Jessica Sample/Courtesy of The City of Santa Monica

No. 18

Santa Monica, California

Santa Monica runs along a three-mile coastline, with views of the Pacific Ocean from almost anywhere you stand. In the middle of the city, you’ll find gems like Bergamot Station, an art-gallery hub, as well as a Saturday farmers’ market that stretches for four blocks.

The city is environmentally conscious, looking for ways to reduce congestion and greenhouse-gas emissions; through the local bike share program, you can pick up and drop off a bicycle at stations around the town. The New York Times called it “a town made for walkers.”

The Next Best

But Santa Monica offers more than idyllic weather, palm trees, and sunsets on the pier. Its high school graduation rate is 92%, and Moody’s Analytics predicts continued job growth in the area through 2021. Companies headquartered here include Hulu, TOMS, and Lionsgate. —Annie Nova

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