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Resources For Finding The Best Cities & Neighborhoods
Moving to a new city or neighborhood can be challenging, especially if it’s not one you’re familiar with, or if it’s a long distance away. After all, there’s no better way to get to know a new area than physical being there and pounding the pavement to look for the local spots you’ll be frequenting.
With that said, we thought we’d offer up some ways that you can get a to know a neighborhood before you live there. Whether you’re moving across town or across the country, here’s some great resources to help you get to know your new neighborhood.
Crime Mapping – A website that provides updated information about crime stats in different cities, Crime Mapping has a searchable map feature that lets you home in on specific areas or neighborhoods. Their information is drawn from local law enforcement reports and displayed in an easy to use web page, similar to Google Maps.
Area Vibes – Area Vibes is a good website to visit if you want a quick overview of a city along different metrics, each with a letter grade indicating how it compares to other U.S. cities. There’s also an overall numeric grade that gives a “livability score.” Here are the categories that Area Vibes includes in its grading scale:
- Cost of living
- Amenities (gyms, schools, grocery stores, libraries, etc.)
You’ll also find information on the website about schools, real estate, and demographics.
Great Schools – A website similar to Area Vibes, but for K-12 schools. You can search by state, city, or school and view ratings in various categories, as well as reviews by other parents. The broad categories covered include academics, equity, environment, and academics with subcategories in each that are ranked out of 10 points.
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Walkscore Cities & Neighborhoods – Walkscore is a good general resource for getting to know an area you’re unfamiliar with, especially in terms of how pedestrian and bike friendly they are. Their “Cities & Neighborhoods” page ranks the highest rated cities by how walkable they are, and also allows you to search for a specific city.
Once you’ve chosen a city, you’ll see a map of local apartment listings, a walk score map, ratings for walking, biking, and taking public transport, and a brief write up about the area. The website also includes specific neighborhoods, even for smaller cities in the U.S.
Nextdoor – Next Door is a website specifically dedicated to neighborhoods, but you do have to sign up for it and verify your address. Once signed up, you’ll have access to forums and discussions about where you live (or will be living) that include everything from concerns about safety to events to finding a gardener. It’s a very good resource to take advantage of and includes a helpful community of locals from different cities and neighborhoods all over the United States.