If you’re looking for a new place to live, the state of Texas provides unique access to a variety of cultures as well as an exciting sense of state pride. Second only to Alaska in size, Texas is made up of both large sprawling cities like Austin and Houston and smaller communities such as Huntsville and Pecos.
There are many employment opportunities throughout the state and many enjoyable communities to call home.
We’ve compiled a list of 15 cities that rank high in education, affordability, and safety—areas of interest for many potential homeowners.
We started with cities that were ranked as the Best Cities to Live in Texas by Niche.com, a list that comprised 28 Texas cities. This list was calculated based on crime, public schools, cost of living, job opportunities, and local amenities, and utilized city data from the US Census, FBI, BLS, CDC, and other sources.
Then we cross-referenced the list with the most expensive cities to live in Texas, according to Homesnacks, eliminating cities that featured on that list.
We filtered the resulting list for safety, removing cities that fell among Neighborhood Scout’s top 10 most dangerous cities in the U.S.
Here you’ll find our final list, along with the highlights that make each city a great place to live in Texas.
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15. Laredo, TX
Laredo is the 10th largest city in Texas with a population just short of 266,000. It covers nearly 106 square miles, with a population density of 2,513 people per square mile. The median household income in Laredo is $43,000 and the median home value is $146,000.
Laredo is located in the heart of South Texas at mile marker 1 on Interstate Highway 35, resting on the Mexican border. Because of its location, you can expect to experience a unique blend of Texan and Mexican culture, which is reflected in a variety of Mexican and Tex-Mex food options.
Ranked number 70 in Cities with the Best Public Schools in America by Niche.com Laredo is served by top schools such as Los Reyes Elementary and Hector J. Garcia Early College High School.
For entertainment, you can play 18 holes of golf while overlooking the beautiful Rio Grande River at The Max, Laredo’s municipal golf course. Bird watching on one of the city’s many birding trails is also a frequent pastime for Laredo residents.
The Sames Auto Arena is a great locale for big-name concerts. And you can learn some interesting local history at the Republic of the Rio Grande Museum.
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14. Brownsville, TX
Brownsville is the 18th largest city in Texas, with a population just short of 184,000. Covering 132 square miles, Brownsville has a population density of 1,388 people per square mile. Brownsville has a median household income of $36,400 and a median home value of $102,000.
Brownsville is uniquely situated in South Texas along the Mexican border between Mexico and South Padre Island, giving it a semi-tropical climate year-round and a rich Hispanic culture.
Ranked number 111 in Cities with the Best Public Schools in America, some of Brownsville’s top public schools include Rancho Verde Elementary School, Olmito Elementary School, and Brownsville Early College High School.
Some fun things to do in Brownsville include the Gladys Porter Zoo, the Boca Chica State Park, and the Camille Playhouse, Brownsville’s community theatre.
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13. Odessa, TX
Odessa is the 28th largest city in Texas with a population just shy of 130,000. The city covers 45 square miles with a population density of 2,873 people per square mile. Odessa has a median household income of $57,000 and a median home value of $160,500.
Odessa is located in West Texas and is known for Friday Night Lights, a book, film, and TV series based on one of Odessa’s high school football teams. This city is also known for its cowboy culture and its significant role in America’s oil industry.
Odessa is ranked number 28 in Best Public Schools in Texas and is served by top public schools such as Reagan Elementary Academic Magnet School, Harmony Science Academy, and Early College High School at Midland College.
Some of Odessa’s top attractions include the Chris Kyle “American Sniper” Memorial, a working recreation of William Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, the Ellen Noel Art Museum, and Rimrock Raceway, among many others.
The city is the 9th largest in the United States. Dallas Texas is a little bit country, a little bit rock ’n’ roll, and a whole lot of history, arts, culture and business in the center of the fourth-largest metropolitan statistical area in the United States. In 2018, Homes.com ranked the country’s…
12. Killeen, TX
Killeen is the 19th largest city in Texas with a population of 157,600. The city covers 54.5 square miles and has a population density of 2,890 people per square mile. Killeen has a median household income of nearly $51,000 and a median home value of $145,500.
Killeen is located in Central Texas, just south of Fort Hood, one of the largest military installations in the world. The city’s surroundings are marked by rolling landscape and dense forests, which make it a scenic location to enjoy.
Ranked number 24 for Best Public Schools in Texas, Killeen’s top public schools include Skipcha Elementary School, Union Grove Middle School, and Salado High School.
Because of its scenic locale, Killeen is the perfect place to enjoy a round of golf at Stonetree Golf Course or have fun in the water at Belton Lake or Stillhouse Hollow Lake. You can enjoy camping and fishing as well.
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11. Midland, TX
Midland Is the 20th largest city in Texas with a population of almost 154,000. It covers 74 square miles with a population density of 2,067 people per square mile. Midland’s median household income is $77,000 and its median home value is $235,000.
Located in West Texas, Midland is known as “The Tall City” for its high-rising skyline. It has been the home of former presidents and has experienced booming oil production, and citizens can enjoy a vibrant arts community.
