The 30 Most Fun Places to Live in the U.S.

Take advantage of what these metro areas have to offer for your free time.

By Devon Thorsby, Editor, Real Estate |July 19, 2019, at 2:44 p.m.

The 30 Most Fun Places to Live in the U.S.

Slideshow

Where should you live to guarantee a good time?

Two women cyclists chatting on beach, Mission Bay, San Diego, California.

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When you think about moving to a new city, it's not just the job opportunities and affordability that come into play – you also want to be sure you'll enjoy living there. For that reason, we came up with a list of the Most Fun Places to Live in the U.S. We started with our Best Places to Live rankings, then considered factors such as access to parks and outdoor activities, cultural attractions, restaurants, professional sports teams, shopping venues, nightlife, concerts and the popularity of each location as a destination for flights. Finally, we ranked each place in these categories against the 100 most populous metro areas in the U.S. to come up with an overall score. Read on for the 30 Most Fun Places to Live.

30. Washington, D.C.

30. Washington, D.C.

The United States Capitol, often called Capitol Hill, is the seat of the United States Congress, the legislative branch of the U.S. federal government. It sits atop Capitol Hill, at the eastern end of the National Mall in Washington, D.C.

(Getty Images)

Best Places to Live 2019 Rank: 19
Metro Population: 6,090,196
Median Home Price: $376,767
Median Annual Salary: $69,210
Parks Ranking: 21
Restaurants Ranking: 64
Shopping Ranking: 64

The District of Columbia metro area boasts 558 attractions, including the Lincoln Memorial, 19 Smithsonian museums and galleries, and, of course, the U.S. Capitol. The city's expansive Rock Creek Park also helped the nation's capital earn the No. 21 spot for parks out of the 100 places ranked.

Visit U.S. News Travel for things to do in the District of Columbia.

29. Madison, Wisconsin

29. Madison, Wisconsin

Madison, Wisconsin, USA downtown skyline at dusk on Lake Monona.

(Getty Images)

Best Places to Live 2019 Rank: 12
Metro Population: 640,072
Median Home Price: $247,967
Median Annual Salary: $52,190
Parks Ranking: 5
Restaurants Ranking: 27
Shopping Ranking: 10

Madison ranks No. 5 for its abundance of parks and No. 3 for concert venues. With more than 140 concert venues in a metro area with a population of just over half a million people, Madison residents are able to enjoy their favorite music just about any time they want.

28. Boise, Idaho

28. Boise, Idaho

Warm sunlight of morning bathes the Idaho State Capitol dome

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Best Places to Live 2019 Rank: 17
Metro Population: 677,346
Median Home Price: $221,475
Median Annual Salary: $43,880
Parks Ranking: 12
Restaurants Ranking: 93
Shopping Ranking: 19

In considering the Most Fun Places to Live, Boise ranked 19th for its accessibility to shopping venues and 12th for its parks. That's no surprise given the more than 1,600 acres of parkland and almost 4,000 acres of open space in the city limits alone.

Visit U.S. News Travel for things to do in Boise.

27. Columbus, Ohio

27. Columbus, Ohio

USA-Ohio-Columbus:
Downtown and Ohio State Capitol / Sunrise

(Getty Images)

Best Places to Live 2019 Rank: 51
Metro Population: 2,023,695
Median Home Price: $182,600
Median Annual Salary: $50,020
Parks Ranking: 26
Restaurants Ranking: 52
Shopping Ranking: 34

Columbus makes the list with solid scores for its parks, concert venues and shopping. Residents can shop at the popular Easton Town Center or enjoy nature at places like the Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens.

Visit U.S. News Travel for things to do in Columbus.

26. Fresno, California

26. Fresno, California

Sunny in Fresno, California

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Best Places to Live 2019 Rank: 119
Metro Population: 971,616
Median Home Price: $260,733
Median Annual Salary: $45,510
Parks Ranking: 1
Restaurants Ranking: 67
Shopping Ranking: 20

Fresno ranks No. 1 out of the 100 metro areas we considered for its many parks that are easily accessible to residents. While the center of the San Joaquin Valley is surrounded by farms and agriculture, it also offers plenty of urban attractions: The Fresno area ranks No. 12 for concert venues and No. 8 for nightlife.

25. New York City

25. New York City

An aerial view of New York City, New York.

