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Top 10 US Cities To Retire In; 7 of Them Are In Pennsylvania

U.S. News has looked at data from 150 big cities in the U.S. to figure out which ones match the needs of retirees, and we present the top ten cities from their list.
Image Source: Photo by LaMont L. Johnson | Pexels
Image Source: Photo by LaMont L. Johnson | Pexels

Which city is the best to retire in? 

Happy old couple | Pexels/Pixabay

In search for the best places to retire, a recent U.S. News and World Report has looked at data from 150 big cities in the U.S. to figure out which ones match the needs of retirees. They have considered the affordability of homes, tax rates, and the quality of healthcare. These factors are crucial in deciding where to spend your retirement years. So, let's explore the cities that stand out as the perfect spots for a happy and comfortable retirement, where everything comes together for a fulfilling and peaceful life after work.

1. Harrisburg, Pennsylvania 

Image Source: Members of the National Guard monitor activity outside the Pennsylvania Capitol Building | Photo by Mark Makela | Getty Images
Members of the National Guard monitor activity outside the Pennsylvania Capitol Building | Getty Images/Mark Makela

Harrisburg, the capital of Pennsylvania, offers convenient access to nature. Cyclists and joggers explore the picturesque Susquehanna River on the trails of Riverfront Park, which also hosts various annual festivals and events. Residents enjoy hiking the well-known Appalachian Trail or engaging in camping and mountain biking at nearby state parks and forests. Moreover, Harrisburg is close to notable attractions such as Amish country, Gettysburg National Military Park, and Hersheypark, featuring an amusement park, concert series, and The Spa At The Hotel Hershey, famous for its chocolate treatments. For those seeking big-city weekend getaways, New York City, Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Washington, D.C., are just a few hours away by car.

2. Reading, Pennsylvania 

Image Source: Photo by Shreyas Sane | Pexels
Affordable living and low crime rates | Pexels/Shreyas Sane 

Reading, Pennsylvania, has a rich history rooted in innovation, home to the actual Reading Railroad featured in the Monopoly board game. The area showcases landmarks like the Allegheny Aqueduct and a century-old, seven-story pagoda overseeing the Reading Prong mountain formation. In the 19th century, people from around the globe flocked to Reading for opportunities in thriving manufacturing and transportation industries, creating a diverse community. Despite economic fluctuations in the Rust Belt, Reading has experienced constant change. Living in Reading comes with its share of challenges due to these transitions. However, the metro area, especially suburban communities like Wyomissing, remains appealing to new residents due to its affordable living and low crime rates. Additionally, Reading's strategic location, close to Philadelphia and with easy access to Lancaster and Amish country, adds to its attractiveness.

3. Lancaster, Pennsylvania

Image Source: Photo by Pixabay | Pexels
Farmlands and homes priced below the national median | Pexels/Pixabay

Lancaster, Pennsylvania, blends countryside and city life. Farms and suburbs lead to a vibrant city, easily explored by a short drive. Each area attracts different residents–farmers, families, students, and professionals. From tight-knit churches to indie coffee shops, Lancaster caters to diverse preferences. The county's farmland has a unique scent with farm animals, complemented by aromas from Kellogg's, Mars Chocolate, and the world's largest chicken barbecue. While new residents may notice these smells initially, they become part of Lancaster's distinctive environment. Lancaster offers affordability compared to major metro areas, with homes priced below the national median. Living costs, including food, healthcare, and transportation, align with the national average.

4. Scranton, Pennsylvania 

Image Source: Photo by Quang Nguyen Vinh | Pexels
Family-friendly living and close-knit neighborhoods | Pexels/Quang Nguyen Vinh

Scranton, the sixth-largest city in Pennsylvania, has a small-town feel thanks to its close-knit neighborhoods around the lively downtown. Named after the Scranton family pivotal in its industrial history, the city features the historic Lackawanna County Courthouse and a dynamic downtown with trendy spots. Scranton is family-friendly with a low crime rate and affordable living while the vibrant downtown attracts young professionals. Events like First Friday Scranton, Scranton Jazz Festival, and La Festa Italiana add to the active social scene. The cost of living is below the national average, especially in housing, making it more affordable than nearby cities like Philadelphia and New York City for utilities, transportation, and groceries.

