The Top Best Cities in New York to Live and Visit


Uncovering Hidden Gems

New York is an incredible state with so much to offer. From bustling metropolises to quaint small towns, there are many great places to call home or visit for a weekend getaway.

In this article, we’ll explore the 16 best cities in New York to live in or visit. We’ll look at factors like affordability, things to do, job opportunities, schools, safety, and more.

Whether you’re looking for an exciting place to move or just planning your next New York vacation, keep reading to discover the top destinations across the Empire State.

1. New York City

The Big Apple needs no introduction. New York City is one of the greatest cities in the world, offering endless things to see and do.

As one of the most diverse and cosmopolitan places on the planet, NYC has something for everyone. Experience world-class arts and culture at establishments like the Metropolitan Museum of Art or Broadway theaters. Indulge in incredible cuisine from every corner of the world. Marvel at iconic landmarks like the Statue of Liberty and Empire State Building. Shop till you drop on Fifth Avenue or stroll through Central Park. The possibilities are endless.

Beyond the endless attractions and events, New York City offers tremendous career opportunities. As a hub for media, finance, healthcare, tech and more, you can find jobs in just about any industry imaginable. Of course, the high cost of living reflects these abundant opportunities.

While not known for outstanding public schools, NYC does have some of the best private schools in the country. Higher education options abound as well, with schools like Columbia, NYU, The New School, and more calling the city home.

With over 8 million residents, New York City is incredibly diverse. Over 800 languages are spoken here, and no matter your background you can find a vibrant community.

While the size of the city can be overwhelming for some, its energy and passion are irresistible. NYC offers the convenience and excitement of urban living at its finest.

Top Things to Do in New York City

  • Central Park – Enjoy nature and landmarks like the Central Park Zoo.
  • The Metropolitan Museum of Art – See this world-renowned art museum.
  • Broadway Shows – Catch a show in the Theater District.
  • Statue of Liberty – Take a ferry to see Lady Liberty up close.
  • Empire State Building – Visit the iconic skyscraper and take in the views.
  • 9/11 Memorial & Museum – Pay respects at the moving memorial.
  • Times Square – Experience the bright lights and energy.
  • The High Line – Stroll this unique elevated park.
  • Rockefeller Center – Gaze at the famous Christmas tree and ice rink.
  • Coney Island – Ride rollercoasters and enjoy beachside fun.

2. Buffalo

As the second largest city in New York, Buffalo offers a high quality of life without the hustle and bustle of NYC.

Nicknamed the “City of Good Neighbors,” Buffalo offers a friendly Midwest vibe with all the amenities of a major metro area. The cost of living is very affordable here. Housing prices are around half the national average, so your dollar stretches much further.

Buffalo has a thriving job market anchored by healthcare, finance, tech, and advanced manufacturing industries. Major employers include Tesla, IBM, Moog, Occidental Petroleum, Geico, and more. The increasing remote work trend also bodes well for Buffalo with its low costs.

From families to young professionals, people praise Buffalo for its inclusive community and plethora of things to do.

Nature lovers especially appreciate Buffalo, with attractions like Niagara Falls, Letchworth State Park, Squaw Island, and more right at your fingertips. The recently redeveloped Buffalo River waterfront provides gorgeous walking and biking paths with skyline views.

Foodies flock to Buffalo to indulge in beloved local dishes like sponge candy, beef on weck, and Buffalo wings. You’ll also find trendy coffee shops, farm-to-table restaurants, and a bounty of local breweries.

Home to over 50 different cultures, Buffalo has a diverse cultural scene. Enjoy world-class art at the Albright-Knox Gallery or stroll through artistic neighborhoods like Elmwood Village and Allentown. Catch live music at intimate venues scattered throughout the city.

While weather can be challenging with cold, snowy winters, the low cost of living helps balance out heating bills. Spring and summer offer perfect weather to enjoy everything this underrated city offers.