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Best Places to Live 2019 Rank: 90
Metro Population: 21,139,370
Median Home Price: $386,862
Median Annual Salary: $63,079
Parks Ranking: 70
Restaurants Ranking: 16
Shopping Ranking: 90

The City That Never Sleeps scored high for its popularity as a destination, as well as its vast array of restaurants. New York also ranked third for accessibility and diversity of sports events. While the city is well-known for its high-end shopping and has more than 1,500 shopping venues throughout the metro area, the region’s massive population and few malls or shopping centers make it harder for people to easily access multiple stores at once.

Visit U.S. News Travel for things to do in New York City.

24. Sacramento, California

24. Sacramento, California

Photo Taken In Sacramento, United States

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Best Places to Live 2019 Rank: 82
Metro Population: 2,268,005
Median Home Price: $389,858
Median Annual Salary: $55,010
Parks Ranking: 31
Restaurants Ranking: 31
Shopping Ranking: 38

California's capital city comes in at No. 23 with consistent scores in each category that makes up the Most Fun Places list. With 255 parks in the area and more than 300 attractions, it's not hard for Sacramento residents to find activities to fill their free time. The metro region’s weakest score was in access to a variety of professional sports, where it still performs respectably at No. 40 with the Kings (NBA) and River Cats (Triple-A baseball).

Visit U.S. News Travel for things to do in Sacramento.

23. Las Vegas

23. Las Vegas

Las Vegas Strip skyline at sunny summer day.

(iStock/Getty Images)

Best Places to Live 2019 Rank: 71
Metro Population: 2,112,436
Median Home Price: $271,767
Median Annual Salary: $44,450
Parks Ranking: 14
Restaurants Ranking: 3
Shopping Ranking: 97

For people living outside the Las Vegas area, Sin City is a prime vacation spot for gambling, entertainment, clubs and bars. The appeal certainly isn't lost on Las Vegas residents either, as the city ranks third for restaurants. But that's not the only thing that makes this glitzy destination a fun place to live. Vegas ranks No. 14 for parks, with plenty of family facilities, dog parks and hiking trails throughout the area.

Visit U.S. News Travel for things to do in Las Vegas.

22. Pittsburgh

22. Pittsburgh

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Best Places to Live 2019 Rank: 50
Metro Population: 2,348,143
Median Home Price: $140,855
Median Annual Salary: $48,580
Parks Ranking: 37
Restaurants Ranking: 10
Shopping Ranking: 56

Pittsburgh ranked 10th in restaurants for its wealth of well-reviewed eateries scattered throughout the metro area. Pittsburgh residents are also die-hard fans of their home teams – the area’s professional teams in baseball (Pirates), football (Steelers) and hockey (Penguins) draw large crowds for every home game, and all three stadiums are located near where the Allegheny and Ohio rivers meet in the city.

Visit U.S. News Travel for things to do in Pittsburgh.

21. Indianapolis

21. Indianapolis

Downtown Indianapolis skyline

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Best Places to Live 2019 Rank: 38
Metro Population: 1,989,032
Median Home Value: $173,700
Median Annual Salary: $48,030
Parks Ranking: 3
Restaurants Ranking: 85
Shopping Ranking: 41

Indiana’s capital city earns a place on the Most Fun Places to Live list thanks in part to the abundance of quality parks throughout the area. Indianapolis is home to many public areas, including White River State Park, Eagle Creek Park & Marina and Fort Harrison State Park, which give residents ample opportunity to get out and enjoy walking and biking trails, water sports and the change of seasons. Indianapolis also ranks No. 42 for its attractions, which include the Indianapolis Zoo and the Indianapolis Museum of Art.

Visit U.S. News Travel for things to do in Indianapolis.

20. Orlando, Florida

20. Orlando, Florida

Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando is a top tourist attraction in the world

(Courtesy of Matt Stroshane & Disneyland)

Best Places to Live 2019 Rank: 63
Metro Population: 2,390,859
Median Home Price: $233,050
Median Annual Salary: $44,410
Parks Ranking: 18
Restaurants Ranking: 35
Shopping Ranking: 22

Of course the home of Disney World and the Wizarding World of Harry Potter makes the list of Most Fun Places to Live. Plenty of local parks and ample shopping venues help Orlando earn its spot. Decent scores for categories such as restaurants and concert venues also ensure residents can find viable entertainment options in Orlando.