5. Allentown, Pennsylvania 

Image Source: Photo by Maegan White | Pexels
Restaurants, theater and sports | Pexels/Maegan White 

Allentown, Pennsylvania's third-largest metro area, charms residents with its historic homes and repurposed industrial buildings turned into modern lofts. Diverse districts like Seventh Street, West End Theatre, and Hamilton Street each offer unique experiences, from local living and restaurants to theaters and sports. Nestled in the Lehigh Valley with scenic trails and mountains, Allentown appeals to outdoor enthusiasts. Its strategic location allows a two-hour drive to New York City or Philadelphia. The city prioritizes healthy living and the arts, making it a great spot for active individuals. Despite a median home sale price below other major metros and monthly rents between $1,611 and $2,193, residents earn less than the national average.

6. New York 

Image Source: Photo by Vlad Alexandru Popa | Pexels
New York - the place for opportunities | Pexels/Vlad Alexandru Popa 

New York City, a muse in songs and films, stands tall with its iconic buildings and rich history. A global trendsetter in trade and culture, it shapes everything from fashion to the perfect bagel. Despite crowds and expenses, the city offers unparalleled opportunities. From top-notch theaters and restaurants to diverse communities like Greenwich Village and Harlem, each borough, including Queens, Brooklyn, the Bronx, and Staten Island, contributes a unique flavor. Known for its non-stop lifestyle, the city attracts those seeking career advancement and challenges. As "the city that never sleeps," it beckons dreamers to test their limits. Affordable housing remains a challenge, with one-bedroom apartments costing several thousand dollars. Housing costs are high, especially in Brooklyn, leading some to explore options in Connecticut, New Jersey, or Long Island though the latter faces rising home prices in a competitive market.

7. York, Pennsylvania 

Image Source: Photo by Mehmet Turgut  Kirkgoz  | Pexels
Downtown living is becoming trendy | Pexels/ Mehmet Turgut Kirkgoz

York, Pennsylvania, may not boast a skyline but its historical significance as the White Rose City is noteworthy. Once hosting the Continental Congress and birthing the Articles of Confederation, it briefly served as the U.S. capital. Newcomers encounter York's rich history through Colonial-era buildings and playful public sculptures made from old machinery. Downtown living is becoming trendy, with shops and cultural events drawing visitors to districts like WeCo and Royal Square. Surrounding townships in York County offer parks and farmland, contributing to the area's appeal. The cost of living is below the national average, attracting commuters from Maryland seeking affordable housing. York County serves as a convenient bedroom community for those working in Maryland, including Baltimore.

8. Daytona Beach, Florida

Image Source: Photo by Kris | Pexels
A well-rounded lifestyle at Daytona | Pexels/Kris

Daytona Beach experiences seasonal population changes, bustling with winter tourists and quieter summers. Beyond its appeal as a vacation spot, it offers a well-rounded lifestyle. Residents engage in fishing and golf while the Daytona International Speedway attracts NASCAR fans. The city balances outdoor activities with museums, theaters, and various amenities. Adjoining towns like Port Orange and Ormond Beach provide diverse living options. The cost of living is below the national average, with lower utility expenses and no state income tax. However, residents tend to earn less than the national average.

9. Youngstown, Ohio 

Image Source: Photo by Riccardo | Pexels
A cultural and economic resurgence-Youngstown | Pexels/Riccardo

Youngstown, positioned between Pittsburgh and Cleveland, still carries echoes of the 1970s steel industry collapse. Despite its Rust Belt past, the city is experiencing a cultural and economic resurgence, blending historical roots with the energy of a new generation. Once deserted, it now thrives with businesses, including restaurants, bars, galleries, and local shops. Organizations like the Youngstown Neighborhood Development Corporation focus on reviving urban neighborhoods, driven by the region's strong work ethic. In the true Midwestern spirit, Youngstown's friendly residents regularly come together to celebrate their community. The surrounding farmland offers opportunities for shopping at local farms and Amish markets, adding to the city's appeal.

10. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania  

Image Source: Photo by Ryutaro Tsukata | Pexels
Parks and riverfronts | Pexels/Ryutaro Tsukata 

Pittsburgh, nicknamed Blitzburgh and Steel City, is undergoing a remarkable reinvention since the decline of the steel industry in the 1980s. Now known for its cleanliness and energy, the city offers nearly 2,000 acres of parks, including county, state, and riverfront options. Attracting major corporations, Pittsburgh surprises with its focus on technology and education, creating job opportunities that appeal to families and graduates. The housing market is more affordable compared to larger cities, contributing to the city's evolving reputation. Beyond the green spaces and economic growth, Pittsburgh's strong sense of community adds to its charm, making it a city on the rise.