The 16 Greatest Places to Live in America
7. Burlington, Vermont
Total Votes: 52,743
To understand how Burlington’s frat boys, Birkenstock-wearing professors, and young professionals happily coexist in the town of 42,000, just look at the bulletin board at City Market, the organically stocked co-op and the only grocery downtown. Flyers advertise evening bike races, a jazz festival on Church Street, yoga retreats at nearby vineyards, and a global-health lecture at the University of Vermont (home to nearly 10,000 students).
Situated on the shores of Lake Champlain, with the Green Mountains to the east and the Adirondacks to the west, Burlington’s residents have easy access to water and peaks. You can bike along Lake Champlain’s waterfront, rent a sailboat at the Community Sailing Center, cliff-jump at Red Rocks, or mountain-bike the Sunny Hollow trails. When frigid winter temperatures send other New Englanders inside, these hardy Vermonters are nordic skiing at the Intervale, snow kiting on frozen Champlain, or backcountry skiing near the Bolton Valley resort, just 30 minutes away.
“I’ve lived and traveled all over the West, and Burlington is hard to beat,” says runner R.J. Thompson, a UVM grad who works in solar installation and is training to break the speed record on Vermont’s 273-mile Long Trail. “There’s a kindheartedness among people that can’t be found in many other places.”
Make the Move
Look for a colonial home priced around $300,000 (citywide median: $259,500) in the diverse Old North End neighborhood, close to the lake. If you can’t land a job at UVM, try the health care sector or Burton, which is headquartered here (median household income: $43,135).