Visit U.S. News Travel for things to do in Orlando.

19. Philadelphia

19. Philadelphia

USA landmarks

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Best Places to Live 2019 Rank: 102
Metro Population: 6,065,644
Median Home Price: $200,142
Median Annual Salary: $54,940
Parks Ranking: 58
Restaurants Ranking: 23
Shopping Ranking: 59

The birthplace of the nation comes in at No. 19 on the list of Most Fun Places to Live. Philadelphia sees the 14th most arrivals to its airports (excluding connecting flights) out of the 100 metro areas ranked, and the city scores well for its eclectic restaurant scene, coming in at No. 23 in that category. Philadelphia's 642 attractions – the third-most on the list after New York and Chicago – include Independence Hall and the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

Visit U.S. News Travel for things to do in Philadelphia.

18. New Orleans

18. New Orleans

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Best Places to Live 2019 Rank: 114
Metro Population: 1,260,660
Median Home Price: $193,575
Median Annual Salary: $43,310
Parks Ranking: 44
Restaurants Ranking: 11
Shopping Ranking: 4

New Orleans may be best known for its Mardi Gras celebration, but its numerous attractions, restaurants and shopping opportunities keep tourists and residents entertained year-round. New Orleans ranked No. 4 for shopping quality and accessibility, and it ranked No. 11 for restaurants. It's also no surprise that the area is considered a top spot for nightlife, taking the No. 14 spot for its plentiful bars and clubs that keep people enjoying New Orleans at all hours.

Visit U.S. News Travel for things to do in New Orleans.

17. Denver

17. Denver

Aerial view of residential neighborhood with view to the mountains.

(Getty Images)

Best Places to Live 2019 Rank: 2
Metro Population: 2,798,684
Median Home Price: $393,842
Median Annual Salary: $57,400
Parks Ranking: 40
Restaurants Ranking: 57
Shopping Ranking: 61

The city that took the No. 2 spot in the overall Best Places to Live list doesn’t disappoint when it comes to opportunities for fun. Denver is the fifth-best place for sports fans with all the major pro sports covered – the Colorado Rockies for baseball, Denver Broncos for football, Denver Nuggets for basketball, Colorado Avalanche for hockey and Colorado Rapids for soccer. Proximity to hiking, skiing and other outdoor activities in and near the Rocky Mountains also make Denver a popular destination for people flying in from throughout the country.

Visit U.S. News Travel for things to do in Denver.

16. Honolulu

16. Honolulu

Honolulu skyline shot from a Helicopter.

(Getty Stock Images)

Best Places to Live 2019 Rank: 60
Metro Population: 990,060
Median Home Price: $581,658
Median Annual Salary: $54,030
Parks Ranking: 56
Restaurants Ranking: 17
Shopping Ranking: 27

As a prime vacation destination for people throughout the world, Honolulu scores high for its excellent attractions – ranking ninth in that category – and also for offering plenty of restaurants for tourists and locals alike to enjoy. While this hot spot is great for people looking to have fun in their hometown, it comes at a price: Honolulu is the eighth-most expensive place to live out of the 125 most populous metro areas in the U.S.

Visit U.S. News Travel for things to do in Honolulu.

15. Fort Myers, Florida

15. Fort Myers, Florida

A small group Ibis and a Snowy Egret walking by a much larger Wood Stork in the lagoon at Fort Myers Beach, Long Island.

(Getty Images)

Best Places to Live 2019 Rank: 35
Metro Population: 700,165
Median Home Price: $219,200
Median Annual Salary: $41,380
Parks Ranking: 64
Restaurants Ranking: 37
Shopping Ranking: 6

This popular retirement destination is well-known for its warm weather and gorgeous beaches, but Fort Myers also has many amenities to make free time enjoyable. Scoring sixth for its shopping options, Fort Myers also has plenty of concert venues throughout the area, ranking No. 8 in that category. Restaurants and attractions are also proportional to the metro area's relatively small population, with 2,100 restaurants for 700,000 people.

Visit U.S. News Travel for things to do in Fort Myers.