Top Things to Do in Buffalo

  • Niagara Falls – Marvel at these stunning natural wonders.
  • Buffalo Zoo – Meet wildlife at one of America’s best midsize zoos.
  • Albright-Knox Art Gallery – Admire works by Picasso, Van Gogh, and more.
  • Buffalo Botanical Gardens – Stroll through these sprawling gardens.
  • Buffalo RiverWorks – Have fun at this part theme park, part brewery.
  • Canalside – Enjoy this redeveloped waterfront district.
  • Buffalo City Hall – Take a free tour of this beautiful art deco tower.
  • Frank Lloyd Wright Sites – Tour Wright’s remarkable local designs.
  • Forest Lawn Cemetery – Wander this scenic Victorian cemetery with famous graves.
  • Elmwood Village – Shop, dine and drink in this trendy neighborhood.

3. Rochester

Rochester frequently lands on lists of the best places to live in New York – and for good reason! This mid-sized city offers an excellent quality of life without the insane costs of NYC.

Situated along the scenic Genesee River with access to the Finger Lakes wine country, Rochester provides a great blend of urban amenities and natural beauty. You can drive to breathtaking gorges, raging waterfalls, and rolling farmlands in just minutes. Local city parks like Highland Park designed by Frederick Law Olmsted offer green space right in the city.

Rochester boasts a thriving local food scene with farmer’s markets, craft breweries, award-winning restaurants, and more. The city is especially known for its garbage plates – an indulgent combination of cheeseburgers, hot dogs, eggs, and so much more over fries.

Home to several universities including the University of Rochester and Rochester Institute of Technology, the city maintains a youthful vibe. Museums, concerts, festivals, and more keep residents entertained year-round.

While Rochester gets plenty of lake effect snow in the winter, it enjoys pleasant summers perfect for outdoor activities. Average temperatures range from the 20s in January to the 70s in July.

Rochester provides excellent economic opportunities as well. Eastman Kodak and Xerox both originated here and still employ many locals. Other major industries include technology, healthcare, education, manufacturing, and retail. Rochester offers a great mix of Fortune 500 companies, startups, and nonprofits.

The cost of living is around 10% lower than other upstate cities, while still offering amenities like museums, sports, and nightlife you may associate with pricier areas. Home prices are especially affordable, with median list prices around $140,000.

If you want an affordable, vibrant, and laidback city to call home, put Rochester high on your list.

Top Things to Do in Rochester

  • George Eastman Museum – Learn about the photography pioneer’s life and legacy.
  • High Falls – See waterfalls right in downtown Rochester.
  • Genesee Riverway Trail – Bike or walk along the river.
  • Seabreeze Amusement Park – Ride rollercoasters on Lake Ontario.
  • Rochester Public Market – Shop farmer’s markets since 1905.
  • Seneca Park Zoo – Meet over 300 animal species.
  • Strong National Museum of Play – Enjoy interactive exhibits at this unique museum.
  • Memorial Art Gallery – Admire art in an intimate setting.
  • Finger Lakes Wine Tours – Sample wines at the nearby vineyards.
  • Mount Hope Cemetery – Visit the grave of famous Rochesterian, Susan B. Anthony.

4. Saratoga Springs

For small city vibes with world-class amenities, Saratoga Springs is a gem. This charming upstate destination offers metropolitan activities with a relaxed pace of life.

Just three hours north of New York City, Saratoga Springs provides a quick weekend escape for city-dwellers. Outdoorsy types especially flock here to enjoy activities like touring mineral baths, golfing, hiking in Saratoga Spa State Park, and catching a summer race at the Saratoga Race Course.

Beyond the natural beauty, Saratoga Springs boasts a buzzing downtown with shops, restaurants, cafes, and bars. The sophisticated dining scene features award-winning farm-to-table eateries and trendy cocktail lounges.

History buffs can visit museums like the Saratoga Automobile Museum or Saratoga Springs History Museum to immerse themselves in the city’s rich past.

The Saratoga Performing Arts Center (SPAC) also attracts world-class entertainers, the NYC Ballet, and Philadelphia Orchestra each summer.

Home to Skidmore College, Saratoga Springs maintains an inclusive, creative vibe. The LGBTQ+ community is especially well-represented.

Saratoga Springs provides a high quality of life with low crime, good schools, and abundant amenities. The median home price hovers around $325,000, making it one of the more affordable upstate destinations.

If you appreciate small town charm but want access to urban culture and conveniences, you can’t go wrong with Saratoga Springs. It offers the perfect blend of relaxation and sophistication.

