25 Best Places to Retire

Whether you dream of retiring to a big city, small town, resort area or college town, these great places offer reasonably priced homes, low crime and tax rates, quality health care, and more.

  • Albuquerque, NM

    Photo: Mark Newman/Getty Images

    There is much to be said for a place where you can ski in the morning and golf in the afternoon; drink Italian-style espresso at breakfast and eat homemade sopapillas for lunch; see ancient petroglyphs one day and gallery hop the next.

    With the Rio Grande river near downtown and the Sandia Mountains to the east, Albuquerque is as diverse in its landscape as it is in culture. Downtown revitalization projects have added considerably to the appeal.

    One caveat: Crime is on the high side, though locals say it’s easy to avoid the problem areas.

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  • Bloomington, IN

    Courtesy: Bloomington Visitors Center

    Southern Indiana is probably the last place you’d expect to find authentic Middle Eastern food, traditional Tibetan monuments, or a museum showcasing artifacts from around the world. Yet Bloomington’s eclectic downtown offers all that and more.

    While sports are a perennially favored activity thanks to the Indiana University Hoosiers, music and theater are also big here, with acts taking the stage at the university auditorium and at a restored 1922 vaudeville and movie house, among many others.

    See complete data for Bloomington

  • Huntsville, AL

    Photo: Stephen Saks/Getty Images

    Space buffs know Huntsville as “The Rocket City” because the Marshall Space Flight Center was the original NASA, and it still plays a major role in civilian and government spacecraft and rocketry.

    Architecture aficionados know it for its 19th-century buildings; nature lovers know this northern Alabama city for its parks, botanical gardens, and nature preserves. While this Southern city seems to have something for everyone, so too does the University of Alabama.

    Founded in 1993, the school’s lifelong learning program offers dozens of courses each term on topics as diverse as the volunteers who teach them.

    See complete data for Huntsville

  • Lynchburg, VA

    © Andre Jenny/Alamy

    Located in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, this tidy town has beauty and brains. Lynchburg is home to several higher-learning institutions, including Randolph College and Lynchburg College, which open their doors to non-degree students.

    Retirees don’t need to enroll in classes to take advantage of the wide range of lectures and workshops open to the community. Though the area drips with history (the site of General Lee’s surrender is just outside town), the city isn’t stuck in the past; new restaurants, quirky shops, and contemporary art are just as prominent as Civil War lore.

    See complete data for Lynchburg

  • Iowa City, IA

    (c) VisionsofAmerica/Joe Sohm

    For the better part of a century, this city has been a destination for writers who flock here for the University of Iowa’s world-renowned writing workshops. But you needn’t be an aspiring John Irving to appreciate the city’s appeal.

    The Old Capitol Cultural District melds 19th-century architecture with quirky shops and innovative restaurants and in summer offers free concerts, outdoor movie nights, a jazz festival, and an arts festival.

    For retirees who want a more hands-on experience, the university’s lifelong enrichment classes run the gamut from rowing to Russian literature.

    The downside? Frigid winters.

    See complete data for Iowa City

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