Best U.S. Cities to Retire in 2023

by | May 31, 2023

Choosing the perfect place to retire is a major decision that involves numerous factors such as affordability, quality of life, healthcare facilities, and cultural opportunities.

Aiming to identify the top choices for high-quality retirement living at an affordable price across the U.S., Forbes has released its eagerly anticipated list of the Best Places to Retire in 2023.

Forbes compared over 800 cities in America using factors such as housing costs, taxes, healthcare, air quality, crime rate, climate change, and natural hazard risks.

Forbes’ list also highlights that college towns tend to offer rich amenities for their size, including lifelong learning, culture, and dining, all at an affordable cost – about one-third of the picks on the list are college towns.

Listed alphabetically, the Best Places to Retire in 2023 list includes 25 equally ranked cities in 20 states and in all four domestic time zones.

  • Athens, Georgia

Athens is a college town, which means it offers rich amenities for its size, including lifelong learning, culture, and dining, all at an affordable cost.  Athens has a thriving music and nightlife scene, which is perfect for retirees who want to stay active and socialize. The city has several golf courses that are open to the public, making it an ideal destination for golfers as well as a rich history, museums, and a passionate sports scene, which provides retirees with a variety of outdoor activities to enjoy.

  • Augusta, Georgia

Nestled along the banks of the scenic Savannah River, Augusta offers a serene and picturesque environment, perfect for those seeking a peaceful retirement. With its world-renowned golf courses, including the iconic Augusta National Golf Club, the city caters to golf enthusiasts, offering unparalleled opportunities to enjoy their favorite sport. Additionally, the city features a vibrant arts and cultural scene, with museums, galleries, and theaters, ensuring retirees have access to a rich array of entertainment options. The city’s mild climate allows retirees to enjoy outdoor activities year-round, from strolling through beautiful parks to exploring charming neighborhoods.

  • Bethlehem, Pennsylvania

Offering a blend of historical charm and modern conveniences, Bethlehem boasts an affordable cost of living and low taxes, which means retirees can stretch their retirement savings further. Its vibrant arts and culture scene, showcased through its numerous galleries, theaters, and music festivals, provides ample opportunities for enrichment and entertainment. The city’s picturesque landscapes, including the nearby Lehigh River and the Lehigh Valley Greenway, offer scenic beauty and outdoor recreation options such as hiking and biking trails. Bethlehem’s close-knit community and welcoming atmosphere create a sense of belonging and foster social connections among retirees.

  • Charlotte, North Carolina

Best places retire

Blue Ridge Mountains, North Carolina

With its pleasant climate with mild winters and warm summers, Charlotte allows for year-round outdoor activities, from exploring the beautiful parks and green spaces to playing golf or engaging in water sports on nearby lakes. Charlotte’s diverse neighborhoods offer housing options to suit various preferences, from cozy suburban communities to vibrant urban settings. With a rich cultural scene, including museums, theaters, and art galleries, retirees can indulge in a vibrant arts and entertainment culture. Charlotte’s proximity to stunning natural landscapes, such as the Blue Ridge Mountains and the Carolina coast, allows retirees to embark on memorable day trips or weekend getaways.

  • Cincinnati, Ohio

Known as the “Queen City,” Cincinnati offers a multitude of advantages, including affordable housing options, a lower cost of living, and favorable tax rates, allowing retirees to maximize their savings and enjoy a comfortable lifestyle. With its rich history, picturesque riverfront, and beautiful architecture, the city provides a charming backdrop for retirees to explore and appreciate. Its renowned cultural scene, encompassing world-class museums, theaters, and music venues, ensures retirees have access to an array of enriching experiences. The city’s extensive park system, including the breathtaking Eden Park and the iconic Smale Riverfront Park, offers ample opportunities for outdoor recreation and leisurely walks.