Top Things to Do in Saratoga Springs

  • Saratoga Race Course – Check out racing season at this legendary track.
  • Congress Park – Relax in this scenic downtown park.
  • Yaddo Gardens – Tour beautiful gardens at this historic artist retreat.
  • Saratoga Automobile Museum – See an impressive collection of vintage cars.
  • Saratoga Performing Arts Center – Catch a concert at this outdoor venue.
  • Saratoga National Historical Park – Learn about the Revolutionary War battlefield.
  • Saratoga Springs History Museum – Immerse yourself in the city’s rich history.
  • The Children’s Museum at Saratoga – Bring the kids to this interactive museum.
  • Saratoga Winery – Sample local wines and ciders.
  • Roosevelt Baths & Spa – Rejuvenate in the healing mineral waters.

5. Albany

As the capital of New York, Albany offers big city living paired with small town charm.

Albany provides an affordable cost of living compared to other large cities in New York. Housing is quite reasonable, with median home prices around $250,000. Renters can find nice apartments for under $1,000/month.

This capital city has a quiet, unassuming vibe despite its nearly 100,000 residents. The walkable downtown features stately government buildings and monuments with pockets of trendy shops, restaurants, and nightlife. The revitalized waterfront along the Hudson River provides picturesque walking and cycling paths.

History aficionados will love Albany’s prestigious museums and cultural institutions. Must-visits include the New York State Museum, New York State Capitol, and Schuyler Mansion.

Nature is never far either. From hiking at John Boyd Thacher State Park to strolling through Washington Park’s scenic gardens, getting outdoors is easy.

As the state capital and home to schools like the University at Albany, jobs are plentiful. Top industries include education, healthcare and government/politics.

Albany also boasts great diversity. Over 48% of residents identify as nonwhite, and 30% were born outside the U.S. Many festivals celebrating global cultures take place annually.

Albany offers big city opportunities and amenities paired with comfortable small town living. Residents describe an unpretentious, supportive community with natural beauty right out their doors.

Top Things to Do in Albany

  • New York State Museum – Learn about NY through interactive exhibits.
  • New York State Capitol – Tour this impressive government building.
  • Times Union Center – Catch concerts and shows in downtown Albany.
  • Washington Park – Stroll through this scenic park.
  • Schuyler Mansion – Step back in time at this 1760s home.
  • Lark Street – Shop and dine along this eclectic street.
  • Albany Institute of History & Art – See artifacts and masterpieces at this museum.
  • Corning Preserve – Walk or cycle along the Hudson River.
  • Albany Pine Bush Preserve – Explore one of the world’s few remaining pine barren habitats.
  • Skyway at the Empire State Plaza – Take in city views from this aerial walkway.

6. Ithaca

Ithaca Falls

Nestled in gorgeous Finger Lakes wine country, the college town of Ithaca provides stunning scenery with an artsy, intellectual vibe.

Home to Ivy League Cornell University and Ithaca College, Ithaca oozes youthful energy. Students cruising down the streets on bikes and endless cafes slinging coffee fuel the lively atmosphere.

Outdoor recreation abounds with hiking trails winding through breathtaking gorges and waterfalls right in the city. Cayuga and Seneca Lakes offer boating, swimming, and lakeside chilling in the summer. The area morphs into a winter wonderland once the snow starts falling.

Brimming with arts, culture, and innovation, Ithaca earned the nickname “The Bahamas of the Northeast.” Annual events like the Ithaca Festival showcase homegrown musical talent and creative spirits. The city boasts two world-class museums – the Cornell Botanic Gardens and the Johnson Museum of Art.

While small with just over 30,000 people, Ithaca offers diverse cuisine. Funky local eateries sling everything from Taiwanese street food to Indian dosas. The area’s wines, cheeses, and produce feature prominently on menus.

However, Ithaca’s desirability does impact affordability. Home prices creep over $200,000 on average and Cornell tuition inflates rental rates. But locals argue the lower cost of living compared to NYC combined with cultural perks make Ithaca well worth a look.

With stunning scenery, an artsy vibe, university influence, and plenty of things to do, Ithaca offers a sublime upstate lifestyle.

