Once you get away from the big city — whatever constitutes a big city where you're from — prices for renters begin to fall. Every state has that one locale where the standard of living is high but the cost of living is low. For some, it's a college town. For others, it's that underrated city far from the coast. Some communities are state capitals, others are beach resort towns.
But where are the most affordable cities in each state? From Florence, AL, the lowest average rent in the nation at $401 a month, to Honolulu, still the least expensive in Hawaii at $1,872 monthly, here's the full list of each state in the union's most affordable city, based on the average rental price for a one-bedroom apartment.
While the famous statue of his likeness sits over in Memphis, it's Florence that's the true home to W.C. Handy, the "Father of the Blues." The W.C. Handy Home and Museum is a top tourist attraction in this northwestern Alabama town, which also holds the annual W. C. Handy Music Festival each summer.
Just across the Tennessee River from historic Muscle Shoals and its legendary Sound Studio, this music lover's retreat is a short 10 miles south of the Tennessee state border. Despite all the town offers, at an average price of just $401 for a one-bedroom apartment — more than 70 percent below the national average — Florence offers the lowest rent price of any city on our list.
If you're looking to live in one of the most unique places in the U.S., just look up. Anchorage is on top of the world, quite literally. Just 370 miles from the Arctic Circle, Anchorage isn't the land of sled dogs and glaciers you may think.
The city is actually a thriving small metropolis like many in the Lower 48. Sure, its natural mountain beauty is seriously unmatched, but Anchorage also features trendy restaurants (with the freshest seafood) and fashionable retail, a diverse population (with more than 100 languages spoken), a strong economy and two universities.
And while Anchorage is the most affordable city in Alaska in which to live, it's certainly not cheap. As people discover the wonders of 20 hours a day of summer sunshine, rental prices for an average one-bedroom will still run you $1,051 a month, high but still 21.6 percent below the national average.
The beautiful Southwestern mountain city of Sierra Vista, literally “mountain view," sits just on the other side of the Coronado National Memorial from the Mexican border. The Arizona town of 130,000 sits in the foothills of the Huachuca Mountains, home to the U.S. Army's Fort Huachuca.
The city is also a birdwatcher's mecca. Known as the "Hummingbird Capital of the United States," birders from around the world flock to see the swarms at Ramsey Canyon Preserve. And while they're there, visitors can take a short half-hour drive up the road to the western tourist town of Tombstone.
Sierra Vista's distance from large border crossing ports of entry keeps rents lower than nearby cities like Douglas or Nogales. An average one-bedroom unit rents for just $591 a month, 55.9 percent lower than the national average.
Sitting along the Oklahoma border and just a half-hour from Missouri is the northwestern Arkansas town of Siloam Springs. In the early 1900s, Siloam Springs grew as a tourist resort town, as legends of the healing powers of the spring water feeding Sager Creek from Downtown Springs, Indian Healing Springs and others spread.
Today, Siloam Springs is a well-known spiritual community, housing more than 50 churches within the city limits and hosting John Brown University, a private, interdenominational Christian liberal arts college.
Named one of the “20 Best Small Towns in America" by Smithsonian Magazine in 2014, Siloam Springs has enlisted the community to help preserve and promote its revitalized historic downtown. Additionally, the city hosts a number of cultural events throughout the year, including the Dogwood Festival each April that draws more than 30,000 visitors.
Rents here for a one-bedroom apartment run an average of $471, among the five lowest on our list and 64.8 percent below the national average.
The ninth-largest city in the nation's largest state, Bakersfield lacks the cache of its Sunshine State neighbors like San Francisco, San Diego and L.A. But the Central Valley city at the southern end of the San Joaquin Valley offers a family-friendly reputation, a steady oil and natural gas production economy and a low cost of living for the state.
While not as flashy as the state's coastal cities, key mountain passes to the coast, such as Tejon Pass along Interstate 5 and others made Bakersfield an important transportation hub. The city is also a haven for a different kind of vehicle, featuring an 11,000-acre OHV park for 18,000 local off-road vehicle enthusiasts.
Bakersfield, surprisingly, is also an important music city, where the “Bakersfield sound" became famous. The genre was the first in country music to be influenced by the then-new rock and roll sound, relying on electric guitars, pedal steels and a strong backbeat.
Low rental prices aren't what one would normally expect in California, but Bakersfield is an exception. At 37.5 percent below the national average, a one-bedroom apartment runs for $837 a month on average.
If Denver is the big city, Colorado Springs is more the trendy, youthful mountain city one imagines when they picture Colorado. The city at the entrance to the Rocky Mountains is a haven for skiers, bikers and hikers, full of parks and green spaces, marijuana dispensaries and more than 30 craft breweries.
Located at the base of Pikes Peak and close to some of America's top winter sports facilities, Colorado Springs is headquarters to two dozen U.S. Olympic federations, as well as the U.S. Olympic Committee.
All of those transient residents and tourists cause a scarcity of rental units, which pushes apartment rents higher. While the most affordable city in the state, lease prices are just 14.4 percent under the national rate, at an expensive average of $1,146, the fifth highest on this list.
If you know one thing about Bristol, it's most likely that it's been the home of ESPN since the 1970s. But the Hartford/New Haven suburb has so much more to offer.
Lake Compounce, on its namesake body of water, is the nation's oldest continuously operating theme park, and the American Clock & Watch Museum sits in a residential neighborhood just off of downtown.
A historic New England town, Bristol — at one time or another — has been one of America's leading cities in silver products, spring-loaded doorbells and chrysanthemums. It was even headquarters of Otis Elevator, and the company's 383-foot elevator test tower dominates the Bristol skyline.
But let's be honest, Bristol's identity is wrapped up in ESPN. The cable sports giant's facility is on the southern end of the city, along the border with Southington, and employs 3,400 people, twice that of the next largest employer.
A significant number of the company's single and solo-living workforce lives within Bristol. Because of this, there's an abundance of available apartments, helping make Bristol the most affordable city in the state for one-bedroom units, 36.4 percent below the national average, renting for $851 a month on average.
As Delaware's capital city, infrastructure, housing and culture are strong in Dover, which features exciting museums and a slew of historic locales, including First State Heritage Park and the Delaware State Museum. And events such as the Delaware Wine & Beer Festival and Dover Days offer a plethora of entertainment and activities for residents.
Situated about halfway between Philadelphia and Washington, Dover has parlayed its central location into the perfect spot for the Firefly Music Festival, the East Coast's biggest and best multi-day music fest, which draws heavily from the two neighboring metropolises. The same venue that hosts Firefly, Dover International Speedway, is also home to two of NASCAR's major races, including one of the playoff events.
Tax breaks aren't the only affordable economic plan in the First State. At $932 a month on average, the cost of a one-bedroom apartment in Dover is 26.7 percent below the national average.
