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.”

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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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