15 Best Places to Live in Alabama

Written by Darren Griffiths
Updated on
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Sandwiched between Mississippi and Georgia in the southeast of the United States of America is Alabama, and sweet home Alabama it may well become for you!

Homely and cozy as the state may be, Alabama has a rich and varied history and is home to landmarks from the American Civil Rights Movement to explore.

If you want to make the infamous Lynyrd Skynyrd song your new family motto, then there are some factors to consider first. Finding information on house prices and the cost of living can be long and arduous, and we know you want to focus on the fun parts of relocating, like house hunting.

To make your life a little bit easier, we have analyzed the statistics and compared the market to find the best places to live in Alabama based on the cost of living, access to public schooling, and many other factors you probably haven’t even thought about!

Let’s take a look at our 15 best places to live in Alabama:

1. Madison

Madison, AlabamaSource: Chris Pruitt / Wikimedia

Known for its gorgeous parks and historic downtown district, Madison is one of the best places to live in Alabama. The town is also home to the Rocket City Trash Pandas, a family-friendly baseball team that families enjoy.

With a population of over fifty thousand residents, Madison continues to grow daily, making it one of the fastest-growing places in Alabama. Around Madison, you’ll find several different recreational areas, including Dublin Park.

Madison has many restaurant choices, greenways, and nature trails to explore! Employment is something you won’t need to worry about in Madison, with around one thousand businesses operating within the city, there are plenty of employment opportunities.

With its high-income average and excellent public school system, it’s no wonder Madison snatched the top spot as the best place to live in Alabama.

Entertainment & Activities

Some of the best things to do in Madison are:

  • U.S. Space & Rocket Center
  • Insanity Complex
  • Dublin Park
  • Madison Public Library
  • Palmer Park
  • Madison City Farmers Market
  • Cinemark Bridge Street

2. Vestavia Hills

Vestavia Hills, AlabamaSource: Sharon Phelan Evans / Wikimedia
Vestavia Hills

With around forty thousand residents, Vestavia Hills is located right along U.S. 31, I-65, and U.S. 280. This suburban town is divided into four sections:

  • Vestavia
  • Cahaba Heights
  • Liberty Park
  • Patchwork Farms

Median household incomes average high in the community of Vestavia Hills, along with having its public school system. Known as one of Alabama’s fastest business communities, Vestavia Hills was recognized for its high quality of life by The Wall Street Journal.

This charming and thriving community consists of mainly single-family homes that prefer quiet, suburban communities. Its art and culture scene, diverse economy, and mild winters make it a great place to call home!

Entertainment & Activities

Some of the best things to do in Vestavia Hills are:

  • Temple of Sibyl
  • Birmingham Botanical Gardens
  • Vulcan Park & Museum
  • Klingler’s Café
  • Byrd Park
  • Birmingham Zoo
  • Alabama Wine Trail
  • Riverchase Galleria
  • Moss Rock Preserve & Waterfalls
  • Vestavia Bowl
  • Birmingham Museum of Art
  • Christenberry Planetarium
  • Birmingham Railroad Park
  • Southern Museum of Flight
  • Lake Purdy

3. Homewood

Homewood, AlabamaSource: Andy Montgomery / Flickr

Known for its cultural diversity and situated in the center of Jefferson County, you’ll find the city of Homewood, one of the best places to live in Alabama. Home to a wide range of shopping, restaurants, and art galleries, Homewood has plenty for its residents to explore.

The city of Homewood has several nature parks along with an electric nightlife filled with bars and clubs. You’ll find the Baron’s minor league baseball team in nearby Birmingham, which is excellent for residents who enjoy sports.

Homewood also boasts its public school system with highly-rated schools. Homewood gives its residents just enough of that southern charm, from its art galleries to minor league sports.