On the coast? Check. Close to the beach? Just a 40-minute drive. Day trip to Disney World? Under two hours away. For all that, you wouldn't expect Port Richey, on the Gulf Coast at the north end of the Tampa/Saint Petersburg metro area, to be the most affordable in Florida. But the small town of 2,500 is just that, with an average one-bedroom unit listing for $733, 45.3 percent below the average nationwide.
A rag-tag series of neighborhoods along the shores of the Gulf, the Pithlachascotee River and Millers Bayou, there's an abundance of shoreline in Port Richey. Retail and commercial strips and the Gulf View Square Mall are a bit further inland along US Highway 19, with more upscale shopping just down the street in New Port Richey. And if Port Richey was good enough for Johnny and June Carter Cash, who owned a home along the river for 30 years, it's certainly good enough for you.
The residents of Albany would like you to know one thing: Their city is pronounced “awl-BENNY," not “ALL-buh-nee" like that Yankee city up north. Once you get past that, the 77,000 folks in the "Egypt Of America" would love to have you come set a spell.
Albany has had a number of lives. Early in its history, it was a bustling hub for riverboats and seven different rail lines. Before the Civil War and during Reconstruction, it was one of Georgia's largest cotton producers. In the 1960s, it was a flashpoint for the Civil Rights movement. And through most of the 20th century, Albany has been home to a string of military facilities for all four branches, including the current Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany, which employs nearly 3,000 personnel.
A large statue of favorite son Ray Charles at the piano is the centerpiece to Ray Charles Plaza and Ray Charles Memorial along the Flint River waterfront, one of several parks on both sides of the water downtown. Rents for a one-bedroom unit are 54.9 percent lower than the national average, at $605 on average monthly.
Yes, Honolulu is the most affordable city in Hawaii according to our methodology. But before you get too excited, we must admit Honolulu is also the only city in Hawaii that qualifies in our methodology. Which means it's also the most expensive. At 9.9 percent more than the national average, the monthly cost of a one-bedroom apartment in paradise is still a whopping $1,872 on average, the highest of any state on this list.
That being said, if you're going to make the move to Hawaii, do it right. A life living among the posh hotels and beach bods of Honolulu like McGarrett, Danno and Magnum, P.I. can be yours, but it's going to cost you.
If you think that Idaho is all about potatoes, you'd be … mostly right. Of course, the famous spuds are still king, but today's Boise is the fastest-growing metro area in America. The city has become both a hub for tech start-ups and a new population for Silicon Valley giants to mine new employees, leading to a downtown building and population boom, especially among millennials.
And as in Seattle or Austin or other tech towns, trendy shops, cafes and entertainment options followed in Boise. You'll find many along newly-hip 8th Street leading up to the State Capital building, and on the Boise River waterfront is Julia Davis Park, home to Zoo Boise and the Discovery Center of Idaho.
As population and salaries increase, so do rental rates. Even as the most affordable city in Idaho for renters, 21 percent lower than the national average, a one-bedroom apartment still lists at an average of $1,058 per month, the highest rate for a Northwestern state on this list.
About halfway between Indianapolis and St. Louis, the central Illinois town of Charleston might not be as small as you think. The town has a population of more than 20,000, with nearly 65,000 between Charleston and its sister city Mattoon. Additionally, 7,500 undergraduate students matriculate at Charleston's Eastern Illinois University, an expansive campus on the south side of town.
Not only was Charleston the long-time home to Abraham Lincoln's father, who is buried here in a cemetery near the Lincoln Log Cabin State Historic Site, but the future president visited on several occasions. In fact, one of the Lincoln-Douglas debates was held in Charleston in 1858.
Honest Abe would love the affordability of his old stomping grounds. At $464 a month for an average one-bedroom rental, 65.4 percent lower than the national average, Charleston is the third most affordable city on this list.
A suburb of Evansville, Newburgh sits on the shores of the Ohio River at the border between Indiana and Kentucky. The small town carries a population of just more than 3,300 but resides in the larger Ohio Township which has a population about 10 times that.
By 1850, the town had grown to be one of the largest river ports on the Ohio-Mississippi River between Cincinnati and New Orleans due to coal mining and its beneficial location on the Ohio River. However, when the national railway system came to southern Indiana, it bypassed Newburgh completely in favor of Evansville, beginning a permanent shift in regional economic dominance.
These days, Newburgh is home to a quaint main street downtown with a selection of antique shops, cafes and restaurants, crafted by the city as a pedestrian “river town."
But with is close proximity to Evansville, Newburgh has continued to grow and flourish as an inexpensive bedroom community for commuters. The good news is that at just $503 on average per month for a one-bedroom rental, Newburgh is one of the most affordable on this list, a full 62.4 percent under the national average.
Spend a day in Cedar Rapids, and you'll be certain to see the “Five Seasons" symbol all over town. The City of Five Seasons is a moniker adopted by the city to represent entertainment and recreation, to be used during the “fifth season"… the time you create to get out and enjoy the other four.
Cedar Rapids certainly backs up that claim. An unexpected spot for an arts and culture hub, Iowa's second-largest city features a bevy of institutions including the Cedar Rapids Museum of Art, Iowa Orchestra, Theatre Cedar Rapids, National Czech & Slovak Museum and much more.
For outdoors types, there are more than 70 named parks and green spaces, including two disc golf courses, beach volleyball courts, a dirt bike track, Old MacDonald's Farm children's zoo and 24 miles of biking and hiking trails.
The city is also deeply steeped in the history of Muslims in America, dating back to the first immigrants from Lebanon and Syria arriving in the city in 1895. The city features the National Muslim Cemetery, the first exclusively Muslim cemetery on the continent, and the Mother Mosque, the oldest mosque in North America.
Rents for an average one-bedroom apartment list for $671 a month, nearly 50 percent below the nation's average.
The history of Topeka dates back to just before the Civil War when the city was founded as a Free-State city immediately in the wake of the passage of the Kansas–Nebraska Act in 1854.
Exactly a century later, in 1954, the U.S. Supreme Court handed down its decision in the landmark Brown vs. Board of Education decision, with that key defendant being the Topeka Board of Education, securing the city's place in history.
Topeka was established as a key station along the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railroad, and later boomed as the last major city along Interstate 70 before Denver, nearly 550 miles away. The city even became a technology hub in 2010, thanks to Google's experimental fiber optic installation, which resulted in the town being renamed “Google, Kansas" for a month.
Today, the Kansas capital city is a bustling government town situated between the college towns of Manhattan (Kansas State) and Lawrence (University of Kansas), both under an hour away. A number of cultural sites sit around the city, including the Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site, Combat Air Museum, Great Overland Station and Upstage Gallery.
For much louder entertainment, Heartland Motorsports Park, built in 1989 as the first brand-new auto racing facility in the nation in 20 years, offers top-level drag racing, including the annual National Hot Rod Association Heartland Nationals.
