Full of rich history, outdoor recreation, and authentic southern cuisine, it’s no surprise why people of all ages find Alabama a desirable place to live. Here are the five best places to live in Alabama!


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  • Population: 65,508
  • Home Price: $270,400 median purchase price; $887 median monthly rent
  • Crime Rate: Safer than 70% of Alabama cities
  • Unemployment Rate: 2%

If you’re looking for a tight-knit community to call home in, consider Auburn! Families will enjoy living in Auburn thanks to the Auburn City School District, which provides high-quality education at some of the best schools in Alabama. And it’s home to the biggest school in the state, Auburn University, making the city perfect for college students looking to earn their degree. The university is also a big part of the city’s culture! Find Auburn Tigers (NCAA D-1) fans parading through Downtown Auburn with Aubie the Tiger while chanting “War Eagle” and rolling the trees on Toomer’s Corner after a big win. If you want a place with great outdoor recreation, “The Loveliest Village on the Plains” has plenty of options! Rent a boat and enjoy swimming or reeling in catfish, hitting the mountain biking trails, and geocaching at Chewacla State Park. Golf with your buddies on 54 holes surrounded by Saugahatchee Lake views at RTJ Golf Trail at Grand National. Attend plant sales in the nursery, or explore the lush gardens and habitats at Davis Arboretum. Indulge in brunch dishes like the Redneck Benedict, Hashbrown Casserole, and Granola French Toast at The Hound. Or get the best southern comfort fare when you order the Fried Chicken Mac & Cheese, Shrimp & Grits, and Rum Salmon at Amsterdam Cafe.


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  • Population: 210,928
  • Home Price: $97,500 median purchase price; $870 median monthly rent
  • Crime Rate: Safer than 2% of Alabama cities
  • Unemployment Rate: 45%

Made up of surrounding Alabama suburbs like Vestavia Hills, Hoover, and Trussville, Birmingham is a diverse metropolitan area perfect for those looking to settle down! Nicknamed “The Magic City” for its rapid growth and rich natural resources during the 20th century, Birmingham has a vibrant culture, many museums, theaters, and music venues. As one of the most affordable cities in Alabama, with housing costs 47% lower than the national average, residents looking to purchase a piece of Alabama real estate can find plenty of budget-friendly options. The city also celebrates diversity and inclusion with LGBTQ+ friendly organizations, businesses, and annual events like Central Alabama Pride and SHOUT Film Festival. Enjoy time outdoors with mountain biking at Red Mountain Park, outdoor concerts at Birmingham Railroad Park, and gardening or wellness classes at Birmingham Botanical Gardens. Support local teams like the Birmingham Legion FC (USL Championship) at Protective Stadium and the Birmingham Barons (Southern League) at Regions Field. Explore civil and human rights exhibits like the Barriers Gallery, Confrontations Gallery, and Procession Gallery at the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute. Watch classic movies with sing-a-longs, grab tickets to see your favorite musical artist, or attend a ballet at Alabama Theater, which dates back to 1927. Tour exhibits like Wall to Wall: Amy Pleasant and Heroes & Villains: The Art of the Disney Costume, or attend events like Art on the Rocks at the Birmingham Museum of Art. The “Dinner Table of the South” also has great restaurants to choose from. Try fresh seafood like the Blackened Redfish, Marinated Crab Claws, and Octopus A La Plancha at Automatic Seafood and Oysters. Or order modern Mexican cuisine like the Chicken Mole, Roasted Chile Relleno, and Carnitas at El Barrio.


