15 Best Places to Live in Indiana

Written by Darren Griffiths
Updated on
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Indiana may be best known for its obsession with sports (and limestone), but it may not be in the public domain because the Midwestern state has one of the lowest costs of living in the United States. A dollar stretches here longer than it would in 41 states.

Anyone looking to relocate to Hoosier State will also be happy to know Indiana’s home prices are among the country’s most affordable.

The state also boasts a strong economy that is about the size of Norway, according to the American Enterprise Institute. It is the 16th largest state economy in the United States, and this, coupled with the sixth lowest unemployment rate, makes for very interesting reading or living instead.

The state’s economy is mainly flanked by agriculture, manufacturing, and automotive industries. Also of notable importance are healthcare and education, not forgetting the two prestigious universities based here: Purdue and Notre Dame.

A report by the Indiana Business Review notes that in 2010, Indiana’s economy grew twice as fast as the rest of the nation, with similar results experienced in the subsequent three years.

With things going so swimmingly in this state, perhaps it didn’t come as a surprise when Money Magazine named Fishers, Indiana, the No.1 best place to live in America in 2017.

If you plan to make an in-state move or put down roots here, below, we reveal the 15 best places to live in Indiana.

1. Carmel

Carmel, IndianaSource: Lindasj22 / shutterstock

First on our list is the beautiful city of Carmel, one of the best places to live in Indiana. This city has many outdoor attractions, such as Monon Trail and The Palladium at Carmel City Center.

Residents living here love spending their time outdoors. Carmel is known for having a revitalizing downtown area, sports and recreation, and great homes to buy.

Carmel has a booming economy, with its unemployment rate sitting at three percent, so it’s continuously seen positive job growth. As far as the cost of living is concerned, Carmel has a cost of living that is around fourteen percent higher than the national average, but with its average household bringing in six figures, it’s to be expected.

Entertainment & Activities

Some of the best things to do in Carmel are:

  • Carmel Arts & Design District
  • Carmel City Center
  • The Palladium at the Center
  • Coxhall Gardens
  • Waterpark at the Monon Community Center
  • Monon Trail
  • Central Park
  • Carmel Farmers Market

2. Fishers

Fishers, Indiana on MapSource: sevenMaps7 / shutterstock

Located in the heart of Indianapolis is the city of Fishers. With a population of around ninety-seven thousand, Fishers continues to be known for its fastest-population growth.

While living in Fishers, residents can enjoy various outdoor activities such as golfing, kayaking, and biking. Some of its top attractions include the Nickel Plate District Amphitheater and Conner Prairie Interactive History Park.

The economy in Fishers continues to thrive, with unemployment rates dropping to under three percent, well below the national average. The cost of living in Fishers is five percent above the national average; however, most households bring in an income of around $90,000.

Entertainment & Activities

Some of the best things to do in Fishers are:

  • Conner Prairie
  • Nickel Plate District
  • Nickel Plate Trail
  • Fishers District
  • Fishers Farmers District
  • Flat Fork Creek Park
  • Topgolf Fishers
  • Hamilton Town Center

3. Munster

Munster, IndianaSource: Dmytro Sergiyenko / Wikimedia
Munster, Indiana

Munster is a town in Lake County that lies 15 miles west of Gary. The bedroom community sits in the Chicago metropolitan area, with roughly 30 miles separating it from Chicago’s CBD, the Chicago Loop, in other words. The crime rate in Munster is far from inviting, but it is still some way below the state average.

Homes in this area are valued below the national average, and the schools receive one of the most significant funding in the state. Perhaps it is no coincidence that the schools in Munster are some of the highest-performing in Indiana.

Munster residents are also well remunerated, taking home $70,503 per household on average, which is significantly higher than many Indiana towns and cities. Unfortunately, the unemployment rate in the area is one of the highest in the state. If that could get sorted out, life around these parts could look rosier than it already is.

