Affordable Suburbs That Feel Like Cities

Annapolis, Maryland

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Annapolis, Maryland
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Suburb Shopping

One of the many changes brought about by the pandemic has been the uptick in people moving to the suburbs. This has a great deal to do with the fact that more Americans are working remotely and thus freed from needing to live close to an office. In light of this shift, Zillow created a new “Cityness Index” to help people find suburbs that best strike a balance between suburban life and city amenities, identifying places that still offer a diversity of businesses, restaurants, nightlife, and cultural opportunities – without sky-high urban housing prices. Here are the top affordable suburbs with citylike amenities throughout the U.S., according to the index. (We've updated typical home values for 2022.)


Note: Suburbs are listed in the story according to market size.

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Edison Tower, Edison NJ
Edison Tower, Edison NJ by KForce (CC BY-SA)

Edison, New Jersey (New York)

Typical Home Value: $457,701
This New York City suburb is said to be one of the best places to live in New Jersey. It offers plenty of restaurants, coffee shops, and parks. As a bonus, the schools in Edison are top-rated. In past years it has been ranked 28th “most livable small city in the country” by Money Magazine. Home to both a middle-class and upper-middle population, Edison also includes many ethnic neighborhoods.


Related: The Best and Worst States for Middle-Class Taxpayers

Downtown Lancaster, California
Wikimedia Commons

Lancaster, California (Los Angeles)

Typical Home Value: $422,706
Just outside Los Angeles, Lancaster is the location of the annual California Poppy Festival. It’s also known for its mix of open spaces and urban offerings. Additional offerings include the Lancaster Performing Arts Center (which puts on music, dance, drama and children’s events), and Lancaster Museum of Art & History.


Related: Signs You Belong in the Suburbs

Joliet, Illinois

Joliet, Illinois (Chicago)

Typical Home Value: $188,006
Racing fans will likely be familiar with Joliet, as it’s the location of the Chicagoland Speedway. But there’s far more to this Chicago suburb than racing events. Known as J-town, the community is well-regarded for offering something for everyone, including a bustling downtown and family-friendly activities. There are farmer’s markets, legendary deep-dish pizza offerings and, when you’re ready for culture, The Rialto Theater, which hosts a variety of musicians.


Related: Metro Areas Where New Home Construction Has Boomed

DCTA A-train station at Downtown Denton Transit Center
DCTA A-train station at Downtown Denton Transit Center by From Texas With Love (CC BY-SA)

Denton, Texas (Dallas)

Typical Home Value: $332,595
Some of the adjectives used to describe Denton include innovative, creative, diverse, and unique. Because it’s home to two state universities, the University of North Texas and Texas Woman’s University, there’s always a variety of cultural, sports, and entertainment options. Downtown Denton, meanwhile, is known for its big-city amenities. There are live performing arts venues, museums, and more.

Related: Iconic Music Venues Across America

Art Wager/istockphoto

Pasadena, Texas (Houston)

Typical Home Value: $200,337
About 15 miles southeast of Houston, Pasadena is notable for being home to one of the most sizable urban wildlife preserves in the country. The community has also seen a retail and restaurant boom (dining options include Italian, American, Tex-Mex and Cajun), while nonprofit organizations provide a mix of cultural events.


Related: Places to See Wild Animals Up Close

Frederick, Maryland
Christian Hinkle/shutterstock

Frederick, Maryland (Washington, D.C.)

Typical Home Value: $393,523
Less than one hour from the nation’s capital, Frederick offers everything from museums to martini bars. There’s also a variety of specialty shops, galleries, museums, theaters, and cutting-edge food offerings.


Related: Cheap or Free Things to Do in Washington, D.C.

Aerial View of Sawgrass Corporate Parkway in Sunrise, FL
Aerial View of Sawgrass Corporate Parkway in Sunrise, FL by Yanjipy (CC BY-SA)

Sunrise, Florida (Miami)

Typical Home Value: $303,245
Home to the NHL’s Florida Panthers as well as a handful of golf courses, Sunrise is also convenient to the Everglades. There’s also plenty of restaurants, coffee shops, and parks here. The community tends to be home to many young professionals, and the school system is above average.

Related: Cheap or Free Things to Do in Miami

Downton Marietta, Georgia
Downton Marietta, Georgia by Thomson200 (CC BY)

Marietta, Georgia (Atlanta)

Typical Home Value: $405,104
About 20 miles north of Atlanta, Marietta features an abundance of parks, as well as a well-regarded culinary scene. The community is along the Chattahoochee River and near the foothills of Kennesaw Mountain. In addition to affordable real estate, Marietta is known for its historic and cultural assets. The community regularly hosts festivals, outdoor concerts, and recreational activities..

