10 Best Cities To Retire To

Finding the best city to retire to should be about finding the most perfect place where you are free to be you, and meets your financial requirements.

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Whether you’re looking for a peaceful escape from the chaotic city life or looking for an action-packed place to retire, there are so many factors and options to consider when choosing the best cities to retire to in the U.S.

You’ve probably worked extremely hard your whole life. As you approach your glorious years, you now think it’s about time to have some fun.

However, finding the perfect place to retire in the U.S. can be overwhelming. That’s because there are a plethora of options and factors to consider before choosing the best place to retire to in the U.S.

But if nothing is tying you down to your current place, one of your options might be to look for a perfect city to start afresh once you officially retire.

Some people are known to look outside the U.S. and that’s okay. But if you aren’t planning on becoming an expatriate in your glorious years, the U.S. is obviously a good place for you if you know what you’re looking for.

What makes a great place to retire? This question is quite challenging given that many retirees are looking for different things. Some love the beach while others will feel the happiest playing winter sports. However, finding the best city to retire to shouldn’t be all about your favorite pastime. It should be about finding the most perfect place where you are free to be you! In addition to taking into account safety, living costs, and poverty rates for seniors, median incomes, and seniors’ happiness rates, you should choose a place that has what matters most to you.

This article, therefore, helps you narrow down your choices by highlighting some of the best places to retire to in the U.S. If anything, this piece should inspire you to find a unique city to live in once you retire.

Table of Contents

1. Fort Myers, Florida – Consider it if you Love the Beach

Fort Myers, Florida
Fort Myers, Florida

You shouldn’t be surprised that many people choose to move south once they retire. While there are many incredible cities in the south, Fort Myers still stands shoulders above the rest in terms of health care quality, desirability, happiness scores, and job market strength. But that’s not all. The incredible amount of sun that Fort Myers gives you throughout the year is enough, especially if you love the beach but not the crowds.

Located on the southwest coast of Florida, Fort Myers has some of the most gorgeous beaches not just in the state but in the entire country. So if you’re looking forward to swimming, sunbathing, snorkeling, collecting shells or just walking along the beaches, this can be a great option. With a modest population of about 77,000 residents, this city still has a small-city vibe, which is far much better if you’re tired of hectic city life. Better still, you won’t pay state income tax so you should be good to go.

2. Cambridge, Massachusetts – If Your Health is a priority

Cambridge, Massachusetts
Cambridge, Massachusetts

Let’s be honest here, there are a lot of health problems that come with old age. So if your health is your main priority, it could be wise to consider retiring to Cambridge, Massachusetts. Home to Harvard University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Cambridge offers some of the best medical and health care facilities in the country. In fact, the city has over 30 hospitals and health care facilities within a 10-mile radius!

Keep in mind that Cambridge is one of the only 33 cities in the country that are rated AAA by all the major credit rating agencies. This East Coast city is known as a diverse location that’s so welcoming to people of all ages. In addition to being the best city for Millennials looking to further their education, it’s also a perfect city for retirees, as well as a great place to raise a family. So if you’re a retiree but still looking to raise your grandkids, this could be the best place to go. It’s also one of the safest cities in the country. If you don’t have a car, you can walk or take public transportation without constantly looking over your shoulder.

3. Sarasota, Florida – If You Love Boating and Fishing Activities

Sarasota, Florida
Sarasota, Florida

There’s a pretty good reason why Sarasota is popular with retirees: it offers incredible outdoor fun, especially if you love fishing, boating, and other beach activities. From the warm waters to pristine white sand and favorable weather, very few places can beat Sarasota if you truly believe that life is a beach!

Like Fort Myers or any other part of Florida for that matter, state income tax is non-existent. Better still, this city offers some of the most affordable housing in the entire country! That’s not all, the city is becoming known for its world-class golfing amenities, its excellent health care facilities, and incredible museums and theaters. In short, you’ll find a lot of things to hook you up and make your life more enjoyable.

4. Grand Rapids, Michigan – If You Love Your Beer

Grand Rapids, Michigan
Grand Rapids, Michigan

If you love your beer that much, then you probably know that Grand Rapids is home to HopCat, America’s best bar chain. In fact, the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) categorizes Grand Rapids among the top beer-drinking cities in the country for retirees. This is a cultural city that offers beer tourism that’s great if you love enjoying a beer with friends and family. With over 40 beer breweries in the city, Grand Rapids is, without a doubt, a great place to retire to if you’re looking to enjoy craft beer in your retirement.

That aside, Grand Rapids has a low cost of living, especially when you compare it to the national average. In addition to affordable dining and entertainment options, Grand Rapids has affordable groceries, utilities, and housing. In essence, the overall living score in Grand Rapids is 87, which is essentially 13 points below the national average.

5. Miami, Florida – If You Love the Sun

Miami, Florida
Miami, Florida

You don’t have to move to Mexico or South America to live in a place that upholds a continuous summer lifestyle. As one of the best cities to retire to, Miami is highly famous for its tropical climate, beaches, active lifestyle, and unique but very vibrant nightlife. So if you’ve always dreamt of embracing a stylish southern living, Miami could be the right place to consider for your retirement.

Believe it or not, Miami has the warmest winter climate of any other city in the United States. The average peak temperature is 81 degrees F (27 C) and the annual low is 60 degrees F (16C). This makes Miami a highly suitable retirement destination, particularly if you’re suffering from joint disorders such as arthritis.

