13 Best Cities for Swingin’ Seniors

Hanna Olsen

Feb 3

Lists + Maps

Each year, after a lifetime of working and saving for the future, tens of thousands of American workers leave their jobs for the last time, anxiously anticipating the next chapter of their life. It’s the big pay-off. It’s the long vacation. Ah, retirement. But for the prime of your life, you need prime real estate. School districts no longer matter.

As a retiree, you want to live somewhere that’s fun and exciting, while also remaining clean, safe, and relatively affordable (hello, fixed income). And while traditional warm-weather spots — Florida and Arizona, for example — remain strong picks, there are plenty of hidden gem cities that are perfect for that wiser, more worldly crowd.

Pittsfield, MA

Single and looking to mingle? Pittsfield boasts a staggering population of unattached seniors — in fact, more than half of the city’s senior population is single. This sweet city — with a slender population of just over 44,000 residents — has also been ranked one of the most secure, green cities in the U.S., and has a lush arts and cultural center.

Athens, GA

If warm weather is what you crave, Athens is the place. Sports, arts, and outdoor events all present themselves in this college town with lower-than-average cost of living. But don’t worry about the students — while they keep Athens young (the median age is 25), Athens is a favorite state of AARP, who have ranked it one of the best small towns for retirement.

Pocatello, ID

Inexpensive, naturally beautiful, and with predictably dry, hot summers, Pocatello is the kind of slow-moving place that doesn’t feel suffocatingly small. There are plenty of small businesses to pop in on (Forbes ranked Pocatello as one of the best Small Places for Businesses and Careers) and, while the senior population isn’t huge — it’s only about 10% of the general population — there are still lots of senior-friendly events ranging from cross-country skiing to theatrical performances. Pocatello also has both a racetrack and a casino, for those who like to live on the edge.

Yuma, AZ

For some retirees, the number of sunny days each year really is one of the most crucial factors — and Yuma’s got that metric in the bag. The single sunniest city in the union, Yuma boasts a shocking 90% rate of sunshine. And because so many retirees choose to winter in Yuma, the population burgeons annually, bringing a wealth of over 85,000 seniors to the city.

Provo, UT

Ranked #1 by the Milken Institute, Provo offers a combination of low crime, low cost of living, a high level of senior employment, and a highly active lifestyle. Plus, the weather is pretty great, provided you like very defined seasons.

San Francisco, CA

Not all seniors want a sleepy town to call their home. San Francisco’s moderately-sized senior population (14%) is well-served by the many services provided by the city, including the oldest non-profit senior center in the United States. The cost of living is definitely elevated in San Francisco, but for those seniors who save smartly, the cosmopolitan and active lifestyle can’t be beat. Plus, there’s no state income tax on Social Security!

Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN

The Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul are consistently ranked as having one of the nation’s highest quality of life. Sure, the weather can be bone-chillingly cold, but the warmth of the people and the excitement of the activities — think dining, theaters, music, and plenty of other great dates — can help anyone weather the winter.

Cape Coral, FL

Florida is, of course, a notorious home for retirees — and for good reason. Founded in 1957, Cape Coral may be younger than many of its residents, but don’t let its relatively short lifespan fool you. With 355 annual days of sunshine and a robust calendar of yearly events (think a big Fourth of July fireworks display and a rousing Oktoberfest), Cape Coral is a great spot to be a senior in search of love.

Eureka, CA

Move to the largest West Coast city between San Francisco and Portland and you’ll be in good company; nearly half of the population is over the age of 55, with ladies outnumbering gents by several thousand. Hit up Eureka’s Bayshore Mall for all of your retail needs, and do your shopping at the region’s only Costco.

Portland, OR

Portland—where young people come to retire? Sure, but Portland is also a great place for retirees to retire, as evidenced by the multitude of men and women with gray ponytails seen on Portland’s streets. With a relatively low crime rate and, according to Volunteering in America, a high population of older folks who volunteer with their spare time, it’s a pretty, funky place to spend the best years of your life. The lack of sales tax also makes it easy to set a budget and stick to it.

Scottsdale, AZ

Maybe it’s Arizona’s reputation as a great place to retire, or maybe it’s something about Scottsdale’s well-funded tourism programs, but for whatever reason, older folks are flocking to this mid-sized city. The city’s population is considerable older than the national average — a full eight years — and its housing shows it; there are copious retirement communities in Scottsdale, just waiting to become your new home.

Louisville, KY

The home of horse-racing enthusiasts and a lovely old town district with preserved Victorian architecture, Louisville is a great place for an active later life. Nearly 13% of the population is over the age of 65, and rents are relatively cheap. And, according to US News, seniors can take classes at the University for free.

Austin, TX

Texas has a few things going for it that make it a great retirement state. Not only does it have a relatively high population of doctors per capita, it’s also got numerous tax benefits for seniors.  Austin‘s Parks and Recreation department goes out of its way to service seniors, and there’s even a task force for aging due to a recent influx of folks over the age of 65, so you’ll be in good company.

Did we leave any cities out that would be ideal for swingin’ seniors? Let us know in the comments.

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Estately is a national online real estate search site whose articles have been featured in the San Francisco Chronicle, Houston Chronicle, NBC News, Philadelphia Magazine, GeekWire, The Denver Post, and more.

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