  • Columbia, Missouri

Recognized as the “Athens of Missouri,” Columbia provides a remarkable setting for retirees seeking a vibrant and intellectually stimulating community. This charming city offers a blend of cultural attractions, including art galleries, live music venues, and theater performances, ensuring retirees have a wide range of entertainment options. Columbia’s affordable cost of living and robust healthcare system, anchored by prestigious medical centers, guarantees access to top-notch medical care. The city’s extensive park system, highlighted by the scenic trails of the “City of Parks,” encourages retirees to stay active and enjoy the beauty of nature.

  • Fargo, North Dakota

As the “Gateway to the West,” Fargo’s affordable lifestyle makes it one of the year’s best places to retire in the golden years. This welcoming community offers a high quality of life, boasting a low crime rate, affordable housing options, and a strong sense of Midwestern hospitality. Retirees can take advantage of Fargo’s numerous recreational opportunities, such as exploring the city’s extensive park system and enjoying outdoor activities like fishing, hiking, and biking. Fargo also provides a rich cultural scene, with theaters, art galleries, and museums showcasing local talent and heritage. Fargo’s distinct four seasons offer retirees the chance to experience the beauty of changing landscapes throughout the year.

  • Green Valley, Arizona

Known as the “Retirement Community of Southern Arizona,” Green Valley offers an idyllic setting for retirees seeking a peaceful and active lifestyle. This vibrant community provides a wealth of amenities tailored to their needs, including a wide range of recreational activities such as golfing, hiking, and tennis. With its warm climate and breathtaking desert landscapes, the area allows retirees to enjoy outdoor pursuits year-round. The city’s well-planned neighborhoods and gated communities offer a sense of security and tranquility, while its proximity to Tucson provides easy access to cultural attractions, shopping, and healthcare services. As well as a close-knit social community, retirees can also benefit from the city’s low cost of living and favorable tax rates.

  • Greenville, South Carolina

Best places to retire

Downtown Greenville, SC

Often referred to as the “Emerald City,” this charming South Carolina enclave is an ideal destination for retirees with its picturesque landscapes, vibrant downtown, and friendly community.  Greenville offers a high quality of life and a welcoming atmosphere where retirees can take advantage of the city’s mild climate, allowing them to enjoy outdoor activities like hiking, biking, and golfing throughout the year. Its thriving arts and cultural scene – showcased through its galleries, theaters, and festivals – provides retirees with endless opportunities for enrichment and entertainment. As one of the best places to retire, the city’s excellent healthcare facilities ensure access to top-notch medical services, while its diverse dining scene and shopping options cater to various preferences and interests.

  • Indianapolis, Indiana

As the “Crossroads of America,” Indianapolis offers retirees a wealth of advantages and attractions, including world-class museums, theaters, and music venues. The Circle City’s affordable cost of living and favorable tax rates make it an attractive choice for retirees looking to make the most of their retirement savings. With its extensive park system, retirees can enjoy outdoor activities and scenic beauty throughout the city, including the iconic White River State Park. In addition to renowned medical centers and specialized clinics, the city’s central location makes it a convenient hub for travel and exploration, with easy access to neighboring cities and destinations.

  • Iowa City, Iowa

Renowned as the “City of Literature,” Iowa City, Iowa, boasts a thriving arts and literary scene, with numerous bookstores, libraries, and cultural events that cater to the intellectual pursuits of retirees. The Hawkeye State’s Cultural Hub provides a close-knit community with a welcoming atmosphere, fostering social connections and a sense of belonging. Additionally, Iowa City’s low cost of living and affordable housing options make it an attractive destination for retirees looking to stretch their retirement savings while exploring its well-maintained parks, trails, and recreational facilities surrounded by its natural beauty.

  • Jacksonville, Florida

Best Places Retire

Jacksonville Beach, FL

Known as the “River City,” Jacksonville offers a host of advantages, including a vibrant waterfront lifestyle with its miles of picturesque beaches and the St. Johns River. Retirees can enjoy a multitude of recreational activities such as boating, fishing, and water sports. The city has a diverse range of neighborhoods to suit different preferences, from historic districts to modern developments. With its thriving arts and entertainment scene, warm climate, welcoming community, and abundance of amenities, River City emerges as one of the best places in the U.S. for those seeking an active and fulfilling lifestyle in retirement.

