12 Best Places to Live on the East Coast

Top 12 East Coast Cities to Live In (+3 Places to Avoid)

The East Coast is a treasure trove of diversity, stretching from the northern tip of Maine to the sunny peninsula of Florida. With a myriad of cultures, climates, and communities, it offers a plethora of exciting destinations for travelers. The Atlantic Ocean and its rivers, rolling hills, and towering mountains add to the natural beauty of the region, making it a desirable place to call home for many.

If you’re considering a move to the East Coast or just want to explore what it has to offer, you may be wondering where the best places to live are. While there’s no definitive answer, we’ve put together a list of cities based on factors such as quality of life, affordability, job prospects, education, safety, cultural offerings, diversity, and climate. Whether you’re a fan of warm weather or prefer snowy winters, you’ll find a city that suits your preferences on this list.

Discover the best and worst communities along the East Coast by delving into what this region has to offer. Find out which areas are worth exploring and which ones you should steer clear of. Keep reading to gain insight into the greatest communities on the eastern seaboard.

12 Best Places to Live on the East Coast

The East Coast is home to thousands of cities, making it a daunting task to decide which one to call home. Luckily, we’ve compiled a list of some of the highest-ranked cities in the country, not just on the East Coast. While this list is not exhaustive, it includes cities with fascinating local cultures, breathtaking natural scenery, outstanding amenities, excellent quality of life, safety, and top-notch educational systems.

12. New York, New York

New York City is a must-visit destination on the East Coast. Despite the drawbacks of residing in one of the world’s largest cities, many individuals decide to make NYC their home. With a population of over 8.8 million people, it is the most populous city in the United States. Its metropolitan region has over 20 million residents. New York City offers an abundance of cultural and career opportunities, making it one of the few cities that can rival its offerings.

New York City is composed of five boroughs, each with its own unique culture and advantages. The city is renowned for its diversity, and various ethnic and racial communities have established their own unique spaces within the City That Never Sleeps, making it a welcoming home for people from all walks of life. What sets New York apart from other cities is its ability to be both a financial and fashion hub, showcasing the vast range of lifestyles available in NYC.

Living in New York City may seem thrilling and luxurious, with a median selling price of $715K and a per-square-foot price of $774 according to Realtor.com. Unfortunately, residing in the city comes at a hefty cost, especially if you aspire to live in boroughs like Manhattan. Despite the high cost of living, New York City remains one of the top cities to live in on the East Coast, owing to its numerous offerings.

11. Boston, Massachusetts

With a population of almost 5 million people, Boston, Massachusetts, also known as Beantown, boasts of some stunning historic buildings. In addition to its architectural charm, Boston is renowned for its exceptional educational opportunities and professional growth.

Boston is home to several educational institutions that serve as major employers for the city’s residents. Boston University, Harvard University, and Northeastern University are among the prominent institutions that offer employment opportunities for the locals. Additionally, renowned medical institutions such as Boston Children’s Hospital, Massachusetts General Hospital, and Brigham and Women’s Hospital also provide significant employment to the people of Boston. The city’s highly educated population makes it an ideal location for such institutions to thrive and contribute to the local economy.

Boston, much like New York, can be quite pricey, with the median home selling for $716.7K. This can make it overwhelming for families looking to buy a home, particularly when factoring in the higher cost of living. Nevertheless, the benefits of living in Boston are worth the investment, with access to quality schools, low crime rates, and an above-average annual salary of $76,850.

10. Reading, Pennsylvania

You may not be familiar with Reading, PA (pronounced Red-ing, not reed-ing) unless you either reside in Pennsylvania or enjoy playing Monopoly. Interestingly, the Reading Railroad, which is one of the four railroads featured on the Monopoly gameboard, played a crucial role in the city’s foundation. With a population of just under half a million people, Reading is a significant city in Pennsylvania.

Residents of Reading may not be living in a bustling metropolis like New York or Boston, but they have plenty to enjoy in their own town. Those who call Reading home can take advantage of the city’s affordable housing market, with homes averaging around $225,296 – lower than the national average. Additionally, there are ample employment opportunities available in the area, with major companies such as Boscov’s, East Penn Manufacturing, and Tower Health all offering job openings.

