PopulationMetro: 860,435
With the top-ranking university, Yale, among small cities in the country, New Haven has long exuded a quiet influence on the union.

Yale’s world-class museums and picturesque gothic campus—it could stand in for Hogwart’s if you’re a Harry Potter fan—might be enough of a draw for visitors, but the rest of historic New Haven is also worth a look.

Five U.S. presidents spent time here, as well as countless members of Congress, Supreme Court justices, Hollywood stars and captains of industry. Yale University—founded in 1701, it’s one of America’s oldest institutions of higher learning—has educated many of the country’s best and brightest, but it’s also the cultural and economic center of this leafy city, whose residents take full advantage of all the resources on offer in a capital of power and prestige.

Yale earns New Haven a #1 ranking for University, and about 35% of adult residents have at least a bachelor’s degree, earning New Haven a solid #56 rank for Educational Attainment. Yale (including its medical center) is also the city’s largest employer and largest taxpayer, making this effectively a company town.

CITY PERFORMANCE
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Yale’s world-class museums and picturesque gothic campus—it could stand in for Hogwart’s if you’re a Harry Potter fan—might be enough of a draw for visitors, but the rest of historic New Haven is also worth a look.

Established by Puritan colonists way back in 1638, New Haven is the original planned community, and New Haven Green is still a popular public park (although in 2017 the city added a modern touch: free public Wifi).

Long known as Elm City, New Haven prides itself on its tree-lined streets and charming historic homes, with a #26 rank for Neighborhoods. Cost of living is higher than elsewhere, as is crime, but residents say “the bustle of students, workers, and tourists” makes this diverse community feel “alive.” And with New York, Boston and the sandy beaches along Long Island Sound all close by, New Haven is truly at the center of it all.