Real Estate

These Are The Top 10 Best Cities to Raise a Family

updated May 3, 2019
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(Image credit: Minette Hand)

If family is your priority, it makes sense to want to live somewhere known for being family-friendly, right? Whether you’re planning a family in the future — or you already have kids and are looking to make a move — you may be curious about your best options.

A recent report from WalletHub looked at the 150 most populated cities in the US and ranked them based on 5 categories — family fun, health and safety, education and childcare, affordability and socioeconomics — to determine the best cities to raise a family. You can look at the interactive map of results below, or read the full report here.

New York, as you can see, comes in at No. 57 — ranking 3rd nationwide for family fun, but coming in at No. 146 out of 150 for affordability — while Los Angeles comes in at No. 92 overall but takes the top spot for family fun.

If all this info has just made you more curious about the overall top cities, here’s what you need to know…

1. Overland Park, KS

Standout Stats: Overland Park takes the No. 1 spot overall for affordability, with low poverty rates and high median salaries.

Things to Do: Overland Park is home to—and close to, with Kansas City, MO nearby) plenty of kid-friendly activities like indoor skydiving, family bowling nights, a botanical garden and arboretum, and some interesting museums. Find out more at Visit Overland Park.

2. Madison, WI

Standout Stat: Madison takes the top spot nationwide for education and child care, and falls within the top 10 for affordability, at No. 7.

Things to Do: Families in Madison will enjoy an educational visit to the state capitol, not to mention the Madison Children’s Museum, and the Henry Vilas Zoo (one of the only admission-free zoos in the country). It’s also home to the largest producer-only farmer’s market in the country. Learn more at Visit Madison.

3. Plano, TX

Standout Stats: Across three of the five categories (affordability, socioeconomics, and health and safety) Plano comes in solidly at second place.

Things to Do: Plano is home to—and near—some interesting museums and attractions, like the Dallas World Aquarium and Rainforest, and the Heard Natural Science Museum and Wildlife Sanctuary. Find out more at Visit Plano.

4. Seattle, WA

Standout Stats: Of the overall top 5 cities, Seattle ranks highest for family fun—taking the No. 10 spot nationwide.

Things to Do: Seattle is home to tons of family-friendly attractions—the Museum of Pop Music, the Museum of Flight, the Seattle Children’s Museum, and the Pacific Science Center, just to name a few. Learn more at Visit Seattle.

5. Fremont, CA

Standout Stat: Fremont was crowned the winner in two categories, taking the No. 1 spot in both socioeconomics and health and safety.

Things to Do: Fremont is home to plenty of parks, not to mention the Fremont Skate Park for kids who love skateboarding. The city also has a waterpark called Aqua Adventure. Find out more on Fremont’s official website.

6. Minneapolis, MN

Standout Stat: Minneapolis is in the top 5 overall for family fun, coming in at No. 4 nationwide.

Things to Do: You won’t struggle to find things to do in Minneapolis, with attractions like escape rooms, water parks, nature centers and more. Plus, it’s close to the annual Minnesota State Fair, among other well-known festivals. Learn more at the Minneapolis official website.

7. Virginia Beach, VA

Standout Stats: Virginia Beach ranks fairly high for education and childcare at No. 15, and comes in at No. 4 for health and safety.

Things to Do: Aside from being by beach—at a destination many people visit for summer vacations—Virginia Beach has a lot of family fun to offer, like the Virginia Aquarium, First Landing State Park, and unsurprisingly, tons of water activities. Learn more at Visit Virginia Beach.

8. Sioux Falls, SD

Standout Stats: Sioux Falls is more affordable than most cities, ranking at No. 6 for affordability overall.

Things to Do: In Sioux Falls, families will love the Kirby Science Discovery Center, the Wild Water West Waterpark, the Butterfly House and Aquarium, the Thunder Road Family Fun Park, and more. Find out more at Visit Sioux Falls.

9. Irvine, CA

Standout Stat: Irvine takes the No. 3 spots in two categories: socioeconomics, and health and safety.

Things to Do: Irvine is home to the Orange County Great Park, Adventure Playground, the Pretend City Children’s Museum, the Harvard Skate Park, plenty of bowling alleys, and so much more. Learn more at Destination Irvine.

10. Lincoln, NE

Standout Stat: Lincoln is also known for its affordability, coming in at No. 8 overall in the category.

Things to Do: Lincoln has a ton of family fun to offer, too—from the Adventure Golf Center and the Abbott Motocross Park to the Champions Fun Center and the Nebraska Statewide Arboretum, there’s plenty to see and do. Find out more at Lincoln’s official website.