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.

Apple Valley,  Minn.
Clockwise from top left: Valleywood Golf Course, Apple Valley Police Department, Johnny Cake Ridge Park East, Chaparral Park
28. Apple Valley, Minn.
Population: 49,700
Median home price (2006): $257,746
Average property taxes (2006): $2,638

Apple Valley is bearing much more than fruit these days. Once a quiet farming community, this Twin Cities suburb has seen subdivisions, many inspired by New Urbanism, sprout up across the landscape. While residents take advantage of the many miles of walking trails, the real attraction is the Minnesota Zoo, with more than 2,000 animals, including an excellent tiger exhibit and an aquarium. And with a top-performing magnet high school focusing on environmental science, Apple Valley has plenty to offer nature buffs, young and old alike. -B.N.

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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
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.