Reading workers typically earn less than the national average, but the city’s lower cost of living helps balance out the lower wages. In addition, Reading boasts a lower crime rate than many other cities, making it a desirable place to retire. It’s no surprise that Reading has earned the #10 spot on the list of best places to retire.

9. Manchester, Connecticut

Manchester may be the perfect choice for those seeking a peaceful and comfortable living experience. The city, although small, boasts a high quality of life with its charming tree-lined streets, excellent dining options, and shopping opportunities. Manchester offers a serene and vibrant atmosphere that is ideal for families and individuals who want to settle down in a safe and secure community.

Manchester is an affordable area in Connecticut, unlike many others that tend to be pricey. Housing in the area is below the national and state average, which makes it accessible to a wider range of families. In fact, most of the residents in Manchester own their own homes. Families also appreciate the fact that the schools in this area are better than average.

8. Providence, Rhode Island

Providence, located in the smallest state, boasts a metro population of 1,618,268. This charming New England city offers easy access to nearby beaches and boasts a trendy downtown that has undergone a remarkable transformation from its industrial past.

If you are a resident of Providence, you can anticipate receiving higher than average salaries while working in industries such as education, tourism, finance, or healthcare. Several notable employers in the area include Roger Williams Medical Center, Citizens Financial Group, Brown University, and IGT.

Providence boasts a relatively low crime rate, making it a safe place to live. The city’s violent crime rate of 393 per 100,000 is slightly lower than the national average and is comparable to other communities of similar size.

7. Washington D.C.

Living in the nation’s capital is truly an experience like no other. With numerous federal government institutions located in the city, Washington D.C. is undeniably one of the most captivating and politically significant places to reside. The city’s close proximity to essential government bodies has resulted in the establishment of several think tanks, higher education institutions, museums, government buildings, and historical sites, making it a hub of knowledge and culture.

The public transportation system in D.C. is renowned for its exceptional quality. In fact, it has been ranked as the fourth-best transportation system in the United States by the U.S. News & World Report. More than a third of commuters in D.C. depend on public transit to get to their workplaces, which highlights its reliability and efficiency. It’s no surprise that job opportunities are constantly emerging, thanks to the accessibility of public transportation in D.C.

Living in D.C. can be quite expensive, which is why many individuals who work in D.C. opt to reside in neighboring areas in Virginia or Maryland. This allows them to save on living expenses while remaining a part of the D.C. metropolitan area.

6. Greenwich, Connecticut

Greenwich, Connecticut has been consistently ranked among the top places to live in the state, which is renowned for its many affluent communities. This picturesque coastal town provides a lavish lifestyle, and it’s just a short train ride away from New York City, taking less than an hour. Being one of the oldest towns in Connecticut, Greenwich has a rich cultural heritage that is deeply ingrained in the community.

Greenwich is a sought-after village that attracts notable personalities, including celebrities, sports stars, artists, and creatives, to call it their home. Despite the high cost of homes, the village boasts of low property taxes, making it an attractive place to reside. Families also prefer Greenwich due to its excellent public school options and prestigious private schools within the vicinity. Moreover, if you have a penchant for beaches, yacht clubs, fine dining, and fine arts, this village won’t disappoint as it offers plenty of luxurious options.

Greenwich may not be the most affordable East Coast city, but it certainly offers great value for your money. The housing market in Greenwich is highly competitive, which can sometimes lead to bidding wars that drive up prices from the initial listing. So, if you’re looking to buy a home in Greenwich, be prepared for some stiff competition.

5. Charleston, South Carolina

If you’re looking for a warmer climate than what northern states have to offer, Charleston is an excellent option for those who want to reside on the East Coast. A lot of people who are seeking to leave places like New York or Los Angeles opt for Charleston, and the area is constantly evolving as its population increases.

Charleston boasts of not only beautiful beaches but also a thriving job market. The influx of people in the area has spurred the growth of job opportunities to cater to the increasing demand. The migration to Charleston has also attracted big companies and industries to set up shop in the area, leading to the further development of the economy.

