15 Best Places to Live in Texas

Written by Darren Griffiths
Updated on
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There are few places in the United States, or the world for that matter that are as stereotyped as much as Texas. A mention of the name evokes specific images of the place.

Country music. Western hats. A particular distinctive twang and drawl. Barbecues. Rodeos and ranches. Heavy-duty pickup trucks. Cowboys on horseback roping cattle. The American flag on the front porch. Starry night skies. And, of course, the Dallas Cowboys.

Well, the Lone Star State is that and more. Much more. And if you are looking to move here, chances are you will be interested in more than just the stereotypes.

The good thing is, Texas has always remained an attractive state for reasons that include a good climate, low state taxes, affordable housing, exciting cities, and plenty to do. And as if we needed any reminding, the latest Best Cities to Live in America rankings have placed Texas firmly in second in terms of livability, second only to California.

The rankings by Niche.com factored in aspects like the quality of local schools, employment statistics, housing trends, crime rates, and access to amenities.

We devised our list based on this complex data while also considering what the locals themselves have to say. And here are the cities, towns, and suburbs that made it on our list of 15 best places to live in Texas.

1. The Woodlands

The Woodlands, TexasSource: thierry dehove / shutterstock
The Woodlands

The Woodlands has been named the sixth best place to live in America.

That doesn’t come as a surprise because anyone who has spent time in one of Houston’s swankiest suburbs will undeniably admit the place is in a class of its own.

The small town of over one hundred thousand residents has enough upscale restaurants, shopping, concerts, and events to make it a destination spot in its own right. It is one of the most picturesque places you can ever live, with lush greens and wooded areas characterizing the landscape.

There is a reason they call it The Woodlands, you know.

The crime rate is meager if you think the bad guys might be lurking in the bushes. The cost of living is a tad high, but many consider the over $300,000 median home value an absolute steal.

Entertainment & Activities

Some of the best things to do in Woodlands are:

  • The Woodlands Mall
  • The Woodlands Children’s Museum
  • The Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion
  • George Mitchell Preserve
  • Market Street
  • Texas TreeVentures
  • Play Street Museum

2. Plano

Plano TexasSource: Michael Barera / Wikimedia

The latest data also ranked Plano very favorably, quietly slotting in behind The Woodlands into the seventh-best place to live in the United States.

With a population of almost three hundred thousand residents, Plano has one of the lowest crime rates in Texas and some of the lowest taxes in the region. It prides itself on ‘A great place to do business’ and lives up to that tag.

A constellation of office buildings pierce its Texan sky, and every business seems to be shifting operations here – JP Morgan Chase, Dean & Delucca, Barnes & Noble, Shake Shack, and more. It is also the regional headquarters for giants like PepsiCo, Bank of America, Intel, and Cigna. With such a phenomenal growth rate, the median home value isn’t likely to remain.

It is an incredibly diverse town, Plano, with 80 languages spoken in its highly-rated schools. New residents are sure to warm up to their new surroundings within no time, considering the great camaraderie the community is keen to foster.

Entertainment & Activities

Some of the best things to do in Plano are:

  • Arbor Hills Nature Preserve
  • Oak Point Park and Nature Preserve
  • The Boardwalk at Granite Park
  • Crayola Experience
  • Downtown Plano
  • Heritage Farmstead Museum
  • Legacy Hall
  • Cinemark Legacy and XD

3. Euless

EulessSource: Billy Hathorn / Wikimedia

Euless regards itself as a mid-size city with a small-town spirit. Whether a population of over fifty-three thousand residents is sufficient to warrant the definition of a mid-size city, we are not exactly sure. But what’s certain is that the town tucked between Dallas and Fort Worth is one of the best places to live in Texas. Like many other parts of the state, Euless is diverse, with many Hispanics and Asians.

Indeed, the most diverse public high school in Texas is here. Name’s Trinity High School, a high-ranking institution in all facets – academics, sports (the Trojans were winners of the 2015 district championship), and even specialized classes, including robotics and cosmetology.

Outdoor lovers will be glad to know Euless has an 18-hole championship-status golf course. There is also an aquatic park where the kids can lose themselves, not to mention 300 acres of parkland. The unemployment rate stands low, and the added perk in a state where long distances are the norm is that Dallas is only 30 minutes away.

A typical home in Euless goes for over $200,000.

Entertainment & Activities

Some of the best things to do in Euless are:

  • Villages of Bear Creek Park
  • River Legacy Parks
  • Six Flags Over Texas
  • CR Smith Museum
  • Fort Worth Botanic Garden
  • Texas Star Golf Course
  • Euless Dog Park

4. Richardson

RichardsonSource: zbowling / Flickr

For anyone looking to raise a family in Texas, one of the areas you should consider is Richardson.

