When you’re looking for a place to call home what is the most important thing to consider? These days affordability is pretty high on the list. Other important things to consider is proximity to your source of income, friends and family, and amenities. And while maybe not the most decisive metric to consider, but still a nice added bonus is the beauty of a location. If affordability and beauty are two things you’re looking for in a location then you’re in luck. Travel + Leisure says that Hickory, North Carolina is the most beautiful and affordable place to live in the US. This is a much better accolade for Hickory than last week when we told you USA By The Numbers ranked them the least educated city in the state.

So where did these rankings come from you may ask? Travel + Leisure says that they used data from US News on the most beautiful cities and combined that with the most affordable cities. It was this data that least them to rank Hickory North Carolina number 1 on their list of the most beautiful and affordable places to live. I’ve driven through Hickory a few times, and spent multiple days in an auditorium for dance competitions. But that’s the extent of my knowledge of this town located at the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains. This location certainly factors in to the beauty of the area.

But while Hickory topped this list they weren’t the only North (or South) Carolina city included on this list. One of the two major NC cities also made the list. Keep reading to see the NC/SC and other neighboring cities that made this list! Want more info? Read the full Travel + Leisure article here.

  • 1. Hickory, NC

    Union Square Hickory NC

    Located at the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains Hickory is a short drive from Charlotte up 321. US News ranks it the cheapest city to live in the US (might need to strongly consider this with prices these days!). It has a growing local economy and it’s mountain location is close to hiking and outdoor activities without being all the way in the mountains and dealing with the harsher winters of other locations.

  • 3. Greenville, SC

    Drone Aerial of the Downtown Greenville, South Carolina SC Skyline

    Greenville often tops the best cities lists, and it’s still on my list to explore more thoroughly. Even with skyrocketing popularity, it’s still the third most affordable and beautiful city in the country. That’s not bad at all. It’s also midway between Charlotte and Atlanta, though the area has plenty of options for jobs, restaurants, shopping, and entertainment.

  • 5. Knoxville, TN

    Knoxville, Tennessee, TN Downtown Drone Skyline Aerial.

    Knoxville isn’t too far from North Carolina, and this college town offers a gorgeous location on the Tennesee River as well as affordability. It’s my stopping point on drives to Nashville and I’d love to spend more time here and even attend a Tennesee game. Though to quote Sandra Bullock’s character in The Blind Side, “I will not wear that gaudy orange”.

  • 8. Raleigh/Durham, NC

    A perfect colorful downtown skyline of Raleigh North Carolina.

    Even as a Charlotte native I’m a Raleigh girl at heart thanks to the best 4 years (plus countless weekends since) in college. Both cities have a lot to offer, but I’d definitely rank Raleigh and the surrounding area (why is it always combined with Durham though but cities are nice but also unique and in different counties) as more affordable than Charlotte. Probably why it came in at number 8 on this list and Charlotte, and it’s skyrocketing rent, didn’t make the cut.

  • US News Ranks These Two North Carolina Cities Among The Nation's 10 Best Places To Live

    We love a friendly rivalry between cities. And we love to see who comes out on top in those rivalries when publications put together different lists. This time it’s the Best Places To Live. And this list comes from a reputable source- US News and World Report. As North Carolina residents we know there are plenty of fantastic places to call home in North Carolina. Whether it’s the beaches the Piedmont, or the mountains. There is something for everyone. Each year US News ranks the best places to live in the US, and this year not one but two North Carolina cities made the top 10. Yes, the top 10 for the entire country. That’s big! And yes, it comes down to the two cities you’d expect Charlotte and Raleigh/Durham.

    I know people have strong feelings about both, but I’ve called the two cities home though Charlotte for much more of my life, and love them both.  I’ll give you a hint one city ranked number 3 and the other came in at number 8 on this list. You can read all the information on the methodology US News uses in ranking cities here. Below you’ll find the top 7 places to live in North Carolina. Why seven? It’s the cities that are among the nation’s 150 most populous. You’ll also see where they stack up overall against the rest of the United States. And below that, you’ll find the top places to live in the US.

    You can read the full list from US News & World Report here.

  • 7. Fayetteville

    #135 Best Places To Live

    Overall Score: 5.7

    Quality of Life: 6.0

    Value: 6.8

    ayetteville North Carolina Downtown City Center Hay Street

  • 6. Greensboro

    #72 Best Places To Live

    Overall Score: 5.7

    Quality of Life: 6.5

    Value: 7.5

    Downtown Greensboro, North Carolina, USA Skyline

  • 5. Winston-Salem

    #41 Best Places To Live

    Overall Score: 6.4

    Quality of Life: 6.7

    Value: 7.7

    Winston-Salem, North Carolina, USA Downtown Skyline

    Kruck20

  • 4. Asheville

    #29 Overall Best Places To Live

    Overall Score: 6.5

    Quality of Life: 6.8

    Value: 7.0

    Downtown Asheville North Carolina NC Skyline Aerial

    Kruck20

  • 3. Hickory

    #25 Overall Best Places To Live

    Overall Score: 6.5

    Quality of Life: 6.4

    Value: 8.6

    Downtown Hickory

    Jeff Yount

  • 2. Charlotte

    #8 Overall Best Places To Live

    Overall Score: 6.7

    Quality of Life: 6.4

    Value: 7.0

    Charlotte, North Carolina, USA

    Sean Pavone

  • 1. Raleigh & Durham

    #3 Best Places To Live Overall

    Overall Score: 6.9

    Quality of Life: 6.4

    Value: 7.0

    Raleigh, North Carolina, USA Downtown City Skyline

    Sean Pavone

  • Top 10 Best Places To Live

    According To US News

  • 10. Fayetteville, AK

    Overall Score: 6.7

    Quality of Life: 6.9

    Value: 7.8

    Downtown town square in Fayetteville, Arkansas

    BlazenImages

  • 9. Colorado Springs

    Overall Score: 6.7

    Quality of Life: 6.5

    Value: 5.8

    Colorado Springs

    Jacob Boomsma

  • 8. Charlotte, NC

    Overall Score: 6.7

    Quality of Life: 6.4

    Value: 7.0

    Charlotte, North Carolina, USA

    Sean Pavone

  • 7. Portland, ME

    Overall Score: 6.7

    Quality of Life: 7.4

    Value: 6.2

    Portland, Maine, USA Coastal Townscape

    Sean Pavone

  • 6. Naples, FL

    Overall Score: 6.8

    Quality of Life: 7.1

    Value: 6.2

    Naples coastal neighborhoods aerial drone photo

    felixmizioznikov

  • 5. Sarasota, FL

    Overall Score: 6.8

    Quality of Life: 7.0

    Value: 6.1

    Downtown Sarasota from Ringling Bridge

    KarolinaBorkowski

  • 4. Boulder, CO

    Overall Score: 6.8

    Quality of Life: 7.7

    Value: 5.3

    Boulder Pearl Street Mall, Colorado

    espiegle

  • 3. Raleigh & Durham, NC

    Overall Score: 6.9

    Quality of Life: 6.4

    Value: 7.0

     

    Raleigh, North Carolina, USA Downtown City Skyline

    Sean Pavone

  • 2. Huntsville, AL

    Overall Score: 6.9

    Quality of Life: 7.0

    Value: 8.2

    Huntsville

    Sean Pavone

  • 1. Green Bay, WI

    Overall Score: 6.9

    Quality of Life: 7.3

    Value: 8.0

    Green Bay is a Large Town in Northern Wisconsin on Lake Michigan

    Jacob Boomsma

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