7 Best Places to Live in North Carolina

North Carolina
7 Best Places to Live in North Carolina

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The Southeast is one of the most beautiful parts of the country, as the residents of North Carolina already know. Looking to find out for yourself? We looked at factors like unemployment, crime, weather, and cost of living to compile a list of the state’s top cities to help get you started. Big and small, these cities will show you that the Tar Heel state is about more than just fantastic college basketball (though that doesn’t hurt either.)

What do you think? Did we nail it? Or do you think some of these choices are airballs? Tells us what you think in the comments section.


#1 Cary

Cary, North Carolina
The number one city on this list is also the largest. It’s still a friendly, community-oriented place to live, and has one of the lowest crime rates. That, and the high school graduation rate, make it a great place to raise a family, and as to be expected in a larger city, there is plenty to do and see. To top it off, the city also boasts one of the highest median incomes in the state (over 100% higher on average that the rest of the state).


#2 Apex

Apex, North Carolina
A city with name that literally means “top” seems to know it deserves a place high on this list. It’s low crime rate, high high school graduation rate, and fantastic weather make it both a great place to start a family or relocate after the kids have flown the coop. It really more ties for the #1 spot than taking the #2, making it a true apex for North Carolina living.


#3 Chapel Hill

Chapel Hill, North Carolina
Chapel Hill rounds out the top three with many of the same factors that made the first two such winners: Not much crime to be found on these streets, and a with a highly-successful school system. Chapel Hill also has some of North Carolina’s highest home values without excessively high cost of living. Plus, it’s also home to the University of North Carolina campus, and ranks high in amenities with plenty of museums and local events.


#4 Wake Forest

Wake Forest, North Carolina
If you enjoy the outdoors, Wake Forest might be your #1 city. Not only are the temperate climates as nice as anywhere else in the state, but the entire city is defined by state parks and enormous recreation areas for outdoor activities of all types. There are also plenty of great places to eat, and nationally-ranked barbeque, to be found here, perfect for replenishment after a day in the sun.


#5 Matthews

Matthews, North Carolina
A suburb of Charlotte, Matthews ranks among the very best in education. Add to that a downtown area that is one of the most beautiful of any city on this list full of historic buildings, theaters, and the arguably the state’s best farmer’s market, and you have a fantastic place to call home. And while these things make it a fantastic place to live, it still manages to be one of Charlotte’s most affordable suburbs.


#6 Garner

Garner, North Carolina
The cost of living here is the lowest on our list, and it also has one of the state’s highest median incomes. The city is also a winner when it comes to cultural amenities. Not only is there a thriving arts scene and many great restaurants in the city proper, but it’s only a short jaunt from the the city center of Raleigh that offers even more to keep you busy.


#7 Morrisville

Morrisville, North Carolina
While it is the smallest city on our list, Morrisville is a big winner for homeowners. The main reasons for its inclusion on this list are the crime rates, graduation rates, and skyrocketing home values that all scored much better than the state average. And, though it has a lower population, the city still offers plenty to do for residents. Sometimes a small town is just the right size.