This is a well-run suburb of over one hundred thousand residents, where over half of all adults have at least a bachelor’s degree. The typical household brings in upwards of six figures, a large part of which goes into saving (we want to believe), given the cost of living is lower than in most cities.

Goods and services fetch at prices indicative of the national average. And with almost unheard-of violent crime around these parts, it is easy to see why Richardson came in at an impressive No. 13 on the Best Cities to Live in America.

The small city is nested just outside of Dallas, meaning Richardson residents enjoy the best of both worlds: the economic opportunities and cultural amenities in the big city, minus the property and higher violent crime rates.

Entertainment & Activities

Some of the best things to do in Richardson are:

  • Free Play Arcade
  • Breckinridge Park
  • Cottonwood Park
  • Prairie Creek Park
  • Crowley Park
  • Richardson Public Library
  • Sherrill Park Golf Course

5. Round Rock

Round Rock, TexasSource: Philip Arno Photography / shutterstock
Round Rock

Round Rock has been an ever-present in the best places to live in the country through the years, and 2017 saw the little suburban utopia of over one hundred thousand residents check in at No.16, and here’s why.

For one, Round Rock is near all the fun and culture of Austin, with Dallas also less than three hours away. The unemployment rate is meager, and everyone you come across seems to be an engineer.

But that’s probably because this is the home of Dell, with other tech behemoths like IBM and Samsung also laying claim to these coveted lands, far from the buzz and exorbitance of Silicon Valley. Most Round Rock residents own their own homes, but if you want to move into a rental, the going rate is currently playing over the national average.

The schools are superb, consistently scoring high, and the area boasts an assortment of eateries enough for a bigger city. There is lots to do for the outdoorsy type – running trails, endless parks, plenty of sports and recreation options, not to mention a variety of other special events.

Round Rock is a dream. An American dream.

Entertainment & Activities

Some of the best things to do in Round Rock are:

  • Round Rock Premium Outlets
  • Play for All Abilities Park
  • Rock ‘N River Water Park
  • Old Settlers Park
  • Round Rock Public Library
  • Round Rock Donuts
  • Home Run Dugout at Dell Diamond

6. Austin

Austin, TexasSource: f11photo / shutterstock

We don’t often see large cities in the lists of best places to live, only relying on their suburbs for bragging rights. But Austin managed an incredible No. 22 in 2017. So attractive is the capital of Texas that this is not the first time it has received an honorable mention this year.

The U.S. News and World Report were less conservative earlier, naming Austin the best place to live in America in an annual report that ranks the 100 largest metropolitan areas in the U.S.

It knocked Denver off the perch, and partly to thank was a high desirability level. As well, growth in the capital’s median salary contributed to the favorable ranking, and so did the low unemployment rate.

Austin comprises mainly young people, with millennials particularly drawn to the city like a moth to a flame. Which naturally follows that the nightlife has to be vibrant, and that’s precisely what you get.

Amazingly, Austin’s population has made its way over the one million mark. Still, it’s only a matter of time before that barrier is breached, especially with homes priced at an affordable cost.

Entertainment & Activities

Some of the best things to do in Austin are:

  • Texas Capitol
  • Zilker Metropolitan Park
  • Bullock Texas State History Museum
  • Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center
  • Mayfield Park and Nature Preserve
  • Blanton Museum of Art
  • The Paramount Theatre

7. College Station

College StationSource: eschipul / Flickr
College Station

College Station is tucked somewhere in the heart of central Texas, 100 miles each of Houston (to the northwest) and Austin (to the northeast), with Dallas lying some 200 miles north.

The city of over one hundred thousand residents gets its name from the prestige of hosting the famous Texas A&M University, one of America’s largest public universities. It has been accused of having a small-town feel, but it turns out it is that exact feel that saw it land at position 28 of Best Cities to Live in America.

Expectedly, it is incredibly diverse, and the cost of living is reasonable, sitting below the national average.

Texas is generally affordable; that much is for sure, but if you want to cut your costs and don’t mind a small-town feel, then you will love College Station. The going rate for an average house is now over the $200,000 mark.

Residents enjoy the convenience of the ingenious Bicycle, Pedestrian, and Greenways Plan, which factors in everyone’s best interests, and the result could only be happy residents.

