Best places to live on the West Coast

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December 24, 2020
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Best places to live on the West Coast

For centuries, Americans and people from all over the world have heeded Horace Greeley's advice to "go west." The West Coast of the United States has been calling settlers ever since the early 1800s. From the Oregon Trail to the Gold Rush to 1967’s Summer of Love, there is something magnetic about the Pacific Coast of the United States that calls to the hearts of those looking to start anew.

And who could blame them? From the sun-drenched beaches of Southern California to the brilliant minds of Silicon Valley, the verdant forests of Oregon, and the lakes and towering mountains of Washington State, the West Coast is incredibly varied and dynamic. Thus, narrowing down the best places to live on the West Coast can certainly be a challenge.

Stacker compiled just such a list using data from Niche. Cities, towns, and suburbs in the following states were considered: California, Oregon, and Washington. A maximum of 50 places per state was included.

Some of these places are surely already on your radar, like tech-savvy Palo Alto, California, or the culturally cosmopolitan city of Seattle. Others may be a bit more under-the-radar, like Tualatin, Oregon, which is known for its quirky festivals. Many places on this list are suburbs of affluent and diverse metropolitan cities, while others are planned communities or older cities that have undergone revitalization projects. Cities with access to the great outdoors are ubiquitous here, as there is just so much raw, unspoiled beauty to be seen in the American West.

Whether you're looking to settle down and raise a family or are interested in hitting the town with your batch of new, educated friends, there’s a place on this list that will surely draw your attention. Each slide includes the city's population, median home value, median rent, and median household income.

How many of these places do you know? Is your town or city on the list? Click through to find the best places to live on the West Coast.

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#100. Mirrormont, Washington

- Population: 3,717
- Median home value: $590,300 (96% own)
- Median rent: $1,310 (4% rent)
- Median household income: $118,542

A suburb of Seattle, Mirrormont is tucked in the forests of the Tiger Mountain foothills. The affluent suburb is known for its outdoor living due to its location at the entrance to the Tiger Mountain State Forest. The state forest is a 13,745-acre park veined with trails for hiking, horseback riding, and mountain biking.

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#99. Port Townsend, Washington

- Population: 9,428
- Median home value: $308,600 (59% own)
- Median rent: $953 (41% rent)
- Median household income: $52,000

History and nature abound in Port Townsend, a city on the Quimper Peninsula in Washington. The Port Townsend Historic District is a U.S. National Historic Landmark District, and the town has prime real estate near the Olympic Mountains.

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M.O. Stevens // Wikimedia Commons

#98. Tualatin, Oregon

- Population: 27,338
- Median home value: $397,300 (55% own)
- Median rent: $1,223 (45% rent)
- Median household income: $81,118

Tualatin is an affluent town in the northwestern corner of Oregon perched on the edge of the Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge. In addition to ample outdoor activities, Tualatin is home to high-end shopping centers and is known for community-bonding year-round events like the Tualatin Crawfish Festival and the West Coast Giant Pumpkin Regatta.

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#97. Liberty Lake, Washington

- Population: 9,382
- Median home value: $272,700 (67% own)
- Median rent: $1,016 (33% rent)
- Median household income: $70,658

On the banks of the eponymous lake, Liberty Lake is a suburb of Spokane and a bedroom community for Coeur d'Alene, Idaho. The small Washington city is known for outdoor recreational activities such as those to be found in Liberty Lake Regional Park. The park provides 3,591 acres of wetlands, lakeshore, forest, barbecue areas, and miles of back-country trail.

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#96. Duvall, Washington

- Population: 7,811
- Median home value: $452,200 (92% own)
- Median rent: $2,043 (8% rent)
- Median household income: $156,205

Just 25 miles from Seattle, Duvall is a charming, affluent residential community surrounded by nature with easy access to one of Washington's top cultural centers. It's a small town known for its farmers market, hiking trails like the famous Cherry Creek Falls Trail, and its proximity to some of the best skiing in the state.

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#95. Durham, Oregon

- Population: 1,724
- Median home value: $559,600 (48% own)
- Median rent: $1,127 (52% rent)
- Median household income: $80,714

Small-town living is one thing, but then there’s Durham, which is less than half a square mile in size. It’s nestled in the Tualatin Valley near the cities of Tigard and Tualatin. Outdoor recreation is vitally important to its residents—so much so that 50 acres of land within city limits have been designated as parks and green spaces.

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#94. Rockcreek, Oregon

- Population: 9,898
- Median home value: $387,500 (64% own)
- Median rent: $1,305 (36% rent)
- Median household income: $85,625

Rockcreek is one of the best suburbs to live in the state, according to Niche. It is a small suburb of Portland known for its restaurants, coffee shops, excellent public schools, and parks. It's also an affluent suburb, where the median home value is more than $200,000 higher than that of the nation.

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#93. Bellingham, Washington

- Population: 87,071
- Median home value: $347,100 (45% own)
- Median rent: $999 (55% rent)
- Median household income: $50,844

Not far from the Canadian border, Bellingham is a coastal city in Washington. It is a stunning part of the country and is known for its outdoor recreational opportunities, such as those at Mount Baker, a volcano known for its ski runs. Bellingham is near Lake Whatcom, which has fantastic boating and fishing. It is also near Larrabee State Park and the Whatcom Falls Park.

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#92. Edmonds, Washington

- Population: 41,770
- Median home value: $480,000 (70% own)
- Median rent: $1,418 (30% rent)
- Median household income: $87,693

Just 14 miles north of Seattle, Edmonds is a lovely, historic city. Its Main Street is strewn with galleries, cafes, flower displays, and more. The town affords views of the Olympic Mountains and Puget Sound, popular spots where residents can spend their free time.

