Fayetteville named 3rd best place to live in U.S.

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The secret is out. What was once a quiet college town hidden away in the hills is now the fastest growing city in the state.

And because growth brings attention, Fayetteville has found itself near the top of several recent lists.

The latest comes from U.S. News & World Report, who named Fayetteville the third best place to live in the entire nation in its inaugural “Best Places to Live” rankings.

“Nestled in the Ozark Mountains, Fayetteville attracts outdoorsy types with its abundance of state parks, acres of community green space, playgrounds, parks and walking trails,” the report says. “The city also boasts a first-class performing arts center, an active local food movement, live music venues and a dynamic festival scene.”

Top 10 Places to Live

As reported by U.S. News & World Report in its inaugural “Best Places to Live” rankings.

1. Denver, Colorado
2. Austin, Texas
3. Fayetteville, Arkansas
4. Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina
5. Colorado Springs, Colorado
6. Boise, Idaho
7. Seattle, Washington
8. Washington, DC
9. San Francisco, California
10. San Jose, California

Denver, Colorado was named the best place to live, while Austin, Texas came in second place. Rounding out the Top 5 were Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina and Colorado Springs, Colorado.

The Washington, D.C.-based outlet analyzed the nation’s 100 largest metro areas and ranked them based on several criteria including value and cost of living, quality of life, job market health, and desirability to live there.

Fayetteville received a value index of 9.1 out of a possible 10, meaning the city offers a better value than similarly sized cities when comparing housing costs to median household income.

“Drawn to jobs at Tyson, Wal-Mart and Wal-Mart’s vendor community, newcomers have flooded the area over the past several years, pushing housing prices up and enticing real estate developers to build,” the report states. “While real estate in Fayetteville is some of the most expensive in Arkansas, Fayetteville home values are lower than in other real estate markets in the U.S.”

The city also received high praise for its low average commute time, mild climate, low unemployment rate, student college readiness, and its crime rate which is lower than similarly sized cities.

The report is the latest in a series of high rankings Fayetteville has received in the past few years, including being named as one of the top three cities to start a business, and the fourth best college town in the nation.