Entertainment & Activities

Some of the best things to do in College Station are:

  • Kyle Field
  • Bonfire Memorial
  • Lick Creek Park
  • Reed Arena
  • Dixie Chicken American Restaurant
  • Post Oak Mall
  • Museum of the American GI

8. Houston

Houston, TexasSource: f11photo / shutterstock

Houston has made a name for itself as the space shuttle launch center (and probably oil refineries), but there is much more to the Bayou City.

It was ranked #57 on the Best Cities to Live in America, and this economic juggernaut has for years been regarded as the most significant job creator in the country, with an incredible 26 Fortune 500 companies calling the city home.

Perhaps even more striking about Houston is that you would expect it to be expensive. Still, a paycheck in this city of over two million residents goes farther than anywhere else in the country.

In every sense of the word, healthcare in Houston is a big deal, as the city has a more significant medical center than downtown Dallas. Throw in a booming cultural and restaurant scene, and Houston, a city with an attractive median home value, quickly puts a winning case as one of the best cities in America.

Entertainment & Activities

Some of the best things to do in Houston are:

  • Houston Zoo
  • Houston Museum of Natural Science
  • The Museum of Fine Arts
  • Space Center Houston
  • Discovery Green
  • Hermann Park
  • Cockrell Butterfly Center
  • Houston Museum District

9. Denton

Denton, TexasSource: Steven Wagner from Fort Worth, Texas, United States / Wikimedia

If you want to move to Dallas, one of the first places you need to base your search is Denton. Denton is a county, although its central city also goes by the same name.

Education seems to be the in-thing in Texas right now, and Denton is keen not to be left behind. The University of Texas and Texas Woman’s University are based in this city of over one hundred and twenty residents, essentially making this a university town.

But Denton is more than that, even though the residents sometimes call it ‘little d’, as opposed to the nearby ‘Big D,’ Dallas. It is one of Texas’s most diverse, culturally vibrant, and progressive-thinking communities.

Most residents are entrepreneurs working in tech or the creative industry. The city scores highly in housing and is generally considered exceptionally livable. There is a thriving art and culture scene that is considered significant for its size, with an average of 20 significant fairs and festivals happening every year. From music to air shows, Cinco de Mayo even.

And did we mention it was ranked No. 64 in the Best Cities to Live in America? That’s right!

Entertainment & Activities

Some of the best things to do in Denton are:

  • Cinemark Denton 14
  • Clear Creek Natural Heritage Center
  • Atomic Candy
  • Denton Community Market
  • Greater Denton Arts Council
  • The Chairy Orchard
  • Sleeping Lizzards

10. Lubbock

Lubbock, TexasSource: IrinaK / shutterstock

The name may not elicit images of a place worthy of a top 100 entry in the best cities list, but names count for little in Lubbock. In Lubbock, you will find Texas Tech University, the biggest employer in a city of 240,000 residents.

Many residents also work at the Lubbock Independent School District (notice the school theme) and Covenant Health System. The large number of jobs in education and healthcare means about three out of every ten adults in Lubbock have a college degree.

The town ranks favorably in terms of commute and has one of the lowest percentages of people who commute for 60 minutes or more. Then again, with everyone working in their neck of the woods, that’s to be expected, no?

Nevertheless, the town has a well-developed transport system and decent public transportation. It has been touted as very conservative, though the nightlife is surprisingly good, with plenty of happening spots.

The outdoor enthusiast may feel a little restricted, but for anyone looking to further their career in the education sector, you will rarely find better cities that fit the bill.

Entertainment & Activities

Some of the best things to do in Lubbock are:

  • Buddy Holly Center
  • Museum of Texas Tech University
  • American Windmill Museum
  • Silent Wings Museum
  • Prairie Dog Town
  • Cactus Theatre
  • Joyland Amusement Park

11. Frisco

Frisco, TexasSource: Andrew Fuller / shutterstock

With highly rated public schools, affordable housing, and plenty of recreational activities, the Dallas suburb of Frisco has remained one of the most desirable areas in the state.

The city suburb with over two hundred and seventy-seven thousand residents has been described as a ‘shopper’s paradise’ due to its nine million square feet of retail and dining that maintain the ‘big factor’ of the Lone Star State.

House prices have skyrocketed over the years, and the market continues to be brutal. So, if there were ever a time to buy, now would be ideal. If you are big on sports, then Frisco is the perfect place. It is home to every team you heard growing up, and sports is especially a massive employer, with its healthcare gaining plenty of accolades too.

Entertainment & Activities

Some of the best things to do in Frisco are:

  • National Videogame Museum
  • Ford Center Stadium
  • Toyota Stadium
  • Frisco Commons Park
  • Stonebriar Center
  • Frisco Public Library
  • Hope Park

12. Pearland

PearlandSource: Grguy2011 / Wikimedia

Pearland is conveniently located 20 minutes from downtown Houston (and 15 minutes from the Johnson Space Center).