Midland is ranked number 26 in Best Public Schools in Texas. Some of its top public schools include the James Bowie Fine Arts Academy, Midland Academy Charter School, and Stanton High School.
Because of Midland’s successful oil production, the city has plenty for people of all ages to do, such as watching a performance at the $81 million Wagner Noël Performing Arts Center, learning about history at the Permian Basin Petroleum Museum, and seeing the George W. Bush Childhood Home.
Houston, Texas is a vibrant city with much to offer. U.S. News & World Report ranks Houston #30 in its Best Places to Live assessment and #26 in Best Places to Retire. There’s much to love about this southern city, nicknamed Space City in the days of the NASA Manned Spacecraft Center (now known as the Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center)…
10. Corpus Christi, TX
Corpus Christi is the eighth largest city in Texas with a population of about 327,000. The city covers 160 square miles and has a population density of 2,048 people per square mile. Corpus Christi has a median household income of nearly $54,000 and a median home value of $158,000.
Corpus Christi is a coastal city in South Texas located at the mouth of the Nueces River. Known for its scenic beaches, Corpus Christi is one of the more beautiful places to live in Texas.
Ranked number 72 in Cities with the Best Public Schools in America, Corpus Christi’s top public schools include Windsor Park Elementary School, Brundrett Middle School, and Port Aransas High School.
Since Corpus Christi is a coastal city, you can spend a day at any of the city’s nine beaches. Take a swim in the water or do some fishing. Take a tour through a legendary World War II aircraft carrier, or enjoy the wildlife of the area at Mustang Island State Park.
9. Waco, TX
Waco is the 26th largest city in Texas with a population of almost 142,000. The city covers 89 square miles and has a population density of 1,597 people per square mile. Waco’s median household income is $38,000 and the median home value is $128,500.
Waco is located in the heart of Texas along the banks of the Brazos River on Interstate Highway 35 between Dallas and Austin. The city is known for its Southern hospitality, making it an inviting place to visit and stay.
Waco is ranked number 96 in Cities with the Best Public Schools in American. Its top public schools include Woodway Elementary School, River Valley Intermediate School, Midway Middle School, and Midway High School.
Downtown Waco is home to several great attractions such as Magnolia Market, which is owned by former Fixer Upper hosts Chip and Joanna Gaines; the Dr. Pepper Museum; and the impressive Armstrong Browning Library. Outside of downtown, you can visit the Waco Mammoth National Monument or the Texas Rangers Hall of Fame.
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8. Fort Worth, TX
The fifth largest city in Texas, Fort Worth has a population of about 942,000. The city covers 346 square feet and has a population density of 2,726 people per square mile. The median household income in Fort Worth is just short of $61,000 and the median home value is nearly $174,000.
Known as “The City of Cowboys and Culture,” Fort Worth will give you a taste of its mouth-watering culinary scene, with foods ranging from the traditional—think Texas barbecue—to the cutting-edge.
Fort Worth is ranked number 25 in Best Public Schools in Texas, and it is served by top public schools such as Heritage Elementary school, Harwood Junior High School, and Harmony School of Innovation.
For entertainment, Fort Worth has options for all ages, including the Texas Motor Speedway and Sundance Square, which is 35 continuous square blocks located downtown with hotels, shopping, dining, and more. You can also travel to nearby Arlington to watch the Texas Rangers and Dallas Cowboys play.
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7. McAllen, TX
McAllen is the 23rd largest city in Texas and has a population of just under 145,000. The city covers 66 square miles with a population density of 2,203 people per square mile. The median household income in McAllen is $48,000 and the median home value is $140,000.
McAllen is located in South Texas in the Rio Grande Valley near the border of Mexico. The city is richly multicultural and is known to really come alive at night.
Ranked number 73 in Cities with the Best Public Schools in America, McAllen’s top public schools include Gonzalez Elementary School, Sharyland North Junior High School, Lamar Academy, and IDEA McAllen College Preparatory.
Some of McAllen’s greatest attractions include the McAllen Convention Center; the International Museum of Arts and Science; the McAllen Nature Center, where you can enjoy watching birds and other wildlife; and water fun on Town Lake at Firemen’s Park.
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6. El Paso, TX
El Paso is the sixth largest city in Texas and has a population of about 685,000. The city covers 257 square miles and has a population density of 2,663 people per square mile. The median household income in El Paso is just shy of $46,000 and the median home value is $145,000.
The border town of El Paso is steeped in Mexican culture due to its proximity to the Mexican city of Juarez. This culture is reflected in El Paso’s food, architecture, attractions, and art. El Paso is nicknamed “Sun City” because of its year-round sunshine.
El Paso is ranked number 90 in Cities with the Best Public Schools in America, and some of the top public schools in the area include North Star Elementary School, Young Women’s Leadership Academy, Silva Health Magnet School, and Valle Verde Early College High School.
