When the kids are gone and you no longer care about the quality of neighborhood schools, a new realm of possible places to live opens up. Rent.com compiled a list of the 10 top cities for empty nesters -- their first -- based on low crime, lower-than-average living costs, climate and convenient access to travel.
Rent.com’s Senior Brand Manager Niccole Schreck noted that there has been a cultural shift toward urban living among empty nesters. "For that reason," she told The Huffington Post, "it is not surprising to see the cities that made our list are typically outside major urban markets with a plethora of activities, excitement and culture available to renters over 50.”
Rent.com is just one company that provides recommendations of best places to live. We recently published International Living's list of top 25 places to retire. And here's a list of top 20 small cities to grow older in America.
But, first, here are the new rankings from Rent.com. Would you consider:
1. Fremont, California
Fremont, close to Silicon Valley, is a 15-minute drive to downtown San Jose. The town center is around Lake Elizabeth with a new water park for when the grandkids visit. Great views when you hike up Mission Peak.
2. Colorado Springs, Colorado
Must. Love. The Outdoors. Colorado Springs placed number one in Outside's 2009 list of America's Best Cities. TripAdvisor describes it thusly: "A crossroads for historians, sportsmen, architects, artists and gourmands, Colorado Springs offers a delightful mix of Western charms. Sunny skies and crisp mountain air make it a perfect place for a golf outing, extreme sports or a picnic in one of the many, many well-maintained parks."
3. Huntington Beach, California
When the waves call, there is only one thing to do: Head for Huntington Beach, known as Surf City USA.
4. Scottsdale, Arizona
Scottsdale is part of the Greater Phoenix-area sprawl and home to many retirement communities. People are drawn there for the mild winters. Come summer, temperatures can soar above 100. Yeah, but it's a dry heat. Scottsdale has tons of destination spas and the famed Mayo Clinic has one of its three major branches here.
5. Riverside, California
College towns make great retirement places because they come with a host of built-in cultural activities, not to mention pet sitters when you want to travel. UC Riverside is a great campus, and is also home to the Riverside Sports Complex. Riverside is also home to the parent Washington navel orange tree -– mother to millions of navel orange trees the world over and one of the two original navel orange trees in California.
6. Irvine, California
Another college community -- UC Irvine -- but this one is closer to the beach. Irvine is a planned suburban city that may be best defined by what it's near: Everything. Disneyland, South Coast Plaza mall, Newport Beach, the Pacific Ocean. It consistently scores high on best-places-to-live lists.
7. Torrance, California
Torrance boasts over 30 parks with 300 acres of parkland and is home to the Madrona Marsh, one of the country’s few urban wetland and nature preserves. It also has about 1.5 miles of beach, most of which are way quieter than others on the Santa Monica Bay. Torrance is also the birthplace of the American Youth Soccer Organization.
8. Manchester, New Hampshire
For the money-minded: Kiplinger voted Manchester the second most tax-friendly city in the U.S., second only to Anchorage, Alaska (and probably not as cold.) And in 2009, Forbes magazine ranked the Manchester region number one on its list of "America's 100 Cheapest Places to Live." If nothing else you can visit the nearby Anheuser-Busch Brewery in Merrimack and see the famous Budweiser Clydesdale horses.
9. Henderson, Nevada
Just a spit from the Las Vegas strip, this desert community has long been a draw for retirees. It's gearing up to be Nevada's first bike-friendly community. In 2011, Forbes magazine ranked Henderson as America's second safest city.
10. Chandler, Arizona
Chandler is another Phoenix-area city. It was named after Dr. Alexander John Chandler, the first veterinary surgeon in what was known then as the Arizona Territory. Chandler hosts an annual Ostrich Festival, commemorating the fact that during the 1910s, ostrich farms in the area catered to the demand for plumes used in women's hats.