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Where to live in 2020

It’s tough out there, but we’re here to help

In 2020, finding a place to live is a fraught affair. Amid a nationwide affordable housing crisis, the inability to move freely about the country means certain communities are out of reach for many Americans. Even if we can afford the homes we want, moving into a new neighborhood can mean grappling with displacement, climate threats, and cultural erasure—or all of the above.

Still, where we choose to live matters, and it’s possible to find a home, and contribute to a community, while being conscious of our own roles in building more equitable cities. We’re here to show you how.

We set out to find neighborhoods in eight American cities known for their amenities and architectural styles, affordability and access to transit. And if you’re looking for a new city altogether, we’ve also highlighted 10 across the U.S. with much to offer when it comes to jobs, available housing, and proximity to nature.

In our search, we found areas where more housing stock is on the way (which includes—believe it or not—New York City), places investing in transformative public spaces like Klyde Warren Park in Dallas, and spots with active local associations or community resources, like the Detroit neighborhood of East English Village, where a shared tool library offers a sliding-scale membership fee.

Finding a new place to call home this year means you might not check every box on your wishlist—but you’ll likely discover new reasons to love where you live.

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▻ The 10 best cities to move to right now

Considering a change? We’ve tracked 10 booming American cities with alluring liveability. In places like Boise, Charlotte, and yes, even Provo, Utah, you’ll find plenty of jobs, parks, and housing that is way cheaper than that tiny NYC apartment. This isn’t about what’s next; it’s about where you can thrive right now.

▻ Atlanta

Picking a best Atlanta neighborhood is subjective in a thousand different ways. Of the city’s 240, we whittled the list down to seven. Each offers the culture and convenience that only living intown provides, with a growing list of amenities; you’ll find new housing stock, surging restaurant scenes, and freshly minted sections of the Beltline.

Andrea Calo

▻ Austin

There’s no denying that Austin is booming. People are moving to the Texas capital in record numbers, home sales are off the charts, inventory is low, and the rental market is tight. But don’t fret. We’ve listed neighborhoods that offer affordability, good schools, walkability, amenities, character, new homes, old homes, and more.

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▻ Boston

How do you solve a problem like the Boston area? With its patchwork of dozens of municipalities, each containing at least several neighborhoods, figuring out where to live in the region can be daunting. These choice neighborhoods, however, are competitive in terms of price, not far from downtown, and bustling with energy.

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▻ Chicago

Are you an eager homebuyer dreaming of a greystone or a renter looking to live on your own? Skip the pricey, crowded ’hoods like River North and Lakeview, and instead try locales with great transit, parks, and affordable homes. Architecture buffs, take notice: One of our picks is a Prairie School paradise with 25 Frank Lloyd Wright-designed homes.

Michelle and Chris Gerard

▻ Detroit

The Motor City’s comeback from bankruptcy isn’t a secret, and today the city offers a number of neighborhoods with a trifecta of liveability: affordable houses, access to transit, and strong communities. Whether you’re an empty-nester, first-time buyer, or longtime renter who likes it that way, here’s where to consider living in Detroit right now.

Liz Kuball

▻ Los Angeles

Despite rampant traffic and affordability woes, there are some locales in LA where you might feel good about buying or renting in 2020. In these seven neighborhoods, the housing supply is growing, the prices are somewhat reasonable (but the risk of gentrification is relatively low), and the transportation options are abundant.

Max Touhey

▻ New York

It helps to accept one truth early on in your NYC home search: No single neighborhood will have everything you want—you can get a good deal, or a decent-sized place, or a good location, but rarely all three together. Even with all the challenges, the city’s five boroughs offer a plethora of choice, and we have some suggestions on where to look.


▻ San Francisco

Listing seven move-in-ready neighborhoods or cities in the Bay Area, a region in the throes of a housing crisis and widespread displacement, is ripe for ridicule. Still, we’ve selected a handful of places that have future growth on the horizon, comparatively reasonable home prices, and a refreshing lack of tech industry bros.

Editorial lead: Megan Barber
Writers: Tom Acitelli, Megan Barber, Jenna Chandler, Sara Freund, Josh Green, Brock Keeling, Aaron Mondry, Amy Plitt, Patrick Sisson, Cindy Widner
Editors: Megan Barber, Mercedes Kraus, Mariam Aldhahi, Sara Polsky
Project management: Megan Barber, Nina Pearlman
Art direction: Alyssa Nassner
Photo direction: Audrey Levine
Copy editing: Emma Alpern
Engagement: Jessica Gatdula, Stephanie Griffin, Sharell Jeffrey
Special thanks: Jill Dehnert