Pennsylvania Pride: 8 Cities Rank Among Top Places to Live in US News’ Annual List

Walnut Street Bridge and downtown Harrisburg at night. (Photo: Getty Images)

By Ashley Adams

May 30, 2023

US News analyzed 150 metro areas in the country to find the best places to live and eight cities from the commonwealth made the cut.

Any Pennsylvanian will tell you, the commonwealth is the best place to live. And while everyone has their own argument as to why their town is the best place to reside in the state—and probably the nation—it does seem others outside the state agree.

Eight Pennsylvania cities made US News’ list of the 150 top places to live in the country. Harrisburg ranked highest in the commonwealth while Philadelphia ranked closer to the bottom. Green Bay, Wis. topped the list at #1.

US News analyzed 150 metro areas in the United States to find the best places to live based on the local quality of life and job market, as well as home values and the desire to live in each area.

Here are the eight places in the state that made the list of Best Places to Live:

No. 38 – Harrisburg

Harrisburg tops the list of Best Places to Live in Pennsylvania and ranks 38th nationally. Cited for its numerous options for outdoor activities and entertainment, and its close proximity to a broad array of great weekend getaways, such as Hersheypark, Gettysburg National Military Park, and Amish country, the capital of the commonwealth earned an overall rating of 6.4.

No. 47- Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh was  second among Best Places to Live in Pennsylvania, ranking 47th nationally. Emerging from a dying steel industry, the area is reinventing itself and is attracting major corporations looking to set up shop. The rise in job opportunities along with a cheaper housing market, ample green space, and a strong sense of community earned this city an overall rating of 6.4.

No. 55 – Lancaster

Lancaster came in third in Best Places to Live in Pennsylvania and ranks 55th nationally. In addition, it also came in first in Best Places to Retire. The area offers a great mix of natural and commercial spaces. Expansive farms rub elbows with a bustling urban life and each area boasts its own unique groups of inhabitants: farmers, families, college students, and young professionals. From close-knit church communities to the indie coffee shop scene, Lancaster holds something for everyone, earning it an overall rating of 6.4.

No. 78 – York

York came in fourth in Best Places to Live in Pennsylvania and ranks 78th nationally. This city may not have a towering skyline, but it does have a rich history and industrial heritage that makes for an interesting urban landscape. From numerous county parks, shopping centers, and historical options, York is a small metro area with a lot to offer, earning it an overall rating of 6.3.

Lackawanna County Courthouse is a historic courthouse building located in Scranton. Scranton is the sixth-largest city in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. (Photo: Getty Images)

No. 85 – Scranton

As the sixth-largest city in the state, Scranton came in fifth in Best Places to Live in Pennsylvania and ranks 85th nationally. Its close-knit neighborhoods give it a small-town feel and appeal, yet the metro area offers trendy restaurants, niche boutiques, and art galleries for an active downtown.Scranton’s low crime rate and low cost of living have made it a popular place for families, and earned it an overall rating of 6.2

No. 88 – Reading

Reading came in sixth in Best Places to Live in Pennsylvania and ranks 88th nationally. The metro area is home to the real-life Reading Railroad from the Monopoly board game, along with glimpses into the Allegheny Aqueduct and a more than 100-year-old, seven-story pagoda that overlooks the bordering Reading Prong mountain formation. Its suburban communities like Wyomissing, attract new residents with its low cost of living and low crime rate, giving Reading an overall rating of 6.2.

No. 109 – Allentown

Allentown is the third-largest metro area in the state, and came in seventh in Best Places to Live in Pennsylvania and 109th nationally. The city boasts a vast collection of historic homes and buildings, commercial structures, and century-old industrial buildings. Nestled in the Lehigh Valley between Blue Mountain range and South Mountain, Allentown also offers numerous outdoor activities in addition to its active nightlife, earning it an overall rating of 6.1.

No. 119 – Philadelphia

Philadelphia was the last commonwealth city to make the list of Best Places to Live, coming in at 119th. Philadelphia offers a unique setting for an eclectic mix of modern lifestyles, mingling both the edgy and the sophisticated. History and art are pervasive in the city proper. Culture is well-established in Philly, too, as evidenced by the array of art galleries, music venues and theaters.Small public parks are interspersed in the gridwork of Philadelphia, bringing a welcome relief from the daily hustle and bustle of the metro area. The City of Brotherly Love earned an overall rating of 5.9 

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