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#91. Tigard, Oregon

- Population: 52,368
- Median home value: $375,100 (61% own)
- Median rent: $1,159 (39% rent)
- Median household income: $75,795

A historic town that dates back to the mid-19th century, Tigard is a thriving cultural and outdoor-lovers’ community. From the Broadway Rose Theatre Company to the Fanno Creek Trail, golf courses, and shopping on Washington Square, this city is one of the top suburbs of Portland.

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#90. Portland, Oregon

- Population: 639,387
- Median home value: $383,600 (53% own)
- Median rent: $1,187 (47% rent)
- Median household income: $65,740

Portland's cult following has morphed into an international sensation, earning quite a reputation for being a West Coast capital of cuisine, culture, art, history, and outdoor adventure. Portland is a city in which you can hit the miles of bike lanes in the morning, grab a bite at one of more than 600 food carts in the afternoon, browse Powell's Books, the world's largest indie bookstore, and tap into an electric live music scene as the sun goes down.

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#89. West Richland, Washington

- Population: 14,187
- Median home value: $244,700 (83% own)
- Median rent: $1,143 (17% rent)
- Median household income: $92,952

Part of Washington's Tri-Cities, West Richland sits on the banks of the Yakima River. The farming community is known for its wide variety of recreational opportunities, from riverboat tours and fishing to bird-watching, rafting, or golfing at one of many courses. West Richland is also home to a thriving wine-growing industry. Families love the community events, from the youth and adult sports to the Harvest Festival, Summer Night Concerts in the Park, and more.

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#88. Mill Creek, Washington

- Population: 20,164
- Median home value: $486,600 (60% own)
- Median rent: $1,712 (40% rent)
- Median household income: $101,239

Twenty miles from Seattle, Mill Creek is one of the most affluent suburbs in the metropolitan community. It was originally a planned community that started to thrive in the 1970s and was designed around a country club and golf course. Today, it is known for its fine dining and shopping, community parks, and more than 23 miles of nature trails.

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M.O. Stevens // Wikimedia Commons

#87. Beaverton, Oregon

- Population: 97,012
- Median home value: $352,000 (49% own)
- Median rent: $1,269 (51% rent)
- Median household income: $68,586

Just next door to Portland but a world away, Beaverton sits nestled between the West Hills and the Tualatin Valley. Residents love it for its wineries, landmarks, and shopping, as well as more than 90 parks, 30 miles of hiking trails, and 25 miles of bike paths. It is also the location of the global headquarters for Nike.

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#86. Brier, Washington

- Population: 6,819
- Median home value: $454,700 (93% own)
- Median rent: $2,000 (7% rent)
- Median household income: $122,623

Fifteen miles from downtown Seattle, Brier is a small city known for its wooded areas and nature. Logan Park, for example, is a five-acre expanse that includes a ballfield as well as paved walking and jogging paths.

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#85. Mukilteo, Washington

- Population: 21,264
- Median home value: $544,200 (69% own)
- Median rent: $1,720 (31% rent)
- Median household income: $105,146

Perched on the banks of the Puget Sound about 25 miles north of Seattle, Mukilteo is a small city whose residents thrive in the outdoors. The city is a jumping-off point from which to explore both the Olympic Mountains and the Northern Cascade Mountains. There are also restaurants, museums, parks, hiking trails, and more. A popular spot in town is Lighthouse Park, which has a boat launch, picnic area, and beach.

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#84. Happy Valley, Oregon

- Population: 19,471
- Median home value: $485,900 (83% own)
- Median rent: $1,545 (17% rent)
- Median household income: $124,968

Happy Valley, an affluent suburb of Portland, is a cultural and dynamic community surrounded by nature. From Scouters Mountain Nature Park to Mount Talbert Nature Park, there is ample opportunity for residents to spend time outside. Community life thrives around the Clackamas Town Center, which is packed with high-end shopping and dining options.

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#83. Raleigh Hills, Oregon

- Population: 5,892
- Median home value: $647,900 (55% own)
- Median rent: $1,150 (45% rent)
- Median household income: $74,474

A suburb of Portland, Raleigh Hills is a small, wealthy community. It is valued for its outdoor activities, health and fitness, nightlife, and public schools. According to Niche, it's a great community for families, with favorable commutes for working adults and good weather. The cost of living is high, but residents earn high incomes.

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#82. Richland, Washington

- Population: 55,043
- Median home value: $245,000 (65% own)
- Median rent: $1,010 (35% rent)
- Median household income: $74,405

On the banks of the Columbia River, Richland is equidistant from Seattle and Portland. It is known for its outdoor activities, from fishing, boating, and water sports along the river to nearby wineries and cultural events. Richland hosts a medieval renaissance fair, music festivals, and an annual classic car show.

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#81. Shoreline, Washington

- Population: 56,020
- Median home value: $452,100 (64% own)
- Median rent: $1,423 (36% rent)
- Median household income: $80,489

On the coast of Puget Sound, the city of Shoreline is within easy reach of cities like Seattle, Woodway, Lake Forest Park, and Edmonds. The small town spans only 11.74 square miles and is packed with more than 400 acres of parkland.

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#80. Woodinville, Washington

- Population: 12,026
- Median home value: $577,300 (58% own)
- Median rent: $1,803 (42% rent)
- Median household income: $100,306

Dotted with waterfront parks along the Sammamish River, Woodinville is a town that lives for the outdoors. But locals also love it for its proximity to Washington wine country: Out of all the wineries northeast of Seattle, Woodinville hosts almost half. As such, it's a community that loves fine dining, social events, and educational programs.

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#79. Corvallis, Oregon

- Population: 57,213
- Median home value: $305,100 (42% own)
- Median rent: $1,020 (58% rent)
- Median household income: $49,835

Halfway between Eugene and Portland, Corvallis is a small town in the famous Willamette Valley. It offers everything from beautiful hiking and biking to farm-to-table cuisine and fine wines. There is a deep cultural appeal to Corvallis, as well, from the Corvallis Arts Center to the city's famous street murals.

