From East Coast to West, these six places offer the best of urban living at a price you can afford.
Sure, small cities have their charm, and the ones on our Best Places ranking have it in spades. But some of us don’t feel as if we’re really living unless we’re doing it in the middle of a bustling metropolis. Our Best Big Cities list identifies the metro area (300,000-plus population) in each region of the country that offers all the benefits of big-city living plus strong job growth, affordable housing, good schools, low crime, and great quality-of-life factors such as ample transportation options and access to green space. These six places emerged from our pool of 63 contenders as the hottest spots for urban dwellers now.—Sarah Max