Hamden may be a suburb of New Haven, but it's a bustling town in its own right, complete with good schools and quaint New England charm. Last year nearly 7% of the town's businesses were startups, lured by Hamden's development incentives, which include tax abatements for real-estate improvements, startup grants averaging $30,000, and low-cost loans at 1% over prime. Particularly strong local industries include manufacturing, real estate, healthcare, and financial services.
The Hamden lifestyle is a blend of urban and suburban. Many residents commute to New Haven, but plenty of shops and restaurants fill the center of town. Sleeping Giant State Park offers 32 miles of hiking trails and sidles up to one of the town's major employers, Quinnipiac University, known for its top business school and picturesque campus. -Lisa Palmer