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#78. Ashland, Oregon

- Population: 20,912
- Median home value: $428,100 (54% own)
- Median rent: $1,003 (46% rent)
- Median household income: $50,613

For the outdoor enthusiast, Ashland is a little piece of paradise. It has trails for all seasons, whether it's hiking, running, biking, skiing, or horseback riding. In addition to open-air recreation, Ashland has fine dining, wineries, golf, spas, theater, galleries, and museums.

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#77. Camas, Washington

- Population: 22,615
- Median home value: $403,800 (77% own)
- Median rent: $1,217 (23% rent)
- Median household income: $106,513

Camas is a historic town with an affluent community. It was first established in 1883 and today is known for its shopping, galleries, restaurants, and Pacific Northwest charm. The town is perched on the Columbia River and borders Oregon to the south and the Washougal River State Park to the northeast.

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#76. Pullman, Washington

- Population: 33,050
- Median home value: $258,200 (27% own)
- Median rent: $788 (73% rent)
- Median household income: $30,205

Pullman is a cultured city with more than 34,000 residents, many of whom are enrolled or employed at Washington State University. The energy of being a college town is part of what makes it a great place to live, but the community also enjoys 14 parks and the 7-mile Riverwalk with paths for hiking and biking. The natural beauty of the surrounding rural towns and hills make up the Palouse Scenic Byway.

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#75. Cottage Lake, Washington

- Population: 23,955
- Median home value: $739,600 (92% own)
- Median rent: $1,857 (8% rent)
- Median household income: $148,049

Cottage Lake is a wealthy town located northeast of Seattle, not far from Washington’s wine country, Ring Hill Forest, and the waterways of Lake Washington and Lake Sammamish. According to BestPlaces, the cost of living is nearly 96% higher than the U.S. average, but residents are rewarded with beautiful real estate, nature, culture, and close proximity to the cosmopolitan amenities of Seattle.

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#74. Bothell, Washington

- Population: 44,994
- Median home value: $473,900 (66% own)
- Median rent: $1,618 (34% rent)
- Median household income: $94,986

A suburb of Seattle, Bothell has seen a tremendous growth in population over the last 10 years—a nearly 20% increase, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. It is home to several technology and biomed companies, as well as the University of Washington Bothell and Cascadia College.

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#73. West Slope, Oregon

- Population: 7,498
- Median home value: $503,900 (58% own)
- Median rent: $1,167 (42% rent)
- Median household income: $77,444

One of the top suburbs in Oregon, West Slope, near Portland, is known for its suburban vibe, vibrant social scene, and many parks. According to Niche, it draws families and young professionals with its top-rated public schools and strong diversity.

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#72. Woodway, Washington

- Population: 1,189
- Median home value: $1,161,300 (95% own)
- Median rent: $1,625 (5% rent)
- Median household income: $190,521

Just 20 minutes from Seattle, Woodway is a small city known for its walkability, bike paths, and nearby wine country. It calls itself "The Quiet Place," and for good reason—it is packed with parks. From The Woodway Reserve to Deer Creek Park and the John Bush Play Area, there are many outdoor opportunities for residents of all ages.

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#71. Snoqualmie, Washington

- Population: 13,317
- Median home value: $582,000 (85% own)
- Median rent: $1,810 (15% rent)
- Median household income: $144,148

Surrounded by mountains and forest, Snoqualmie is one of the best places to live in the state of Washington. The town has 40 parks and more than 20 miles of trails for walking, biking, or horseback riding. It also has more than 30 restaurants, an arts and entertainment community, and the legendary Snoqualmie Falls, a beautiful waterfall that plunges over granite cliffs.

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#70. Lake Forest Park, Washington

- Population: 13,378
- Median home value: $559,000 (79% own)
- Median rent: $1,532 (21% rent)
- Median household income: $111,234

On the banks of Lake Washington, not far from Seattle, is Lake Forest Park. The wealthy community is known for its low crime rates (42% lower than the U.S. average, according to AreaVibes), low unemployment rate, and excellent school system.

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#69. Bainbridge Island, Washington

- Population: 24,060
- Median home value: $653,500 (78% own)
- Median rent: $1,399 (22% rent)
- Median household income: $115,230

Just off the coast of Seattle, Bainbridge Island is surrounded by stunning nature, steeped in Native American heritage, and peppered with restaurants and cafes. Locals frequent museums like the Bainbridge Island Museum of Art, catch performances at Bainbridge Performing Arts, and get lost in the many parks and gardens.

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#68. Kenmore, Washington

- Population: 22,546
- Median home value: $526,200 (73% own)
- Median rent: $1,358 (27% rent)
- Median household income: $105,007

Between Lake Forest Park and Bothell on the coast of Lake Washington, Kenmore is a suburban bedroom community of Seattle. It's an incredibly affluent community, where more than 87% of the population works in white-collar jobs, earning well above the national average, according to Neighborhood Scout.

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#67. Oak Hills, Oregon

- Population: 11,962
- Median home value: $419,000 (63% own)
- Median rent: $1,373 (37% rent)
- Median household income: $90,197

Oak Hills is located in northwest Oregon along the Columbia River and the border with Washington state. It is known for its master-planned Oak Hills community, which was built in the 1960s. Key assets for residents include an elementary school, pool and tennis courts, green spaces, and plenty of walking paths, according to The Oregonian.

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#66. Medina, Washington

- Population: 3,260
- Median home value: $2,000,000 (89% own)
- Median rent: $2,750 (11% rent)
- Median household income: $192,120

Medina is a suburb of Seattle that has become a haven for America's billionaire elite. Home to Jeff Bezos and Bill Gates, Medina is known for its lavish mansions, gorgeous views, and proximity to Seattle.

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#65. Cedar Hills, Oregon

- Population: 8,480
- Median home value: $384,600 (62% own)
- Median rent: $1,196 (38% rent)
- Median household income: $78,438

The affluent Cedar Hills is a safe, wealthy community with a low crime rate and excellent education, according to AreaVibes. High school graduation is 10% higher than the U.S. average, and crime is 34% lower.

