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Best Places to Live 2012

1. Carmel, IN

Best Places to Live 2012

Top 100 rank: 1
Population: 80,100

Five years ago Carmel was a silence, fashionable bedroom community that offered an easy 20-minute commute to downtown Indianapolis. Regardless of the depression, this previously sleepy burb has since transformed itself into the ideal place to work and play.

Carmel's commerce district now has the second-largest attentiveness of office workers in Indiana and an joblessness rate that's just over half the national average.

2. McKinney, TX

Best Places to Live 2012

Top 100 rank: 2
Population: 136,100

Recognized in 1849, McKinney is one of northern Texas' oldest towns. Stroll roughly downtown and you'll see cotton mills and feed stores distorted into hip boutiques and art galleries.

The city offers abundance of housing options, from first course homes to old Victorians and "Texas-style" five-bedrooms. Low taxes have lured companies with white-collar jobs in technology and energy, a new hospital opened in July, and a discussion center and hotel complex is in the works.

3. Eden Prairie, MN 

Best Places to Live 2012

Top 100 rank: 3
Population: 61,200

Little has changed in Eden Prairie lately, and that's a good thing. It still has the exhilarating grouping of terrific employment prediction, normal beauty, and a well-educated workforce. It's also kept a strong budget excess of 2% the past two years.

Previously home to major business firms, the city is preparing for more increase with a light commuter rail project in the works for 2018.

4. Newton, MA

Best Places to Live 2012

Top 100 rank: 4
Population: 84,700

You might think folks in Newton are gripped with education. The city is separated into 13 villages built about elementary schools, making it easy for kids to walk to school amid the city's lush vegetation.

Being near to important universities adds even more benefits -- MIT partnered with the modernism lab at a local high school on a project to exchange algae into fuel, for example, and Boston College will donate $300,000 for technology for Newton schools over three years.

5. Redmond, WA

Best Places to Live 2012

Top 100 rank: 5
Population: 55,200

Redmond may be home to one of the main companies in the world, but life in the city is whatever thing but a grind. With Seattle just 15 miles to the west, the Cascade Mountains a short drive to the east, and more than 90 wineries to the north, Microsoft's hometown is an ideal base camp for exploring the Northwest.

In the meantime, there's plenty to do right in Redmond, where historic buildings, quirky shops, eateries, and brewpubs mingle in colorful condo and go developments with public art and giant evergreens. Redmond's picturesque areas, low crime rate, and stellar schools are a major part of the city's magnetism.

6. Irvine, CA

Best Places to Live 2012

Top 100 rank: 6
Population: 213,600

Irvine has all the surf, sand, and sun Southern California is identified for, with 44 miles of bike trails, 20,000 acres of parks and preserves, and a beach 10 miles away.

Thanks to smart preparation, this big city can feel astonishingly small. The 40-year-old community is alienated into 40 "villages," and a minimum of five acres of park space is additional for every 1,000 newcomers. Home prices are high, but new expansion is creating more reasonable options - along with new schools, bike paths, and green spaces.

7. Reston, VA

Best Places to Live 2012

Top 100 rank: 7
Population: 60,300

Reston may be a planned community, but don't be expecting cookie-cutter homes here. Thanks to famed master planner Robert Simon, houses of all shapes and sizes sit next to one another.

Behavior comes in all stripes too, from an ├╝ber-urban downtown to 55 miles of bike paths, 52 tennis courts, and 15 pools.

8. Columbia/Ellicott City, MD

Best Places to Live 2012

Top 100 rank: 8
Population: 100,700

Livelihood on the border of Columbia and Ellicott City offers the best of both worlds -- a charming, significant downtown with plenty of restaurants (Ellicott City) and a considerately laid-out planned community with tons of big-box stores and a giant arena (Columbia).

Families in this pair of unincorporated cities get to enjoy living in a community with a diverse population, sensible housing costs, terrific schools, miles of hiking trails, and a new expansion, Blandair Park, which will comprise 20 acres of forest, wetlands, meadows, and a historic farm complex.

9. Overland Park, KS

Best Places to Live 2012

Top 100 rank: 9
Population: 175,300

There's no lack of town spirit in Overland Park. Sovereign shops line downtown streets and inhabitants rave about their welcoming neighbors. Residents and visitors alike flock to the biweekly farmers' market, known as one of the best in the area, and enjoy the 300-acre arboretum, world-class soccer fields, and a re-created turn-of-the-century family farm.

10. Chapel Hill, NC

Best Places to Live 2012

Top 100 rank: 10
Population: 59,000

Locals aren't exaggerating when they refer to Chapel Hill as a "town within a park." The roads wind from end to end tunnels of arching trees, and the area has a rain forest-like charm.

But Chapel Hill isn't just a pretty face. It's part of the state's Research Triangle, which boasts one of the maximum numbers of Ph.D.s per capita in the U.S. The town also houses the nation's oldest public university, and attractive instructive opportunity abound.
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