Top Things to Do in Ithaca

  • Ithaca Falls – Hike to see waterfalls flowing right through downtown.
  • Cornell Botanic Gardens – Explore diverse flora across 250 acres.
  • Ithaca Farmer’s Market – Shop fresh, local produce and eats.
  • Herbert F. Johnson Museum – See impressive collections of art.
  • Cayuga Lake Wine Trail – Sample local wines from the shores of Cayuga Lake.
  • Cornell University – Tour this prestigious Ivy League campus.
  • Sciencenter – Learn through interactive science exhibits.
  • Taughannock Falls State Park – Marvel at the highest waterfall east of the Rockies.
  • Stewart Park – Relax or swim in Cayuga Lake.
  • Six Mile Creek Winery – Sip wines in a 150 year-old barn.

7. Syracuse

Everson Museum of Art

As the economic and cultural core of Central New York, Syracuse provides amazing food, culture, and innovation without big city headaches.

Syracuse offers a rich blend of history and progressiveness. Located along the former Erie Canal, you can visit buildings that have stood since the 1800s in revitalized areas like Armory Square. Then peer into the future at Syracuse’s booming technology and bioscience industries.

Syracuse’s vibrant dining scene earns raves from visitors and residents alike. Funky spots like Laci’s Tapas Bar sling incredible Spanish-style small plates, while Alto Cinco crafts gourmet Mexican fare. Don’t miss the chance to try local iconic eats like salt potatoes and chicken riggies pasta.

Outdoor enthusiasts especially love Syracuse for its proximity to over a dozen state parks along with Lake Ontario and Skaneateles Lake. Inside the city, Onondaga Lake Park provides hiking trails skirting the lakefront.

Syracuse enjoys four distinct seasons, though winters skew cold and snowy. Summers are warm and sunny with average highs around 80 degrees – perfect for enjoying the lakes and rivers.

Housing costs run below the national average at around $150,000 for a home, making Syracuse very affordable. The job market is strong too, especially in education, healthcare, technology, and manufacturing. Large local employers include Syracuse University, St. Joseph’s Hospital Health Center, Lockheed Martin, and more.

If you want revitalized urban areas and a plethora of outdoor activities wrapped up in an affordable package, Syracuse hits the spot.

Top Things to Do in Syracuse

  • Lakeview Amphitheater – See a concert on beautiful Onondaga Lake.
  • Rosamond Gifford Zoo – Meet elephants, tigers, and more at one of the best U.S. zoos.
  • Erie Canal Museum – Learn about how this vital waterway transformed NY.
  • Onondaga Lake Park – Hike, bike, and relax along the scenic lakefront.
  • Museum of Science & Technology – Discover space, physics, and more through interactive exhibits.
  • Everson Museum of Art – View renowned collections of American art.
  • Destiny USA – Shop for everything imaginable at this vast mall.
  • Salt Museum – Discover how salt spurred growth in Syracuse.
  • Skaneateles Lake – Boat, swim, and enjoy this unspoiled Finger Lake.
  • Clinton Square – Experience this lively historic public space downtown.

8. Binghamton

Otsiningo Park

For an affordable, historic riverside city with small town charm, Binghamton fits the bill.

Situated at the confluence of the Susquehanna and Chenango Rivers, Binghamton offers scenic waterfront walks and outdoor recreation. Enjoy fishing, boating and kayaking during warmer months or snowshoeing and ice skating in the winter.

Architecture aficionados appreciate Binghamton’s stock of ornate Victorian homes and stately civic structures. The city prospered as a manufacturing hub in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, leaving a striking visual legacy. Locals proudly preserve historic sites like the 1898 Court Street Bridge and the Park Diner, a 1946 railcar diner.

Binghamton University and SUNY Broome bring youthful energy and innovation to the city. Students frequent the quirky downtown bars, coffee shops, and restaurants. Events like the blues-centric Porchfest showcase local musical talents.

This affordable river town provides a great jumping off point for exploring the Catskills Mountains and Finger Lakes regions with stunning state parks and wineries.

While Binghamton weather can get gray and cold in winter, locals enjoy all four seasons with gorgeous foliage in autumn and pleasant summers. The average high temperature reaches a sunny 80 degrees Fahrenheit in July.

Binghamton promises big city amenities like museums, sports and healthcare facilities in an intimate small town setting. Reasonable housing prices also make Binghamton attractive to homebuyers.

