I grew up in Randolph, NJ and now reside with my wife and two boys in Westfield, about 35 minutes away.  But the difference can be measured by far more than distance.  Westfield is closer to New York City, has a thriving downtown scene filled with restaurants, stores and greater sense of community.

Recognizing that we buy and sell homes because of life events and lifestyle needs, we wanted to go in-depth into the abundant choices we have in the U.S. of places we can call home.   We set out on an exhaustive journey to uncover the Best Places to Live…Coldwell Banker style.  Today we launch a five-part series in partnership with Onboard Informatics, ranking the top places for lifestyle categories: Social Seekers, Suburbanites, Adventurers, Leisure Lovers and Culture Cravers.  We have no doubt that you will fit into at least one of these categories and will be fascinated with the results.

We start with Best Places to Live for Social Seekers, which ranks places which are perfect for the hip, trendy and fun at heart – those who would rather go out than stay home any night of the week. The list was compiled based on a range of attributes such as, access to public transportation, high volume of bars and restaurants, happening nightlife and great entertainment.

So while I’m clearly not a Social Seeker at this point in my life (OK maybe I never was or will be), I still had fun looking at the list and living vicariously through those who take advantage of restaurants, nightlife and the like.

Obviously it’s not a surprise that Manhattan, San Francisco, Chicago, LA and Seattle headline the chart.  But after that, it sure does become interesting with most of the top 200 towns on the list being clustered within 29 major metropolitan areas.   Guess what New Jersey?  We had 40 towns near the Big Apple on the top 200 list compared to 15 nearby New York communities.  And in the DC region, it’s Maryland 19-Virginia 14!

Along with the major markets, college towns also dot the top of the list – and I’ve been to them all:  Madison, WI, Ames, IA, Ann Arbor, MI, Austin, TX, Boulder, CO, Iowa City, IA and Ithaca, NY.

We sliced and diced the Best Places to Live in so many unique ways, including rankings by state, and I encourage you to visit bestplaces.coldwellbanker.com. We also had some additional fun looking a bit deeper into the top 10 national markets with a new infographic.

Social Seekers 570px Best Places to Live for Social Seekers

Best Places to Live for Social Seekers


And there is much more to come throughout the year in our Coldwell Banker Best Places to Live series.  Here is what is coming up:

Trading nightlife for nights-in, this group is ready to settle down. A feeling of community is very important to them, and they want to be close to schools, parks and shopping.

Whether young in age or young at heart, adventure-seekers are always looking for the next rock to climb and trail to discover.

Leisure Lovers
For some people, nothing beats a little R&R. They give high marks to places and spaces requiring little or no maintenance, and love lazy-days where they can live the life of leisure.

Culture Cravers
From festivals to music venues, this group immerses themselves in culture.  They value art, museums and architecture, and look for a “melting pot” of opportunities.

Join the conversation about this exciting series on Twitter using hashtag #bestplacestolive