The best places to live in Vermont are some of the best places you can live in the world.
Needless to say, it was very difficult to narrow down the top ten best places to live in Vermont.
How’d we rank the top places in Vermont? In total, we analyzed 20 cities on essential factors like cost of living, crime, unemployment rates, rent and median home values for every place with over 1,000 residents.
We discovered that there are fantastic places in Vermont for every type of person. There’s Burlington for those people who love ice cream, Wilder for the outdoorsy type, and make sure to give Barre a second look if you’re into that whole idyllic-Norman Rockwell vibe.
So where are these unique places in Vermont where homes are affordable, jobs are plentiful, and neighborhoods are safe? Read on.
What’s the best place to live in Vermont for 2023? The best place to live in Vermont is Woodstock based on the most recent data.
Ask any Vermonter, and they will tell you that their side of New England is the best. And while that might be true for many, the Vermonters living in our top ten best places for 2023 are the winners.
To see how your city compared, take a look at the list below of the best places to live in Vermont.
For more Vermont reading, check out:
- Best Counties To Live In Vermont
- Cheapest Places To Live In Vermont
- Best Places To Raise A Family In Vermont
Article Table Of Contents
The 10 best places to live In Vermont for 2023
|Rank Last Year||1|
|Median Home Value||$480,400|
If you’re looking for a place with quintessential New England charm, you’ve found it in Vermont’s best town, Woodstock. An abundance of covered bridges, farms dedicated to sharing their agricultural heritage or just providing divine cheese and maple syrup, and Vermont’s only national park: these are the features that make for a simple, pleasant life in Woodstock.
They also played a big role in Woodstock topping our list of the best places for families in Vermont. Not to mention a GreatSchools average rating of 9/10 for Woodstock’s public schools, which have achieved the 2nd lowest high school dropout rate in the state. Woodstock also has the 3rd lowest crime rate and the 2nd highest rate of residents with health insurance in Vermont. Unemployment sits at a super low 0.7% and the median household income is $96,161/year, the highest in the state. Which is good when you’re also paying the highest price for homes in Vermont, $480,400.
|Rank Last Year||3|
|Median Home Value||$276,100|
State capitals rarely make these lists, but Montpelier has always been a bit of an odd city out. It’s the only capital city in America without a McDonald’s, to give you an idea. While small, Montpelier has no shortage of things to do. A visit to the Vermont State House is always fun, Bragg Farm has you covered for all things maple-related, Lost Nation Theater is constantly fostering local artistry, and hiking Camel’s Hump is a goal or source of pride for every local.
With a median age of 44, Montpelier is the oldest city on this list. It’s also the best-educated, seeing as over 60% of residents have a college degree and nearly a third have a master’s degree, PhD, or professional degree. All those fancy degrees pay off, as Montpelier residents enjoy the 5th highest median household income in the state at $71,163/year. Since smart, moneyed individuals rarely go in for crime, it makes sense that the violent crime rate in Montpelier ranks as the 3rd lowest in the state.
|Rank Last Year||2|
|Median Home Value||$327,900|
Burlington may be the biggest city in Vermont, but South Burlington has the slight edge when it comes to quality of life. You can get sweet views of Lake Champlain and the Adirondacks from Red Rocks Park, meet the local legends behind Vermont’s top craft beer at the Magic Hat Brewery, and party all night long at the Higher Ground music venue. It’s truly a vibrant city with an endless supply of entertainment and natural splendor.
Unfortunately, it also ranks among Vermont’s most expensive cities, with the highest cost of living anywhere on this list. Rent in South Burlington goes for around $1,592/month, and buying a home here will set you back around $327,900. On the bright side, South Burlington also has the 5th lowest poverty level in Vermont, workers enjoy the 7th shortest average commute time at 18 minutes, and public schools are among the best in Vermont. South Burlington’s residents are also the 3rd best-paid in the state, with a typical household bringing home $83,750/year. South Burlington has grown by nearly 10% since 2010, as savvy movers catch on to how awesome life is here.
|Rank Last Year||11|
|Median Home Value||$153,400|
Bellows Falls, ranked as the number 4 best place to live in Vermont, is a hidden gem known for its low cost of living and charming community. Located in Windham County, Bellows Falls offers plenty of things for its residents to enjoy.
One of the main draws of Bellows Falls is its affordability. With a median home price of $153,400 and a median rent of 962, it is one of the best places to live in terms of cost of living. Residents can enjoy a high quality of life without breaking the bank.
