How do you decide what the best places to retire are? There are some easy-to-enumerate factors such as cost of living, doctors per capita, and public transportation. Other factors are far more subjective: what kind of weather you want to enjoy throughout the year or what kind of cultural institutions are available. Whether you love country music or the opera, warm weather year-round or a chance to enjoy the changing seasons will all affect where you want to live – not mention where your family is. But there are a few cities across North America that stand out as excellent places to retire.
For Canadians and anyone living north of the border, winter weather is part of the package, and many enjoy it. Unless you’re bound for the Sunbelt, Ottawa is Canada’s best city to retire in.
There is an abundance of excellent retirement communities in Ottawa, many located in walkable neighborhoods with strong community bonds.
With the recent opening of the Ottawa LRT, this city of around 1 million now has a modern, accessible transit system. That’s good news for seniors who are thinking about giving up their automobiles and relying on alternative modes of transit.
Ottawa also has a high number of doctors per capita and quality hospitals. Access to medical care should be a top concern when you’re looking for a retirement destination.
With a warm climate, good air quality, a great cultural scene, and below-median cost of living, there are a lot of reasons to warm up to Athens, Georgia. There are also a lot of tax exemptions on retirement income in Georgia, so many seniors find that they can extend their retirement savings further than in other jurisdictions.
Charlotte, North Carolina
A North Carolina city with a suburban feel but a vibrant cultural scene, including a number of music venues appealing to people of all ages. Charlotte is a fast-growing city and it’s quickly becoming a culinary destination as well, offering everything from barbecue to Spanish tapas. There are over 2,000 restaurants and coffee shops to try.
Charlotte has been attracting retirees thanks to its mild winters, hot real estate market, museums, art galleries, and theatre.
If you’re a fan of green spaces, walks along the river, and year-round festivals, Edmonton is a great place to retire. For amateur-theater lovers, Edmonton offers one of the biggest Fringe Festivals in North America. It’s also one of the sunniest cities in Canada.
College towns often have many of the same features that seniors want in a place to live:
- Dense, walkable cores
- Middle-sized population
- Low crime
- Cultural life
- A strong sense of community
Columbia, Missouri offers all those things, and located further north than the last three Sunbelt Destinations, those who love fall foliage and snowy Christmases can enjoy real seasons, but also a longer outdoor season than other states further north.
Ultimately, though, it will be your own personal preferences that determine the best place for you to retire. This list is just a good place to start when the whole world is open to you.