There’s a reason why more than 20 million people call New York home. For some, it may be the lure of the Big Apple or the desire to spend time in rural upstate. For others, it may mean big opportunities in New York’s financial or pharmaceutical industries. Whatever the reason, one thing is clear - the Empire State offers the size, beauty, and opportunity other states seem to lack. If you’re thinking about living in New York State, this list of the best places could help you find the perfect spot.
New York State is located on the eastern (Atlantic Ocean) coast of the U.S. It’s bordered by New Jersey and Pennsylvania to the south; and Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Vermont to the east. The state capital is Albany. New York State is home to the nation’s most populous city, New York City, and the nation’s largest urban region, the New York Metropolitan Area.
New York’s diverse geography ranges from Long Island and its associated smaller islands in the south; to the Appalachian Mountains in the north; to the Southern Tier portion of the Catskill Mountains along the border with Pennsylvania. Adirondack Park, located in upstate New York, is the largest state park in the United States. It is larger than the Yellowstone, Yosemite, Grand Canyon, Glacier, and Olympic National Parks combined. New York State is famous for having bitterly cold winters, but in the summer, daytime temperatures can reach the upper 70s to mid-80s, and the weather can be very humid.
Unlike some other scenic American states, New York brims with culture, style, and sophistication. Upstate New York has a thriving wine industry, and the state boasts two Ivy League schools, Cornell and Columbia. There’s also a long list of cool, relaxed rural towns and coastal hideaways that warrant a long visit. A tourist trip to New York City is a big part of New York’s draw. However, nearly everything - from bottled water to movie tickets - is more expensive in New York than elsewhere, so be prepared to spend a little more.
Even if you base yourself in New York City or Albany, it’s still easy to visit one of the state’s many national parks, that famous coastline, and small country towns in a matter of hours. It’s this mix of trendy culture and rural nature that really make the Empire State so appealing for visitors and residents alike. Some of New York’s trendiest places aren’t located in New York City or Albany - they’re tucked away in some of the state’s numerous small country towns, where local cafés and restaurants dish up local flavor, and independent musicians hold impromptu concerts.
With such an abundance of great cities and neighborhoods to choose from, finding the best places to live in New York isn't easy. We'll give you a head start, as these cities are our picks for the best places to live in the Empire State. To further customize your list of the best places to live in New York, you can also specify your search radius, population size, home/rent budget and what metrics (amenities, crime, cost of living, education, employment, housing, weather) are most important to you.