We all have different opinions on what makes a great place to live.
There are just so many things to consider.
Ideally you'd get all or most of your criteria when you plan to settle down for a while in a specific town or city.]
I have lived in a lot of different kinds of places (in the US) and now have a pretty good idea of what works for me. I grew up in New York, moved to Las Vegas, then to Missoula, Montana, to Santa Barbara, to Los Angeles, and I currently live in Seattle. Each place has definitely had its ups and downs, but they have all taught me something different.
What have I learned?
City, Country or Suburb? I'm a city girl. Not a full on city girl (anymore) with the noise and crowds, but I like to be within ten minutes of everything. Not a suburb, but just far enough away where I can take a bus or train and still have a car and a place to park it.
Neighborhood: I've lived with helicopters flying over my house in the middle of the night and also in places where I could leave my doors unlocked when I left. I now fall in the middle — I like safety and security in my neighborhood so I can walk whenever I want without having to watch over my shoulder too much. I like to know my neighbors but have enough space to maintain privacy. Lastly, I'm not a fan of cookie cutter houses and gated communities but much prefer older, unique and also ultra-modern homes and neighborhoods.
Shopping: I'm not a strip mall kinda gal — I really prefer mom and pop shops and local artisan goods. I love to support local people making their dreams come true and buy things that I would never find somewhere else. Scenery: I like a place with hills; flat land drives me batty. I love nature and city skylines equally, so a place with parks and beautiful scenery keeps me smiling and at peace, while great architecture and skyscrapers keep me feeling inspired and creative. Seattle has some of the most beautiful parks I've ever lived by and they definitely increase my happiness tenfold.
Diversity: I need diversity in people, places, activities, food, etc. I can really get bored quickly and thrive off learning and seeing new things.
People: I like a place where people are friendly, unique and inspiring. Not when everyone is nosy and all up in my business, but where I can have nice genuine chats throughout the day. Not where everyone is head down just grinding through the day to day.
Creativity: Good art, music, food and breweries can make or break a place for me. My city needs to keep me thinking and creative, and inspire me in new ways.
Health: Being in a healthy city where there is an abundance of good food choices is a must for me. Also, being in Seattle where people are quite exercise conscious, I’ve found it pushes me in new ways to get out and do more.
Environment: I haven't ever lived somewhere quite like Seattle, where environmentalism is just a way of life for everyone. Composting and recycling are everywhere you go, receipts are often printed on both sides, people bring their bags to shop and plastic ones have been outlawed. Since it is part of the everyday, no one even thinks about it and you see how easy it can be.
Weather: After growing up on the East Coast and then living in Vegas and LA, perfect weather is a luxury that I have never taken for granted, especially now that I live in a gray, wet climate. This I have given up in my current location, and it is the one thing I miss, but since I have traded it for everything else on this list, I've learned to deal.
What do you look for? Have you ever gotten it?