It’s also the capital of Latin America in the U.S., so it can be a great place if you want to immerse yourself into the Latin or Spanish culture without necessarily stepping foot out of the country.

6. Orlando, Florida – If You Love Your Grandkids

Orlando, Florida
Orlando, Florida

Home to the Walt Disney World, which includes Animal Kingdom, Epcot, Hollywood Studios, and the Magic Kingdom, Orlando offers a plethora of child-friendly activities. This is a warm city that can be an obvious choice if you love your grandkids and want them around you now and then.

You should keep in mind that Orlando is not just about your grandkids, you’ll access some of the best medical and health care facilities in the country. The diversity of the city is also top-notch. This is a city that gives you peace and a vibrant lifestyle almost in equal measures. Do you want a car-free retirement? Orlando will seamlessly provide it in South Eola neighborhood where you’ll simply walk to whatever you want. Are you looking for a peaceful and quiet lifestyle? Lake Eola Heights could be the best place.

7. San Francisco, California – If You are a History Buff

San Francisco, California
San Francisco, California

The Golden City is one of the best cities to retire to for various reasons, chief among them if you are so much into history. From the infamous Alcatraz Island, Mission Dolores, the Golden Gate Bridge to the historic Old Ship Saloon, which is arguably one of the oldest bars in the city, you’ll never lack something to feed your inner historical nature.

This unique West Coast city also offers a year-round comfortable climate, a cultural diversity, a small-town appeal, and stunning scenes that could be perfect for most retirees. If you love watching basketball, the Golden State Warriors will provide some of the most memorable hooping moments. Are you into Major League Baseball? The San Francisco Giants will quench your thirst. Are you in love with American football? The San Francisco 49ers will offer action-packed thrills every Sunday.

The city also boasts some of the best amenities for retirees. This is the healthiest city in the country with some of the top hospitals and health care facilities. Better still, you won’t have to worry about state tax on your Social Security Benefits. One major drawback could be the cost of housing as it has one of the highest house rates in the country. But if you can afford a decent house or home in the Golden City, you could enjoy some of the best things that life has on offer.

8. San Luis Obispo, California – A Place with Something For Everyone

San Luis Obispo, California
San Luis Obispo, California

Known simply as SLO, San Luis Obispo is the cultural, commercial, and entertainment hub of California’s picturesque Central Coast. This city might be small and located between the mountains and the ocean but it is as lively as they come. Despite its small and laid back nature, SLO virtually offers something for everyone. Do you want to study something after retiring? No problem, California Polytechnic State University is right around the corner. Do you like to immerse yourself in some bits of history after retiring? The San Luis Obispo de Tolosa Museum will offer just that. Are you looking for a place with cultural diversity? SLO is arguably up there with the best cultural cities in the United States.

With about 46,000 residents, there’s a reason why SLO is known as a “Happy Town”. If you love wine, the endless acres of scenic vineyards will not only offer something to enjoy looking at but will also support your wine quench. And if you’re looking to survive on fresh-from-the-farm products, the weekly farmers’ market in the city is arguably the biggest farmers’ market in the western United States.

If you choose SLO as your retirement, you’ll have the chance to stay in a peaceful but scenic small city that is surrounded by some of the biggest cities in the U.S. if not the world. From Seattle to Los Angeles to Portland and San Francisco, you’ll be a train away from some of the best cities in the world. The best part of choosing SLO as your retirement home is that you’ll access the sun 300 days a year!

9. Northfield Township, Illinois – If You Prefer Spending Days Lost in Nature

Northfield Township, Illinois
Northfield Township, Illinois

Situated 25 miles north of Chicago, Northfield Township is a quiet and scenic city that still has a unique suburban feel. Filled with golf clubs, parks, lagoons, botanic gardens, and even the nearby Lake Michigan, this is a great place to retire to if you’ve been dreaming of spending your days lost in nature.

Whether you love hiking, biking, cross-country skiing or spending outdoor picnics with your friends and family, Northfield Township can be a superb choice as one of the best places to retire to in the U.S. Housing is affordable and you can easily access Chicago by commuter rail at an affordable price of $7.

The taxes in this city might be a little high but it can be a great choice if you want exclusivity and privacy. With an unemployment rate of 4.2%, most of the city’s 87,000 residents are quite busy, which is essential if you’re looking to lay low in your retirement.

10. Des Moines, Iowa – If You Want to Enjoy Some Politics

Des Moines, Iowa
Des Moines, Iowa

This might be quite hard to believe, but many retirees often get interested in the politics of the nation after retiring perhaps to keep them busy. If you fall into this category, Des Moines could be a great city to retire to. Needless to say, Iowa is the customary home of the first presidential caucus. So if you’re interested in participating in the politics, you can choose to retire to Des Moines and you’ll stand a chance of having the presidential candidates knocking on your door every four years to ask you to vote for them. That being said, you might choose to settle here if you’ve been planning to volunteer in political activities.

Additionally, the city is known to host several community festivals throughout the year. In essence, you can enjoy all these, as well as the affordable house prices. There you have it; there are many options if you’re looking for an ideal city to retire to. The fact that you’re more flexible to choose where to live in after retiring should enable you to enjoy your life and retirement years. And even if the above-described cities don’t offer something ideal, it’s important to stay open-minded and do some little research. After all, it should be a dream location for you, a place that will make you happy.

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