Entertainment & Activities

Some of the best things to do in Munster are:

  • Centennial Park
  • Theatre at the Center
  • Cheers, Food & Drink
  • Jak’s Warehouse Amusement Center
  • Floyd’s Distillery
  • Wicker Memorial Park
  • Lan-Oak Lanes
  • Sky Zone Trampoline Park

4. Plainfield

Plainfield, IndianaSource: Eric Wood / Wikimedia

The crime rate in Plainfield could do with a bit of improvement. Other than that, though, the residents here have much to smile about.

Located about 20 miles southwest of Indy, the mid-sized city of about thirty thousand people is known for two things: a low cost of living and an emphasis on community.

The median home value in Plainfield stands below the national average, and if you are looking to get into a rental, the going rate is a little over $1,000.

Plainfield has a lot of trails ideal for biking and taking long walks. It is especially popular with families who appreciate the lower cost of living and family-friendly amenities, although plenty of professionals still live here.

Entertainment & Activities

Some of the best things to do in Plainfield are:

  • Hummel Park
  • Sodalis Nature Park
  • Friendship Gardens Park
  • Outdoor Splash Island Water Park
  • The Shops at Perry Crossing
  • Swinford Park
  • Oasis Diner

5. Warsaw

Warsaw, IndianaSource: Henryk Sadura / shutterstock

Crime and safety don’t seem to be a strong point of many towns and suburbs in Indiana, and it is the same case in Warsaw. But there is a reason we have listed it here.

If you plan to start a business in Indiana, this is one of the few places to be. According to Nerd Wallet, the town of a little over fourteen thousand residents based in Kosciusko County is among the top 5 places to start a business in the Hoosier State.

Warsaw also boasts a strong healthcare industry. It is home to three major orthopedic companies – Biomet, Zimmer, and DePuy – the reason it prides itself as the Orthopaedic Manufacturing Capital of the World. Other significant employers include Medtronic, Tecomet, and Paragon Medical, based in Pierceton.

Residents take home below fifty thousand per year, and although this may look tiny, it reflects the state’s median income.

The good thing is the cost of living here is low as it is across the Indiana board, with homes going for just over $100,000.

Entertainment & Activities

Some of the best things to do in Warsaw are:

  • Wagon Wheel Center for the Arts
  • Downtown Warsaw
  • Pike Lake Beach
  • Central Park
  • Center Lake Beach
  • Lucerne Park
  • The Bowling Alley

6. West Lafayette

Purdue University, West Lafayette, IndianaSource: Aeypix / shutterstock
Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana

West Lafayette is the seat of Purdue, one of the most prestigious public universities in the country. That makes it a college town. Its population stands at a little over forty-four thousand, and the presence of a university in the area means the people are pretty diverse.

West Lafayette is a beautiful place, as anyone who has been to Purdue will admit. It has established a culture of friendliness and politeness, so any new faces in the area should blend in. Expectedly, most of the people here are college educated. But it would be remiss to talk about education in this Tippecanoe County town and fail to mention its public school district, one of the best performing in Indiana.

West Lafayette boasts a lovely downtown with lots of restaurants and shopping. If you are interested in the hard figures, the median home value is below the national average, and the residents fork out less than $1,000 on average in rent.

Entertainment & Activities

Some of the best things to do in West Lafayette are:

  • Downtown Lafayette
  • Purdue University
  • Elliott Hall of Music
  • Mackey Arena
  • Wabash Heritage Trail
  • Harry’s Chocolate Shop

7. Fort Wayne

Fort Wayne, IndianaSource: Katherine Welles / shutterstock
Fort Wayne

With a population of over two hundred and fifty-seven thousand, Fort Wayne is the second largest city in Indiana, and its metropolitan holds well over 415,000 people. If good schools and a very low crime rate are what you are looking for in your ideal location, Fort Wayne isn’t for you.

The mid-sized city is best suited for those searching for a “nice” affordable place to live, with a low commute time and bustling nightlife. That just about fits the description of a young professional.

