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.

Middleton, Wis.
Lakeview Park is one of the many green spaces throughout the town.
1. Middleton, Wis.
Population: 17,400
Median home price (2006): $290,269
Average property taxes (2005): $5,067
Pros: Small-town charm; booming economy; extensive parks and bike trails
Cons: Do you like winter?

Many Middletonians commute to Madison, but Middleton proper has a strong pool of jobs too, mainly in the pharmaceutical, tech and medical industries. After business hours, Middleton has more going on than you might expect for a town of 17,000. The beer garden at the Capital Brewery is host to corporate mixers, and there are good restaurants downtown.

But make no mistake: Family life is what Middleton is about. In the summer you'll see parents and kids plying the bike trails of the conservancy, splashing in the town's waterslide-equipped pool or sailing on Lake Mendota. On the downside, winter is tough, and there's not great ethnic diversity.

Why Middleton is No. 1
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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
Best Places to Live: Full list Middleton, Wis., is this year's winner. See if your hometown made the cut. (more)
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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 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.