Kip Tips


10 Fun, Affordable Cities

Cameron Huddleston

Kiplinger's focuses on value for its 2011 Best Cities list and comes up with great places to live, work and play.



Finding a city to call home that has ample job opportunities, a low cost of living and plenty of things to do can be difficult. But Kiplinger's makes it easy with its Best Value Cities 2011 list.

We've looked at the statistics, crunched the numbers and investigated cities across the nation to come up with the top ten places that are affordable, thriving and fun. What we discovered is that a lot of the best values are in South and Midwest. Although most of the cities on our list are concentrated in just two regions, they all have diverse economies and plenty of job opportunities in a variety of fields. Plus, these small and midsize cities have many of the amenities you'd find in big metro areas along the coasts. See our slide show for the complete list.

I visited and wrote about two cities on the list: Nashville, Tenn., and Cincinnati, Ohio. I really liked both and would live in either one of them.

Nashville has a lot of southern charm, friendly people and a great sense of community. Although it's known for country music, the city has a lot more to offer -- including 21 postsecondary institutions, 11,000 acres of public parks, five professional sports teams, an active theater scene, numerous museums and galleries, one of the South’s biggest film festivals and an economy that’s making a strong comeback from the recession.

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Cincinnati exudes Midwestern sensibility coupled with a creative energy (from the large number of marketing companies, design firms and universities there). Each of the city's neighborhoods has a distinct character and a good mix of residential and commercial development. Plus, with so many parks, festivals and big-city amenities, there's never a shortage of things to do.

To learn more about all of the Best Value Cities and for tours of each city, see our guide. And use our tool to find the best city for you.

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