BAM Key Details:

  • A new report by StorageCafe reveals the top 20 U.S. suburbs that combine the best qualities of urban and suburban life, based on their analysis of 912 cities in the 100 largest U.S. metro areas.
  • The top three city-like suburbs are Edina, MN; Falls Church, VA; and Palo Alto, CA. 

A new report by StorageCafe reveals the top 20 city-like suburbs — neighborhoods that combine the best qualities of urban and suburban life — for those who want the comfort and privacy of a suburb without giving up city-like amenities. 

A growing segment of the population wants the best of both worlds, and that desire is driving an urban redesign of the classic suburban environment.  

While keeping the quiet, tree-lined streets, highly-rated schools, and large backyards (or rooftop gardens), some U.S. suburbs have succeeded in fostering more vibrant, diverse, and better-connected communities. 

These suburbs can support a variety of businesses (coffee shops, clothing stores, fitness centers, etc.) and cater to the needs of both multi-generational households and young professionals. 

Read on to learn which suburbs made the list. 

StorageCafe’s report

Based on its analysis of 912 cities with populations of 10K to 100K in the 100 largest U.S. metro areas, StorageCafe ranked the top 20 suburbs. Those that made the list offer the best mix of amenities to support a modern, city-like lifestyle in a safer, more family-friendly environment. 

Ranking is based on the following criteria: 

  • Residential landscape—including housing affordability, new construction, and housing diversity (single-family and multi-family homes)
  • Demographics
  • Business environment 
  • Shopping and dining amenities
  • Health (access to medical facilities)
  • Education
  • Safety
  • Transportation options
  • Self-storage prices and availability (to maximize home space)

The U.S. has plenty of suburban communities where residents can enjoy city-like amenities, but only a few strike the right balance between safety, affordability, and a vibrant social scene. 

Four of the top 20 for 2023 are in California, with one ranking in the top three. The Midwest and the East Coast also had a few. The Chicago-Naperville-Elgin metro area had the most high-ranking city-like suburbs, with 15 ranking in the top 100. 

The New York and Boston metros took second and third place with 14 and 10 suburbs, respectively. 

Top 20 U.S. suburbs for city-like living

Here are the nation’s top 20 suburbs with the best blend of urban and suburban traits.

Top 10 city-like suburbs and their strongest points

  1. Edina, MN (Business sector, Amenities, Transportation)
  2. Falls Church, VA (Residential construction, Business sector, Education)
  3. Palo Alto, CA (Business sector, Amenities, Health)
  4. Franklin, TN (Business sector, Education, Amenities)
  5. Venice, FL (Residential, Amenities, Transportation)
  6. Suwanee, GA (Education, Residential, Business sector)
  7. Los Gatos, CA (Health, Business sector, Amenities)
  8. Burlingame, CA (Residential, Business sector, Health)
  9. Lone Tree, CO (Health, Business sector, Residential)
  10. Burlington, MA (Business sector, Health, Residential)

Wrapping up the top 20:

11. Downers Grove, IL
12. Burr Ridge, IL
13. Vernon Hills, IL
14. Boca Raton, FL
15. Menlo Park, CA
16. Lake Oswego, OR
17. Secaucus, NJ
18. Garden City, NY
19. Portsmouth, NH
20. Minnetonka, MN


Source: StorageCafe

Top 3 suburbs for a city-like lifestyle

The top three city-like suburbs in the U.S. offer an exemplary mix of diverse residential options, a thriving business environment, and popular lifestyle amenities: 

  1. Edina, MN 
  2. Falls Church, VA
  3. Palo Alto, CA

Edina, MN—situated in the Minneapolis-St. Paul metro area—ranks at #1 for a few reasons:

  • Thriving job sector
  • Good transportation options
  • Diverse housing—with 40% of housing stock consisting of apartments
  • Vibrant entertainment scene 
  • Abundant shopping and dining options
  • Southdale Center—the nation’s first fully-enclosed, climate-controlled shopping center

Falls Church, VA comes close behind, though it’s one of the smallest suburbs on the top 20 list. Here’s what elevates it to the top three:

  • Diverse housing—with inventory split equally between single-family and multi-family
  • Ranking fifth for new home supply–with 60 building permits per 1,000 people (in 2022)
  • Packed with popular amenities that support a comfortable semi-urban lifestyle

Palo Alto, CA offers a diverse local economy with a thriving job market, even as layoffs in the tech industry continue across the Bay Area—along with the following:

  • Strong business sector, with roughly 60 businesses per 1,000 residents
  • Abundant shopping and dining options
  • 1,900 square feet of park space per capita

It’s worth noting that housing in the top three typically comes with a price tag well over the national median. The median household income is also higher than the national average–-reaching $155K in Falls Church and $195K in Palo Alto. 

Advantages of living in one of the top 20 city-like suburbs

So, what is it about these suburbs that makes them so appealing to so many? 

For one, compared to the national average, residents in all of the top 20 suburbs have healthier lifestyles and higher life expectancies. Lone Tree, CO (#9) has the highest health score. 

Plus, the top city-like suburbs offer an ideal blend of urban and suburban amenities, supporting a healthy and enjoyable modern lifestyle. 

These communities bring together the convenience, diversity, and vibrancy of city living with the safety, larger spaces, and community spirit of suburban living to give residents the best of both worlds—along with a more efficient allocation of available resources.  

Read the full report for a comprehensive overview of the top 20 suburbs, self-storage options for each, and the full list of the top 100 U.S. suburbs for city-like living. 

Top takeaways for real estate agents

If you serve one of the top 20 suburbs, make sure you know exactly what it offers potential buyers looking to move into your area. And encourage your sellers to highlight the biggest advantages of their home’s location. 

Buyers looking to move into these areas should be aware of the greater likelihood of intense competition for well-priced homes.