Raleigh is the Best Big City to Live In in the Southeast, says Money Magazine.
You read that correctly: Best Big City. As in urban. The magazine said it went looking for “a rich trove of culture, dynamic street life, maybe even a little bit of grit” in cities with a population of 300,000. And they ended up with Raleigh, right behind No. 1 Boston.
Raleigh has made these best-places lists a lot. So often, in fact, we started feeling a bit jaded about them, even smug. We could recite the reasons why without pause: good schools, reasonable cost of living, great place to raise a family, booming local economy. But this time it’s different. We’ve got grit. We’ve got smells.
Of course, Money also notes that we’ve got miles and miles of greenways and are just a short drive to the beach – because sometimes you need to wash off the grit.
While the lists points out Raleigh is a magnet for families, it also comes in at No. 10 on Money Magazine’s list of the best places to be rich and single. Charlotte, didn’t make that list either.
But we should note that Money did not consider Raleigh the best place to live in North Carolina. That distinction went to Cary.
Who is No. 1?
Money magazine has ranked several Triangle towns on their annual “Best Places to Live” list in recent years. The magazine alternates between ranking small towns and big cities.
2016: Raleigh, No. 1 in the Southeast; Cary, No. 37, and best place to live in the state
2015: Apex, No. 1
2014: Cary, No. 19; Chapel Hill, No. 36
2013: Apex, No. 9
2012: Chapel Hill, No. 10; Cary, No. 56
2010: Cary, No. 23; Chapel Hill, No. 40
2008: Cary, No. 16; Chapel Hill, No. 65
2007: Apex, No. 14; Holly Springs, No. 22
2006: Raleigh, No. 4 (big cities); Cary, No. 5
2004: Cary, No. 1
1994: Raleigh, No. 1
What about Cary?
Cary’s honors don’t stop at best place to live in North Carolina. It was ranked No. 37 of best cities to live in over all. The magazine cited Cary’s proximity to Research Triangle Park, its greenways, job opportunities and cultural arts programs.
“I think the atmosphere that people find in Cary is the reason why they like calling it home,” councilwoman Jennifer Robinson said. “It’s a very friendly community. It has a great quality of life, and I think this rating reflects that.”
And Cary, like Raleigh, is getting used to the honor. It was No. 1 in 2004 – 10 years after Raleigh – and has been on the list five other years.
“It’s affirmation that we are on the right track, that we are doing the right things in our community,” Robinson said. “It’s certainly something we can hold up when we are talking to companies who are looking to bring their workforces here.”
Staff writer Kathryn Trogden