Top Things to Do in Binghamton

  • Discovery Center – Learn through hands-on science exhibits.
  • Roberson Museum and Science Center – Enjoy art and artifacts at this Smithsonian-affiliated museum.
  • Ross Park Zoo – See exotic wildlife at one of America’s oldest zoos.
  • Broome County Arts Council – View works by local artists.
  • Phelps Mansion Museum – Tour an ornate 19th century Victorian mansion.
  • Otsiningo Park – Relax or exercise along trails by the Chenango River.
  • Carousel Museum and Carousel – Ride and view beautifully restored carousels.
  • Broome County Forum Theatre – Catch touring Broadway shows and concerts.
  • ** SUNY Broome Ice Center** – Ice skate at this NHL regulation-size indoor arena.
  • Hiawatha Island – Boat, fish and hike on this Susquehanna River island.

9. Kingston

History lives on in the Hudson Valley city of Kingston. As New York’s first capital, Kingston offers a window into the state’s colonial past.

Kingston provides a vibrant urban hub surrounded by the natural beauty of the Catskill Mountains and Hudson River. Outdoor enthusiasts enjoy hiking Overlook Mountain, navigating Kingston Point Beach, or biking along the Hudson riverfront.

History buffs flock to Kingston to explore sites like Senate House, the historic home that briefly served as New York’s capitol building. Other can’t miss spots include the Friends Cemetery, the 1850s Old Dutch Church, and Kingston City Hall – a stunning example of Second Empire architecture.

Kingston delivers a hip, artsy vibe home to artists, musicians, and creative entrepreneurs. Funky coffee houses, yoga studios, art galleries, and music venues line the streets. The popular O+ Festival originated here, showcasing local musicians and artists.

Affordability is a major perk of life in Kingston. Housing prices are roughly half the national average at just over $200k. The average rental rate of $1,200 also falls under other Hudson Valley cities.

The food scene delights in Kingston as well. Farm-to-table eateries take advantage of the abundant local produce, meat, cheeses and wines from the valley.

A university town with small city conveniences wrapped in stunning scenery and history, Kingston offers an outstanding quality of life in New York.

Top Things to Do in Kingston

  • Senate House Historic Site – Tour NY’s first state capitol building.
  • Kingston Point Beach – Swim, hike and relax along the Hudson.
  • Forsyth Nature Center – Hike trails through wooded wetlands and meadows.
  • Trolley Museum of New York – Ride and view restored vintage trolleys.
  • Hudson River Maritime Museum – Learn about the Hudson Valley’s nautical history.
  • Old Dutch Church – See the stone church built in the 1850s.
  • Kingston Farmer’s Market – Shop fresh local produce, cheese, meat and more.
  • Hurley Heritage Society Museum – Discover Kingston’s early Dutch roots.
  • Kaaterskill Falls – See one of NY’s highest waterfalls in nearby Catskill Park.
  • Stockade District– Admire preserved 17th century architecture.

10. New Rochelle

Just 30 minutes from NYC, New Rochelle offers big city access with peaceful small town vibes.

This diverse Westchester County city boasts a rich history dating back to the 17th century. Today, New Roc continues to break new ground with a booming development scene. The city’s master plan has attracted new residents and businesses, particularly to the downtown corridor. Expect trendy cafes, boutiques, restaurants and entertainment along Main Street and North Avenue.

New Rochelle shines with an incredible variety of housing options to meet any need. In addition to beautiful single family homes, historic districts like Rochelle Park feature stunning Victorian architecture. Modern high-rises overlook the Long Island Sound downtown. The city even boasts a self-sustaining eco-village, a unique neighborhood with net zero energy homes.

Over 40% of New Rochelle’s residents identify as Hispanic or Latino, creating a vibrant cultural scene. The diversity extends across races, religions, and nationalities, making New Ro an inclusive place to live.

Outdoor lovers enjoy time at picturesque parks like Five Islands. Glen Island attracts beachgoers, boaters, and hikers with its scenic views.

New Rochelle’s location provides the best of all worlds. Trains whisk you to NYC in just 30 minutes for work or play. Yet you can trade skyscrapers for tree-lined neighborhoods after a long day.