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#64. Aliso Viejo, California

- Population: 50,925
- Median home value: $610,600 (61% own)
- Median rent: $2,180 (39% rent)
- Median household income: $108,558

Aliso Viejo is a wealthy community with some of the highest real estate values in the nation. Nearly 91% of the workforce holds a white-collar job, Neighborhood Scout reports, and just over 17% of residents hold management roles. It also attracts young, single, and sociable residents, many of whom work in math and science or the arts.

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#63. West Linn, Oregon

- Population: 26,511
- Median home value: $465,000 (79% own)
- Median rent: $1,418 (21% rent)
- Median household income: $104,061

Poised between the Willamette and Tualatin rivers just outside of Portland, West Linn is one of the most historic places in the state. Residents love it for its outdoor activities like golfing, cycling, kayaking, and skiing, but it's also a hot spot for fresh Oregon cuisine and wine. It is also steeped in Native American history.

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#62. Orinda, California

- Population: 19,431
- Median home value: $1,342,100 (90% own)
- Median rent: $2,404 (10% rent)
- Median household income: $210,288

Not far from Oakland lies the city of Orinda. Residents love it for the laid-back lifestyle, nature hikes, history, and breezy commute times. It’s a small town within a stone’s throw of two of California's largest cosmopolitan areas, according to SFGate.

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#61. Del Mar, California

- Population: 4,340
- Median home value: $2,000,000 (51% own)
- Median rent: $2,200 (49% rent)
- Median household income: $110,966

Just north of San Diego, bordering the Pacific Ocean and Torrey Pines State Reserve, sits Del Mar. The community has so much to offer its residents, from its many beaches and parks to the Del Mar Racetrack, fine dining, shopping, golf, and wellness offerings.

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#60. Cupertino, California

- Population: 60,614
- Median home value: $1,584,600 (61% own)
- Median rent: $3,005 (39% rent)
- Median household income: $163,954

Cupertino is one of the top cities to live not only in California, but in the nation. According to AreaVibes, it has a low crime rate and a school system that is well above the national average. An impressive 97% percent of the youth graduate high school and test scores are 75% higher than the U.S. average.

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#59. Arcadia, California

- Population: 58,207
- Median home value: $1,068,800 (59% own)
- Median rent: $1,570 (41% rent)
- Median household income: $92,102

Located in Los Angeles County, Arcadia is one of the best places to live on the West Coast thanks to its suburban living, restaurants, parks, and diversity. The affluent community is highly educated—Niche reports 34% of residents have a bachelor's degree.

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#58. Ladera Ranch, California

- Population: 30,288
- Median home value: $818,300 (74% own)
- Median rent: $2,304 (26% rent)
- Median household income: $162,321

Ladera Ranch has some of the highest real estate in California and offers a quiet, family-friendly vibe. Residents work in white-collar jobs like management, sales, and finance, according to Neighborhood Scout. About 11.5% of residents work from home, as well.

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#57. Saratoga, California

- Population: 30,886
- Median home value: $2,000,000 (85% own)
- Median rent: $2,690 (15% rent)
- Median household income: $176,641

Saratoga is a suburb outside of San Jose, perched on the edge of wine country and Portola Redwoods State Park. Its residents are surrounded by nature, at the doorstep of many restaurants and outdoor activities, and within easy reach of the attractions, airport, and services of San Jose.

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#56. Newcastle, Washington

- Population: 11,559
- Median home value: $691,400 (76% own)
- Median rent: $1,741 (24% rent)
- Median household income: $119,125

Newcastle is a highly affluent community located at the edge of Cougar Mountain Regional Wildland Park, southeast of Seattle. Residents have access to acres of outdoor activities within the park. AreaVibes notes that crime is lower than the U.S. average and its students test 47% higher than the national median.

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#55. Coronado, California

- Population: 23,620
- Median home value: $1,537,000 (51% own)
- Median rent: $2,401 (49% rent)
- Median household income: $101,520

Just across the bay from San Diego, Coronado has a private-community vibe that makes it one of the most exclusive places to live in the state. The beaches are stunning, and locals love the restaurant scene, bike paths, shopping, and views of downtown San Diego.

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#54. Lake Oswego, Oregon

- Population: 38,705
- Median home value: $603,800 (71% own)
- Median rent: $1,527 (29% rent)
- Median household income: $100,461

Just south of Portland, Lake Oswego is a historic community known for its beautiful homes and access to nearby nature, from the Columbia River Gorge to Mt. Hood and the 405-acre lake itself. Lake Oswego is also peppered with art galleries and performing arts centers, making it one of the more culture-rich places to live in the area.

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#53. Kirkland, Washington

- Population: 88,079
- Median home value: $607,800 (63% own)
- Median rent: $1,776 (37% rent)
- Median household income: $109,715

Located on the eastern shore of Lake Washington, Kirkland is all about outdoor living, cuisine, and arts and culture. Parkland comprises about 25% of the city, while the downtown area is packed with restaurants showcasing the farm-to-table cuisine and wine of the region. In addition, the Kirkland Performance Center is a 400-seat theater that hosts a year-round calendar of music, theater, and dance performances.

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#52. Corte Madera, California

- Population: 9,866
- Median home value: $1,175,000 (69% own)
- Median rent: $2,598 (31% rent)
- Median household income: $147,587

Nestled at the base of beautiful Mount Tamalpais, Corte Madera is a small, charming coastal community at the convergence of San Francisco Bay and Corte Madera Creek. As such, it is packed with stunning scenery, but it also offers its affluent residents high-end shopping, restaurants, and Shorebird Marsh, a 31-acre wildlife habitat.

