If you’re not afraid of cold weather — or extended periods of darkness — then look northward to Juneau, Alaska. The state capital claims our second-highest quality of living score (a near-perfect 995 out of 1,000) and is home to a diverse and active culture of just under 32,000.
Outdoor recreation is big here: hiking, dog sledding, fishing, kayaking and rafting are just a few of the options you can enjoy as a Juneauite. The city has a year-round slate of community events, like the Winter Fireworks Spectacular and the Alaska Folk Festival, and it’s also home to Perseverance Theatre, Alaska’s only professional theater company. You’ll find the group on Douglas Island, near Treadwell Ice Arena, a city-owned ice skating rink for residents of all ages. (Fun fact: the rink has a vending machine for hockey supplies.)
If you have kids, Juneau’s schools are worth mentioning, too. Niche.com ranks them No. 1 in the entire state, and Juneau-Douglas High School has claimed countless state athletic championships (its girls’ soccer team won the last three.)
Sans kiddos? All the more reason to spend your days taking in the awe-inspiring scenery that surrounds you. Check out the 13-mile-long Mendenhall Glacier, take a boat out at Auke Bay or go whale watching at Tracy Arm Fjord. You might even see a bear or moose along the way. — Aly J. Yale
Median Household Income
Median Home Price
Sources: Population and median household income provided by Synergos Technologies Inc.; unemployment rate (by county) provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics; and median home price provided by ATTOM Data Solutions.