These 5 North Carolina Cities Are Ranked Among the Best to Live in. But You Knew That Already.

By Sam Cohen

June 13, 2023

You’re probably already aware of how amazing it is to live in North Carolina, but if you’re from Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill, Charlotte, or Hickory, your opinion just became even more official.

According to US News, those five NC cities rank among the “Best Places to Live in the US in 2023-2024.” The outlet determines its list using a variety of factors, including whether a city is in a desirable location, what the job market is like, whether the area has a good value, and whether there’s a high quality of life in those cities. 

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If you’re not from one of these standout locations, don’t panic. The US News article includes the Top 150 places throughout the country, and several other notable areas of NC crop up throughout the lengthy list. (We’re looking at you, Winston-Salem, Asheville, and Greensboro, just to call out a few more).

Though the cost of living in Chapel Hill might be “8% higher than the national average” according to a 2022 report by UpHomes, the area has so many positive features, it’s worth the more expensive grocery prices. From the beautiful sprawling campus of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, to the pleasant weather and bustling food scene, this city has a little bit of all the best things.

Raleigh and Durham (two separate cities often spoken of together in quick succession) are obvious standouts. Award-winning hotels? Check. Museums, gardens, galleries, and sporting events? Check. Incredible local cuisine? Yeah, that’s another big check. You’re also close to a major airport, two highways, and you have access to an abundance of activities, like urban hiking and—for those of us less inclined to outdoorsmanship—open-air shopping.

Charlotte and Hickory (not as commonly lumped together as Raleigh and Durham) have their own unique selling points. Which, let’s be honest, we don’t really have to lecture you on, because you likely see these things for yourself every day. 

The Hickory Museum of Art is one of the most famous in NC and features an array of diverse exhibits. They also host events throughout the year, so be sure to check out their calendar for a full list of upcoming options. The Taproot Coffee Bus is a Hickory staple offering delicious coffees at some of the most affordable prices around town.

Charlotte is the best place to be if you’re looking for something fresh, fun, and exciting to do. There’s the NASCAR Hall of Fame, Lunchbox Records, and of course, all the amazing vendors at The Market at 7th Street. You’ll be able to have a great meal, pick up the latest record from your favorite band, and explore the history of NASCAR, all in one day. What could be better than that?

One of the best things about North Carolina is its hometown pride, and the US News list just gave everyone something to be even more proud of. 

READ MORE: 22 Summer Activities in NC That Don’t Involve A Lot Of Planning (or Money)

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