Entertainment & Activities

Some of the best things to do in Homewood are:

  • Vulcan Park and Museum
  • Birmingham Zoo
  • Birmingham Botanical Gardens
  • Red Mountain Park
  • Christenberry Planetarium
  • Regions Field
  • Birmingham Civil Rights District
  • Good People Brewing Company
  • McWane Science Center
  • Five Points South
  • Birmingham Railroad Park
  • Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail at Oxmoor Valley
  • Sloss Furnaces Historic Landmark
  • Alabama Sports Hall of Fame

4. Mountain Brook

Mountain Brook, AlabamaSource: ralph and jenny / Flickr
Mountain Brook

Nestled in the mountains and a peaceful suburb is the small city of Mountain Brook, home to around twenty thousand residents. Mountain Brook is not only one of the best places to live in Alabama, it’s also known for being one of the wealthiest in Alabama.

As one of the happiest places to live, it thrives in its luxuries, short city commutes, and some of the most beautiful scenery in Alabama. With a very low violent crime rate, it’s also one of Alabama’s safest places to live.

If you love food, Mountain Brook is also home to Chez Lulu, a French-style bistro with some of the most delicious food you’ll ever eat. If you don’t currently live in Mountain Brook, you may certainly want to consider putting it at the top of your list.

Entertainment & Activities

Some of the best things to do in Mountain Brook are:

  • Cahaba River Walk
  • Birmingham Botanical Gardens
  • Birmingham Zoo
  • Vulcan Park and Museum
  • Sloss Furnaces National Historic Landmark
  • Jemison Park
  • Highland Park Golf Course
  • Avondale Brewing Company
  • The Market at Pepper Place
  • Dyron’s Lowcountry Restaurant
  • McWane Science Center
  • Alabama Theatre
  • Railroad Park

5. Hoover

Hoover, AlabamaSource: www.al.com

As the sixth largest city in Alabama, Hoover made the list as one of the best places to live in Alabama. Situated along the bottom of the Appalachian Mountains, Hoover remains one of the most popular destinations in Alabama among visitors and residents.

The city of Hoover has a population of over ninety-two thousand and has an above-average median household income. Since 1972, Hoover has been known for its economy concentrated on retail. In addition, it has grown its love for retail into the Galleria Mall.

If you’re searching for a large city with an excellent school system and recreational amenities, Hoover is the perfect place to call home.

Entertainment & Activities

Some of the best things to do in Hoover are:

  • Aldridge Gardens
  • Riverchase Galleria
  • Moss Rock Preserve
  • Hoover Metropolitan Stadium
  • Loch Haven Dog Park
  • Gabriel’s Sports Café
  • Don Kresge Memorial Museum
  • Ross Bridge Golf Resort
  • Historical Church Of Grace Community
  • The Library Theater

6. Auburn

Auburn, AlabamaSource: carterse / Flickr
Auburn, Alabama

When you mention Auburn, you will automatically think of Auburn University. Auburn is also known as “The Loveliest Village on the Plains.”

Auburn is known as one of the best places with an excellent school, a thriving economy, and endless things to do for its residents and visitors. Auburn offers its residents a suburban community with many cafes and nature parks in this town.

In this tight-knit community, everyone knows everyone, and it’s the perfect place to start and raise a family.

Entertainment & Activities

Some of the best things to do in Auburn are:

  • Chewacla State Park
  • Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art
  • Neville Arena
  • Pebble Hill
  • Indian Pines Golf Course
  • Toomer’s Corner
  • Louise Kreher Forest Ecology Preserve & Nature Center
  • Southeastern Raptor Center
  • Auburn CityFest

7. Meadowbrook

MeadowbrookSource: www.nimrodlong.com

With a population of over nine thousand, Meadowbrook is a suburban town in Shelby County and one of the best places to live in Alabama. If you ask its current residents, they’ll tell you it’s a beautiful neighborhood conveniently located near shopping and restaurants.

Although only home to just over 8,000 people there are an impressive 31 public schools that fall within the Meadowbrook schooling district giving parents access to some of the best schools in the state, giving their youngsters an outstanding start in life.

Residents often note that if they had to live their lives over again, they would still choose Meadowbrook; what more of a compliment can you give?