14. Chicago

14. Chicago

Ferris Wheel on Navy Pier Chicago, Illinois

(Getty Images)

Best Places to Live 2019 Rank: 104
Metro Population: 9,549,229
Median Home Price: $221,983
Median Annual Salary: $54,160
Parks Ranking: 57
Restaurants Ranking: 14
Shopping Ranking: 80

The Windy City is the No. 14 Most Fun Place to Live, receiving its highest score for sports, where it takes the second spot. Chicago boasts a number of professional sports teams, including two baseball teams (Cubs and White Sox) and teams for football (Bears), basketball (Bulls), hockey (Blackhawks) and soccer (Fire). Being the third-largest city in the country, Chicago and the surrounding area support a mind-boggling number of restaurants and eateries, landing it in the No. 14 spot in that category with more than 14,000 options in the metro region.

Visit U.S. News Travel for things to do in Chicago.

13. Phoenix

13. Phoenix

An aerial view of downtown Phoenix, Arizona and the surrounding urban area shot from a helicopter nearing dusk.

(Getty Images)

Best Places to Live 2019 Rank: 26
Metro Population: 4,561,038
Median Home Price: $234,183
Median Annual Salary: $49,500
Parks Ranking: 11
Restaurants Ranking: 26
Shopping Ranking: 72

Phoenix's location in the arid Southwestern U.S. makes for a big change of scenery compared with the majority of cities on the Most Fun Places to Live list. With its numerous parks, Phoenix offers many opportunities for enjoying the outdoors in places including the Desert Botanical Garden, Phoenix Mountains Preserve and the Phoenix Zoo. The city is also a great place for sports fans, with teams for baseball (Diamondbacks), football (Cardinals), basketball (Suns) and hockey (Coyotes), ranking the area No. 12 in that category.

Visit U.S. News Travel for things to do in Phoenix.

12. Boston

12. Boston

Fall colors in Boston, Massachusetts

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Best Places to Live 2019 Rank: 27
Metro Population: 4,771,936
Median Home Price: $423,450
Median Annual Salary: $65,420
Parks Ranking: 63
Restaurants Ranking: 32
Shopping Ranking: 53

Boston has a team for each of the five major pro sports leagues in the country – the New England Patriots for football, Boston Red Sox for baseball, Boston Bruins for hockey, Boston Celtics in basketball and the New England Revolution for soccer. The city also has a long list of attractions, including Faneuil Hall Marketplace, Bunker Hill and Boston Children's Museum, that keep residents out and about.

Visit U.S. News Travel for things to do in Boston.

11. Raleigh and Durham, North Carolina

11. Raleigh and Durham, North Carolina

Raleigh, North Carolina, USA State Capitol Building.

(Getty Images)

Best Places to Live 2019 Rank: 10
Metro Population: 1,824,266
Median Home Price: $249,294
Median Annual Salary: $53,788
Parks Ranking: 27
Restaurants Ranking: 4
Shopping Ranking: 55

Coming in at No. 11 among the Most Fun Places to Live, Raleigh and Durham also holds the 10th spot on the overall Best Places to Live ranking. Not only do residents enjoy high-quality and easily accessible heath care as well as a healthy job market, they also have an abundance of restaurants to enjoy (the city ranks fourth for restaurants). The area also ranks high (27th) for its many parks.

Visit U.S. News Travel for things to do in Raleigh and Durham.

10. Santa Rosa, California

10. Santa Rosa, California

Vineyard outside Santa Rosa California

(Getty Images)

Best Places to Live 2019 Rank: 74
Metro Population: 500,943
Median Home Price: $629,917
Median Annual Salary: $53,890
Parks Ranking: 15
Restaurants Ranking: 2
Shopping Ranking: 1

It’s no surprise that the heart of California wine country is one of the Most Fun Places to Live – and one of best places to find a great restaurant. With more than 1,000 restaurants for a population just over 500,000, Santa Rosa ranks No. 2 out of the 100 metro areas on the list. But, of course, that’s not the only reason Santa Rosa is a fun place to live. A bevy of shopping venues lands it at No. 1 in that category, and the city ranks 15th for its 120 parks spread throughout the area.

