10 Best Places for Families to Live

When searching for a home, lots of families want to buy in high-performing school districts, but they can’t always afford to pay an outrageously high mortgage. To help families find affordable homes in great school districts, we have released our second annual ranking of the Best Places for Families to Live!

Our rankings take into account the availability of highly ranked schools, based on ZipRealty’s School Score, and the affordability of local real estate, which factors the median price per square foot within the school district. School Score ratings measure the performance of each school district, including elementary, middle and high schools on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the highest. We also considered areas where 10 home sales closed within the school district during 2013.

Here are the Top 10 Best Places for Families to Live:

1) Minneapolis Metro

Standout School District: Delano Public Schools – see homes for sale in this school district

School District Rating: 9.2

Median Price per Square Foot: $101

What to do on weekends: Visit the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden in downtown Minneapolis or enjoy lawn bowling on the roof at Brit’s Pub & Eating Establishment.

2) Charlotte Metro

Standout School District: York County School District 4/Fort Mill School District – see homes for sale in this school district

School District Rating: 9.1

Median Price per Square Foot: $101

What to do on weekends: Take your little ones to ImaginOn: The Joe and Joan Martin Center, a library, children’s theater and entertainment destination in downtown Charlotte. There’s also plenty of shopping at the luxury SouthPark Mall and other shopping centers across the region.

3) Dallas Metro

Standout School District: Lovejoy Independent School District – see homes for sale in this district

School District Rating: 9.1

Median Price per Square Foot: $114

What to do on weekends: Pay a visit to the Dallas Zoo or one of the region’s many museums, and then end the day at one of D/FW’s famous BBQ joints. During the summer months and winter holiday season, head to Mesquite, TX for the Mesquite Championship Rodeo.

4) Chicago Metro

Standout School District: St. Charles Community Unit School District 303 – see homes for sale in this district

School District Rating: 9.0

Median Price per Square Foot: $122

What to do on weekends: Go to a Chicago Cubs game at Wrigley Field in the historic Wrigleyville neighborhood, or watch a movie at the Music Box Theatre.

5) Boston Metro

Standout School District: Harvard Public Schools – see homes for sale in this district

School District Rating: 9.1

Median Price per Square Foot: $179

What to do on weekends: Visit the site of the original Tea Party in Boston Harbor and then relax on the Old Town Trolley Tour to see all of the Colonial sites, including several ancient churches.

6) Portland Metro

Standout School District: Lake Oswego School District 7J – see homes for sale in this school district

School District Rating: 9.8

Median Price per Square Foot: $192

What to do on weekends: Famous for its abundance parks, like the International Rose Test Garden, there are plenty of outdoor spaces in Portland. If you’re thirsty afterward, head to one of the city’s more than 30 craft brew pubs.

7) NYC/Westchester, N.Y.

Standout School District: Nanuet Union Free School District – see homes for sale in this school district

School District Rating: 9.0

Median Price per Square Foot: $199

What do do on weekends: Outdoor recreation abounds on the Hudson River. In addition to boating and other activities, there's plenty of shopping in at world-class malls, farmer's markets and historic town centers in Rockland County. 

8) Austin Metro

Standout School District: Eanes Independent School District – see homes for sale in this school district

School District Rating: 9.1

Median Price per Square Foot: $237

What to do on weekends: For a great view of Austin, climb to the top of the Baylor Street Art Wall, an old condo project that is now a haven for local graffiti artists to show off their talents. Be sure to cool off at Hamilton Pool, a natural swimming grotto in nearby Dripping Springs, TX.

9) Orange County, Calif.  

Standout School District: Los Alamitos Unified School District – see homes for sale in this school district

School District Rating: 9.2

Median Price per Square Foot: $321

What to do on weekends: Known to locals as the Back Bay, the Upper Newport Bay Nature Preserve in Newport Beach is a coastal wetland area where outdoor enthusiasts can hike, run, bike and stand-up paddle board. The Back Bay is connected to the Pacific Ocean, offering some of the best surfing in the country; while more inland (Anaheim), there are numerous theme parks such as Disneyland and museums.

10) Seattle Metro 

 

Standout School District: Mercer Island School District 400 – see homes for sale in this district

School District Rating: 9.1

Median Price per Square Foot: $344

What to do on weekends: Take a scenic (and inexpensive) voyage on the on the Seattle-Bainbridge Island ferry, which offers views of Mount Rainier when it’s not shrouded in fog, and then stop at Pike Place Market, a farmer’s market with fresh seafood, produce and artisan foods.

See how this year's list compares to 2013's rankings!

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