Entertainment & Activities

Some of the best things to do in Meadowbrook are:

  • The Summit Birmingham
  • DEFY Birmingham
  • Veterans Park
  • Ruby Sunshine
  • Cahaba Beach Dog Park
  • AMC Classic Lee Branch 15
  • Brook Highland Plaza

8. Indian Springs Village

Indian Springs Village, AlabamaSource: www.remax-alabama.com
Indian Springs Village

Located north of Shelby County is the town of Indian Springs Village. It sits on Highway 119 and adjoins Oak Mountain State Park. Indian Springs Village is an extremely small town with only over three thousand residents.

This community has extremely friendly residents and offers excellent amenities such as a library, local shops, and plenty of outdoor activities. In this small town, you’ll be able to do a lot of hiking and biking at their outdoor parks and lakes.

In addition, you’ll find many historical sites in the town of Indian Springs Village. With its safe community and proximity to major cities like Birmingham and Huntsville, you’ll receive the perfect balance of city life and suburban paradise.

Entertainment & Activities

Some of the best things to do in Indian Springs Village are:

  • Oak Mountain State Park
  • Heardmont Park
  • Oak Mountain Cabins
  • Double Oak Lake

9. Fairhope

Fairhope, AlabamaSource: light rapture photos / shutterstock

Fairhope covers everything if you’re looking for a place in Alabama with scenic views, historic homes, and oak-lined neighborhoods. Situated on the bluffs, you’ll never need to go far to get a glimpse of the water.

It does have white sandy beaches like other vacation hot spots, but it sure does have a laid-back feel. While living in town, you’ll experience many of Fairhope’s award-winning restaurants, art galleries, and the outdoor farmers market.

Residents here never get bored of the endless things to do in this friendly and involved community, including their annual Arts and Crafts Festival. If you’re looking for a town with rich history and charm, Fairhope is a great place to call home.

Entertainment & Activities

Some of the best things to do in Fairhope are:

  • Fairhope Municipal Pier
  • Fairhope Avenue
  • Fairhope Museum of History
  • Weeks Bay Reserve
  • Eastern Shore Art Center
  • Tolstoy Park
  • Fairhope Brewing Company
  • Gator Alley Boardwalk
  • Gambino’s Italian Grill
  • Marietta Johnson Museum
  • Village Point Park Preserve
  • Rock Creek Golf Club
  • Gulf State Park
  • Orange Beach
  • Meaher State Park

10. Helena

HelenaSource: Civilengtiger / Wikimedia

Situated just outside of Birmingham is the small suburban town of Helena. It’s one of the best places to live in Alabama and one of the safest in the United States.

The small town of Helena was also highly ranked as one of the best places to raise a family. With a population of less than seventeen thousand, it sure receives much recognition!

Most of the employment you’ll find in Helena are manufacturing jobs with the significant city only thirty minutes away for other job opportunities. Not only will you have the benefit of raising your family in this friendly community, but you’ll also be close to the big city.

Helena is a great place to live for anyone looking for a small town with big city luxuries.

Entertainment & Activities

Some of the best things to do in Helena are:

  • Oak Mountain State Park
  • Joe Tucker Park
  • Kenneth R. Penhale City of Helena Museum
  • Blue Water Park
  • Hoover Metropolitan Complex
  • Take a Balloon Ride
  • Oak Mountain Amphitheatre
  • Ozan Winery & Vineyard
  • Old Town Helena
  • Jim ‘n’ Nicks Bar-B-Q
  • Aldridge Gardens
  • Moss Rock Preserve and Waterfalls
  • Warehouse31
  • Ballantrae Golf Club

11. Huntsville

Huntsville, AlabamaSource: Rob Hainer / shutterstock

Huntsville has the largest population in the state and is considered one of the best places to live in Alabama. Due to its affordable living, high quality of life, excellent education, and friendly community, it’s become one of America’s most desirable cities.

With its cost of living sitting nine percent lower than the national average, it’s one of the best places to get a bang for your buck. Also in Huntsville, you’ll find many private-sector job opportunities, which are great for its residents.

As far as getting a taste of southern food, you won’t want to miss trying two of Huntsville’s popular restaurants: Commerce Kitchen and 1892 East Restaurant and Tavern.