9. Portland, Maine

9. Portland, Maine

Image of Portland Maine homes on the bay with a beautiful sunset

(Getty Images)

Best Places to Live 2019 Rank: 23
Metro Population: 525,776
Median Home Price: $223,367
Median Annual Salary: $48,970
Parks Ranking: 53
Restaurants Ranking: 6
Shopping Ranking: 2

Maine's largest city may not be the biggest place on the list – the metro area has just over half a million people – but Portland offers a high concentration of shopping venues, restaurants and attractions for residents and tourists to enjoy. Ranking No. 2 for shopping opportunities, No. 6 for restaurants and No. 8 for attractions, Portland residents have plenty of fun options for their free time.

Visit U.S. News Travel for things to do in Portland.

8. Cleveland

8. Cleveland

A general view of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum as Chairlift performs on August 5, 2009 in Cleveland, Ohio.

(Getty Images)

Best Places to Live 2019 Rank: 85
Metro Population: 2,766,162
Median Home Price: $132,516
Median Annual Salary: $48,589
Parks Ranking: 23
Restaurants Ranking: 12
Shopping Ranking: 25

With 478 concert venues in the metro area, Cleveland – home of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame – takes a top-10 spot on the Most Fun Places to Live list. With more than 2.5 million residents in its metro area, Cleveland is large enough to support plenty of cultural attractions but small enough to make shopping and restaurants accessible for residents. In addition, Cleveland ranks No. 10 for sports viewing.

Visit U.S. News Travel for things to do in Cleveland.

7. Los Angeles

7. Los Angeles

Travel photography tips

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Best Places to Live 2019 Rank: 107
Metro Population: 18,585,594
Median Home Price: $526,214
Median Annual Salary: $53,803
Parks Ranking: 47
Restaurants Ranking: 8
Shopping Ranking: 60

The country's second-largest metro area comes in at No. 7 on our Most Fun Places to Live list, welcoming more than 25 million people from flights alone each year. Los Angeles has more than 30,500 restaurants that help earn it the No. 8 spot in that category, and the city receives the top ranking for sports. With the Rams and Chargers football teams now in Los Angeles, sports fans have an abundance of teams to enjoy year-round with baseball (Dodgers and Angels), basketball (Lakers and Clippers), hockey (Kings) and soccer (Galaxy and Los Angeles FC) all having professional teams with large followings in the area.

Visit U.S. News Travel for things to do in Los Angeles.

6. Charleston, South Carolina

6. Charleston, South Carolina

Walkaway along Battery Park, Charleston, SC.

(Getty Images)

Best Places to Live 2019 Rank: 45
Metro Population: 744,195
Median Home Price: $246,408
Median Annual Salary: $44,970
Parks Ranking: 33
Restaurants Ranking: 25
Shopping Ranking: 3

This coastal South Carolina city receives its highest score for shopping. With a metro population of slightly more than 700,000, the Charleston area boasts 129 shopping venues, with warm, sunny weather to encourage an outdoor stroll from shop to shop. Charleston also ranks No. 5 for the many concert venues in the area, lending to its overall No. 6 ranking in Most Fun Places to Live.

Visit U.S. News Travel for things to do in Charleston.

5. Nashville, Tennessee

5. Nashville, Tennessee

Nashville Skyline and Bridge at Sunset.

(Getty Images)

Best Places to Live 2019 Rank: 15
Metro Population: 1,830,410
Median Home Price: $248,883
Median Annual Salary: $47,110
Parks Ranking: 6
Restaurants Ranking: 58
Shopping Ranking: 24

Music City ranks fifth in our list of the Most Fun Places to Live in the U.S. Nashville also takes the No. 6 spot for its parks, which include Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park and Shelby Bottoms Nature Center. Residents can choose from a variety of activities, from boating to golf, and they have plenty of spaces to enjoy the outdoors. In addition, Nashville ranks high for both nightlife and concert venues – 12th and 27th, respectively.

Visit U.S. News Travel for things to do in Nashville.

4. Seattle

4. Seattle

These are the best fall weekend getaways.

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Best Places to Live 2019 Rank: 9
Metro Population: 3,735,216
Median Home Price: $442,333
Median Annual Salary: $63,120
Parks Ranking: 29
Restaurants Ranking: 34
Shopping Ranking: 23

Seattle is the No. 4 Most Fun Place to Live as well as the No. 9 Best Place to Live. The Seattle metro area scores consistently well for its abundant parks, restaurants and shopping opportunities. And the city ranks No. 15 for its major league sports, with professional teams for football (Seahawks), soccer (Sounders FC) and baseball (Mariners). Sports fans can also look forward to a NHL team that will call Seattle home and begin playing in the 2021-22 season.