Related: The Coldest and Warmest Cities in Every State

Lowell, Massachusetts

Lowell, Massachusetts (Boston)

Typical Home Value: $396,174
Described by some as a renaissance city, Lowell offers transplants a diverse culture, history, and creativity. Highlights of this increasingly vibrant community about 25 miles northwest of Boston include a busy arts scene that encompasses many local galleries, a diverse population and restaurants representing more than a dozen different cultures. Home to a University of Massachusetts campus, there’s also plenty for active, outdoorsy types, including hiking, biking, and more than 1,000 acres of state forest in the surrounding region.

Related: Things You Never Knew About New England

Todos Santos Plaza, Concord California
Todos Santos Plaza, Concord California by Geraoma (CC BY-SA)

Concord, California (San Francisco)

Typical Home Value: $619,194
Just outside San Francisco, the community of Concord has a lot going for it. In addition to being convenient to Napa Valley and Silicon Valley, Concord has plenty of recreation opportunities at the Mount Diablo State Park and Markham Regional Arboretum. In downtown Concord, there is plenty of shopping, dining, and entertainment. Concord has been named as one of the Top 10 Best Music Cities by the website Livability.

Related: Free and Cheap Things to Do in San Francisco

Sterling Heights
Sterling Heights by Lauren (CC BY-NC-ND)

Sterling Heights, Michigan (Detroit)

Typical Home Value: $272,602
Along the Clinton River about 25 miles outside of downtown Detroit, the rapidly growing city of Sterling Heights offers a variety of cultural and entertainment attractions. Each summer, the city hosts Sterlingfest, an art and jazz event. There’s also a variety of a variety of local restaurants, coffee shops, and parks.

Related: Bucket-List Destinations for Music Lovers

Rancho Cucamonga, CA
Rancho Cucamonga, CA by Cheryl (CC BY)

Rancho Cucamonga, California (Riverside)

Typical Home Value: $721,025
Rapidly growing Rancho Cucamonga, surrounded by the San Gabriel Mountains, has more than 20 parks and community facilities available to residents and a thriving culinary scene. Cultural options include the Wignall Museum of Contemporary Art, the Maloof Foundation Historic Residence and Garden, and the Lewis Family Playhouse. In 2006, Money Magazine named Rancho Cucamonga 42nd on its “Best Places to Live” index.

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Related: Types of People Who Shouldn’t Visit California

Tempe, Arizona

Tempe, Arizona (Phoenix)

Typical Home Value: $436,942
Highlights in Tempe include being home to Arizona State University, a busy arts scene, and plenty of outdoors options, including kayaking and paddleboarding at Tempe Town Lake. The city is famous for hosting events year-round, including one of the longest-standing juried arts festivals in the state, the Tempe Festival of the Arts. Additional notable cultural, culinary, and sporting events include Four Peaks Oktoberfest; the Arizona Dragon Boat Festival; and the Rock ‘n’ Roll Arizona Marathon and Half-Marathon.

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Hewitt Avenue in Downtown Everett
Hewitt Avenue in Downtown Everett by Emersb (CC BY-SA)

Everett, Washington (Seattle)

Typical Home Value: $612,651
In Everett’s historic downtown you’ll find a rich arts, culture, and music scene. There are plenty of dining options, pubs, and breweries, and The Angel of the Winds Arena hosts a variety of sporting, music, and cultural events year-round.

Related: The Best and Worst Cities in America for Driving

Oceanside, California
Art Wager/istockphoto

Oceanside, California (San Diego)

Typical Home Value: $756,208
A coastal community about 45 minutes north of downtown San Diego, Oceanside is a great choice for those seeking laid-back Southern California life. In addition to miles of beaches, there are cultural options including the California Surf Museum and the Oceanside Museum of Art. Oceanside is also home to a variety of artisans shops, restaurants, and an outdoor amphitheater.

Related: Best Beaches on the West Coast

Spring Hill, Florida

Spring Hill, Florida (Tampa)

Typical Home Value: $270,559
Spring Hill is one of the more rural options on this list — about 40 miles northwest of Tampa and 53 miles north of St. Petersburg — but is a top place for bass fishing as well as being home to Buccaneer Bay, the state’s only water park within a completely natural setting. A slightly kitschier attraction, the Weeki Wachee City of Mermaids, features underwater mermaid shows. The region also includes the Weeki Wachee Preserve, a 6,000-acre protected wildlife area, and a variety of golf clubs.

Related: Best Fishing Spots in All 50 States

Annapolis, Maryland
Sean Pavone/shutterstock

Annapolis, Maryland (Baltimore)

Typical Home Value: $518,313
The city of Annapolis, capital of Maryland, has been dubbed a “museum without walls.” The historic city sits on the Chesapeake Bay and is home to the U.S. Naval Academy as well as four centuries of architecture. The quaint, walkable downtown is made up of 300-year-old buildings that house restaurants, pubs, specialty shops, boutiques, and art galleries. Additional cultural offerings include the Hammond-Harwood House and the William Paca House and Gardens. The Annapolis Arts District features several art galleries.