  • Lawrence, Kansas

Known as the “Heart of Kansas,” this vibrant community offers a strong sense of community that fosters a welcoming and inclusive atmosphere for retirees. Lawrence’s vibrant arts and music scene is set amid a thriving downtown area with unique shops, delicious dining options, and lively nightlife. The city’s South Park and Clinton State Park offer ample opportunities for picturesque outdoor recreation and relaxation.  Home to the University of Kansas, Lawrence is also known for its affordability, low crime rates, and excellent healthcare facilities for retirees.

  • Lexington, Kentucky

Sometimes called the “Athens of the West,” Lexington is known for its picturesque countryside, with its rolling hills and iconic horse farms that create a scenic backdrop and a unique connection to nature. Its rich equestrian heritage is evident through its world-class horse racing events and equine culture, which adds to the city’s charm and appeal. Lexington’s friendly and tight-knit community fosters a warm and welcoming atmosphere on top of an affordable cost of living, and extensive recreational opportunities like hiking, biking, and exploring the nearby Bluegrass Region.

  • Lincoln, Nebraska

Referred to as the “Heart of the Plains,” Lincoln is a vibrant community that boasts beautiful parks and green spaces like Pioneers Park and Antelope Park, offering ample opportunities for outdoor recreation and leisure activities for retirees. Lincoln is also home to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, which contributes to the city’s thriving economic and innovative atmosphere. Its affordable cost of living, low crime rates, and excellent healthcare facilities add to its appeal as one of the best places to retire in the U.S.

  • Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Often referred to as the “Steel City,” Pittsburgh has undergone a remarkable transformation over the years, reinventing itself into a vibrant and affordable destination for retirees. The city’s cost of living is significantly lower than the national average and with its excellent healthcare system, cultural attractions, and scenic beauty, it consistently ranks highly as a top destination for retirees.  Pittsburgh’s diverse neighborhoods, robust arts scene, and abundant outdoor recreational activities contribute to a fulfilling retirement lifestyle.

  • Pittsfield, Massachusetts

U.S. cities to retire

Berkshires Vineyard, MA

Tucked away in the “Heart of the Berkshires,” Pittsfield is situated in stunning natural surroundings, including picturesque mountains and serene lakes, creating a scenic backdrop for retirees to enjoy outdoor activities like hiking, skiing, and boating. The “Pride of the Commonwealth” boasts a rich cultural heritage and close-knit community that fosters a warm and friendly atmosphere, where neighbors become like family. Pittsfield’s central location in the Berkshires and close proximity to New York provide easy access to world-class museums, historic landmarks, and acclaimed dining experiences.

  • Rochester, Minnesota

Home to the renowned Mayo Clinic, Rochester’s strong healthcare infrastructure ensures access to top-notch medical care and cutting-edge treatments. The city’s close-knit community and friendly residents create a warm and welcoming atmosphere, fostering a sense of belonging and support. Seniors can enjoy a range of recreational activities, from exploring parks and trails to attending cultural events and festivals and its central location in the heart of Minnesota provides easy access to scenic landscapes, outdoor adventures, and vibrant urban areas. Beyond its stellar medical reputation, the city offers a high quality of life with a low crime rate and a strong economy making it one of the best places to retire.

  • San Antonio, Texas

Often called “River City” for its picturesque network of walkways along the San Antonio River, the city stands out as one of the best places to retire. Seniors can enjoy pleasant weather throughout the year, making outdoor activities and leisurely pursuits accessible and enjoyable. The city’s historic sites like the Alamo add to its rich history and foster a vibrant tourist community. In addition to top-notch healthcare facilities, affordable housing options, and a variety of recreational opportunities, there are extensive opportunities for golfing, nature walks, and outdoor activities — all adding up to make it stand out as one of the best places to retire in the U.S.

