"McPherson, KS, is one of the most progressive small communities in the Midwest," says Anne Kirchner, with the McPherson Convention and Visitors Bureau. Jacksonville, Oregon. List prices on realtor.com have soared 30% over the past two years. For the best experience, please enable cookies when using our site. SUNSET is a registered trademark For one week each summer, Mexico is transformed from a quaint, quiet community into a giant beauty pageant filled with baton twirling, vocal solos, and clouds of hairspray. Folks can also snag two-bedroom apartments with a white, subway tile backsplash in the kitchen for $600 a month. Grand Junction, CO. Grand Junction, is a college town perched on the border with Utah. The West’s best small towns 20 Ultimate Fantasy Towns Tired of the daily grind? Hometown perk: Drink cheap beer (it's Wisconsin! Let's take a tour of America's best small towns. But Decatur, founded in 1836, has its own unique vibe, too. The town is working on revitalizing some of its older neighborhoods, thanks to a grant by the Howard G. Buffett Foundation in 2017. Median home price: $94,600Population: 28,217. Hometown perk: The Van Wert Community Dog Park, a fully fenced canine mecca paid for by community donations, now hosts the annual Dog Bone Hunt each Easter. While small towns often offer a lower cost of living compared to major urban centers, Whitestown residents benefit from Indianapolis’s affordability as well: Indianapolis ranks No. Construction crews are hard at work here, putting up a $35 million, 100,000-square-foot community center that will include everything from indoor running tracks to warm therapy pools. People like to cut loose here. of Sunset Publishing Corporation. Austin flies in the face of stereotypes about small towns in decline. The company spends millions improving the community and attracting talent. Population: 78,465 Median Home Price: $875,000 Unemployment Rate: 4.9% Median Household Income: $149,172 Average Commute Time: 30 minutes. A quaint and well-maintained small Western town, Bozeman is chock-full of history and charm. ), and throw darts at All Aboard, a good, old-fashioned dive bar. We dug deeper to find the places that offer residents something extra: one-of-a-kind festivals, quirky mom and pop shops, surprising foodie destination spots. Population: 118,326 Median Home Price: $766,500 Unemployment Rate: 3.6% Median Household Income: $94,731 Average Commute Time: 27 minutes. We included only one place per state to achieve some geographic diversity. Median home price: $158,800Population: 28,708. Hometown perk: All aboard! Another Bay Area city makes the list for its excellent schools, access to recreational and cultural attractions, and several large in-town employers, including Chevron and 24-Hour Fitness’s corporate headquarters. "Millennials, in particular, are very focused on affordability," she says. "We have a  steady stream of young families moving into town.". Population: 50,248 Median Home Price: $802,275 Unemployment Rate: 4.3% Median Household Income: $150,717 Average Commute Time: 28 minutes. Population: 96,500 Median Home Price: $319,950 Unemployment Rate: 4.7% Median Household Income: $70,168 Average Commute Time: 22 minutes. Top-ranking schools and access to great ethnic cuisine make it an appealing alternative to Portland, which is just 8 miles away. This haven for history buffs is located along the banks of the Wisconsin River. Check out MONEY’s comparison tool, or rank the top 50 using the criteria that’s most important to you. It's the start of the town's annual Pufferbilly Days festival featuring everything from a 5K run and motorcycle show to live polka performances and—wait for it—a spelling bee! Story Street, the town's main drag, is lined with two-story storefronts with flower baskets hanging from their light poles. Some folks have struggled to find affordable apartments, and the influx of students created a teacher shortage. | Updated July 27, 2019. All Rights Reserved. Nike’s hometown makes a pretty nice hometown for its residents, as well, who enjoy low property taxes, affordable real estate and Oregon’s lack of sales tax too. If high-paying jobs and easy beach access weren’t enough, this Southern California city also boasts one of the highest safety ratings in the country. A lake for everyone, confessions of a pool crasher, and the BBQ king of California. And folks here have a lot of time to take in those views: Last year realtor.com ranked Los Alamos County as one of the top 10 counties where people live the longest. Home buyers tend to live in cozy, century-old, two-story houses that go for around $90,000. But those bigger paychecks haven't come without some growing pains. And stay tuned for our February 2017 issue, where we’ll be sharing our own picks for the West’s best places to live! A Gold Rush town that is home to the Britt Music & Arts Festival. "People from everywhere come here," says Kristen Olson, a community concierge at the Austin Area Chamber of Commerce who helps newcomers transition to living in the town, including those in refugee resettlements. About an hour north of Wichita, it's home to McPherson College and the Central Christian College of Kansas, boasting about 1,600 students between them.

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