Topeka's C.W. Porubsky's Deli was honored in 2014 for serving one of “America's Best Chilis" by Travel + Leisure. If you're interested in access to such a renowned dish, just $691 a month on average will buy you a one-bedroom unit, 48.4 percent under the national average.
Just across the Ohio River (and a bit of floodplain) from Evansville, (and a bit downriver from Newburgh, see above), sits the small city of Henderson. In the mid-1800s, Henderson was booming as the world's largest producer of dark tobacco, with large tobacco warehouses and stemmeries throughout downtown.
By the 1910s, there were more millionaires in Henderson per capita than any other city in the world. Economic fortune came to an end after the first World War thanks to British postwar tariffs, and Henderson began to settle in as a suburban river town.
Florence, AL, isn't the only city on this list to claim W.C. Handy, Father of the Blues, as one of its own. Handy lived and played — and met his wife — in Henderson for over a decade, and is honored with the annual Handy Blues & Barbecue Festival. Renowned naturalist and painter John James Audubon also called Henderson home for several years.
Downtown Henderson's John James Audubon State Park and Museum is home to the world's largest collection of Audubon memorabilia and is dotted with nine cast-bronze sculptures based on Audubon's Birds of America paintings. The city also hosts the free Bluegrass in the Park Folklife Festival, one of the largest free bluegrass festivals in the nation.
Like its neighbor, Newburgh, Henderson is also an inexpensive and convenient suburb for workers commuting into Evansville. At 57.2 percent below the national average, an average one-bedroom unit rents for just $574 a month.
A bit east of Baton Rouge and just north of Lake Pontchartrain from New Orleans, Hammond is a college town of just more than 20,000 residents. Much of the city's economy is based on the student life at Southeast Louisiana University, as well as its large Walmart distribution center. In fact, SLU, in conjunction with Walmart, offers the state's only degree in Supply Chain Management. Additionally, the city's Hammond Northshore Regional Airport is home base for the largest unit of the Louisiana Army National Guard.
Many of Hammond's commercial and retail outlets are centered around the intersection of Morrison Boulevard (US Highway 51) and Ronald Reagan Highway (US 190), with a number of shopping plazas and big box stores. The enormous Hammond Square shopping complex and “lifestyle center" sits alongside Interstate 12, a popular stop for truckers, travelers and shoppers.
With an average rent for a one-bedroom listing for $692 a month, much lower than its neighbor across the Pontchartrain, Hammond comes in at 48.3 percent under the national average.
Just a dozen miles north of Portland, the city of Yarmouth is a picturesque town right out of a storybook New England-set novel. The town sits on Casco Bay off the Atlantic Ocean, creating several industries, from shipbuilding to seafood, based on its busy and accessible harbor.
The unique geography of Yarmouth's downtown, sitting 80 feet above sea level, created four distinct waterfalls along the path of the Royal River, which bisects the town. These waterfalls gave rise to more than 60 grain, cotton, pulp and lumber mills operating during the town's infancy.
Today, these waterfalls, known as First, Second, Third and Fourth Falls, attract tourists and business to the town to witness their beauty. But what really stands out about Yarmouth is the bevy of restaurants for a town its size. With 14 sit-down restaurants, primarily along Route 1 and Main Street, Yarmouth claims more than a restaurant per square mile.
And being New England, of course, Yarmouth also holds the annual Yarmouth Clam Festival, a three-day summer fest featuring parades, rides, bike and running races and a clam-shucking competition that attracts more than 120,000 attendees.
Despite its proximity to Portland, the percentage of commuters out of Yarmouth into the bigger city is small. And while it's the most affordable city in Maine, the price of an average one-bedroom apartment is close to the national average, the fourth most expensive on this list at $1,272 a month on average.
Located just north of Baltimore, with indirect access to the Chesapeake Bay and within two hours to Washington, D.C., you wouldn't expect the shore town of Essex to be the most affordable in the state of Maryland. Like much of the Chesapeake Western Shore, Essex is a mix of tract housing, commerce along a state highway thoroughfare, marshland, marinas and expensive isolated bayside neighborhoods.
But what places Essex on this list is its place on the front end of a transition period. Pricier bay towns farther north like Havre de Grace, Charlestown and Aberdeen are ahead of Essex in weekend getaway tourism, offering quaint downtowns, bed and breakfasts and sightseer retail shopping. But as it revitalizes its downtown and neighborhoods through government-sponsored “empowerment zones", Essex is moving towards more equal footing with its more popular neighbors.
Smart renters will know to get in ahead of the curve as Essex begins its transition into a bayside tourist town. But until then, rents remain affordable, at just $838 a month on average for a one-bedroom, 37.5 percent under the national average.
With four major interstate highways crisscrossing through town, I-90, I-91, I-291 and I-391, it's no wonder the central Massachusetts town of Chicopee refers to itself as "Crossroads of New England." While the moniker is parcel to a modern marketing campaign, its central location along the Massachusetts Turnpike, halfway between Boston and Albany and just 45 minutes north of Hartford, bears it out.
While about the same geographic size as Springfield to the immediate south, Chicopee is most certainly the suburb in the relationship, with about 100,000 fewer residents. In fact, the town of Chicopee originally formed after the neighborhoods of Cabotville, Chicopee Falls, Willimansett, Fairview and Aldenville separated from Springfield and banded together in the mid-1800s, cementing its relationship with its larger neighbor.
Chicopee has historically been an important Polish-American community, which continues today as home to Millie's Pierogi, and Chicopee Provision Company, a major kielbasa producer. The town also manufactures more than five million golf balls annually at its Callaway Golf plant.
But regardless of your background, Chicopee is still pricey despite being the most affordable in the Bay State. An average one-bedroom apartment rents for $1,086, just 19 percent under the national average.
Unless you haven't watched the news any time over the last 30 years, it's no wonder why Flint is the most affordable city in Michigan. Yes, automobile plant closures, financial emergencies, severe population decline and a water crisis have been the realities of Flint for decades now.
But the people of Flint are resilient and continue to take advantage of what the city has to offer, with redevelopment and revitalization continuing to improve the standard of living. The American Cast Iron Pipe Company moved into the abandoned Buick City manufacturing complex.
Landmarks like the shuttered First National Bank, Durant Hotel and the Paterson Building have transformed into office space, trendy retail shops and loft apartments. And deserted blocks downtown are being renovated into walkable business, apartment and entertainment destinations.
But as renewal projects continue to expand, the current downward trend in population — now under 100,000 for the first time in a century — means a surplus of available apartment space and lower rental rates … for now. An average one-bedroom unit in Flint can be had for as little as $575 a month, 57 percent below average across the nation.
Located in the isolated fields of southcentral Minnesota, two hours west of the Twin Cities, the city of Willmar seems at first blush to be in the middle of nothing but many of Minnesota's 10,000 lakes.