Top Things to Do in New Rochelle

  • Fort Slocum – Tour the historic former army base.
  • Hudson Park – Relax along the Long Island Sound.
  • Thomas Paine Historical Site – See where the famous revolutionary lived.
  • Monroe College – Cheer on the local college teams.
  • Glen Island Park – Swim, hike, enjoy nature on this island oasis.
  • Westchester Broadway Theater – Catch a high-quality show close to home.
  • New Roc City – Shop and dine at this large entertainment complex.
  • College of New Rochelle – Tour the stunning grounds of this Catholic college.
  • Echo Bay – Spot birds and other wildlife at this wetlands area.
  • New Rochelle Public Library – See historic murals in this architectural gem.

11. Yonkers

Just 20 minutes from midtown Manhattan, Yonkers provides convenient big-city access paired with comfortable suburban living.

settled along the majestic Hudson River, Yonkers feels worlds away from NYC’s crowded streets. Beautiful parks designed by the Olmsted Brothers offer quiet escapes with wooded trails, sports fields, river views and more. The renovated riverfront area provides a lovely setting for walking, cycling, or grabbing a bite overlooking the water.

Yonkers residents enjoy diverse housing options across a range of budgets. Choices include high rise apartments along the Hudson, classic early 20th century homes, and new developments designed for modern living. Renters can find nice one-bedrooms for around $1,500/month. Home sale prices average in the mid $400,000s.

This racially and ethnically mixed community boasts fascinating diversity. Over 25% of residents identify as Hispanic or Latino. The city celebrates its melting pot heritage through events like Yonkers Pride Fest and the Philipse Manor Hall Multicultural Festival.

Major local employers include Empire City Casino, Con Edison, and St. John’s Riverside Hospital, providing jobs across industries. The downtown district continues to add new restaurants, shops, and entertainment to support economic growth.

Yonkers offers big-city action minutes away – from Broadway shows to Yankee games – or small town tranquility along the waterfront. Residents get the best of everything here.

Top Things to Do in Yonkers

  • Hudson River Museum – Discover fine art and history in a mansion.
  • Untermyer Park & Gardens – Wander the exotic gardens of this retro estate.
  • Beczak Environmental Education Center – Learn about nature and sustainability.
  • Empire City Casino – Try your luck at this popular casino with restaurants and bars.
  • Cross County Shopping Center – Shop til you drop at this vast mall.
  • YoHo Artist Studio – Browse works by local artists.
  • Philipse Manor Hall – Step back in time at this 17th century manor house.
  • Yonkers Raceway – Catch live harness racing and bet on horses.
  • Science Barge – See sustainable agriculture technologies on this floating farm.
  • Yonkers Pier – Dine, drink, and relax with river views.

12. Utica

Experience rich history, stunning architecture, and multicultural dining in the upstate city of Utica.

Located in Oneida County along the Mohawk River and Erie Canal, Utica rose to prosperity during the 19th century Industrial Revolution. Take a leisurely stroll downtown to admire the magnificent late 19th and early 20th century buildings, from the stately City Hall to the Stanley Theater.

This former manufacturing powerhouse continues to reinvent itself and move forward. Utica attracts refugees from around the world, creating incredible diversity in cuisine. Savor authentic Bosnian, Italian, Vietnamese, Thai, and other global flavors at locally owned eateries.

Residents rave about Utica’s friendly, supportive community. Neighbors socialize at beloved diners and cafes that have anchored the city for decades. Locals shop and dine at small businesses along Genesee Street in downtown’s Brewery District. The scenic tree-lined residential streets surround you in natural beauty.

Nature lovers especially flock to Utica for its prime access to the Adirondack Mountains, just 90 minutes away. Hike alpine trails, paddle tranquil lakes, and seek solitude surrounded by millions of acres of wilderness.

Utica impresses visitors and locals with its blend of urban amenities and small-town charm. Historic architecture, diverse cuisine, and natural wonders right out your door make Utica an ideal upstate home.