The village is home to the Green Mountain Railroad, a heritage railroad that offers scenic rides through the picturesque Vermont landscape. The annual Roots on the River Festival and the No Film Film Festival also add to the vibrant cultural scene in Bellows Falls.
|Rank Last Year||4|
|Median Home Value||$285,100|
Located a half-hour east of Burlington, Jericho clocks in as the 5th best place to live in Vermont. Parents can rest easy about their children’s education because GreatSchools gave Jericho’s district a 9/10 average score. Jericho also has the 4th lowest high school dropout rate in Vermont. Other impressive statistics include a poverty rate of 4.0% (the 2nd lowest in Vermont) and unemployment rate of 0.0%. Homes in Jericho are the 5th most expensive in Vermont at $285,100, but that’s no sweat when you’re also earning the 2nd highest median household income statewide at $95,156/year.
Fancy getting out in nature? Jericho’s got you covered with Mills Riverside Park, a 216-acre park complete with a covered bridge, a pavilion for summer concerts and farmer’s markets, and wonderful views of Mt. Mansfield. The Old Red Mill is an iconic 19th century structure with family-friendly trails around. It also houses the Snowflake Bentley Museum, which is definitely worth a trip.
More on Jericho: Real Estate
|Rank Last Year||7|
|Median Home Value||$338,100|
Ah, Burlington: the heart and soul of Vermont. Home to a thriving arts scene, entrepreneurship out the wazoo, the very best of Vermont’s dining and shopping, and plenty of outdoor recreation, residents of Burlington can’t imagine living anywhere else. It’s the youngest city on this list, with a median age of just 27, easily explained by all the University of Vermont and Champlain College students around. Many students never leave, and they can’t be blamed for that.
The heart of downtown Burlington is Church Street Marketplace, four blocks of shops, eateries, and street performers. There’s also free WiFi all along Church Street, so your Instagram followers can envy you in real time. You can get almost anywhere following Burlington’s bike path; all the way from downtown-adjacent Waterfront Park to any of the beautiful beaches on Lake Champlain. Is it any wonder Burlington topped our list of the best cities for singles in Vermont?
Sure, housing is a bit pricey in Burlington, where rent goes for around $1,381/month, but in general, the cost of living is in line with the Vermont average. For the state’s biggest city, Burlington is also quite safe. Just know that your Burlington neighbors are going to pose a real challenge when pub quiz night rolls around; over half the population has a college degree, and over 20% have a master’s or higher.
|Rank Last Year||6|
|Median Home Value||$229,400|
Vermont’s oldest and smallest city, Vergennes, comes in as the state’s 7th best place to call home. Vergennes featured on our coverage of the best places to retire in Vermont, and a lot of those same factors come into play here. There’s Button Bay State Park on Lake Champlain for outdoor recreation, and Vergennes’ historic downtown is chock full of quaint, local shops, gorgeous architecture, and some of the best restaurants in the state. And that’s not even getting into the summer concerts and farmer’s market.
All those great features wouldn’t be worth much if you couldn’t enjoy them in safety, so it’s good that Vergennes has the 2nd lowest crime rate in Vermont. Even if you do get banged up somehow, 93.4% of residents have health insurance, the 18th highest rate statewide. The poverty rate in Vergennes is the 6th lowest in Vermont, while a median household income of $65,750 ranks as the 6th highest statewide.
|Rank Last Year||5|
|Median Home Value||$312,500|
We’re sticking around the greater Burlington area for our 8th best place in Vermont, Essex Junction. People clearly agree that Essex Junction is fantastic, seeing as it’s Vermont’s fastest growing city. Here you’ll find outlet shopping, hot air ballooning, a wonderful golf course, and a culinary resort and spa Sound ritzy? Well, Essex Junction is the richest city in Vermont, after all.
That wealth comes in handy for making an equitable, booming economy. The poverty rate in Essex junction is 7.6% and the unemployment rate is 3.7%, the 4th and 6th lowest statewide, respectively. Essex Junction also has the 4th highest median household income in Vermont, at $79,677/year, and homes here are the 4th priciest in the state. Safe streets and good schools round out the picture of a sweet place to call home.
|Rank Last Year||9|
|Median Home Value||$262,100|
You will find Winooski, the 9th best place to live in Vermont, slightly northeast of Burlington. This city of 8,015 has been on the up and up for the past few decades. After the economic boom–and eventual bust–of the Winooski Falls mill era, which residents and visitors can learn more about at the Heritage Winooski Mill Museum, the area has rebounded nicely.