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#51. Seal Beach, California

- Population: 24,364
- Median home value: $358,700 (76% own)
- Median rent: $1,848 (24% rent)
- Median household income: $67,917

Seal Beach is a laid-back, coastal community that serves as the start of the 42 miles of Orange County coastline. Great for surfing and other waterfront activities, and within close distance to the airports of Orange County and Los Angeles, Seal Beach offers that small beach town vibe with all the fast-paced perks of the big cities nearby.

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#50. Issaquah, Washington

- Population: 36,938
- Median home value: $564,400 (59% own)
- Median rent: $1,862 (41% rent)
- Median household income: $101,508

On the shores of Puget Sound and at the base of the Cascade Mountains just east of Seattle, Issaquah is heaven for outdoor enthusiasts. In addition to its outdoor activities, Issaquah has a charming downtown with shopping, museums, and restaurants—all within a short drive from the cosmopolitan cultural hub of Seattle.

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#49. Rancho Palos Verdes, California

- Population: 42,271
- Median home value: $1,114,800 (78% own)
- Median rent: $2,676 (22% rent)
- Median household income: $133,286

The coastal community of Rancho Palos Verdes is an affluent town with high-net-worth residents. About 93% of residents work in white-collar jobs, according to Neighborhood Scout, and nearly 10% of the workforce works from home, as well. There is a high diversity of residents, with nearly 28% having been born outside of the U.S.

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#48. Belmont, California

- Population: 27,110
- Median home value: $1,383,700 (61% own)
- Median rent: $2,147 (39% rent)
- Median household income: $135,342

Belmont is a Bay Area community just outside of San Francisco. The community is known as being top-notch for families thanks to its public school system. In fact, education is important to its residents—30% of residents have a bachelor's degree, while 34% have a master's degree or higher, according to Niche.

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#47. San Anselmo, California

- Population: 12,567
- Median home value: $1,039,000 (73% own)
- Median rent: $1,798 (27% rent)
- Median household income: $125,189

Marin County's San Anselmo is a historic small town that is big on community vibes. It is also nestled between San Francisco and Napa, offering the benefits of culture and cosmopolitan living to its residents. It's near Mount Tamalpais State Park, as well as the Robson-Harrington Gardens, giving outdoor enthusiasts access to miles of hiking and biking trails.

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#46. Yarrow Point, Washington

- Population: 1,168
- Median home value: $2,000,000 (91% own)
- Median rent: $3,333 (9% rent)
- Median household income: $223,750

A suburb of Seattle, Yarrow Point is a community that thrives on the water, as it is bordered on three sides by Lake Washington and sits on a 231-acre peninsula. The affluent, exclusive community has an exceedingly low crime rate, making it attractive for families. According to Niche, it has a highly rated public school system, as well.

You may also like: Best places to raise a family in the West

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#45. Los Gatos, California

- Population: 30,922
- Median home value: $1,586,700 (66% own)
- Median rent: $2,209 (34% rent)
- Median household income: $140,395

Los Gatos is a mid-sized city not far from the Bay Area. The downtown area offers a small-town vibe with pedestrian-friendly shopping and dining, as well as historic architecture. AreaVibes reports the crime rate is 44% lower than the U.S. average, and students test 46% higher than the rest of the country.

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#44. Encinitas, California

- Population: 62,713
- Median home value: $913,700 (63% own)
- Median rent: $1,886 (37% rent)
- Median household income: $113,175

Southern California is packed with beautiful beach towns, but Encinitas continues to be one of the best. A vibrant downtown is packed with coffeehouses and restaurants, while the coastline calls surfers and outdoor enthusiasts. Residents take pride in the outdoor offerings but are also among the highest net-worth individuals, as real estate is some of the highest in the country, according to The New York Times.

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#43. Sunnyvale, California

- Population: 152,323
- Median home value: $1,111,800 (46% own)
- Median rent: $2,332 (54% rent)
- Median household income: $131,791

Sunnyvale is a bustling city in the Bay Area. Niche rated it the 13th in America for young professionals, thanks to its diversity, activity, public schools, and low crime rate. The mix of urban and suburban vibes gives residents plenty to do, from restaurants and bars to parks and recreation. Residents are highly educated—33% have a master's degree or higher.

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#42. Mercer Island, Washington

- Population: 25,492
- Median home value: $1,135,200 (71% own)
- Median rent: $1,977 (29% rent)
- Median household income: $142,413

Located in Lake Washington between Seattle and Bellevue, Mercer Island is rated the fifth-best suburb to live in Washington, according to Niche. Peppered with public green spaces like Luther Burbank Park, Mercerdale Park, Pioneer Park, and Groveland Beach Park, there is ample opportunity for outdoor recreation. Mercer Island also has low crime rates and a highly educated population: 40% of residents have a master's degree or higher.

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#41. West Menlo Park, California

- Population: 4,116
- Median home value: $2,000,000 (79% own)
- Median rent: $3,055 (21% rent)
- Median household income: $197,222

West Menlo Park, located in the Bay Area, is one of the most affluent cities in the nation. In fact, according to AreaVibes, it’s more suitable for “executive lifestyles” than 99.6% of the neighborhoods in the U.S. About 54% of residents have earned a master's degree or higher, and nearly 80% of the workforce is made up of executives, managers, and professionals.

You may also like: Best places to retire on the West Coast

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#40. San Ramon, California

- Population: 75,384
- Median home value: $919,700 (72% own)
- Median rent: $2,282 (28% rent)
- Median household income: $151,026

The City of San Ramon is one of the newer cities in California, having been incorporated in 1983. It is 35 miles east of San Francisco, and residents are attracted to its natural beauty, school systems, and job opportunities. San Ramon has 58 parks, as well.

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#39. Monte Sereno, California

- Population: 3,492
- Median home value: $2,000,000 (94% own)
- Median rent: $2,375 (6% rent)
- Median household income: $250,001

Monte Sereno is one of the most expensive places to live in California. According to AreaVibes, the cost of living is about 142% higher than the rest of the state. Residents are attracted to low crime rates, excellent public schools, and access to hundreds of acres of nature, from Castle Rock State Park to El Sereno Preserve, Mt. Bielawski, and Portola Redwoods State Park.

