Where are the best places to live in America? U.S. News analyzed the 100 most populous metro areas to find the best and 4 cities are in New York State based on good value, a strong job market and a high quality of life.

Rochester's blend of old and new lands the 3rd largest metro area in the state at #36 of the best places to live in America. While some downtown buildings date back a century or more, others are undergoing modern renovations for affordable living. Although most people live in the suburbs and it's those people that make Rochester a great place to live.

Ultimately, Rochester's biggest asset is its people. Residents are generally considered to be warmer, kinder and more welcoming than their downstate brethren.

Average salary: $47,590
Average rent: $805
Unemployment rate: 4.7%
Median age: 39.7

University of Rochester
University of Rochester

Buffalo is on an economic upswing after being on the decline since the great depression. Developments continue along the waterfront and new businesses are moving into the area. If that's not reason enough to land at #33 for the best places to live, Buffalo has some of the friendliest people in the nation.

Buffalo has a neighborly feel to it. Residents can gather in local pubs or top-tier restaurants. Tree-lined avenues connect residents to each other, and traffic is more manageable in the region than in larger metro areas like New York City.

For entertainment Buffalo has professional sports with the Bills and the Sabres. Plus it's minutes away from Niagara Falls, one of the top tourist destinations in the country.

Buffalo has lots of lake effect snow coming off Lake Erie each Winter but they have lots of places to enjoy it too, from ski hills to snowmobile trails, making it the 69th best place to retire too.

Average salary: $45,060
Average rent: $726
Unemployment rate: 5%
Median age: 40.9


Albany is ever changing as the Governor changes, but the capital city still makes #30 on the best places to live with a 6.7 rating. It's close enough to New York City for a day trip but far enough away from the crowds and the high cost of living.

Albany has maintained a lively downtown that serves as both a commercial and cultural center. The region doesn't have the crowds or costs of a major metro area, and Albany has an old-world appeal to it. There are rows of colorfully painted, turn-of-the-century brownstones, the historic state capitol building and the iconic Empire State Plaza.

Albany is among the best places to retire, coming in at #74.

Average salary: $50,880
Average rent: $909
Unemployment rate: 4.1%
Median age: 40

Empire State Plaza in Albany, NY
Lisa Svara/ThinkStock

Syracuse is the highest ranked best place to live in New York state, coming in at #28 with a 6.8 rating. Despite the Winter weather, Syracuse has lots to offer including affordability.

Syracuse is more affordable than other major U.S. metro areas, making it a popular place to live for families and retirees. Young professionals also enjoy the region, both for its prices and because there's plenty to do.

Entertainment can be found at Lakeview Amphitheater, the Carrier Dome or the New York State Fair and it's just a short drive to New York City, a Bills game, horse racing or wine trails in the Finger Lakes.

Syracuse is also among the top places to retire, coming in at #41.

Average salary: $47,330
Average rent: $771
Unemployment rate: 4.8%
Median age: 39.1

Rich Barnes/Getty Images
Rich Barnes/Getty Images


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