Like many remote cities of the Midwest, it was the railroad that brought the original populations to town. In Willmar's case, it was the Great Northern Railway in the 1860s and the Scandinavian settlers that came along with it. Today, industry continues to bring immigrants to town, primarily those from Latin America and Somalia to fill available jobs at the local Jennie-O deli turkey plant.
Retail and big-box shopping is abundant along First Street (US Business Route 71), with chain stores surrounding the Kandi Mall and Skylark Shopping Center. Smaller retail, cafes and restaurants dot the downtown neighborhood along Pacific Avenue (US 12) between the railroad corridor and Rice Hospital.
North of town, recreation is plentiful along the shores of Foot, Swan and Willmar Lakes, particularly the 55-acre Robbins Island Park, featuring a beach, boat launch, Frisbee golf courses and an accessible playground.
Rental prices for one-bedroom apartments in this Land O' Lakes town are just about 50 percent below the national average, at $664 monthly on average.
Adjacent to its sister city, Biloxi, to the east, Gulfport is a key resort and entertainment city on the north shore of the Gulf of Mexico. Having survived Hurricane Camille in 1969 and Hurricane Katrina in 2005, Gulfport has twice rebuilt itself to become a favored tourist getaway and important military town.
Gulfport is the home base of the U.S. Navy Atlantic Fleet Construction Battalion (“Seabees"), centered at the Naval Construction Battalion Center, which is also the city's largest employer. But what makes Gulfport so desirable are the beautiful gulf-front amenities and tourist infrastructure. The city offers almost seven miles of white sand beaches on the Gulf, plus a large yacht harbor.
Straddling US Highway 90 is the massive Island View Casino, which includes a giant complex with gaming floors, high-end restaurants and entertainment venues on the inland facility, which is attached by a sky bridge to the Beach Tower on the shore. The beachside portion includes a large hotel tower, more restaurants and a private beach. Nine more casinos are located just a few minutes away in Biloxi.
The booming tourist economy and post-Katrina revitalization have made Gulfport an attractive residential destination. But even with all this to offer, it remains the most affordable Mississippi city for renters, with an average one-bedroom unit leasing for $583, 56.5 percent under the national average.
At just 4,800 residents, you may not be familiar with the Missouri town of Waynesville. But for a city its size, it has much to offer. Waynesville sits in the heart of the beautiful Missouri Ozark region, featuring stunning forests and mountains, lakes, rivers, extensive hiking, biking and climbing trails, watersports facilities and camping destinations. Additionally, the large Fort Leonard Wood U.S. Army training installation lies just to the south of town.
Historic Route 66 runs right through the middle of town, drawing Router enthusiasts from around the nation. The Route 66 1903 Courthouse Museum and the Old Stagecoach Stop are two of several Route 66 tourist destinations along the former Mother Road.
A number of small-town restaurants, shops and bars line Route 66 on both sides of the Roubidoux Creek, as well. And on the southern tip of town, along Interstate 44, are a number of service businesses, plus the Lafayette Manor & Winery vineyard and bed & breakfast.
This small spot of central Missouri paradise is one of the most affordable towns on this list, with an average one-bedroom rental listing for $510 a month. At 61.9 percent below the national average, it's the seventh-lowest among our study.
Billings is the largest city in Montana by far, which is a blessing for renters looking for affordable accommodations. While the number of amenities and opportunities in Billings attract higher wage jobs and younger residents, the easier access to infrastructure and goods, more available housing and a push to bring trained talent to the city keep rental rates low. In fact, at an average of $908 per month for a one-bedroom, Billings is the lowest in the state, 30.5 percent under the average nationwide.
Yet another city that came of age as the railroad came through town, Billings was founded alongside the Northern Pacific Railroad in the 1880s. In fact, its growing size and central location allowed Billings to flourish and stake a claim as the primary city in the Intermountain Northwest. Since the turn of the century, the city has grown into a significant 21st-century business and industry hub.
Billings has promoted itself as a booming technology and commerce center and has seen operations facilities spring up from enterprise companies like General Electric, Wells Fargo, Kampgrounds of America and First Interstate Bank.
And with more hotel rooms available than any city in a five-state area, Billings is a key location for conventions, regional sports and large events. As well, Billings is an important location in the extraction of shale oil from the Bakken Formation, the largest oil discovery in American history.
Looking for a cool day trip? Billings is also just an hour from the Little Bighorn National Monument and under two hours from Yellowstone National Park. And in 2009, Billings was given the crown of “Best Small City in Which to Start a Business" by Fortune Small Business.
One of the largest suburbs of Omaha, La Vista is a 60-year-old development southwest of the city that sprung out of Eastern Nebraska's business and population growth in the second half of the 20th century.
The city is a planned grid of housing tracts and apartment complexes interspersed with parks and retail corridors, primarily along Harrison Street, Giles Road and South 84th Street in the eastern portion of the city. The western side of town past 108th Street is mainly services businesses, warehouses and industrial facilities, plus big box and chain shopping off Interstate 80.
Rents in this commuter community are 42.8 percent below the national average, with a one-bedroom unit averaging $766 a month.
Leave the casinos, neon lights and high rollers to Sin City. North Las Vegas, tucked into the northeast corner of Las Vegas proper and just five miles or so north of The Strip, is not a shining tourist town.
The residential Las Vegas suburb is a commuter, technology and distribution commerce community that includes industrial facilities like the headquarters of Bigelow Aerospace, two Amazon fulfillment centers, Apex Industrial Park and Nevada's only female correctional facility, the Florence McClure Women's Correctional Center. North Las Vegas has a population of nearly a quarter-million, and offers a convenient commute for casino workers and others into Las Vegas.
The city is no shrinking violet in the face of its flashy, famous neighbor either. North Las Vegas attracts its fair share of visitors as well, with its own collection of a dozen or so casinos itself of various sizes scattered throughout the city.
Craig Ranch Regional Park is a large green space with a lake, athletic facilities, dog park and skate park along the Craig Road commercial corridor. North Las Vegas is also adjacent to Nellis Air Force Base and offers a bevy of housing and support services for the base. And let's be honest, even though it has a Las Vegas mailing address, the Las Vegas Motor Speedway NASCAR track is very much in North Las Vegas.
North Las Vegas is a unique collection of residential neighborhoods, suburban commerce, tourist attractions, gaming and, well, a lot of desert. But for its proximity to Las Vegas, an average one-bedroom apartment lists at just $995 a month, the most affordable rate in the state, 25.7 percent under the national average.
At just an hour and a half from the Boston metro area, depending on traffic and where you're headed, Concord is far enough from the big city to feel a separation, yet close enough as to not feel disconnected. The state capital town, founded in the 1720s, is today not only the seat of government in the Granite State but also a hub for the health care and insurance industries.