Visit U.S. News Travel for things to do in Seattle.

3. Portland, Oregon

3. Portland, Oregon

Fog rolls into downtown Portland

(Getty Images)

Best Places to Live 2019 Rank: 8
Metro Population: 2,382,037
Median Home Price: $375,425
Median Annual Salary: $55,330
Parks Ranking: 13
Restaurants Ranking: 21
Shopping Ranking: 15

This Northwest metro area comes in near the top of the list with consistently high scores across the board, ranking in the top 25 for each individual category that makes up the Most Fun Places to Live list: popularity (23), restaurants (21), attractions (16), parks (13), nightlife (19), concerts (11) and shopping (15). Sports is the only area where this isn't the case, as Portland has just two major league professional teams: the Portland Trail Blazers basketball and Portland Timbers soccer teams. The well-rounded activities for residents combine with a healthy job market, steadily growing population and increasingly competitive housing market in and around the Rose City.

Visit U.S. News Travel for things to do in Portland.

2. San Francisco

2. San Francisco

Best places to visit in the world

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Best Places to Live 2019 Rank: 7
Metro Population: 4,641,820
Median Home Price: $768,517
Median Annual Salary: $69,700
Parks Ranking: 17
Restaurants Ranking: 5
Shopping Ranking: 32

San Francisco welcomes nearly 20 million people by plane each year, and residents are able to take advantage of the perks of the area's major tourism industry year-round. More than 9,600 restaurants, attractions like Alcatraz, three professional sports teams (and several more in the Bay Area) and spaces for outdoor adventures like Golden Gate National Recreation Area all help secure San Francisco’s spot as the No. 2 Most Fun Place to Live in the U.S.

Visit U.S. News Travel for things to do in San Francisco.

1. San Diego

1. San Diego

San Diego is one of the best fall weekend getaways

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Best Places to Live 2019 Rank: 36
Metro Population: 3,283,665
Median Home Price: $555,325
Median Annual Salary: $56,410
Parks Ranking: 8
Restaurants Ranking: 1
Shopping Ranking: 28

San Diego is the Most Fun Place to Live in the U.S., taking the top spot for its restaurants and ranking No. 8 for its numerous parks that allow residents to soak up the sunny weather. The Southern California city is a frequently visited destination by people throughout the country, but its residents get to enjoy the San Diego Zoo, Sunset Cliffs Natural Park and Old Town San Diego State Historic Park any time they want.

Visit U.S. News Travel for things to do in San Diego.

The Most Fun Places to Live in the U.S. include:

The Most Fun Places to Live in the U.S. include:

USA, Florida, Stuart, Aerial view of suburbs

(Getty Images)

  • San Diego
  • San Francisco
  • Portland, Oregon
  • Seattle
  • Nashville, Tennessee
  • Charleston, South Carolina
  • Los Angeles
  • Cleveland
  • Portland, Maine
  • Santa Rosa, California
  • Raleigh and Durham, North Carolina
  • Boston
  • Phoenix
  • Chicago
  • Fort Myers, Florida
  • Honolulu
  • Denver
  • New Orleans
  • Philadelphia
  • Orlando, Florida
  • Indianapolis
  • Pittsburgh
  • Las Vegas
  • Sacramento, California
  • New York City
  • Fresno, California
  • Columbus, Ohio
  • Boise, Idaho
  • Madison, Wisconsin
  • Washington, D.C.

Read More

Devon Thorsby is the Real Estate editor at U.S. News & World Report, where she writes consumer-focused articles about the homebuying and selling process, home improvement, tenant rights and the state of the housing market.

She has appeared in media interviews across the U.S. including National Public Radio, WTOP (Washington, D.C.) and KOH (Reno, Nevada) and various print publications, as well as having served on panels discussing real estate development, city planning policy and homebuilding.

Previously, she served as a researcher of commercial real estate transactions and information, and is currently a member of the National Association of Real Estate Editors. Thorsby studied Political Science at the University of Michigan, where she also served as a news reporter and editor for the student newspaper The Michigan Daily. Follow her on Twitter or write to her at dthorsby@usnews.com.

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