69 of 100
69. Danville, Calif.
Population: 45,093
Easy access to San Francisco
Con: High home prices

Gold Rush money helped create Danville back in the mid-1850s; for some entrepreneurs opportunity lives on today in California's East Bay, a region that offers a variety of economic incentive programs. Danville, a quaint, historic town, is home to many small companies with five or fewer employees. Neighboring San Ramon hosts several large corporate offices, such as those for AT&T and Chevron. Local businesses serve a wealthy and well-educated population: 59% hold at least a bachelor's degree in Danville; 54% in San Ramon.

As is the case with many towns and cities in the region, real estate doesn't come cheap: houses in Danville sold at a whopping median price of $907,000 in 2006 ($710,000 in San Ramon). But Danville entrepreneurs seem to be putting their homes to good use - a survey run by the town council found that many businesses are run out of the home. With its many parks, wineries, museums, and quaint downtown, residents might prefer to stick around town during their off hours. But those seeking more can make an easy getaway: Two international airports lie within a 30-mile radius, and San Francisco is a mere 33 miles away on the BART, the Bay area's commuter train. -Kelsey Abbott

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Last updated July 02 2008: 11:16 AM ET
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