Entertainment & Activities

Some of the best things to do in Huntsville are:

  • Twickenham Historic District
  • US Space and Rocket Center
  • Huntsville Museum of Art
  • Harmony Park Safari
  • Bridge Street Town Centre
  • Railroad Station Antique Mall
  • Big Spring Park
  • Huntsville Symphony Orchestra
  • Madison County Nature Trail
  • Merrimack Hall Performing Arts Center
  • Dog Spot Dog Park

12. Alabaster

Alabaster, AlabamaSource: Rivers Langley; SaveRivers / Wikimedia

As Shelby County’s largest city, Alabaster has become of the best places to live in Alabama. This community is filled with a wide range of entertainment, recreational opportunities, and retail opportunities.

Located only thirty miles away from Birmingham, Alabaster offers abundant things to do for its residents. With 31,900 in the neighborhood, shops, restaurants, and entertainment venues are always on the lookout for staff.

It is possible to find property in Alabaster for under $100k, but you would be taking on a shell of a house needing TLC.

Entertainment & Activities

Some of the best things to do in Alabaster are:

  • Buck Creek Trail
  • Siluria Brewing Company
  • American Village
  • Ebenezer Swamp Ecological Preserve
  • Veterans Park
  • Central Alabama Paintball Park
  • Alabama Wildlife Centre
  • Oak Mountain State Park
  • Corbin Farms Winery
  • Champy’s World-Famous Fried Chicken
  • Limestone Park
  • Oak Mountain Amphitheatre

13. Brook Highland

Brook Highland, AlabamaSource: www.apartments.com
Brook Highland

With house prices nearing average and rent sitting below the national average, it will be no surprise to read that Brook Highland is home to over seven thousand people, 55% of whom live in rented properties.

Some quite outstanding houses on the market in Brook Highland are by no means aspirational for the average working family. This neighborhood is fast becoming popular with millennials so we can expect to see growth in the area.

When hearing what locals had to say, the only complaint was that the summers are very humid, something for our frizzy-haired friends to keep in mind!

Entertainment & Activities

Some of the best things to do in or near Brook Highland are:

  • Birmingham Zoo
  • Birmingham Museum of Art
  • Talladega Superspeedway
  • McWane Science Center
  • Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum
  • Rotary Trail

14. Pelham

Pelham, AlabamaSource: pelhamalabama.gov

Pelham Alabama is home to Alabama’s largest state park, Oak Mountain State Park. Pelham offers its residents plenty of outdoor recreation, including hiking, biking, swimming, mountain biking, wildlife attractions, and much more!

With over five thousand businesses, Pelham offers some of its community’s best small and mid-size businesses. With a population of around twenty-four thousand, Pelham is known for its small-town charm with easy access to Birmingham and Alabama by Interstate 65.

With scenic neighborhoods offering a fantastic retreat away from the big city world, Pelham is one of Alabama’s best places to live.

Entertainment & Activities

Some of the best things to do in Pelham are:

  • Oak Mountain State Park
  • Alabama Wildlife Center
  • Blue Water Park
  • Oak Mountain Amphitheatre
  • Peavine Falls
  • Alabama Wine Trail
  • Hoover Metropolitan Complex
  • Ballantrae Golf Club
  • Depot Deli & Grill
  • Lake Purdy
  • The Beer Hog
  • Aldridge Gardens

15. Harvest


Rounding off our list as one of the best places to live in Alabama is Harvest. Harvest is a cozy, unique town that provides a peaceful environment to its residents. With abundant activities such as nature parks, libraries, and music venues, Harvest thrives off of its charming community.

With Alabama’s warm summers making it an excellent place for outdoor activities, this friendly community loves being involved in local farmer’s markets and annual festivals. Harvest is the perfect place for residents who want to escape the hustle and bustle of big city life.

Entertainment & Activities

Some of the best things to do in Harvest are:

  • Skate Castle
  • Rhodes Ferry Park
  • Mill Creek Dog Park
  • Creekwood Park

15 Best Places to Live in Alabama:

  • Madison
  • Vestavia Hills
  • Homewood
  • Mountain Brook
  • Hoover
  • Auburn
  • Meadowbrook
  • Indian Springs Village
  • Fairhope
  • Helena
  • Huntsville
  • Alabaster
  • Brook Highland
  • Pelham
  • Harvest