Highly rated hamlet

This Houston community branches out as second best city in the U.S.

This Houston community branches out as second best city in the U.S.

Woodlands estate 10 Saint Peters Gate
The Woodlands scores high in a new national ranking.  Photo courtesy of Lisa Gregory Real Estate Group

In the forest of American cities, The Woodlands stands tall. The Houston suburb ranks second on Niche.com’s 2020 list of the best cities to live in the U.S.

Aside from being No. 2 overall, The Woodlands ranks as the second best city to raise a family, the third best city to buy a house, and the seventh best city for public schools. Nearly 120,000 people live in The Woodlands.

“The Woodlands is a great place to live. It offers [a] good cost of living and quality of life. Great food and events. Beautiful trees everywhere and lot of green space to spend time outdoors,” a Niche.com reviewer writes.

Arlington, Virginia, tops this year’s Niche.com rankings of the best cities to live in. Other Texas cities in the top 25 are Plano (No. 5), Richardson (No. 12), Round Rock (No. 22), and Austin (No. 23).

Plano, Dallas-Fort Worth’s top city on the Niche.com list, regularly receives accolades like this one. For instance, Plano ranks first on WalletHub’s 2020 list of the best places in the U.S. for summer staycations. Also this year, Plano appears at No. 2 on WalletHub’s list of the happiest places in the country.

Livability.com says Plano, home to roughly 290,000 residents, “boasts great neighborhoods, strong education, iconic and authentic Texas cuisine, affordable living, and plenty of entertaining things to do.”

Round Rock, the Austin metro area’s No. 1 city on the Niche.com list, is no stranger to rankings like this one, either. Last year, Money magazine named Round Rock the second best place to live in America. In lauding Round Rock, Money cited the suburb’s stellar schools, robust economy, and array of spare-time activities.

A post on the Round Rock Chamber of Commerce website says the city of about 118,000 residents is “a special place to locate and grow a business with a vibrant business community that provides a conducive environment for any success that one might dream of. It is a special place to make a home and raise a family. It is a special place for friends and activities and purposes that fill one’s life.”

Factors that Niche.com uses to judge the livability of a city include cost of living, quality of schools, home values, crime rates, employment rates, diversity, and health and fitness. Niche.com is a review website that crunches data about communities, schools, and employers.

From a recreational standpoint, The Woodlands, a 28,000-acre, master-planned community, boasts almost 7,700 acres of green space, 147 neighborhood parks, 220 miles of hike-and-bike trails, seven championship golf courses, and the 200-acre Lake Woodlands.

In promotional materials, the developer of The Woodlands says the community “combines the conveniences of modern life with the urban town center, surrounded by an oasis of the natural outdoors.”

Britt Fullwood, founder of the Hello Honey lifestyle blog, lives in The Woodlands with her husband, Zach, and their two sons. In a blog post, Britt says she and Zach appreciate the community’s family-friendly atmosphere and its abundance of activities for grown-ups.

“There’s honestly nowhere we’d rather raise our boys than in The Woodlands, Texas, and feel so lucky to call this amazing place deep in the heart of Texas our home,” Britt Fullwood wrote.

In addition to The Woodlands, here are the Texas cities that made Niche.com’s top 100 list of the best cities to live in America:

  • Plano, No. 5
  • Richardson, No. 12 (No. 5 among best cities for retirees)
  • Round Rock, No. 22
  • Austin, No. 23 (No. 17 among best cities for young professionals)
  • College Station, No. 26
  • Irving, No. 40
  • Denton, No. 53
  • Lubbock, No. 58
  • Houston, No. 66
  • Arlington, No. 77 (No. 11 among most diverse cities)
  • Dallas, No. 79
  • San Antonio, No. 85
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