America’s Top 20 Healthiest Cities

Number 6: Boston, Massachusetts Boston is in Suffolk County and is one of the best places to live in Massachusetts. Living in Boston offers residents an… Rina - November 5, 2020
Boston is best known for its famous baked beans, Fenway Park, and The Boston Marathon. Shutterstock

Number 6: Boston, Massachusetts

Boston is in Suffolk County and is one of the best places to live in Massachusetts. Living in Boston offers residents an urban feel and most residents rent their homes. In Boston there are a lot of bars, restaurants, coffee shops, and parks. Many young professionals live in Boston, and residents tend to be liberal.

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Boston gets its fair share of love when it comes to health rankings. They won a gold medal in last month’s CityHealth ratings, and last fall we were named the country’s best city for active living. Beantown is a walker’s city. Lace up for a walk along Boston Harbor. Plus, enjoy a 2.5-mile walk along the Freedom Trail, which leads to 16 historic sites in downtown. The city is also the birthplace of a free fitness movement that started in 2011 (and has since spread to other major cities), with a membership of professional athletes and fitness rookies.

Surrounded by rolling hills in Silicon Valley, a major technology hub in California’s Bay Area. Shutterstock

Number 5: San Jose, California

It is a great place to live. San Jose is very diverse and there are a lot of opportunities for education, careers, and social life. It is expensive. However, that is because it is located in the tech-hub of silicon valley. San Jose is in the Northern part of California.

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Often called the “Capital of Silicon Valley,” San Jose, as California’s third-largest city, also has some great outdoor attractions. Alum Rock Park, nestled in the eastern foothills of Silicon Valley, is a great place for picnics, hiking, biking and exploring. The park also boasts great scenic trails and 1800s-era natural spring baths.

known as the Emerald City because of its famous, lush evergreen forests. Shutterstock

Number 4: Seattle, Washington

Seattle, a city on Puget Sound in the Pacific Northwest, is surrounded by water, mountains and evergreen forests, and contains thousands of acres of parkland. Washington State’s largest city, it’s home to a large tech industry, with Microsoft and Amazon headquartered in its metropolitan area. The futuristic Space Needle, a 1962 World’s Fair legacy, is its most iconic landmark. Living in Seattle is great, just ask anyone who lives there. Sure, they’ll complain about the rain, traffic and graffiti, but they have no plans to leave anytime soon. In fact, more people are moving to Seattle each year; the U.S. Census places Seattle fourth for growth among the 50 biggest U.S. cities.

Mountain Seattle, Washington. Image via Shutterstock

The fervently active lifestyles of local residents helped Seattle get ranked as the No. 2 most-healthy city in the U.S., according to WalletHub. Seattle ranked behind only San Francisco in terms of healthy behavior, including many green spaces.  Volleyball, anyone? In Seattle locals head to Alki Beach Park, a nearly 136-acre park with a half-mile of beachfront. Another favorite for the physically fit is Discovery Park, a 534-acre park on the shores of Puget Sound that includes more than 11 miles of walking and biking trails. The park, the largest in Seattle, is also a great place to view wildlife.

San Francisco is known for its cool summers, fog, steep rolling hills, eclectic mix of architecture, and landmarks. Shutterstock

Number 3: San Francisco, California 

The San Francisco Bay Area is known for its fresh, healthy food, with a focus on seasonal ingredients and sustainable agriculture. Dig into organic delights at local restaurants like The Plant, where organic salads and meats grace the menu. And whip up your own menu with items from the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market, which sells more than 1,500 varieties of local produce. San Francisco is a great area for meeting new people, as a large portion of San Francisco’s population is single. The environment isn’t nearly as conducive to families, however.

Famous Lombard Street in San Francisco. Image via Shutterstock

The high cost of living has made it difficult for families with children to settle down in San Francisco. The city of San Francisco is the healthiest city in the United States, according to WalletHub’s Healthiest & Unhealthiest Cities in America. Ranked in four categories: health care, food, fitness and green space, three Bay Area cities joined San Francisco in the top 25. This shows us that San Francisco is one of the happiest and healthiest places in the U.S.