  • Savannah, Georgia

Sometimes called “The Hostess City of the South,” Savannah’s rich history, charming architecture, and Southern hospitality create a unique and welcoming atmosphere. The city offers a mild climate, allowing retirees to enjoy outdoor activities year-round, from strolling through its beautiful squares to exploring the nearby coastal areas. Savannah’s vibrant arts scene, with numerous galleries, theaters, and music venues, ensures a culturally enriching experience. Additionally, its low cost of living, favorable tax rates, and affordable housing options make it an attractive choice for retirement.

  • Sioux Falls, South Dakota

With excellent healthcare facilities providing top-quality medical care, the “Gateway to the Plains,” is surrounded by lush parks, serene rivers, and stunning waterfalls, creating a picturesque backdrop for outdoor activities and leisurely walks. Sioux Falls is known as a welcoming and tight-knit community, where retirees can enjoy a low cost of living, affordable housing options, and favorable tax rates. Its vibrant downtown area offers a variety of dining, shopping, and cultural experiences for an active and fulfilling lifestyle — solidifying it as one of the best places to retire in the U.S.

  • Spokane, Washington

Nestled in the scenic Inland Pacific Northwest, Spokane boasts a mild climate with four distinct seasons, making it ideal for outdoor activities like hiking, biking, and golfing. Known as the “Lilac City,” it’s also renowned for its vibrant arts and culture scene, featuring theaters, galleries, and music festivals. Spokane’s extensive parks, picturesque riverfront, friendly community, affordable cost of living, favorable tax rates, and quality healthcare facilities contribute to its appeal as a retirement destination.

  • Sun City, Arizona

Best Cities to Retire

Scottsdale Golf Course, AZ

Known as “The Original Fun City,” Sun City’s warm and sunny climate allows “snowbirds” and retirees to enjoy outdoor activities year-round, from swimming to tennis and walking along scenic trails. Just 30 minutes from drive from downtown Phoenix and the sprawling Scottsdale retirement conclaves, the city offers a wealth of amenities and activities designed specifically for retirees – an abundance of golf courses, senior recreation centers, and social clubs that provide ample opportunities for active and engaging lifestyles. As one of the best places to retire, the city’s affordable cost of living, low crime rate, senior-friendly services, and excellent healthcare facilities ensure a comfortable and secure lifestyle.

  • Virginia Beach, Virginia

Whether it’s exploring the boardwalk, savoring fresh seafood, or engaging in community events, retirees will find a fulfilling and enjoyable lifestyle in this coastal gem of Virginia. Sometimes called the “Neptune City,” Virginia Beach offers retirees a blend of coastal charm and a relaxed lifestyle with extensive outdoor recreation, swimming, and broad beaches. With a mild climate, retirees can enjoy outdoor pursuits year-round among the city’s rich history, vibrant arts scene, and diverse culinary offerings.  In addition to affordable living, the city has a strong sense of community and numerous retirement-friendly amenities, including golf courses, parks, and senior social centers.

  • Winchester, Virginia

As host of the renowned Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival, an annual event that celebrates the beauty of the apple blossoms, Winchester is known as the “Apple Capital” of the east. The city’s picturesque setting, surrounded by the scenic Shenandoah Valley, provides a backdrop of stunning landscapes and outdoor recreational opportunities. Winchester’s historic downtown area, with a plethora of shops, restaurants, and cultural attractions, offers retirees a vibrant and lively urban atmosphere while keeping that small-town charm.  Its thriving senior community is due in part to its mild climate, affordable cost of living, low crime rate, and quality healthcare.

The data for Forbes’ Best Places to Retire 2023 was based on a number of factors, including housing costs, taxes, healthcare, air quality, crime rate, climate change, and natural hazard risks – all considered prime factors that affect health, longevity, and quality of life in retirement.


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Post written by:

Jett Vercruse

Jett Vercruse is an American freelance writer and marketing specialist based in Europe. With a B.A. in Journalism, Cum Laude, and a Master of Laws degree from Charles University in Prague, his writing expertise spans various niches, including business, finance, law, human rights, environment, higher education, travel, and culture.

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