The cost of living in Fort Wayne does not align with what you expect of a typical city. Homes average a little over $100,000; rent is also low, averaging less than $1,000 monthly.

Indeed, GoBankingRates.com listed Fort Wayne as one of the “15 Best Places to Live If You’re Trying to Save Money.” Enough said.

What about the median income? You may be curious. It stands at less than $50,000.

Entertainment & Activities

Some of the best things to do in Fort Wayne are:

  • Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo
  • Fort Wayne Museum of Art
  • Embassy Theatre
  • Promenade Park
  • Science Central
  • Kreager Park
  • Fort Wayne Fire Fighters Museum

8. Batesville

BatesvilleSource: Chris Flook / Wikimedia

Next up on our list of best places to live in Indiana is Batesville, a small town of over six thousand residents in Ripley County.

It warrants inclusion as it boasts one of the lowest unemployment rates in the state, a fact that will endear it to job hunters. Two major employers in town are Hill-Rom (a healthcare company) and Batesville Casket Co.

Median household income is higher compared to many parts of Indiana, sitting at just over $50,000. The area is also ideal for families, and the public schools in the area are among the best in the state.

Entertainment & Activities

Some of the best things to do in Batesville are:

  • Liberty Park
  • Versailles State Park
  • Wolf Creek Habitat & Rescue
  • Ertel Cellars Winery

9. Bargersville

Bargersville, IndianaSource: www.lasitersoldme.com

Located in Johnson County is the small town of Bargersville, whose population numbers just over six thousand.

Despite its small size, it has a pretty strong school district, and you can’t help but infer this is one of the biggest draws for families in the area. The area’s status also lures them as one of the safest suburbs in a state rampant with common crime.

Life, too is very affordable in Bargersville. Anyone looking to purchase a home in the area can budget for less than the national average. This is just enough to secure a two- to three-bed, two-bath property, depending on location.

Households in this town enjoy some of the highest incomes around, averaging just over $70,000.

Entertainment & Activities

Some of the best things to do in Bargersville:

  • Mallow Run Winery
  • Up Cellar
  • Indianapolis Zoo
  • Rascal’s Fun Zone
  • The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis
  • White River State Park

10. Indianapolis

IndianapolisSource: Alexey Stiop / shutterstock

The capital city of Indiana is located in Marion County. It is the 15th largest city in America by population, with the latest census figures putting the number of residents at over eight hundred and fifty thousand. As with every major city anywhere, the crime rate in the big city is wanting, but it’s not like the happy residents who reside here live in a perpetual state of fear.

It is highly desirable for families in Indianapolis; the same case for anyone who loves a fast-paced city lifestyle but not to the crazy levels of a mammoth entity like New York.

The home prices in Indianapolis reflect the state’s low cost of living, so low you will be hard-pressed to find many cities of this size with home values that average just over $100,000.

There are plenty of excellent amenities in the city, including the Indianapolis Zoo, the Children’s Museum, numerous sporting events, and the many amenities you would associate with a big city.

Entertainment & Activities

Some of the best things to do in Indianapolis are:

  • Indianapolis Zoo
  • Newfields
  • Indiana State Museum
  • Eagle Creek Park
  • Victory Field Stadium
  • Holliday Park

11. Columbus

ColumbusSource: James Kirkikis / shutterstock

Bartholomew County sits one of the best towns to live in Indiana.

Columbus is a big town of nearly forty-six thousand people with relatively high incomes averaging over $50,000. The high-paying jobs can be attributed to several big-name employers, including, among others, the manufacturing arm of Toyota and Cummins Diesel.

Residents and visitors who come to the area enjoy various outdoor activities, including golf, cycling, hiking, and canoeing.

Columbus also boasts plenty of antique stores, specialty shops, and major retailers, making it a darling for shoppers. It is also not short of amazing places to whet your appetite, with the Bistro 310 one of the local favorites.