Top Things to Do in Utica

  • Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Institute – Admire art in an elegant museum.
  • Utica Zoo – Meet endangered species like red pandas and cotton-top tamarins.
  • F.X. Matt Brewing Co. – Tour the maker of Saranac and Utica Club beers.
  • Union Station – Marvel at the grand Italianate-style station.
  • Adirondack Scenic Railroad – Journey through stunning scenery by vintage train.
  • Stanley Theatre – Catch a show in this opulent 1928 movie palace.
  • Utica Proctor Park – Stroll or exercise in this scenic riverfront park.
  • Fingerlakes Gaming & Racetrack – Try your luck at slots or the track.
  • Children’s Museum of History, Science & Technology – Engage kids through interactive exhibits.
  • Utica Monday Nite – Experience this fun street festival with food, music and shopping.

13. Poughkeepsie

Resting on the eastern banks of the majestic Hudson River, the historic city of Poughkeepsie provides small town charm just 90 minutes from NYC.

Founded in the 1700s, Poughkeepsie still preserves its colonial roots through sites like the 1805 Cherry Hill House and the 1799 Friends Meeting House. Stately Vassar College campus and the Walkway Over the Hudson also provide beautiful glimpses into the past.

Poughkeepsie offers outdoor escapes just beyond the quaint downtown. Walk or cycle along the Hudson River waterfront, hike in the nearby Hudson Highlands, or wander the many Olmsted-designed park spaces threading through the city.

History continues in Poughkeepsie through forward progress. With its affordable real estate, the city attracts new residents and businesses, especially to the Dutchess County urban centers. Cafes, farm-to-table eateries, breweries and eclectic shopping keep downtown bustling.

Major local employers include IBM, Health Quest Medical System, and Vassar College – presenting ample job opportunities across industries.

Home to over 30,000 residents, Poughkeepsie provides small city conveniences and culture with Mid-Hudson Valley beauty. It’s an easy day trip from NYC, but also a wonderful place to put down roots in New York.

Top Things to Do in Poughkeepsie

  • Walkway Over the Hudson – Stroll across the Hudson River on this historic bridge.
  • Locust Grove Estate – Wander the grounds of this preserved 18th-century home.
  • Mid-Hudson Children’s Museum – Inspire young minds through interactive exhibits.
  • Vassar College – Tour this prestigious campus and its beautiful arboretum.
  • Trolley Museum of New York – Ride and see trolleys from around the state.
  • Marist College – Cheer on the Division I Red Foxes sports teams.
  • Bowdoin Park – Relax with scenic Hudson River views.
  • Bananas Comedy Club – Catch rising comedy stars in an intimate setting.
  • Poughkeepsie Galleria – Shop at this convenient local mall.
  • Dutchess County Fairgrounds – Visit the home of the annual county fair.

14. White Plains

Blue Mountain Reservation

Just 25 miles from NYC, White Plains provides a peaceful suburban oasis without sacrificing convenience.

This economic hub of Westchester County seamlessly blends natural escapes with urban excitement. Unwind hiking at Lasdon Park & Arboretum or the Saxon Woods forests. Then, head downtown to shop and dine along lively Restaurant Row. Catch a show at the performing arts center or do improv comedy at Play Group Theater. White Plains hums with energy.

Over 56% of residents work in white collar jobs, centered in sectors like technology, healthcare, retail, and education. Major employers include Verizon, AMEX, Westchester Medical Center, and more.

With a population nearing 60,000, White Plains offers diverse housing options from high rise rentals to luxury homes. Convenient MetroNorth rail connections whisk you to NYC in 30 minutes to easily blend urban and suburban lifestyles.

Beyond amenities, White Plains residents rave about the inclusive, community feel. The city celebrates its multicultural population through events like the Ethnic Pride Celebration and the White Plains Performing Arts Center Multicultural Festival.

White Plains promises big city access and opportunities with family-friendly neighborhoods and nature nearby – the ideal New York lifestyle.

Top Things to Do in White Plains

  • Kensico Dam Plaza – Snap that perfect photo at this iconic NYC water source.
  • Westchester County Center – Catch concerts, circuses, and sporting events.
  • Eden Playground & Pool – Enjoy aquatic fun at this lively public pool.
  • Battles of White Plains Historic Site – Learn about this key Revolutionary War battleground.
  • Rye Playland – Ride thrilling rollercoasters and other rides.
  • Neuberger Museum of Art – View modern masterpieces showcased beautifully.
  • Blue Mountain Reservation – Hike woodland trails with gorgeous Hudson Valley panoramas.
  • Silver Tips Tea House – Sip in an idyllic Japanese tea house surrounded by gardens.
  • Gedney Farm – Tour this 17th century farmhouse standing since 1695.
  • A-Game Sports – Have fun playing baseball, dodgeball and more.