The U.S. capital, is a compact city on the Potomac River, bordering the states of Maryland and Virginia. Shutterstock

Number 2: Washington, DC

Washington, DC, promotes a healthy lifestyle through its Capital Bikeshare program, with 2,500 bicycles located throughout the city. Another big draw is Eastern Market, a city fixture for more than 135 years, selling local farm-fresh produce. And if you want to get in cardio, a jog around the National Mall is a great option; you’ll cover 5 miles.

US Capitol building on national mall. Image via Shutterstock

The US capital is the most “weight-healthy” city in the country based on BMI, according to the report. Eighty-one percent of Washingtonians exercise at least once a week. The capital is also the country’s top spender on beauty and grooming.

A major metropolitan area built around the Mississippi, Minnesota and St. Croix rivers in east central Minnesota. Shutterstock

Number 1: Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota 

Once again, the Minneapolis-St. Paul area ranks as the No. 1 healthiest city. Minneapolis was one of the first cities nationwide to add bike trails; it also sets aside a high percentage of the city as parkland. Another healthy draw is the Minneapolis Farmers Market. Established in 1937, the market supports some 230 local vendors.  Minneapolis is in Hennepin County and is one of the best places to live in Minnesota. In Minneapolis there are a lot of restaurants, coffee shops, and parks.
Minneapolis downtown skyline in Minnesota. Image via Shutterstock
Many families and young professionals live in Minneapolis, and residents tend to be liberal. The public schools in Minneapolis are above average. Minnesota is the best state for healthcare in the U.S. and its hospitals routinely score among the best and safest in the nation. The twin cities were ranked in the top 10 best places for a healthy lifestyle, according to Ritual’s analysis (2019). St-Paul is in Ramsey County and is one of the best places to live in Minnesota. Living in St. Paul offers residents an urban suburban mix feel and most residents rent their homes.

Combine these active lifestyles with short commutes. Image via Shutterstock

Advice From The Healthiest City

St. Paul and Minneapolis make up the Twin Cities. The pair is a pretty fascinating phenomenon. They sit just under 9 miles apart… they’re so close they could almost be one city. Yet they couldn’t be more different from one another. The Twin Cities are one of the most concentrated areas in the world for Fortune 500 companies. Massive behemoths like Target, United Health Group, 3M, Best Buy, General Mills and Land O’ Lakes have chosen the Twin Cities to house their corporate headquarters. And this is only a small portion of the 17 massive corporations that reside in the area.

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Biking, sailing, golfing, skiing and even relaxing, residents have a huge range of outdoor activities available from season to season. Combine these active lifestyles with short commutes, low unemployment, and better access to healthcare, and it all adds up to Forbes’ declaration that Greater MSP is the least stressful of any major metropolitan city. With the nation’s largest park system, a chain of five city lakes and nearly a dozen downtown farmer’s markets, the area has lead the country in health and fitness for two years in a row. The region also has over 1,100 miles of dedicated off- and on-street bikeways — that’s enough to pedal from Minneapolis Saint Paul to New York City!

Some urban designers are setting their sites on one key part of the mental health epidemic: loneliness. Shutterstock

In Summary 

A healthy city is one that is continually creating and improving those physical and social environments and expanding those community resources which enable people to mutually support each other in performing all the functions of life and developing to their maximum potential. Greenery isn’t a luxury or a privilege: it should form a vital part of any urban ecosystem. Green space can reduce aggressive behaviours in struggling neighbourhoods; clean polluted air; and even significantly improve a person’s sense of wellbeing, even when seen from the home.

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According to some studies, urban dwellers are at significantly increased risk of depression, anxiety and schizophrenia. The pace of modern life likely contributes to stress levels and unease, but the spaces in which we live are also a vital part of the puzzle. Some urban designers are setting their sites on one key part of the mental health epidemic: loneliness. The health benefits of exercise are too long to list: from reducing obesity to combatting depression, physical activity is crucial to human happiness and wellbeing — but many large cities aren’t conducive to an active life. Air pollution levels are dangerously high across the world and limited space in which to exercise doesn’t help.

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