If you're feeling presidential, Concord is the place for you. Presidents Ulysses S. Grant, Rutherford B. Hayes, Franklin Pierce, Benjamin Harrison and Richard Nixon have all dined or stayed at the famous Eagle Hotel on Main Street. And as well, Abraham Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt both spoke at Phenix Hall just down from the hotel.
Many other historic and cultural sites dot the map of Concord, including The New Hampshire State House, the oldest legislative facility in America that sessions in its original chambers, the Capitol Center for the Arts, New Hampshire Historical Society and the McAuliffe-Shepard Discovery Center, named for “teacher in space" Christa McAuliffe who taught at Concord High School.
For more button-downed entertainment, you can lose a few balls in the drink at Beaver Meadow Golf Course, one of the oldest courses in New England. And the tongue-in-cheek named SNOB (“Somewhat North of Boston") Film Festival is held annually at the Red River Theatres independent movie house. There are also numerous parks and recreational facilities along the Merrimack River and Penacook Lake.
While Concord is the most affordable city in New Hampshire for renters, it is still New England. One of the highest rates on this list, an average one-bedroom rents for $1,014, 24.3 percent ahead of the national average.
Many towns in South Jersey share attributes. A few lakes, some nice parks, a handful of locally-loved restaurants, a nearby highway exit and, of course, a couple of Wawas. Lindenwold, in Camden County, is no different. But a combination of factors has allowed it to stand out from the crowd. Lindenwold most certainly benefits from its location. The city is just 45 minutes from Philadelphia and an easy hour drive to the shore.
Even more convenient, the city offers its own station on New Jersey Transit's Atlantic City Line, which runs from Philly's 30th Street Station to the casino town. The station also serves as the eastern terminus of PATCO's Speedline regional rail that transports commuters directly into Center City Philadelphia.
But yes, Lindenwold has all the suburb amenities South Jersey residents have come to expect. Lindenwold Memorial Park is the largest athletic facility and green space in the city. It has favorite local restaurants like The Little Tuna, Villari's and Napoleon's Cremepuffery and, of course, a Wawa along White Horse Pike. The average rent for a one-bedroom unit here is 36.2 percent below the national average at $855 a month.
Las Cruces is a southwestern city of many facets. It's an immigrant and Latino community, sitting under an hour north of the Mexican border at El Paso. It's a naturalist community, in the shadow of the Organ Mountains. It's a college town, home of New Mexico State University. It's a military community, with its largest employer the White Sands Test Facility and Missile Range. It's a 21st-century spaceflight community, containing the headquarters of both Spaceport America and Virgin Galactic. And it's a retirement community, with 13 percent of the population over the age of 65.
No matter what brings you to Las Cruces, there's plenty for all tastes. The city has two distinct business districts. After an urban renewal project in the 1960s leveled most of the original downtown, a new business hub formed on the east side with a new shopping mall and national stores popping up along Interstate 25.
But the historic downtown revived in the 1970s after six blocks of Main Street were closed off to vehicle traffic and the opening of several cafes, taquerias and retail shops. Several museums and galleries line the downtown pedestrian mall, as well, with a weekly farmers' market populated by local farmers, artists and other purveyors.
Whether a newly-minted American from south of the border or a senior looking for a quiet retirement, rents in Las Cruces are affordable. An average one-bedroom apartment rents for $694 monthly, 48.2 percent below the national rate.
In the film "Planes, Trains and Automobiles," John Candy's character Del Griffith declares, “Whoever said nothing is impossible obviously hasn't tried nailing Jell-O to a tree." Well, clearly his travels with Steve Martin never took him to Le Roy, NY, a town built on Jell-O.
Well, not literally. Jell-O, “America's Most Famous Dessert," was invented in Le Roy, in Western New York, way back in 1897 by Pearle Wait, a carpenter who was experimenting with gelatine, when he stumbled upon the recipe for the wiggly confection, which his wife named Jell-O. From those humble beginnings, Le Roy remained the home of Jell-O production for six decades until General Foods moved the facility out of town in 1964.
Today, Jell-O is still, figuratively, in the air in Le Roy. You can visit the Jell-O Museum and Gallery off of Main Street. The facility, housed in a 150-year-old building, offers exhibits about the history of Jell-O, advertising art, memorabilia and collectibles from toys to recipe books. Eleven Jell-O delivery vehicles including ox carts and a 110-year old Cadillac are on display in the “On the Road: A Century of Ruts, Dust and Macadam" exhibit. Outside, the path from the Jell-O Museum to the historic Le Roy House is known as the “Jell-O Brick Road."
Even though Jell-O left town decades ago, it's an inexpensive place to move into. Far away from the expense of Manhattan, the most affordable town in New York for renters offers a one-bedroom for $612, 54.3 percent below the national average.
A half-hour from Greensboro, 45 minutes from Winston-Salem, an hour from the Research Triangle and 90 minutes from Charlotte, the town of Asheboro at the geographic center of North Carolina is both in the middle of nowhere and close to everywhere.
First, as a courthouse town then as a railroad hub, Asheboro grew slowly over the decades, until a boom in the early 20th century, with the founding of the Acme-McCrary Hosiery Mills. Its post-war economy continued to develop as a manufacturing center for batteries and foodstuffs.
Then in 1979, the North Carolina Zoo opened south of town. The 500-acre facility is the world's largest natural habitat zoo and one of only two state-owned zoos in the U.S. Today, the Zoo houses more than 1,800 animals from more than 250 species bringing 700,000 visitors to Asheboro each year.
Asheboro has a retail and commercial corridor along Fayetteville Street, centered around the intersection with Salisbury Street, plus a large mall and a series of big-box shopping centers off US Highway 64 on the east side of town. And just south of town is the 50,000 acre Uwharrie National Forest.
For all its convenience to North Carolina's largest cities, Asheboro still offers some of the most inexpensive rent in the nation. At an average of $503 for a one-bedroom apartment, the 62.5 percent price below the national average is the fifth most affordable on this list.
The infamous Coen Brothers movie put the city of Fargo on the map for most people (even though most of the film takes place in Minnesota). But just to its west, of course, is the suburb of West Fargo, which is the sixth-largest city in North Dakota on its own.
As Fargo's largest suburb, West Fargo is a significant commuter town supporting business in the larger community. But West Fargo retains its own identity as a community.
West Fargo is home to the Bonanzaville U.S.A. history museum complex, which features forty historic buildings spread over twelve acres. It is also the site of Bonanzaville Pioneer Days, the longest-running annual event in the region, offering parades, food trucks and special tours. And each September, more than 85,000 people attend the Big Iron Farm Show at West Fargo's Red River Valley Fairgrounds, an annual tradition since 1981.
To live just 15 minutes down Interstate 94 Business from downtown Fargo, it will set you back just $675 a month on average for a one-bedroom unit, just about 50 percent below the national average.