Related: The Biggest Military Site in Every State

Westminster, Colorado
Westminster, Colorado by Wally Gobetz (CC BY-NC-ND)

Westminster, Colorado (Denver)

Typical Home Value: $528,023
Westminster is known for its history, recreation, and culture. It earned the 24th spot on Money magazine’s best places to live list in 2006. Cultural attractions include the Bowles House Museum; the Butterfly Pavilion and Insect Center; and the Community Gardens. There’s also the Westminster Promenade, an outdoor pedestrian village that includes restaurants, theaters, and more.

Beaverton, Oregon

Beaverton, Oregon (Portland)

Typical Home Value: $524,307
Located in the Tualatin Valley, Beaverton offers wineries, historic landmarks, restaurants serving a variety of international cuisines, and an abundance of outdoor recreational opportunities including more than 100 parks, 30 miles of hiking trails and 25 miles of bike paths. As a bonus, it’s just 7 miles west of Portland.

Related: American Wineries With Good, Cheap Bottles

Rock Hill South Carolina

Rock Hill, South Carolina (Charlotte)

Typical Home Value: $272,258
Twenty miles outside of Charlotte, the city of Rock Hill is the largest city in York County and the fifth-largest in South Carolina. It is well-known for being home to the Carowinds Amusement Park, as well as the renowned Winthrop University. Additional cultural highlights include the state’s only telephone museum, the Museum of York County, The Naturalist Center, the Settlemyre Planetarium, and the Vernon Grant Gallery. It has a diverse mix of retail shops, specialty stores, and local restaurants.

Related: Not Just in Germany — Great American Beer Gardens

Sunset on Laguna Blvd., Elk Grove
Wikimedia Commons

Elk Grove, California (Sacramento)

Typical Home Value: $628,049
Just outside California's capital, Elk Grove features parks, sports activities, and a rich mix of theater, musical performances, and art shows. Elk Grove is also the location of the first large-scale rain garden in the state, a serene open space that attracts a variety of wildlife. There’s plenty of shopping in Elk Grove as well, as well as restaurants representing a variety of cultures.

Related: Most Congested Cities in America

Hamilton Ohio
Hamilton Ohio by 5chw4r7z (CC BY-SA)

Hamilton, Ohio (Cincinnati)

Typical Home Value: $229,957
North of Cincinnati, the town of Hamilton is known for its support of the arts, particularly public sculptures — earning it the nickname "The City of Sculpture" by an Ohio governor. Hamilton also includes high-tech manufacturing facilities and such cultural institutions as the Fitton Center for the Creative Arts. There’s also numerous parks, scenic walking paths, a local ice rink popular for hockey and skating, and several golf courses.

Related: The Oldest Bar in Every State

Harry S. Truman home in Independence, Missouri
Sharon Day/shutterstock

Independence, Missouri (Kansas City)

Typical Home Value: $171,689
The fifth-largest city in Missouri, Independence offers more than 40 parks, as well as a well-regarded school system and a variety of shopping. The hometown of President Harry Truman, Independence is now the location of the Truman Presidential Library and Museum. The city is also home to the Midwest Genealogy Center (the largest stand-alone genealogy research library in the country) as well as The Center for the Study of the Korean War, an archive at Graceland University; and the National Frontier Trails Museum.

Related: Best Cities for Clean Drinking Water

Georgetown, Texas

Georgetown, Texas (Austin)

Typical Home Value: $494,647
Georgetown’s claims to fame include being the location of the “Most Beautiful Town Square” in Texas. The community outside of Austin also features a variety of breweries and wineries, golf courses, and historic attractions and nightlife.

Related: Most Expensive Celeb Homes on the Market

Hampton, Virginia

Hampton, Virginia (Virginia Beach)

Typical Home Value: $227,538
One of America’s oldest cities (dating back to 1610), Hampton is known for its history and small-town appeal. It’s another city that has made it onto Money magazine’s Best Places to Live. In addition to being a vibrant, waterfront community where the Peninsula Town Center provodes retail, dining, and entertainment, Hampton is home to the Hampton University Proton Therapy Institute, a state-of-the-art cancer treatment center, as well as the Sentara Careplex, a technologically advanced facility that includes a dedicated orthopedic hospital.

Sponsored: Find a Qualified Financial Advisor

Finding a qualified financial advisor doesn't have to be hard. SmartAsset's free tool matches you with up to three fiduciary financial advisors in your area in five minutes.

Each advisor has been vetted by SmartAsset and is held to a fiduciary standard to act in your best interests. If you're ready to be matched with local advisors that can help you achieve your financial goals, get started now.