El Paso features several entertainment options, including vibrant music festivals, the El Paso Museum of Archaeology, the El Paso Museum of History, and three professional sports teams, as well as many outdoor attractions, such as the El Paso Zoo, Top Golf, hiking, biking, and bird watching.
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5. Amarillo, TX
Amarillo is the 16th largest city in Texas with a population of nearly 200,000. The city covers 102 square miles and has a population density of 1,963 people per square mile. Amarillo’s median household income is just short of $53,000 and the median home value is $146,000.
Located in the Texas Panhandle, Amarillo is situated where the southern plains meet the desert. Bringing to mind the western ranches of the past while also demonstrating a vibrant 21st-century economy, Amarillo feels like living in a unique blend of old and new Texas traditions.
Amarillo is ranked number 74 in Cities with the Best Public Schools in America. Some of the top public schools in Amarillo include Woodlands Elementary School, Arden Road Elementary School, Lorenzo de Zavala Middle School, and Bushland High School.
There are plenty of things to do in Amarillo, including the 72-ounce Steak Challenge at The Big Texan Steak Ranch, where you’ll be served a delicious 72-ounce steak with sides that you’ll get to eat for free if you can finish it in one hour. If not, you’ll have to pay $72 for your meal.
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4. Abilene, TX
Abilene is the 29th largest city in Texas with a population of nearly 125,000. The city covers 107 square miles and has a population density of 1,169 people per square mile. The median household income in Abilene is $49,600 and the median home value is $123,500.
Rich in West Texas history, Abilene originated as a stop along the Texas and Pacific railroad tracks in the 1880s. Known as a place where characters from classic children’s stories come to life, Abilene is considered the “Official Storybook Capital of America.”
Ranked number 75 in Cities with the Best Public Schools in America, Abilene is served by top public schools such as Wylie Intermediate School; Wylie Middle School; Academy for Technology, Engineering, Math & Science; and Wylie High School.
Attractions in Abilene include the Abilene Zoo, where you can hand-feed a giraffe, Frontier Texas!, a museum where characters from the Old West are brought to life, and Buffalo Gap Historic Village, where you can see a huge collection of firearms and Native American artifacts.
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3. Wichita Falls, TX
Wichita Falls is the 40th largest city in Texas and has a population of about 105,000. The city covers 72 square miles and has a population density of 1,463 people per square mile. The median household income in Wichita Falls is $42,700 and the median home value is $116,000.
Known as the “Gateway to Texas,” Wichita Falls sits on the Texas-Oklahoma border about two hours northwest of Dallas/Fort Worth. Wichita Falls is also a city with a thriving arts scene and beautiful architecture, as well as charming small-town feel.
Wichita Falls is ranked number 82 in Cities with the Best Public Schools in America. Some of the top public schools serving the area include Sheppard Air Force Base Elementary School, W.F. George Middle School, and Rider High School.
There are many things to do in Wichita Falls, from historic attractions revisiting the city’s history to more modern attractions such as catching a show at the Wichita Theatre Performing Arts Center, visiting one of the city’s nearly 40 parks, or playing in the water at Castaway Cove.
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2. Round Rock, TX
Round Rock is the 25th largest city in Texas and has a population of about 142,000. The city covers 36 square miles and has a population density of 3,933 people per square mile. The median household income in Round Rock is $79,000, and the median home value is $230,000.
Located in the Texas Hill Country just 20 miles north of Austin, Round Rock is one of the most beautiful and quaint cities in Texas. With its own minor league baseball team and a state-of-the-art stadium as well as hundreds of acres of beautiful park land, Round Rock is known as the “Sports Capital of Texas.”
Round Rock is ranked number 20 in Cities with the Best Public Schools in America. Some of the top public schools in Round Rock include Parkside Elementary School, Cedar Valley Middle School, and Round Rock High School.
In addition to all the sporting activities you can enjoy in Round Rock, you can also visit downtown Round Rock and walk down Main Street, which is lined with old-fashioned stone storefronts, and grab a drink at the coffee shop or visit one of the saloons. Round Rock is also a great place to enjoy art events and festivals such as Music on Main Street and Chalk Walk and Festival.
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1. The Woodlands, TX
The Woodlands is the 34th largest city in Texas. It has a population of nearly 114,000. The city covers 43 square miles and has a population density of 2,634 people per square mile. The median household income in The Woodlands is $115,000 and the median home value is $381,000.
Located 30 miles north of Houston amid a forest of towering pine trees, The Woodlands is one of the most luxurious and upscale cities in Texas.
The Woodlands is ranked number six in Cities with the Best Public Schools in America and features top public schools such as Creekside Forest Elementary School, Creekside Park Junior High School, College Park High School, and The Woodlands High School.
For fun, The Woodlands features a wide variety of world-class shopping and prime dining. Catch a concert at the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion, or take a walk along The Waterway. As one of the most popular destinations in Texas, The Woodlands offers plenty of activities for people of all ages.
Whether you’re looking for a quaint Texas tradition or a more modern, upscale feel, these 15 cities have plenty to offer for anyone looking to settle down. Which city is right for you?
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