In a state with large metropolitan regions such as Cincinnati, Cleveland and Columbus, an important city like Dayton can be overlooked. And just outside Dayton is the key suburb of Trotwood. The commuter community of 25,000 sits just to Dayton's western edge, with a large section of its southeast side literally intermingled with the city of Dayton.
Trotwood offers two distinct commercial centers. On the northern end along Salem Avenue and State Highway 49, several shopping centers offer a selection of national brand stores and home improvement centers. And in the center of town, the corridor along East Main Street features mom and pop stores, salons, boutiques and eateries.
For more than 50 years, Trotwood's now-shuttered Hara Arena was home to the Dayton Hamvention, the world's largest ham radio convention, or “hamfest." Hara Arena has also hosted events in nearly every sport, including hockey, indoor soccer, roller derby and indoor football.
The arena may be gone, but you can still come stay at one of the most affordable cities in the nation. At a monthly average for a one-bedroom apartment of $513, the 61.7 percent price below the national average is among the lowest on this list.
There's a good chance that Enid is the only city in the U.S. named for an Alfred Lord Tennyson character. Yes, the north-central Oklahoma locale is named for the wife of one of King Arthur's Knights of the Round Table in "Idylls of the King. "As odd as that tidbit is, Enid is a sure bet better than the town's original name of “Skeleton."
"You're right in the center where the best wheat grows and you've got your share of the oil that flows," penned songwriter Frank Iddings for the song “Enid, The City Beautiful" in the 1920s. And that couplet sums up the primary movers for Enid during the 20th century, agriculture and petroleum.
But as economies shifted, so did Enid, growing industries from food production to grain processing to pumping equipment. Today, Enid is hailed as one of the “Top 25 Cities for Doing Business in America" by Inc. magazine and “Top Five Up and Coming Areas" by Good Morning America.
Enid also offers several cultural sites, including the Cherokee Strip Regional Heritage Center, Railroad Museum of Oklahoma, the Gaslight Theatre and Enid Symphony Center. The annual Tri-State Music Festival has taken place each spring since 1932, featuring a parade, grand concert, dance exhibition, jazz festival and carnival.
That's a lot going on in the city of 50,000. But if you're a renter looking for value, Enid is a hot commodity. At just $443 a month for an average one-bedroom rental, Enid is the second most affordable city in the entire nation, with rents 67 percent below the national average.
If living in Oregon intrigues you but Portland seems a little too hipster for you, Salem may be a great option. While Portland and Salem may both have been named after other New England cities, the state capital and second-largest city is just under an hour to the south, close enough for a day trip, far enough away to keep its own identity.
While the state government of Oregon employs 21,000 in Salem, the best-tasting jobs in town may be at Kettle Foods, where the chipmaker has contributed to the sweet and salty taste of Salem for 35 years. In an ironic twist, Pringle Creek meanders from near Kettle's headquarters towards downtown Salem. The downtown district offers several cultural institutions including Mission Mill Museum, Hallie Ford Museum of Art and Elsinore Theatre.
Downtown's Riverfront Park on the Willamette River features attractions, including a carousel, amphitheater, children's museum and riverboat dock. From Riverfront Park, the Peter Courtney Bridge offers access to Minto Island, which contains hiking and biking trails, picnic areas, a dog park, paddle boats, fishing ponds and a golf course.
For close proximity to Portland but with a less trendy aesthetic, Salem is your best value in Oregon. An average one-bedroom apartment rents for $979, about 27 percent below the rest of the nation.
For those not familiar with the western Pennsylvania town, Indiana sounds like a bit of geographic miscalculation. Along with other oddly-centered Keystone State towns like California and Jersey Shore, Indiana has suffered through its share of confusion from travelers and mapmakers alike. But its name origin is of no mystery, meaning the “Land of Indians," as is the state to its far west.
But this ancestral land of the Iroquois has its own unique history. It's best known by Pennsylvanians as the home of Indiana University of Pennsylvania, where 13,000 Crimson Hawks (and not Hoosiers) matriculate, many of them in the state university system's only doctoral degree program.
And Hollywood aficionados, on the other hand, may know it best as the home town of Jimmy Stewart, a favorite son the city has adopted as part of its identity. In the 1980s, the Jimmy Stewart Museum opened in the Indiana Public Library and a bronze statue was unveiled in his honor to celebrate the actor's 75th birthday.
And each holiday season, Indiana holds the "It's a Wonderful Life" holiday jubilee with parades, displays and a film festival. The holidays are a big deal in Indiana, branded the “Christmas Tree Capital of the World," due to the predominance of Christmas tree farms in the region.
Whether you're here for summer in the mountains or a festive Christmastime, rents are the most affordable in PA, at just $546 a month for an average one-bedroom unit, just under 60 percent below the national average.
Even though Providence may be the capital and the largest city in Rhode Island, Warwick, the second-largest, may be the better locale. Not only is it affordable (for New England, that is), with an average one-bedroom apartment listing at $1,089 a month — 18.7 percent below the national average — it offers a shoreline that PVD just can't match.
Warwick sits on a snubnosed peninsula southeast of Interstate 95 surrounded by the Providence River, Greenwich Bay and Narragansett Bay. This offers residents miles of rocky and woodsy New England shoreline, with a bevy of watersports and outdoor recreation facilities, boat clubs and marinas, jetties, fishing docks, golf courses, parks, such as the large Warwick City Park along Brush Neck Cove and Goddard Memorial Park on the Potowamut Peninsula, and several beaches including the well-known Oakland Beach.
While Warwick does have a picturesque downtown in the Apponaug Village with cafes and seafood restaurants nestled between Apponaug Cove and Gorton Pond, the city offers several retail and commercial corridors among its distinct village neighborhoods.
Chain restaurants and big box stores mingle with coffee shops and diners along Bald Hill Road. A number of hotels, fast casual restaurants and apparel stores line Post Road adjacent to T.F. Green International Airport, the largest in the state.
Commercial businesses and shopping centers run along Airport Road near Occupessatuxet Cove. And pizza joints and family fun centers surround the intersection of Warwick Avenue and Sandy Lane.
Anderson is the smallest of the three cities that make up the northwestern corner known as Upstate South Carolina. Upstate is a region of 1.3 million South Carolinians along the Interstate 85 commercial corridor that also includes the cities of Greenville and Spartanburg.
Anderson itself has a unique history, and is known as “The Electric City." In 1895, a hydroelectric plant was opened on the Rocky River, supplying power to the city and making Anderson one of the first cities in the Southeast to have electricity. The electricity enabled a building and commercial boom, culminating in the founding of Anderson College, now Anderson University.
