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Courtesy of Visit Montgomery, MD

Only 30 minutes outside Washington, D.C., Rockville offers small-town living for commuters to the nation’s capital. It’s also located at the heart of Montgomery County’s tech corridor; major local employers include Quest Software, Lockheed Martin, and Westat, as well as Choice Hotels International, which created more than 400 jobs when it moved its headquarters to the area in 2012.

The city prides itself on diversity—34% of residents were born outside the U.S. With 900 acres of parkland, outdoor activities abound, but the main draw for families is the public education system. Rockvilles’ schools rank among the top in the nation. Thomas S. Wootton High School, for one, boasts a 90% Advance Placement participation rate.

One thing Rockville isn’t: budget-friendly. Home prices are high compared to surrounding areas, and the cost of living exceeds that of most cities in the state.

See homes for sale in Rockville, Md.