On average, each household brings in six figures, and the high earning rate can be attributed to the over two dozen Fortune 500 companies in Houston, which have undoubtedly contributed to the noticeable diversity you find in this area.

Public schools are established performers, and the fast-growing Texas suburb will have you spoilt for choice when it comes to dining and shopping. The city has about 140 restaurants, with the open-air lifestyle mall and Pearland Town Center as great spots for shopping and catching up with friends.

Pearland residents love their golf. You will often find them swinging in some of the city’s popular courses, including the 18-course championship-level Pearland Golf Club, Golfcrest Country Club, and Southwyck Golf Club.

Compared to most parts of the state, the cost of living here is a dollar too high. Rental houses are above the national average, but considering the perks of living in Pearland, that’s small potatoes.

Entertainment & Activities

Some of the best things to do in Pearland are:

  • Pearland Town Center
  • Pearwood Skate Center
  • Cinemark Pearland
  • Independence Park
  • Froberg’s Park
  • Killen’s Barbecue
  • Lone Star Flight Museum

13. Cedar Park

Cedar ParkSource: Larry D. Moore / Wikimedia
Cedar Park

It might not have made it to the Best Cities list, but Cedar Park is hands down one of the most desirable areas to raise a family in Texas.

This is a hot up-and-coming suburb in Austin with over sixty thousand residents. It is within 20 minutes of downtown, and the town is highly regarded regarding public school performance, desirability for families, diversity, and nightlife.

Outdoor lovers will appreciate what Cedar Park offers, with nearby attractions including the Balcones Canyonlands National Wildlife Refuge and Lake Travis.

Also in abundance are dining options that range from the famous family-owned Texan steakhouses to Asian cuisine (a common trend in Texas), as well as a range of craft brew pubs and trendy coffee shops.

For those who love shopping, Lakeline Mall might be the biggest mistake in Cedar Park; you will find everything you ever need (and don’t need) here.

Entertainment & Activities

Some of the best things to do in Cedar Park are:

  • Brushy Creek Lake Park
  • Texas Farmers Market at Lakeline
  • The Dig Pub
  • The Parke Shopping Mall
  • Lakeline Mall
  • Champion Park
  • Cedar Bark Park

14. Spicewood

SpicewoodSource: Beth Kane / shutterstock

Snuggled farther away from downtown Austin, you will encounter one of the most picturesque suburbs in Texas. Spicewood is a gorgeous community along northern Lake Travis in Burnet County.

Home to just about 10,000 residents, most homes are in or near the seven-figure range. Well, it all depends on the property is location, but the average swings not far from the one million mark.

What this incredible community offers is tough to come by these days: solitude. It’s hard not to love, and the good thing is it is not just ideal for retirees. The area has a great elementary school, making it one of the perfect places to live in Austin if you have young children.

Anytime they get bored with the serenity and want a dose of some city madness, downtown is always just 45 minutes away.

Entertainment & Activities

Some of the best things to do in Spicewood are:

  • Krause Springs
  • Pace Bend Park
  • Grelle Recreation Area
  • Spicewood Vineyards
  • Silver’s Trails
  • The Exotic Resort Zoo
  • Westcave Outdoor Discovery Center

15. Lewisville

LewisvilleSource: ClickCat / shutterstock

Lewisville is a Denton County, Dallas suburb with over one hundred thousand residents.

Unlike Spicewood, housing prices here are low (low as in below the national average low). For a municipality a few minutes away from Dallas and Fort Worth, that is nothing short of modest.

But it is not like this is a town for the have-nots. It just happens to offer value for the buck, Lewisville, delivering an eclectic assortment of things to do. These range from various outdoor recreation activities, mainly around Lewisville Lake, to the Old Town Lewisville shopping district.

The overall desirability for families is pretty high, thanks to exceptional rankings regarding the usual suspects – public schools, health and fitness, jobs, livability, diversity, and commute (all ranked A by Niche.com), and many other factors.

Entertainment & Activities

Some of the best things to do in Lewisville are:

  • Lake Park
  • Cinemark Movies 8
  • Cinemark Lewisville
  • Kid Mania
  • Eagle Gun Range
  • Lewisville Grand Theatre

15 Best Places to Live in Texas:

  • The Woodlands
  • Plano
  • Euless
  • Richardson
  • Round Rock
  • Austin
  • College Station
  • Houston
  • Denton
  • Lubbock
  • Frisco
  • Pearland
  • Cedar Park
  • Spicewood
  • Lewisville