Don't be surprised if you're walking down the street and you hear a cry of “Wakanda Forever." That's because one of Anderson's favorite sons is "Black Panther" star Chadwick Boseman. You can probably find some of Boseman's "Avengers" apparel hanging in stores the star himself shopped in at Anderson Mall, a large shopping destination featuring more than 80 stores. The mall is located along North Main Street, where you'll find Anderson's commercial center, lined with several shopping centers and national retail chains.
It doesn't take movie star money to live in Anderson, thankfully. At 45.3 percent below the national average, a one-bedroom lists for $733 a month on average.
Aberdeen is a city built of its own failure. Like many western cities, Aberdeen was thrust into importance due to a railroad opening. But it wasn't supposed to be. The Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Paul Railroad had announced plans to bring the railroad through the town of Columbia, the county 20 miles to the north. The news was so well received that property prices in Columbia shot up. In fact, prices got so high in Columbia that the railroad company no longer found it to be an affordable place to build, and routed the tracks through the now more affordable Aberdeen. And, to add insult to injury, a decade later, the boomtown — now sporting lines from four railroads — took over Columbia's title of county seat.
Today, Aberdeen is a city of 26,000, South Dakota's third-largest (while Columbia has a current population of just 141). Still a station for Burlington Northern Santa Fe railway, Aberdeen offers numerous hotels along its US Route 12 commercial corridor, including the Super 8 Aberdeen East, the very first Super 8 ever opened (as well as the 100th on the other end of Route 12).
The city houses two regional colleges giving Aberdeen a college town vibe, as well as four art galleries and an annual film festival. On the northwest corner of town is Storybook Land and Wylie Park, a community amusement center featuring facilities and activities based on popular children's books such as a castle, train, roller coaster, go-kart track and the “Land of Oz" based on the books of L. Frank Baum who was a resident of Aberdeen in the 1880s.
Rents for a one-bedroom apartment average $667 a month, nearly half of the national average.
One of the three cities that make up the Tennessee/Virginia “Tri-Cities" region along with Kingsport and Bristol, Johnson City is an important economic and tourist hub along Interstate 81. And that claim is backed up with some cache.
Johnson City has been named, among other things, the fifth “Least-Expensive Cities for Living" by Kiplinger, eighth "Best Place for African Americans to Retire" by Black Enterprise and one of the 35 "Best Small Places for Business and Careers" by Forbes.
Not only is Johnson City a college town, with 17,000 students matriculating at East Tennessee State University, but the city is an economic healthcare hub, known as the "Med-Tech" corridor, with facilities including Johnson City Medical Center, Franklin Woods Community Hospital, Gatton College of Pharmacy and Quillen College of Medicine.
As a tourist center, Johnson City is also a key entry point into the vast Cherokee National Forest at I-26 and the nearby Great Smoky Mountains. Johnson City is also just a half-hour from NASCAR's Bristol Motor Speedway, the seventh-largest sporting venue in the world, with room for 162,000 attendees. And all those race fans can enjoy a refreshing Mountain Dew, first bottled in Johnson City in the 1940s.
Not only is Johnson City the most affordable of the Tri-Cities, but it's the best apartment value in all of Rocky Top. At 47.3 percent below the national average, rents here average just $706 a month for a one-bedroom.
Beef is what's for dinner and meat is the name of the game in Amarillo. The city of 200,000 is the largest in the Texas Panhandle, and the meatpacking industry employs more Amarillians than any other, with 3,700 at Tyson Foods leading the pack.
In fact, about a quarter of the U.S. beef supply is processed in the region. An important cowboy town, Amarillo was a hub for historical mega-ranches, including the still-operating JA Ranch, in business since 1879.
And if all that beef talk is making you hungry, just pop into The Big Texan Steak Ranch restaurant where if you finish a $72, 72-ounce steak entrée in under an hour, it's on the house.
But the former railroad and Route 66 town is much more than beef. Industries such as helium production, helicopter manufacturing and the only nuclear weapons assembly facility in the nation are also key to the local economy.
The city offers a variety of unique tourist attractions in and around the city. Palo Duro Canyon State Park, just south of Amarillo, is the nation's second-largest canyon structure behind just the Grand Canyon. The Alibates Flint Quarries National Monument just north of town is where prehistoric man mined flint to make rudimentary tools. To the southeast is Caprock Canyons State Park, home of the official Texas State Bison Herd.
The famous Cadillac Ranch, an art installation site where 10 Cadillac are buried nose-first into a field, is just west of town. And the Ranch's sister project, Dynamite Museum, is a citywide project which features thousands of mock traffic signs with very much non-traffic messages dotting streets and intersections around Amarillo.
Far away from the bustle of Dallas, Houston and San Antonio, Amarillo is culturally and historically distinct from its more expensive neighbors, which is reflected in the cost of living. An average one-bedroom apartment rents for just $590, a full 56 percent below the national figure.
Can you name the second-largest city in Utah? Unless you're a Mountain West geography aficionado, probably not. The answer is West Valley City, Salt Lake City's largest suburb and, as the name implies, within the valley to the west of the city.
West Valley City only dates back to 1980, when the unincorporated towns of Hunter, Granger, Chesterfield and Redwood merged to form the new city. But it was 22 years later when West Valley City got its turn in the spotlight as home to the ice hockey tournament at the 2002 Olympic Winter Games.
The town's Maverik Center, then known as the E Center, hosted every game, with Team Canada defeating the U.S. for the gold medal in both the men's and women's sides. West Valley City is also the location of the USANA Amphitheatre, Utah's largest open-air theater music venue.
Having been created just a generation ago from four separate communities, West Valley City lacked a true downtown for its residents. In 2011, the city unveiled a 10-year plan to develop a ground-up downtown corridor in the Granger neighborhood between the Valley Fair Mall just off I-215 and Bangerter Highway, known as Fairbourne Station. A TRAX light rail line and a large hotel have already been completed, along with a selection of retail shops, cafes and restaurants.
Situated in the midst of the beauty of the Great Salt Lake and the surrounding mountains, it's hard to believe West Valley City is the most affordable in the state. Rents here for an average one-bedroom list for $852 a month, 35.6 percent under the national average.
First, a bit of New England geography. A state is made up of counties. A county is made up of towns, which operate like cities. The towns are made up of villages, which operate like neighborhoods. That being said the village of Essex Junction, in the town of Essex, is the most affordable city in Vermont for renters.
But, being New England, affordable is a relative term. In fact, with an average rent of $1,430 a month for a one-bedroom apartment — the third-highest on this list — Essex Junction is 6.7 percent above the national average.
The village of Essex Junction, to the east of Burlington and Lake Champlain, was founded as Hubbels Falls, for the natural waterfall at the bend in the Winooski River where Ira Allen, brother of Ethan Allen, constructed a dam, thus founding the town.
After a turn as Painesville, the town was finally christened Essex Junction for the rail line that bypassed Burlington in favor of Essex. That decision resonates today, as Amtrak's popular Vermonter service runs daily through Essex Junction from St. Albans to Washington, D.C., the closest stop to the much larger Burlington.