15. Newburgh

Newburgh Waterfront Park

Perched on the western banks of the Hudson River, Newburgh offers scenic beauty and affordability just 90 minutes from NYC.

History lives on in Newburgh through well-preserved landmarks. Explore the Dutch Reformed Church, Delano-Hitch Stadium (built in 1932), and Washington’s Headquarters. Catch views of the massive Beaux Arts-style Newburgh–Beacon Bridge spanning the river.

Nature surrounds you in Newburgh as well. Hike trails at Hudson Highlands State Park with panoramic mountain vistas, or boat and fish on the river’s glistening waters.

Newburgh’s diverse housing stock appeals to all interests and budgets. Find historic mansions in the Newburgh Historic District, apartments downtown, or cottages by the waterfront. Home prices also run far below other Hudson Valley cities.

This river town continues working towards an urban revival centered around the lively Liberty Street corridor. Farm-to-table restaurants, craft cocktail bars, art galleries, and creative businesses invigorate Newburgh with fresh energy.

Located strategically near Stewart International Airport and Metro North rail, NYC convenient while maintaining its own unique culture.

Newburgh shines as an affordable Hudson Valley community with natural splendor and blossoming arts and food scenes.

Top Things to Do in Newburgh

  • Washington’s Headquarters – Tour Revolutionary War general George Washington’s headquarters.
  • Newburgh Waterfront Park – Stroll the riverwalk with scenic views.
  • Newburgh Brewing Company – Sip craft beers in a chill taproom.
  • Orange County Arboretum – Escape into gardens and wooded trails.
  • Aqueduct Walkway – Hike or cycle along the historic aqueduct.
  • Mount Saint Mary College – Tour the lovely campus and gardens.
  • Newburgh Illuminated Festival – See light installations and creative

Conclusion: Why New York Offers Some of America’s Best Places to Call Home

As this deep dive into the Empire State’s vibrant communities shows, New York offers some of the best places to live in the entire country.

From thriving metropolises to charming small towns, New York provides endless variety when choosing a place to put down roots. You’ll find welcoming communities with access to nature, culture, dining, and entertainment to enrich your life.

Urbanites who crave the excitement of a world-class city need look no further than New York City itself. The Big Apple leads the pack with its stunning diversity, endless attractions, booming job market, and nonstop energy. Upstate, Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse, and Albany also promise big city amenities on a more comfortable scale.

Those seeking outdoor escapes surrounded by stunning scenery will love destinations like Saratoga Springs, Ithaca, Kingston, Newburgh, and Poughkeepsie. The gorgeous Hudson Valley and Finger Lakes regions provide nature right at your doorstep.

Couples and families appreciate New York communities that blend neighborhoods with great schools and amenities together seamlessly. From White Plains to New Rochelle, these cities let you enjoy suburban living without completely sacrificing urban convenience.

Retirees flock to historically rich communities with vibrant downtowns and cultural attractions galore. Utica, Binghamton, and Poughkeepsie offer walkable small city vibes paired with affordable costs of living.

College towns like Ithaca, Oneonta, and Brockport allow you to stay engaged in campus culture and entertainment. Recent grads will love the thriving bar scenes and creative energy.

Above all, New York promises welcoming, diverse communities with something for everyone. Festivals celebrating global cultures, prominence of LGBTQ+ populations, and regional pride make New York a place where you can feel at home.

The Empire State’s communities continue growing while retaining their distinctive charm. Through revitalization initiatives, cities refresh local landmarks while attracting new entrepreneurship. Public green spaces, pedestrian-friendly downtowns, and waterfront access improve quality of life.

New York proudly carries forward storied legacies while embracing progress. Communities thoughtfully preserve the past through restoring historic homes, monuments, and civic buildings that have stood for centuries. Cities like Rome and Auburn carefully maintain their positions as centers of innovation and industry.

So if you’re looking for an outstanding place to put down roots, New York has you covered. From the tip of Long Island to the mighty Niagara Falls, you’ll find communities with everything you need to live a fulfilling life. The Empire State takes pride in the diverse array of welcoming hometowns that make it a true American gem.

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