Living in Charleston may raise concerns for some people due to its higher-than-average crime rate in certain areas, particularly in violent crimes such as assault, murder, and rape. However, it’s worth noting that other crime areas such as burglary or theft have lower rates. It’s important to keep in mind that urban areas generally have higher crime rates, but there are still neighborhoods within these areas that pose less risk.

4. Savannah, Georgia

Savannah’s hot summers and mild winters make it a popular destination for those seeking to settle in the charming “Hostess City.” Being the oldest city in Georgia, Savannah boasts a rich historical past that has resulted in a plethora of fascinating attractions and promising opportunities for future growth and development.

Home prices in Savannah are typically below the national average, making it an attractive option for those looking to live in the area. The job market is dominated by service industry jobs, Memorial Health University Medical Center, educators, and Gulfstream Aerospace Corp.

Savannah’s violent crime rate matches the national average, but its property crime rate is higher than average, which might raise concerns for some movers. Nonetheless, Savannah has numerous appealing opportunities that make it an attractive location on the East Coast.

3. Richmond, Virginia

Richmond, Virginia is the perfect destination if you’re seeking Southern hospitality. With a population of over 225,000 people, Richmond is not only the capital of Virginia but also a great place to call home. You’ll be amazed by the various attractions and activities that Richmond has to offer.

Richmond is a popular destination for many due to its affordable cost of living. The city boasts a cost of living that is 3% lower than the national average, thanks to lower housing, grocery, and transportation costs. The median home price in Richmond is $397,254, while the median rent is $1,208. In addition, Richmond is home to major employers like Wells Fargo, UPS, Capital One, and Amazon, making it an attractive option for those seeking career opportunities.

In Richmond, you have the freedom to tailor your neighborhood selection to your lifestyle preferences. Whether you prioritize family-friendly environments or a thriving arts and nightlife scene, there are neighborhoods that cater to your specific needs. One of the advantages of living in Richmond is the sense of community that larger cities often lack.

2. Melbourne, Florida

If you’re on the hunt for a warm and sunny destination in Florida, there are plenty of options to choose from. However, what many people don’t know is that Melbourne is a hidden gem worth exploring. With its small-town charm and big-city amenities, Melbourne offers a unique experience for visitors. Surprisingly, the metropolitan area boasts a population of over 600,000 residents, proving that it’s not just a small town. Besides, the city offers easy access to beaches and other outdoor activities, so you might find yourself spending most of your time outside!

While Melbourne may be recognized for its involvement in the aerospace industry, it also boasts thriving tech and defense sectors. Alongside major employers like Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, United Launch Alliance, and Lockheed Martin Space Systems, companies such as Harris Corporation, Northrop Grumman, and Rockwell Collins provide ample employment opportunities. Additionally, the demand for healthcare workers in Melbourne remains high.

Melbourne stands out among many expensive areas in Florida as one of the most affordable places to live. The median home price of $217,400 is well below the national average, making it an attractive option for budget-conscious individuals. Moreover, the city boasts below-average violent and property crime rates, which speaks to its commitment to ensuring the safety and well-being of its residents. All of these factors make Melbourne an ideal place to call home.

1. Portland, Maine

According to the U.S. News & World Report, Portland, Maine has earned the top spot as the best place to live on the East Coast and ranked seventh on the list of overall best places. Despite having a population of just over half a million, Portland, Maine is a charming and scenic place to call home, with cobblestone streets and refreshing coastal living. It is worth noting that Portland, Maine is only slightly less populated than its Western counterpart, Portland, Oregon.

Portland, Maine, stands out for its impressively low crime rates. The city’s violent crime rate per 100,000 people is a mere 82.9, which is significantly lower than the national average. Additionally, the property crime rate in Portland is below the national average and lower than many similarly sized areas, sitting at just 892.4.

Portland’s job market is thriving and offers promising opportunities in healthcare, information technology, and manufacturing industries. Additionally, it’s worth noting that Portland is home to many telecommuters. Despite a low unemployment rate, the city does have a significant number of low-wage jobs, and a high cost of living can be a deterrent for some who wish to live in Portland.