The quaint New England village boomed into a modern city in the 1950s with the opening of a major IBM facility, which today, under the GlobalFoundries name, still employs more than 3,000 people. The most popular attraction in Essex is the annual Champlain Valley Fair, the state's largest, held over 10 days each summer at the Champlain Valley Expo. The fair features agricultural and cultural exhibits, a large food court, midway gaming and national touring band concerts.
You might say Salem is the small college sports capital of the world. The town of 25,000 plays host to the NCAA Men's Division III Basketball Championship, Volleyball Championship and Softball Championship, and also formerly presented the Amos Alonzo Stagg Bowl, the NCAA Division III Football Championship, for a quarter-century. This has brought thousands of visitors and millions of dollars to the municipality that's the county seat of Roanoke County in western Virginia.
The city's Roanoke College, a Division III school itself and located about seven miles from the actual city of Roanoke, sits in the middle of Salem's quaint Main Street downtown of cafes, shops and brewpubs, between strip mall districts along Electric Road and the convenience access off Interstate 81.
Local legend has it that the final shot ever fired by General Robert E. Lee's Confederate Army was shot from a hill at Appomattox Court House by a band of “Salem Flying Artillery" rebels in 1865. Today's Salem rebels surrender to the lowest average rents for a one-bedroom apartment in Virginia at $756 a month, 43.6 percent below the national figures.
Far away from the coffee and Amazon hipsters of Seattle, Pullman is a city of 30,000 along the Idaho border. As the home of Washington State University, Pullman is a true college town, a small burgh with a large university as its primary employer and economic foundation, dominating the city's identity.
What makes Pullman's college town personality unique is its proximity to Moscow, ID, another true college town, with the campuses of WSU and the University of Idaho separated by just seven miles.
Pullman sits in the heart of the western U.S.'s Palouse Prairie, an absolutely stunning expanse of emerald green rolling hills, which is also a key agricultural region featuring some of the nation's most important wheat, barley, pea and lentil crops. In fact, lentils are so important to the area that Pullman hosts the National Lentil Festival each year the weekend before fall classes start at WSU. The event features street fairs, a parade, concerts and, of course, a “lentil cook-off."
Any good college town needs a great college neighborhood. In Pullman, that's College Hill, the campus hang out district near Martin Stadium filled with fraternity and sorority houses, cafes and, of course, college bars, including the beloved Stubblefields, Valhalla and The Coug. For college students and “townies" alike, the rents are the lowest in Washington State. A one-bedroom unit lists for $768 a month on average, 42.7 percent south of the national average.
On the other side of the country is one of the east's major college towns, Morgantown, campus site of West Virginia University. So important is WVU to Morgantown that the population of the city doubles from 30,000 to 58,000 when school is in session.
One of the most unique features of the WVU campus is the Morgantown Personal Rapid Transit. The PRT is a government-funded unmanned light rail system, one of the first in America, which opened in 1975 connecting WVU's three campuses, Health Sciences, Evansdale and Downtown. The system helps WVU students connect between campuses and explore the city center.
The WVU PRT's southern terminus lets off in the center of Morgantown's delightful downtown that's nestled around the Monongahela River and Deckers Creek. The city's center is big for its size and modern for a college town.
The district is filled with a variety of eateries and restaurants of a variety of cuisines, beer aficionado breweries and college sports bars and cultural attractions such as Mainstage Morgantown and Metropolitan Theatre. Many attractions line the Monongahela waterfront as well, from Hazel Ruby McQuain Park and its open-air amphitheater to the trendy waterfront hotel and brewpub district just over Don Knotts Boulevard in South Park.
Despite its vast university system, modern amenities and exciting downtown that any coastal city would be proud to have, Morgantown remains affordable. Not only is it the best value for renters in the state, but one of the top 10 on this list, as well, with rents a reasonable $522 a month for an average one-bedroom, 60.7 percent below the national rate.
Out in the middle of western Wisconsin, somewhere between Eau Claire and Minneapolis is Menomonie, a town of just 16,000 surrounding Lake Menomin. The town was originally settled as a lumber industry base with multiple mills along the banks of Wilson Creek and Red Cedar River.
Today, the town is a small-town getaway for the Chippewa Valley community, named one of the "20 Best Small Towns in America" by Smithsonian Magazine. Most of the recreation and commerce revolve around Lake Menomin. The city's quaint downtown along Main Street and Crescent Street at the southern end of the lake is a hub of restaurants and pizza places, cafes and antique shops, as well as the Mabel Tainter Center for the Arts, named for the daughter of Captain Andrew Tainter, the founder of the historic Knapp, Stout & Co.
Up the lake's east shore are several parks, including Lakeview, Elmwood, Point Comfort and the large Lake Menomin Park. Along the western shore are more parks, a fish and game club and even a small beach, plus the public library, a water park and a second commercial center along Broadway at Interstate 94.
Average rents in Menomonie are among the most inexpensive on our list, coming in at $540 a month, nearly 60 percent below the average across the nation.
In a desolate corner of western Wyoming, in the shadow of Casper Mountain, is the small city that shares its name. Casper, despite its population of just 55,000, is still the second largest in America's least-populated state. The city along the North Platte River is a town rich both in oil history and cowboy lore.
Named in honor of Lt. Caspar Collins, son of the city's original fort's commander killed in battle nearby, the city retains the spelling Casper due to a long-forgotten typo on the town's registration. In the present day, the city offers a plethora of economic and recreational activities, perfect for families. In 2010, the town placed in the top 10 on Forbes' “Best Small Cities to Raise a Family."
Any discussion of recreation in Casper must start with Casper Mountain, at the north end of the Laramie Mountain chain. In the winter, the mountain offers downhill and cross-country skiing (and night skiing), snowshoeing, snowboarding and snowmobiling, primarily at Hogadon Ski Area.
In the summer, there's an abundance of camping, picnicking and hiking on the mountain, including the Braille Trail, a trail designed for hikers who are blind. In town, families can spend the day at cultural sites including Fort Caspar Museum, National Historic Trails Interpretive Center and Nicolaysen Art Museum.
Despite its reputation as a family-friendly town, Casper is still affordable for couples and solo renters. At 40.2 percent below the national average, a one-bedroom apartment rents for an even $800 a month on average.
|Rank||City||State||Average 1-BR Rent|
|36||West Valley City||UT||$851.57|
|41||North Las Vegas||NV||$995.33|
The rent information included in this article is based on average July 2019 one-bedroom multifamily rental property unit inventory on ApartmentGuide.com and is used for illustrative purposes only. Cities were only included if they had at least five available properties, with the exception of Morgantown, WV, which only had three available properties.
The data contained herein do not constitute financial advice or a pricing guarantee for any apartment.