Best Places to Live: Top 100

For this year's list we focused on smaller places that offered the best combination of economic opportunity, good schools, safe streets, things to do and a real sense of community.

Hanover, N.H.
A barn sits in Etna, one of the oldest parts of town.
2. Hanover, N.H.
Population: 8,500
Median home price (2006): $428,329*
Average property taxes (N/A): N/A
Pros: Rich cultural and community opportunities; diversity
Cons: Winter isn't for wimps.

Hanover is more an international city than a pastoral hideaway. About 20% of residents are nonwhite, and more than two dozen nationalities are represented. A teaching hospital, environmental engineering and mid-size technology firms and Dartmouth College all attract the cosmopolitan crowd. Add a downtown dotted with shops and restaurants, throw in a myriad of year-round activities, and it's easy to see why people love it here.

But Hanover has drawbacks: It's out of the way - two hours from Boston and 90 minutes from Manchester, N.H. - and homes close to town can be pricey. If you can't stand winter, you won't like Hanover. But if you're the adventurous sort, the skiing and skating are great.

Hanover, N.H.: A mountain paradise
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Middleton

Hanover

Louisville

Lake Mary

Claremont

Papillion

Milton

Chaska

Nether Providence (Wallingford)

Suwanee

Sammamish

West Goshen

Montville

Apex

Horsham

La Palma

Olney

Sherwood

Corrales

Lisle

Chelmsford

Holly Springs

Hillsborough

Nanuet

Baldwin

Parker

Eastchester

Apple Valley

River Vale

Germantown

Winter Springs

Lake Oswego

Marlboro

La Mirada

Rocky Hill

Vadnais Heights

Plymouth Township

Coronado

Urbandale

Schertz

New Berlin

Elkridge

Jenks

Hewitt

Berkeley Heights

Westerville

Sayreville

Easton

Catonsville

Keller

Friendswood

Libertyville

Somers

Mechanicsville

Farmington

Eldersburg

Clayton

Readington

Saline

Lincoln

Woodridge

Moorpark

Camas

Peachtree City

Mooresville

Glen Allen

Liberty

Trumbull

Mukilteo

Vienna

Schererville

Crofton

Westborough

Granite Bay

Highland Heights

Martinez

El Dorado Hills

Moorestown

Pike Creek

Ridgeland

Mason

South Elgin

Mansfield

Beavercreek

Salem

North Haven

Emmaus

Lansing

Olive Branch

Franklin (Milwaukee County)

Helena

Grand Terrace

Twinsburg

Wilbraham

Bartlett

Gahanna

Grapevine

Seven Oaks

Silverdale

Cottonwood Heights
*Median based on fewer than 50 home sales in the area.
Source: OnBoard
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Market indexes are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer LIBOR Warning: Neither BBA Enterprises Limited, nor the BBA LIBOR Contributor Banks, nor Reuters, can be held liable for any irregularity or inaccuracy of BBA LIBOR. Disclaimer. Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Disclaimer The Dow Jones IndexesSM are proprietary to and distributed by Dow Jones & Company, Inc. and have been licensed for use. All content of the Dow Jones IndexesSM © 2014 is proprietary to Dow Jones & Company, Inc. Chicago Mercantile Association. The market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved. Most stock quote data provided by BATS.