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Top 10 Most Affordable U.S. Cities to Live In

By Kacey Mya of The Drifter Collective

City living is wonderful, but the cost of living in some of the big U.S. cities—looking at you New York and Los Angeles—is a big deterrent for living there. Luckily this country has multiple wonderful cities throughout it where the cost of living is more affordable. Here are 10 of the most affordable cities you’ll find in the U.S.

1. Pittsburgh, PA

Pittsburgh is a great place to get the hustle and bustle of the city without feeling overwhelmed. It’s also cheap, especially when compared to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania’s other main city. One of the best benefits here is the low cost of housing and utilities.

Built around where three rivers meet, it’s also in a unique and gorgeous location. Even when you live there, the view of the city from Mount Washington doesn’t get old. Three major sports teams have stadiums there, and the energy in Pittsburgh on game day is something that’s hard to find anywhere else.

2. Fayetteville, AR

Another city with a very low cost of housing, Fayetteville comes in under the national average in every major expense. If that doesn’t sell you, the city has also been in the top five in the best places to live ranking two years running now. Factoring into that ranking was the low commute times, low unemployment rate and a lower crime rate compared to cities similar in size.

There are multiple parks in the city, as well as Lake Fayetteville, a sizeable lake great for fishing and kayaking. If you’re into history, the Clinton House Museum is here, as well as one of the most intact Civil War battlegrounds in the country, Prairie Grove.

3. Omaha, NE

omaha nebraska

Image via Flickr by vwCampin 

Omaha is also under the national average in all the major expenses, with housing and utilities being the farthest under. The city is located right in the heart of the country, giving you equal distance to all sorts of destinations.

Omaha itself offers a strong arts and culture scene with many museums and cultural events. The Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium is outstanding and takes at least a full day for you to see it all. Sports fans looking for something out of the box can enjoy the AKSARBEN Stock Show & Rodeo.

4. Des Moines, IA

Des Moines has a solid 10% lower cost of living than the rest of the country—housing and groceries being the lowest amenities. It tops the list as the most affordable city in the country due to less than 25% of income being spent on living expenses. It’s the only city that’s under 25% in that category.

If you’re a political junkie, the Iowa caucus is one of the biggest factors in a presidential election, meaning campaigns are sure to stop here. Downtown has been revitalized recently and is home to festivals, restaurants and other hot spots.

5. Indianapolis, IN

Indianapolis is becoming more affordable, with its housing prices going down a bit this past year. Indy boasts both the Indy 500 and the Indianapolis Colts, so it’s another city that’s heaven for sports fans. It has a great arts and antiques scene, as well as live music. And if you need a break from the city, it’s surrounded by state parks.

6. Grand Rapids, MI

Grand Rapids MichiganImage via Flickr by amtrack_russ 

While the transportation costs are a bit above average, Grand Rapids makes up for that with low housing and health care costs. If you love public art and craft beer, Grand Rapids is a great choice. The city gives off a small-town feeling, with people always waving hello as you walk by. There are 1200 acres of parks within the city, and if you’re looking for more water than the river offers, Lake Michigan is less than an hour away.

7. Knoxville, TN

Knoxville’s housing costs come in at a whopping 23% below the national average. Knoxville is known as the most dog friendly city, which is probably the best selling point a city could have. The Knoxville Museum of Art has fun classes so you can continue to learn and hone skills throughout your lifetime. Turkey Creek offers 300 acres of shopping if you’re craving some retail therapy.

8. Buffalo, NY

New York City may not be affordable, but Buffalo definitely is. It’s also one of the most beautiful cities to live in with all the waterfront views—it’s right on Lake Erie and the Niagara River. You’ll also have one of the world’s most beautiful natural wonders, Niagara Falls, a short drive away. Winter is king here, with great skiing and ice-skating areas.

Whether you are looking to move, or just visit, check out this guide to Buffalo for where to stay, where to eat, what to do & what to see!