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#38. Carmel-by-the-Sea, California

- Population: 3,855
- Median home value: $1,384,000 (64% own)
- Median rent: $2,063 (36% rent)
- Median household income: $90,734

Carmel-by-the-Sea is a poetically beautiful community along California's central coast. It attracts residents with its beaches, performing arts events, galleries, and restaurants. There are 90 acres of parks, as well.

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#37. Menlo Park, California

- Population: 33,869
- Median home value: $2,000,000 (59% own)
- Median rent: $2,254 (41% rent)
- Median household income: $147,824

The San Jose suburb of Menlo Park is an affluent community that is 106% more expensive than the rest of California, according to AreaVibes. Its public school system is highly rated, with a 92% high school graduation rate, and students test 9% higher than the U.S. average.

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#36. Seattle, Washington

- Population: 708,823
- Median home value: $605,200 (46% own)
- Median rent: $1,496 (54% rent)
- Median household income: $85,562

Seattle’s quality of living is one of the best in the United States. The cosmopolitan city is perched at the doorstep to so much natural beauty, from Puget Sound and the surrounding lakes to the Cascade Mountains and forests. It is packed with restaurants, bars, art galleries, and performance spaces. Niche has rated it the fourth-best city for young professionals, thanks to its public schools, diversity, and educated residents—36% of the population have a bachelor's degree, and 27% have a master's degree or higher.

You may also like: Best lake towns to live in

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#35. Hillsborough, California

- Population: 11,439
- Median home value: $2,000,000 (94% own)
- Median rent: $3,501 (6% rent)
- Median household income: $250,001

The small town of Hillsborough is located in San Mateo County in the Bay Area. It is a white-collar community, where nearly 96% of residents work in white-collar jobs, Neighborhood Scout reports. The majority work in management, sales, and health care. It's a great community for families, as well, due to its excellent public schools and educated adults.

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#34. Los Altos, California

- Population: 30,588
- Median home value: $2,000,000 (83% own)
- Median rent: $3,169 (17% rent)
- Median household income: $215,339

Los Altos sits in northern Silicon Valley, near San Francisco. Not only is it an affluent and well-educated community, but it offers its residents much to do, from hundreds of acres of nearby preserved forest to art and museums. Niche reports that the area also has an excellent public school system.

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#33. Pleasanton, California

- Population: 80,847
- Median home value: $933,500 (70% own)
- Median rent: $2,251 (30% rent)
- Median household income: $148,852

Forty-five miles east of San Francisco is the city of Pleasanton. Home to the Pleasanton Ridge Regional Park, a 9,090-acre preserved natural area, it's a prime spot for outdoor lovers. Pleasanton is also close enough to the culture and employment opportunities of San Francisco, giving residents a well-rounded living experience.

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#32. Cedar Mill, Oregon

- Population: 17,897
- Median home value: $559,600 (76% own)
- Median rent: $1,331 (24% rent)
- Median household income: $129,526

Cedar Mill is an affluent suburb of Portland. Neighborhood Scout reports it is more expensive than 84% of the neighborhoods in Oregon. But residents get a lot for what they pay for, from access to nature with Forest Park, Cooper Mountain Nature Park, and the Willamette River to the culture and diversity of the city of Portland.

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#31. San Francisco, California

- Population: 870,044
- Median home value: $1,009,500 (38% own)
- Median rent: $1,805 (62% rent)
- Median household income: $104,552

San Francisco is one of the world's most famous cities, but it comes in a pint-sized package. The city measures 46.87 square miles but is filled with expensive homes, museums, restaurants, and culture. It is also at the doorstep to some of the most exciting outdoor adventures in Northern California. Niche has ranked it the second-best city in America for young professionals thanks to its public schools, nightlife, diversity, job opportunities, health and fitness, weather, and outdoor activities.

You may also like: Best places to retire in America

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#30. Newport Beach, California

- Population: 86,280
- Median home value: $1,787,300 (56% own)
- Median rent: $2,175 (44% rent)
- Median household income: $122,709

Newport Beach is one of the jewels of Southern California. Residents love it for its 10 miles of coastline offering ample opportunity for surfing, swimming, and fishing. Local life centers on the bustling harbor, as well as its dining, shopping, and restaurants. The cost of living is high—about 177% more expensive than the national average, according to AreaVibes—but the community is safe, well-educated, and high in net worth.

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#29. Beverly Hills, California

- Population: 34,362
- Median home value: $2,000,000 (41% own)
- Median rent: $2,130 (59% rent)
- Median household income: $103,403

One of the most iconic zip codes in the country, Beverly Hills has a reputation for a reason. The highly affluent suburb of Los Angeles is well regarded for its low crime, excellent public schools, sprawling mega-mansions, and educated residents. Niche reports 35% of residents have a bachelor's degree, and 28% have a master's degree or higher.

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#28. Moraga, California

- Population: 17,398
- Median home value: $1,093,600 (81% own)
- Median rent: $1,960 (19% rent)
- Median household income: $149,781

East of Oakland, Moraga is a medium-sized city with a high cost of living and equally high quality of life. Neighborhood Scout says the workforce is primarily employed in white-collar jobs like management, business, finance, and sales. It has low crime, an educated community, and great public schools.

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#27. Los Altos Hills, California

- Population: 8,517
- Median home value: $2,000,000 (91% own)
- Median rent: $2,460 (9% rent)
- Median household income: $250,001

A residential community within Silicon Valley, Los Altos Hills is one of the best suburbs of San Francisco. It has a rural vibe to it but is still close enough to the city’s cosmopolitan culture. It borders the Rancho San Antonio Preserve, and Niche notes that it has a low crime rate. A staggering 57% of the population has a master's degree or higher.