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Place to Live on the East Coast

Before deciding to settle down on the East Coast, it’s crucial to consider various factors that can significantly affect your happiness. Take some time to ponder over what matters most to you and then choose a city that aligns with your priorities.

    • Determine the kind of lifestyle you want to live.
    • Decide what kind of climate is your preference. The climate will help you narrow down the cities on your list greatly.
    • Check to see if the city has career opportunities in your industry or desired industry.
    • Think about the kinds of schools that are in the city you are considering. If you have kids or plan to have kids, this may be a big consideration.
    • Consider what kind of crime rates you are comfortable with. Commonly, bigger cities tend to have higher crime rates, but those crime rates may be worth the risk for certain amenities and cultural opportunities.

3 Places on the East Coast You Should Avoid

If you’re looking to settle down on the East Coast, you’ll find plenty of charming cities and towns with great weather, low crime rates, and a high standard of living. However, not every location on the East Coast is going to offer the same advantages. In fact, there are a few places that you may want to steer clear of.

3. Bridgeport, Connecticut

Bridgeport, despite being a part of Connecticut’s picturesque landscape, is unfortunately infamous for its high poverty and violent crime rates. In fact, the city’s crime rate is 86.6% higher than other cities and it is among the top cities in the United States for violent crime. The murder rate is also alarmingly high at 16.6 per 100,000. Due to these troubling statistics, Bridgeport has been listed as one of the top 50 worst cities to live by 24/7 Wall St.

2. Newburg, New York

Newburgh is notorious for having a high crime rate, surpassing nearly 95% of all cities and ranking in the top ten percent for crime. This number is significantly higher than neighboring cities such as New Windsor, Cornwall, and Beacon. Despite being located on the East Coast, which is known for its many vibrant cities, Newburgh is unfortunately an exception when it comes to crime statistics.

Newburg falls within the top 10% of the most impoverished regions in the country. A significant challenge is that despite having a median income that is over $20,000 below the national average, the cost of living is nearly 20% higher than the national average. This implies that even individuals with higher incomes may experience difficulties due to the high cost of living.

1. Bridgeton, New Jersey

Bridgeton, New Jersey is facing significant challenges as it is currently ranked as the 13th worst place to live in America. It has a poverty rate and violent crime rate that both fall in the top ten percent of the United States. To compete with other cities in New Jersey, Bridgeton has several obstacles to overcome.

The median household income in this region falls short of the statewide average of $76,475 by more than half. Despite the meager earnings, living in Bridgeton can be quite expensive, making it difficult for the city to compete with other urban centers.


Living on the East Coast poses a challenge due to the multitude of cities, making it difficult to decide where to settle. If you’re contemplating a move to the East Coast, you likely have numerous questions. The following queries address some common concerns, offering insights into the experience of living on the East Coast.

Which East Coast state is the best to live in?

Each East Coast state boasts a distinctive culture and climate. Popular choices for relocation include rapidly growing cities in states such as Florida, South Carolina, North Carolina, Maryland, or Maine.

What are the best cities to live in on the East Coast?

Determining the best East Coast city depends on your priorities. If you crave the bustling city life, options like NYC or Philly may provide the excitement you seek. For a warmer climate, consider cities like Daytona Beach or Charleston. Those yearning for the quaint charm of New England can explore Providence, Boston, or Manchester, while Portland, Maine, offers proximity to Canada. The diversity of the East Coast ensures there’s an ideal city for everyone.

Where is the most expensive place to live on the East Coast?

New York City stands out as one of the most expensive places on the East Coast. In a ranking of 15 cities based on living costs, Manhattan claimed the top spot with an index score of 222, surpassing the national average of 100. Other pricey East Coast locations include Brooklyn, Washington D.C., Boston, Arlington (Virginia), Bethesda-Gaithersburg-Frederick (Maryland), and Nassau County (New York).

What is the safest town on the East Coast?

Safety considerations encompass various factors, such as economic stability and cultural values. However, crime rates often play a crucial role in assessing safety. According to Forbes, Virginia Beach, Virginia, holds the distinction of being the second safest large city in the United States and the top choice on the East Coast. Other East Coast cities like New York City, Charlotte, Boston, and Charlotte also made the list.

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