64 of 100
64. Fairfield, Conn.
Population: 58,490
Pros: Prosperous clientele; attractive beaches
Con: High real-estate costs

Space doesn't come cheap in Fairfield, Conn.: Homes sell for a median price of $395,000, but that's still lessexpensive than the real estate from other towns in this metro hub, which includes some of the wealthiest north of New York City.

Fairfield's economic development office provides technical support and financial aid to new or expanding businesses with five or fewer employees. Thriving retail and service startups serve the city's moneyed residents (whose median family income is $100,920), so it's no wonder longtime successful industries include finance, insurance, and real estate. The development of a new commuter rail station and a commercial office space just off I-95 promise to create new business opportunities when it is complete in a few years. General Electric, a major employer in the area, and the city's two universities - Fairfield and Sacred Heart - provide a crop of skilled labor.

Fairfield is 50 miles from New York City and 25 miles from New Haven, where Yale University is located. But city itself also has lots to offer, including a classic New England downtown, with parades, concerts on the green, and independent shops; five miles of coastline on Long Island Sound, dotted with five town beaches; and a golf course that is among the best in the nation. -Lisa Palmer

Interactive map: Fairfield, Conn.
Homes for sale Find homes for sale in Fairfield, Conn.

NEXT: 65. State College, Pa.

Last updated July 02 2008: 11:16 AM ET
More Galleries
5 startups that are reimagining the world Bricks that grow from microorganisms, household garbage turned into art, three-wheeled bike-cars -- these startups are redefining urban living. More
Blue collar entrepreneurs These five entrepreneurs took their blue collar experience and used it to launch innovative businesses. More
7 lifehacks to eliminate your holiday hassle Whether curating the perfect gift or finding a pet-sitter, these startups offer time-saving services that might just seem like holiday magic. More

Special Offer

Most stock quote data provided by BATS. Market indices are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer. Morningstar: © 2018 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Factset: FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2018. All rights reserved. Chicago Mercantile Association: Certain market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. Dow Jones: The Dow Jones branded indices are proprietary to and are calculated, distributed and marketed by DJI Opco, a subsidiary of S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC and have been licensed for use to S&P Opco, LLC and CNN. Standard & Poor's and S&P are registered trademarks of Standard & Poor's Financial Services LLC and Dow Jones is a registered trademark of Dow Jones Trademark Holdings LLC. All content of the Dow Jones branded indices © S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC 2018 and/or its affiliates.