9 + 10 Minneapolis and St. Paul, MN

They don’t call them the twin cities for nothing. Both of these have a low cost of living and residents only pay a little under 26% of their income towards housing and utilities. The cities offer a high quality of life and the job market there is in its prime. You can be right in the thick of two cities and reap the benefits from both. It means more things to do and explore, and more job opportunities that are close to you.

Living in an amazing city doesn’t have to break the bank. While they might not be the biggest cities the country must offer, they still have that city feel and their own unique charms—not to mention being affordable.

 


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kacey is a lifestyle blogger for The Drifter Collective, an eclectic lifestyle blog that expresses various forms of style through the influence of culture and the world around us. Kacey graduated with a degree in Communications while working for a lifestyle magazine. She has been able to fully embrace herself with the knowledge of nature, the power of exploring other locations and cultures, all while portraying her love for the world around her through her visually pleasing, culturally embracing and inspiring posts.

Follow Kacey on Twitter and subscribe to her blog to keep up with her travels and inspiring posts!


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Exploring Four Corners of Philadelphia

Philadelphia has been called the City of Brotherly Love and The City That Loves You Back, but even though its nicknames may change, the one thing that doesn’t is just how easy it is to fall in love with the city. No matter your interests or reasons for visiting, there’s something for everyone, whether you’re into history, food, sports, or the outdoors. All you have to do is check in to one of the IHG hotels near downtown Philadelphia that provides easy access to the major events and attractions, and you’ll be on your way to exploring an exciting city with many different experiences to offer!

Delve Into Rich History philadelphia city at night

Image via Flickr by cantbecool

In addition to being one of the largest cities in the United States, Philadelphia is also home to some of the nation’s most important history. Considered the birthplace of the United States, Philadelphia has an abundance of historical sites that will satisfy any history buff’s needs.

If you’re looking to trace back to the country’s origins, Independence Hall, where the Declaration of Independence was signed, is a great place to start. Within Independence National Historical Park, you’ll also find the Liberty Bell and Franklin Court, which both offer more insight into American history.

Enjoy an Abundance of Pro Sports

Philadelphia is not only saturated in history, but it also has a competitive edge, as professional sports play a huge role throughout the city. When you visit, you’ll find teams playing at state-of-the-art stadiums and games you can attend throughout the year. Whether you like baseball, basketball, football, or hockey, Philadelphia is home to some of the most avid sports fans. Their enthusiasm will make your experience at the games that much more enjoyable.

Grab some tickets to the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park, or watch the Eagles score touchdowns at Lincoln Financial Field. If you prefer basketball, you’ll be cheering on the 76ers and, of course, the Flyers are the city’s choice for hockey teams.

Experience a Variety of Outdoor Fun

If you prefer to get active yourself, there are tons of outdoor activities to partake in while visiting Philadelphia. Biking, hiking, hot air balloon rides, golf courses, horseback riding, and boating are just some of what the city has to offer if you’re looking for some outdoor fun.

If you want to stay in the city’s core, a walk through John F. Kennedy Plaza, also called Love Park, provides urban views alongside greenery, sculptures, and water features. It’s here that you can watch life in downtown Philadelphia. Head to Peace Valley Park, and you’ll have more solitude and nature as you explore the various trails, enjoy a picnic, or go fishing on Lake Galena.

Explore the Authentic Culinary Scene

No matter how you spend your days exploring Philadelphia, you’ll inevitably find yourself looking for a place to enjoy a meal. Luckily, the city has an incredible culinary scene that caters to any palate or dietary need. Even more exciting are the many must-have dishes that originated in the city.

One of the most recognizable food icons is the Philly cheesesteak. Producing the right combination of roll, ribeye beef, and melted cheese is considered an art in the city.

Though the cheesesteak may be the more well-known sandwich associated with Philadelphia, the hoagie is actually the official sandwich of the city. You won’t want to miss your chance at trying the authentic Philly-style hoagie, complete with deli meat, cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, onions, and dressing.

 

Whether you’re spending your time outdoors in the city or indoors watching a pro sports game, indulging in the vast history that surrounds you or dining on exquisite cuisine, Philadelphia is an amazing city to explore. It will leave you wanting to return again and again.