As far as earnings go, the median household income here of $61,033 may seem low compared to other places, but about 30% of households in Winooski actually bring in $50,000 to $74,999. An amount that pairs well with the median home value of $262,100.
A growing economy is not all Winooski has to offer its residents; a well-rounded quality of life can be found here too. Community members are not wasting precious time sitting in traffic thanks to a commute that is only 20 minutes or fretting about their safety since the city ranks 11th in the state for lowest levels of total crime.
|Rank Last Year||12|
|Median Home Value||$172,300|
Located in Franklin County, Swanton is known for being one of Vermont’s best places to live. Swanton offers affordable housing options for residents with an overall low cost of living and a median home price that is lower than the state average.
Swanton is home to beautiful parks, hiking trails, and scenic biking routes, allowing you to immerse yourself in nature and enjoy outdoor activities. Additionally, the city is conveniently located near Lake Champlain, offering opportunities for boating and fishing.
Swanton’s location within the state provides easy access to Burlington, the state’s largest city. Burlington is a short drive away and offers a vibrant downtown area with numerous shops, restaurants, and cultural events.
Mapping The Best And Worst Places To Live in Vermont
Best Places To Live In Vermont Size Requirement
Before we even started to collect data on the best places to live in Vermont, we had to answer a tough question: Is it fair to pit Montpelier with a population of 7,966 against places with a population of 18?
We firmly decided no, that just isn’t fair.
So to create our ranking, we broke the best places to live into three tiers:
- Cities — Populations over 1,000
- Towns — Populations between 1,000 and 1,000
- Small Towns — Populations below 1,000
This left us with 20 cities, 18 towns, and 70 small towns.
We then decided, no matter how much anyone loves their town, the best cities to live in Vermont have more of everything and therefore you need to have over 1,000 people to truly be ‘the best’.
You can see the results of those best place rankings at the end of the article.
Methodology: How We Calculated The Best Cities To Live In Vermont
Now that we had our set of the best possible cities, it was time to rank them.
We ranked each place in Vermont across a number of criteria from one to 20, with one being the best.
We then took the average rank across all criteria, with the city posting the lowest overall score being crowned the winner of the title “Best Place To Live In Vermont”.
The criteria we looked to determine the best places were:
- Median Home Values
- Median Income
- Population Density (Higher better)
- Unemployment Rate
- Commute Time
- Education Levels
- Health Insurance Coverage
- Poverty rates
After the dust settled, what was the best place to live in Vermont? That would be Woodstock.
If your city or town isn’t among the top 10, jump down to the bottom of the post to see a detailed chart of the best places in Vermont.
Otherwise, buckle up for a ride down good living lane with Woodstock at the end of the cul-de-sac.
Summary: The Best Places In Vermont
If you’re looking at areas in Vermont with the best economic situations, where there’s lower than average crime, and a lot to do, this is an accurate list.
Woodstock made a strong showing to take in the overall number one spot for the best place to live in Vermont for 2023.
Best Towns To Live In Vermont
- Wilder (Pop. 1,704)
- Woodstock (Pop. 1,054)
- Jericho (Pop. 1,387)
- Bristol (Pop. 1,759)
- Milton (Pop. 1,974)
- Waterbury (Pop. 1,724)
- Northfield (Pop. 1,978)
- South Barre (Pop. 1,380)
- Poultney (Pop. 1,459)
- North Bennington (Pop. 1,688)
Best Small Towns To Live In Vermont
- Norwich (Pop. 917)
- Dorset (Pop. 255)
- Old Bennington (Pop. 187)
- East Middlebury (Pop. 255)
- Greensboro (Pop. 108)
- Shelburne (Pop. 564)
- East Burke (Pop. 104)
- Fairlee (Pop. 336)
- Waitsfield (Pop. 163)
- East Barre (Pop. 912)
If you’re curious enough, here are the worst places to live in Vermont according to the data:
- Orleans (Pop. 1,085)
- Poultney (Pop. 1,389)
- Enosburg Falls (Pop. 1,369)
For more Vermont reading, check out:
- Best Places To Retire In Vermont
- Richest Cities In Vermont
- Safest Places In Vermont
- Worst Places To Live In Vermont
Best Places To Live In Vermont