Criteria for Our Best Cities Picks

Here's how our 25 favorites made the cut.

Our Best Cities for every life stage were chosen with customization in mind. We think you'll find one that suits your tastes.

But first, the common themes. The metro areas were all chosen because they have a strong creative class, including scientists, engineers, architects, educators, writers, artists and entertainers. Richard Florida, a professor of public policy at George Mason University and author of The Rise of the Creative Class, has written that such people inject vitality into a city and make it a vibrant place to live.

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