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  • Population: 199,845
  • Home Price: $184,500 median purchase price; $868 median monthly rent
  • Crime Rate: Safer than 49% of Alabama cities
  • Unemployment Rate: 3%

Ranked as the best place to live in Alabama, Huntsville is a great place to live and work due to its excellent affordability and thriving job market. Huntsville also has a rich history, playing a major role in the 1960s Space Race and earning the moniker “Rocket City” due to the presence of NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center and the U.S. Space & Rocket Center. With one of the lowest unemployment rates in the nation, Huntsville residents can explore career opportunities in the aerospace, defense, and technology sectors. Young professionals can explore careers at one of the 300 companies inside Cummings Research Park, the second-largest research park in the U.S. Huntsville also has a plethora of recreational opportunities with over 65 parks and tons of hiking and biking trails. Spend time outdoors at John Hunt Park, Monte Sano State Park, the Huntsville Botanical Garden, and Ditto Landing Marina. Grab tickets to see shows like Little Shop of Horrors, Don’t Dress For Dinner, and The Musical Comedy Murders of 1940 at VBC Playhouse. Tour the 150+ working art studios, attend Concerts on the Dock, and explore the outdoor market at Lowe Mill ARTS & Entertainment. Try the BBQ Pork Sandwich, Southern Fried Catfish, and Chicken Fried Steak at Blue Plate Cafe. Or order the Empanadas de Carne, Enchiladas Verdes, and Tortas de Papa at La Esquina Cocina.


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  • Population: 189,994
  • Home Price: $134,100 median purchase price; $873 median monthly rent
  • Crime Rate: Safer than 5% of Alabama cities
  • Unemployment Rate: 4%

If you’re looking to live near the Gulf Coast, Mobile is a great place to live in Alabama! Residents will find the cost of living in Mobile is 10% lower than the national average, so finding affordable homes and apartments in Port City is easy. Young professionals in Mobile can find jobs in diverse industries like logistics & distribution, healthcare, manufacturing, and aviation. The city is also filled with tons of fun things to do! Visit popular Mobile museums, to learn about the original birthplace of Mardi Gras at Mobile Carnival Museum, experience more than 150 hands-on science adventures at Gulf Coast Exploreum Science Center, and tour immersive maritime exhibits at GulfQuest National Maritime Museum. Take your four-legged friend to run around the dog park, play a singles or doubles match of tennis, or have an outdoor picnic at Medal of Honor Park. Catch a Mobile Symphony Orchestra show like Mozart’s Requiem or A Latin Rhapsody at Saenger Theatre. Order the Creole Seafood Pasta, Deep Fried Pork Chop, and Half Baked Oysters at Dumbwaiter Restaurant. Or try fresh farm-to-table dishes like the Crawfish Etouffee, Smoked Tuna Salad Sandwich, and Fried Bologna Sandwich at The Noble South.


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  • Population: 199,054
  • Home Price: $121,100 median purchase price; $905 median monthly rent
  • Crime Rate: Safer than 22% of Alabama cities
  • Unemployment Rate: 4%

As the Alabama State Capitol, Montgomery is a popular city recognized for its rich history, including the Montgomery Bus Boycott, Civil Rights Movement, and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Today, Montgomery is a hub for arts and culture, providing residents with tons of museums and historical sites like the Rosa Parks Museum, National Memorial for Peace and Justice, Civil Rights Memorial, The Legacy Museum, and the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts. Singles, young professionals, and families moving to Montgomery can settle down and find affordable homes 25% below the national average. Those looking to pursue a career in Montgomery can find jobs in key industries like government defense, education, health care, and automobile manufacturing. There is also no shortage of fun while living in Montgomery, with residents enjoying annual Montgomery festivals like the Alabama National Fair, Alabama Shakespeare Festival, and the Montgomery Dragon Boat Festival. The city has also undergone major revitalization efforts, providing residents with lively restaurants and bars throughout the Downtown Montgomery Entertainment Districts. Attend an outdoor concert in the amphitheater, take a ride on the riverboat, and let your kids play on the splash pad at Riverfront Park. Watch the Montgomery Biscuits (Double-A) hit home runs at Riverwalk Stadium. Order the Special Cheese Dog, Chicken Salad Sandwich, and a bowl of Chili at Montgomery staple, Chris’ Famous Hotdogs. Or sink your teeth into the Rib Sandwich, Smokehouse Quesadilla, and Smoked Sausage at Dreamland BBQ.


Moving to Alabama? Life Storage offers storage units throughout “The Yellowhammer State” to help make your move easier. Find cheap self storage in Alabama today!

City statistics from AreaVibes

This post was originally published on December 29, 2017, and was revised on April 15, 2024 with new information.

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