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#26. San Marino, California

- Population: 13,285
- Median home value: $1,886,000 (86% own)
- Median rent: $3,501 (14% rent)
- Median household income: $159,509

Located in Los Angeles County, San Marino is one of the most affluent areas of California and the United States. According to AreaVibes, it is 185% more expensive than the national average and is loved for its low crime rates and highly rated public schools.

You may also like: Best county to raise a family in every state

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#25. Palos Verdes Estates, California

- Population: 13,523
- Median home value: $1,680,600 (87% own)
- Median rent: $2,490 (13% rent)
- Median household income: $175,000

Overlooking the Pacific Ocean, Palos Verdes Estates is one of the four cities that makes up the Palos Verdes Peninsula. It's considered to have one of the best views in Los Angeles County and is the front door to all the outdoor activities of the surrounding mountains and beaches. Residents can enjoy cycling, surfing, hiking, and dining.

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#24. Davis, California

- Population: 67,988
- Median home value: $622,900 (44% own)
- Median rent: $1,455 (56% rent)
- Median household income: $66,162

Just outside of Sacramento, Davis is a university town with a highly educated population. According to Neighborhood Scout, about 92% of the workforce has a white-collar job, primarily in teaching, management, and food services. Thanks to the university culture, Davis has a high population of scientists, mathematicians, and creatives.

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#23. Rolling Hills, California

- Population: 1,630
- Median home value: $2,000,000 (96% own)
- Median rent: $3,501 (4% rent)
- Median household income: $239,375

Rolling Hills is home to much of Los Angeles County's elite—think gated entrances and A-list views. The planned community sits on 2,000 acres and was designed with the white-glove dude ranch in mind, according to the Los Angeles Times. Today it has 30 miles of riding trails and housing lots that start at 1 acre. It also has stellar views, no public infrastructure, and a libertarian way of living.

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#22. Solana Beach, California

- Population: 13,370
- Median home value: $1,137,100 (59% own)
- Median rent: $2,132 (41% rent)
- Median household income: $105,821

Solana Beach, located in Southern California, is about 30 minutes from downtown San Diego. Residents can enjoy its 1.7 miles of coastline, which draws swimmers and surfers, as well as the delightful year-round weather, shopping, dining, nightlife, and golf.

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#21. Piedmont, California

- Population: 11,308
- Median home value: $1,844,000 (89% own)
- Median rent: $3,161 (11% rent)
- Median household income: $210,889

East of Oakland, the small city of Piedmont is a historic Northern California city known for its historic architecture and educated, high-earning residents. According to Neighborhood Scout, residents work in management, sales, and health care, and about 12% of residents work from home. Nearly 83% of residents have a bachelor's degree or higher.

You may also like: Best places to retire on the east coast

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#20. San Carlos, California

- Population: 30,080
- Median home value: $1,502,300 (72% own)
- Median rent: $2,182 (28% rent)
- Median household income: $169,640

San Carlos is a coastal city and wealthy suburb of San Francisco, putting it within short distance of all the culture and city life of the Bay Area, as well as the technology and job opportunities of Silicon Valley. As such, it has a high percentage of the population that works in computers and mathematics. Residents are highly educated—Neighborhood Scout reports that nearly 68% of residents have a bachelor's degree or higher.

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#19. Foster City, California

- Population: 33,784
- Median home value: $1,153,600 (58% own)
- Median rent: $3,002 (42% rent)
- Median household income: $152,446

Foster City is a Bay Area community with a wealthy population. According to Neighborhood Scout, around 93% of the population works in white-collar careers like management, computer science, and finance. It has more than 160 acres of park and green space, from bike paths and a softball field to picnic areas and a wildlife refuge.

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#18. Sammamish, Washington

- Population: 64,049
- Median home value: $749,000 (86% own)
- Median rent: $2,270 (14% rent)
- Median household income: $165,318

Sammamish is one of the wealthiest cities in the country and attracts a large percentage of high-earning residents. According to the Seattle Times, many people who live in Sammamish work in industries such as tech, management, sales, and finance.

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#17. Burlingame, California

- Population: 30,459
- Median home value: $1,709,500 (47% own)
- Median rent: $2,083 (53% rent)
- Median household income: $122,999

Located in San Mateo County, Burlingame is perched on the edge of San Francisco Bay. Niche ranks it the #1 place to live in the entire county. It has a fantastic public school system, which is mainly why families elect to live there, but it also has restaurants, coffee shops, and parks. Residents put stock in education, as 37% have a bachelor's degree or higher.

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#16. Redondo Beach, California

- Population: 67,700
- Median home value: $875,000 (51% own)
- Median rent: $1,987 (49% rent)
- Median household income: $112,271

Redondo Beach is one of the top places to live along the California coast. It has world-class beaches and an iconic pier. Residents and visitors love the restaurants and cafes, year-round attractions, shopping...and, of course, life on the water.

You may also like: Best small towns to live in across America

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#15. La Cañada Flintridge, California

- Population: 20,374
- Median home value: $1,404,000 (90% own)
- Median rent: $2,851 (10% rent)
- Median household income: $161,517

Located in the Crescenta Valley of Los Angeles County, La Cañada Flintridge is one of the most expensive and desirable places to live in the country. Residents have access to the outdoor opportunities of the Angeles National Forest and the San Gabriel Mountains, and it’s also home to the Descanso Gardens and NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

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#14. Culver City, California

- Population: 39,295
- Median home value: $801,200 (54% own)
- Median rent: $1,804 (46% rent)
- Median household income: $90,183

Steeped in Hollywood history, Culver City is one of the best communities in Los Angeles County. It was put on the map in the early 20th century with historic film studios like Metro Goldwyn Mayer. Today, Amazon, Apple, and HBO are helping to give the city a makeover, bringing new jobs in addition to high rents and home prices, according to The New York Times.