Entertainment & Activities

Some of the best things to do in Columbus are:

  • Columbus Public Art Collection
  • Downtown Columbus
  • Mill Race Park
  • Atterbury-Bakalar Air Museum

12. Westfield

Westfield, IndianaSource: sevenMaps7 / shutterstock
Westfield, Indiana

Westfield is one of the best places to live in Indiana, thanks to multiple factors.

For one, the Indianapolis suburb has some of the best-performing schools in the state, both private and public. The residents also enjoy short commute times due to the area’s proximity to the city.

The job sector is as healthy as you will find in the state, and the jobs on offer are some of the highest paying in Indiana, with households taking home just under six figures.

Fat paychecks are more than welcome for a place associated with a high cost of living. Westfield has some of the most expensive homes in the state, averaging over $200,000 – considered high in Indiana.

Entertainment & Activities

Some of the best things to do in Westfield are:

  • Conner Prairie
  • MacGregor Park
  • Urban Vines Winery & Brewery Co
  • Quaker Park
  • Midland Trace Trail
  • Freedom Trail Park

13. Dyer

Dyer, IndianaSource: JoeyBLS at en.wikipedia / Wikimedia

Dyer is a town in Lake County whose population stands at 16,257.

It sprung into the public limelight more than ten years ago when it was listed as one of the best 100 places to live in the U.S. by CNN and Money Magazine, and it is a fete the town strives to uphold even to this day.

The residents of Dyer enjoy some of the highest incomes in Indiana, earning over $80,000 a year. Property values are also among the highest in the state. Incidences of crime are low concerning the rate in the state.

When you throw outstanding schools into the whole equation, it is easy to see why families, mainly, flock to this beautiful town just south of Munster.

Entertainment & Activities

Some of the best things to do in Dyer are:

  • Stardust Bowl 3
  • Engine Room Ale House
  • Windmill Brewing

14. Highland

Highland, IndianaSource: wikipedia.org
Highland, Indiana

Highland is another representation of Lake County on our list that goes to show the high desirability of the county.

It sits near Lake Michigan’s Calumet Shoreline, just near Gary and Hammond. The town has over twenty-three thousand people enjoying an exceptionally safe environment. Its residents are highly educated and get to school their kids in some of the best public schools around.

Daily commute time averages just under 25 minutes, although this may stretch longer if you have to go to Hammond, Gary, or the Chicago area, which is within driving distance.

The listing price for homes in Highland swings just over $100,00. This should be music to the ears of the residents who take home just over $60,000.

Entertainment & Activities

Some of the best things to do in Highland are:

  • Wicker Memorial Park
  • Plaza Lanes
  • Beer Geeks
  • Traditions Restaurant
  • Indiana Dunes National Park
  • Main Square Park
  • Central Park

15. Zionsville

Zionsville, IndianaSource: Huw Williams (Huwmanbeing) / Wikimedia

We may have included it last, but you won’t find better places to live in Indiana than Zionsville. It consistently ranks among the best places to live in the U.S.

This is a suburb of Indianapolis that sits in Boone County and one that over twenty-five thousand people call home. It has some of the best-performing public schools in the country, and as far as crime goes, you won’t find a safer place in Indiana than Zionsville.

This is the most expensive area in Indiana, with the average home going for over the national average. To out-of-towners coming from places like New York and California, that is peanuts, but those in Indiana guarantee one of the poshest neighborhoods in the state.

Zionsville has the seventh-highest income in Indiana, with residents taking home well over six figures annually.

Entertainment & Activities

Some of the best things to do in Zionsville are:

  • Mulberry Fields
  • Zionsville Farmers Market
  • Creekside Nature Park
  • Grapevine Cottage
  • White River State Park
  • Newfields


15 Best Places to Live in Indiana:

  • Carmel
  • Fishers
  • Munster
  • Plainfield
  • Warsaw
  • West Lafayette
  • Fort Wayne
  • Batesville
  • Bargersville
  • Indianapolis
  • Columbus
  • Westfield
  • Dyer
  • Highland
  • Zionsville