friendly dream. Head down O Street to see live music or bar hop or stroll down Historic Haymarket to see cobblestones and classic architecture.Daily amenities in Lincoln include more than 130 miles of walking and bike trails for residents. An extremely diverse community, Lincoln is quintessential big city with a small town feel.

Trenton, New Jersey

Why it’s popular: Highly educated and diverse population, excellent schools, and the excitement and employment opportunities of both New York and Philadelphia are just 1 hour away. A low cost of living and a strong working class element give Trenton a character that may be lacking from other entries on this list. There are plenty of apartment options here and a much cheaper way to commute to New York City than living in Manhattan.

Athens, Ohio

Why it’s popular: Nearby Ohio University supplies a lot of the population and activity happening in Athens. The city is full of off-campus students in affordable apartment housing either in buildings or converted condos and more. They live and die with the success of the OU sports teams, and many of the arts and culture is supplied or attended by students too. The university employs thousands of the Athens population. River Park and Palmer Place are two popular apartment complexes, while University Commons is popular with coeds. Looking for nightlife? Live uptown, you’ll be walkable to all the hottest bars and restaurants.

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Why it’s popular: One of the biggest markets on our list, Pittsburgh, the famed “Steel City”, it is much more than the blue collar, hard working reputation it has earned over the years. The thriving downtown area is home to retirees, millennials, families, and all sorts of different folks. Green spaces, riverfront trails, professional sports, and of course – affordable and booming apartment housing. Eat and party on the 21st Street Strip where shops and bars are the places to be on the weekends. The Three Rivers also give residents plenty to see and do on the water – like swimming, boating, and kayaking. World-class hospitals are extra perks to residing in Pittsburgh and help families feel safe and healthy. The pride people feel for living in Pittsburgh is palpable throughout the city, and this town really shines when fans are rooting loudly for the Steelers, Penguins, or Pirates.

Huntsville, Texas

Why it’s popular: A town about much more than the prison industry, Huntsville has been growing in population for the past decade. Yes, the reputation of Huntsville always starts with the famed prison, but once you move here you’ll understand why so many residents love it. The low cost of living and low unemployment rate are both brag-worthy for Huntsville. Constantly sunny skies and east Texas charm add to the benefits. The friendliness of your neighbors make apartment living here a delight. Sam Houston State adds a boost to jobs and to education and activities for the area.

Charlottesville, Virginia

Why it’s popular: Another college town on our list of best places for apartment living is Charlottesville, home to University of Virginia and Thomas Jefferson’s famed mansion, Monticello. With a focus on business, Charlottesville booms with manufacturing, medical, and technology businesses thriving. Arts, culture, shopping, and more cater to the lively nature of the city and the students. Outdoor enthusiasts will love the local rivers and lakes, where they can sail, kayak, canoe, and fish. The safety and low crime rate of a smaller city, but only a two hour drive from DC. A wonderful choice for foodies as Charlottesville has the most restaurants per capita in the US!

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