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#13. Bethany, Oregon

- Population: 24,396
- Median home value: $509,900 (73% own)
- Median rent: $1,574 (27% rent)
- Median household income: $127,351

A suburb of Portland, Bethany is a haven for outdoor adventurers that sits on the edge of Forest Park and the Willamette River. AreaVibes reports that it has a low crime rate, about 49% lower than the national average, and 95% of its students graduate from high school, as well.

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#12. South Pasadena, California

- Population: 25,824
- Median home value: $985,000 (47% own)
- Median rent: $1,661 (53% rent)
- Median household income: $96,579

The mid-size city of South Pasadena is only 6 miles from downtown Los Angeles. It's called the City of Trees thanks to the 21,000 that line its streets and is in the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains. There are more than 100 acres of parks and playgrounds to be enjoyed.

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#11. Palo Alto, California

- Population: 67,019
- Median home value: $2,000,000 (55% own)
- Median rent: $2,471 (45% rent)
- Median household income: $157,120

Palo Alto is a gem of Silicon Valley, home to Stanford University and tech giants Google and Facebook. As such, it is a highly educated, affluent, and cultural community, with University Avenue acting as its main artery. It is lined with restaurants, shops, markets, and more.

You may also like: Best affordable places to live in every state

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#10. Clyde Hill, Washington

- Population: 3,295
- Median home value: $2,000,000 (88% own)
- Median rent: $2,761 (12% rent)
- Median household income: $212,396

Clyde Hill is surrounded by nature, from Lake Washington to Mount Rainier and the Olympic Mountains. This suburb of Seattle is known for its lush evergreen forests, as well. The residents are largely white-collar, according to Neighborhood Scout, and mainly work in management, health care, and sales.

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#9. Irvine, California

- Population: 265,502
- Median home value: $797,100 (47% own)
- Median rent: $2,259 (53% rent)
- Median household income: $100,969

Irvine was developed as a master-planned community and has grown to be one of the most exclusive towns in Southern California. The developed community is multicultural, with more than 70 spoken languages. There are more than 16,500 acres of parks and open space, as well as miles of hiking and biking trails. Its beachfront location makes it a prime destination for restaurants, shopping, and tourism.

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#8. Hermosa Beach, California

- Population: 19,650
- Median home value: $1,357,300 (49% own)
- Median rent: $2,143 (51% rent)
- Median household income: $137,188

Southern California's Hermosa Beach is where fitness-minded sun-worshippers come to roost. The beautiful beaches embrace outdoor activities like volleyball, surfing, and skateboarding, as well as cycling up and down Santa Monica Bay. Dining, shopping, hotels, and entertainment help to make this one of the best beach communities on the West Coast.

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#7. Bellevue, Washington

- Population: 142,242
- Median home value: $737,000 (56% own)
- Median rent: $1,855 (44% rent)
- Median household income: $112,283

Across the water from Seattle, Bellevue is a world-class city known for its attractions, culture, business, shopping, and entertainment. AreaVibes reports that it has a low crime rate, and 94% of students graduate high school.

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#6. Mountain View, California

- Population: 80,993
- Median home value: $1,214,800 (42% own)
- Median rent: $2,314 (58% rent)
- Median household income: $128,252

Mountain View enjoys prime real estate between the San Francisco Bay and the Santa Cruz Mountains. That puts it at the doorstep of some spectacular outdoor activities, but also in the heart of Silicon Valley and 35 miles from San Francisco, so residents are surrounded by culture, job opportunities, and educational centers.

You may also like: Best places to raise a family in the Northeast

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Dreamyshade // Wikimedia Commons

#5. Albany, California

- Population: 19,758
- Median home value: $812,800 (46% own)
- Median rent: $1,791 (54% rent)
- Median household income: $88,655

Tucked to the northwest of Berkeley, Albany is a smaller city on San Francisco Bay. Its close proximity to Oakland and San Francisco gives residents ample opportunity for culture, education, and job growth. The city itself has a great school system, according to AreaVibes, as well as a waterfront and several parks.

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#4. Berkeley, California

- Population: 120,926
- Median home value: $938,400 (43% own)
- Median rent: $1,612 (57% rent)
- Median household income: $80,912

Berkeley is one of the most enviable communities in the Bay Area. Perhaps it's because it is a sophisticated university city, home to University of California, Berkeley. As such, the community has grown into a thriving hub of restaurants, arts, shopping, and culture. The views over the San Francisco Bay are truly spectacular, and residents put stock in their education, as 39% have master's degrees or higher, according to Niche.

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#3. Redmond, Washington

- Population: 63,197
- Median home value: $631,700 (50% own)
- Median rent: $1,855 (50% rent)
- Median household income: $123,449

Redmond is a Pacific Northwest city that truly seems to have it all. Not only is it surrounded by natural beauty, from Lake Sammamish to the Cascade and Olympic Mountains, it also has restaurants, parks, and a full calendar of events. Job opportunities abound for techies, as well, as it is home to both Microsoft and Nintendo of America.

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#2. Manhattan Beach, California

- Population: 35,573
- Median home value: $1,947,900 (70% own)
- Median rent: $2,499 (30% rent)
- Median household income: $150,083

Along the south coast of Los Angeles Bay is Manhattan Beach, a ritzy yet laid-back Southern California beach paradise. Known for its iconic pier, surf culture, healthy living, and high-end shopping, Manhattan Beach is beloved by its residents. In fact, the Los Angeles Times called it "the quintessential oceanside living experience, for those who can afford it."

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#1. Santa Monica, California

- Population: 92,078
- Median home value: $1,242,100 (29% own)
- Median rent: $1,734 (71% rent)
- Median household income: $93,865

The #1 place to live on the West Coast won't come as a surprise. Santa Monica, on the north coast of the Los Angeles Bay, draws residents to beautiful beaches, a world-famous pier, and thriving restaurants and bars. According to the Los Angeles Times, its residents are focused on progress yet are still thoughtful about the history of the city, opting for healthy tech ecosystems and housing and hotels that don't destroy its character.

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