These Are The Top U.S. Suburbs That Feel Like Big Cities, According to Zillow and Yelp

published Sep 30, 2020
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Post Image
Credit: Glasshouse Images/Getty Images

Those continuing to work from home and stay (mostly) indoors know one thing: the amount of space you have—and where on the map you live—has been top of mind these past few months. That’s especially the case for folks living in cities from California to Florida, who once settled down in urban areas to be closer to restaurants, nightlife, museums, and more. Now, according to Zillow, buyers are prioritizing features like indoor and outdoor space, as well as affordability. 

Searching for city amenities and striving for a suburban budget is a tall order. That’s partly why Zillow and Yelp partnered to identify the top 10 U.S. suburbs that feel like big cities. The idea is that urban dwellers might consider leaving their cities for one of these spots in search of slightly less density and more open space—without having to give up the proximity of restaurants or culture.

In big cities, the number of quotes requested from movers has increased, signaling that people are moving or thinking about it more, according to Yelp. In San Francisco, moving quote requests were up by 34 percent, while they’re up 22 percent in New York City and 6 percent in Los Angeles. 

“At Yelp, we’re seeing consumer interest and requests for quotes for categories like movers, packing services, and mortgage lenders increase in major metro areas, compared to the same time period last year,” said Tara Lewis, a trend expert, in a statement.

In addition to those categories, Zillow reported in a recent poll that nearly two-thirds of respondents said they would consider moving if they had the flexibility to work from home as often as they want.

“For city dwellers who don’t want to sacrifice great amenities like restaurants, art galleries and nightlife, but are dreaming of a little more space and a more affordable lifestyle, these suburbs offer a similar variety of great local businesses,” Lewis said. 

To create this list of vibrant suburbs, Zillow and Yelp looked at hundreds of suburbs across the country to highlight 10 with amenities that result in a city-like environment. To narrow down the list, they examined a town’s mix and diversity of businesses, consumer reviews and check-ins, housing affordability compared to the nearest big cities and to the country at large, as well as housing availability.

What’s the number one suburb that feels like a city, you ask? Hialeah, Florida, which is the sixth largest city in Florida with 233,339 residents. Hialeah possesses a classic South Florida vibe but for a lot less money, as homes there are nearly 20 percent less expensive than in Miami. 

“They call Hialeah the city that progresses, and it’s a city that has progressed a lot,” said Sergio Betancourt, a Zillow agent with Laurie Reader Real Estate in South Florida, in a statement.  “Hialeah feels authentically Cuban with local shops, bakeries and restaurants that all serve the large Cuban population that lives here.”  

In second place is Richardson, Texas, a suburb of  downtown Dallas. It has proximity to a slew of activities, including shopping malls and museums, as well as a vibrant food scene. On the West Coast, two suburbs were ranked among the top 10. At number four, Santa Monica is one of Southern California’s most desired places to live. With home values up nearly 7 percent from last year, its close proximity to the beach and amenities and entertainment, make it a hot place to be. Then coming in at number 10, San Leandro’s central location makes it easy to head into downtown San Francisco, Berkeley, and parts of Silicon Valley. Plus, housing prices there are more reasonable, at less than half the median value of homes in San Francisco proper. 

For those on the East Coast, coming in at six, Cary, North Carolina, brings a family-friendly atmosphere while still providing access to nearby cities. For home buyers, new listings in Cary are up 9.1 percent from last year and home values continue to grow steadily, up 2.2 percent from 2019. North of Atlanta, Marietta, Georgia’s typical home values are  slightly higher than the city of Atlanta—but less expensive than other nearby suburbs—and has grown 4.3 percent since last year. 

Here’s the complete list of the top 10 suburbs that feel like big cities: 

  1. Hialeah, Florida 
  2. Richardson, Texas
  3. West Valley City, Utah
  4. Santa Monica, California
  5. Norman, Oklahoma
  6. Cary, North Carolina
  7. Marietta, Georgia
  8. Beaverton, Oregon
  9. Tempe, Arizona
  10.  San Leandro, California