If you’re interested in moving to a city where a luxurious lifestyle is becoming the norm, start by checking out the 115 U.S. cities we pinpointed as emerging locales for upscale living. Each city we ranked had to have a population of more than 100,000 people as of 2023 and have experienced positive population growth since 2020. We ranked all cities based on six categories: activities, properties, dining, annual income, diversity, and safety.
These cities offer more than affluence; they provide a lifestyle where quality, comfort, and luxury are at the forefront. With our insights, you’re one step closer to making your desire for an elevated, diverse, and enriched living experience a reality.
- The top three rising luxury cities in the United States are all in California; they include Irvine, Carlsbad, and Chula Vista.
- Carlsbad, California; Lewisville, Texas; and Tempe, Arizona, have the most luxury activities and interests per 100,000 residents among the rising U.S. cities we ranked.
- Irvine, California; Carlsbad, California; and Scottsdale, Arizona, are the top three rising luxury cities for properties worth more than $1 million.
- Manchester, New Hampshire; Lincoln, Nebraska; and Norman, Oklahoma, rank as the top three rising luxury cities based on upscale eats.
- Carlsbad, California; Frisco, Texas; and Irvine, California, have the highest percentage of households earning at least $150,000 per year among rising luxury U.S. cities.
- Port St. Lucie, Florida; Frisco, Texas; and McKinney, Texas, have the fewest reported criminal offenses per 100,000 residents among rising luxury cities.
- Sacramento, California; Elk Grove, California; and New Haven, Connecticut, have the most diverse populations among rising luxury cities.
Ranking Rising Luxury Cities
We curated data from various sources to identify rising luxury U.S. cities. We based luxury property rankings on Redfin data for the percentage of properties listed or sold for at least $1 million. We then gathered data from the U.S. Census Bureau to determine the percentage of households with a total annual income of at least $150,000.
We based luxury activity rankings on Yelp listings, including the number of locations, their ratings, and the cost of activities within the art, fashion, fitness, performing arts, relaxation, and social categories. We also used Yelp for luxury food rankings by determining the percentage of restaurants in each city with three or more dollar signs and their ratings.
Navigate through the following map and table for detailed information about America’s rising luxury cities.
When stacking emerging luxury locales against each other, California dominates the landscape, claiming the top three spots and making a significant appearance in the top 10. The most apparent common trait among top cities is the availability of luxury homes, but other factors also weigh in. Here’s what distinguishes the top five cities from the rest.
- Overall: First
- Luxury Property: First
- High Earners: Third
- Safety: Eighth
Irvine, the most luxurious rising city in the U.S., scored 77.3 out of 100 possible points. The city’s abundance of $1 million properties, high earners, and safe environment make it the ideal location to settle into subtle grandeur. Located in Southern California, Irvine promises a high quality of life and an abundance of family-friendly activities.
- Overall: Second
- Luxury Activities: First
- High Earners: First
- Luxury Property: Second
Further down the California coast than Irvine, Carlsbad established itself as a prime rising luxury city, ranking second on our list. With a wide array of fitness activities, golf courses, and art venues, there is never a dull moment in sunny Carlsbad.
Chula Vista, California
- Overall: Third
- Luxury Activities: Sixth
- Luxury Property: Eighth
- Luxury Food: 10th
Chula Vista, a suburb of San Diego, has a lot to offer when it comes to luxury living. Among the scenic surroundings, the city offers quality high-end eats, a plethora of art galleries and performing arts venues, and opulent real estate.
- Overall: Fourth
- High Earners: Second
- Safety: Second
- Luxury Property: Sixth
Located in the Dallas-Fort Worth metropolitan area, Frisco is a rapidly growing city known for its thriving business environment, homey atmosphere, safety, and valuable properties. Not only is the city home to the Dallas Cowboys’s training facility, but it also boasts a variety of parks, shopping centers, and entertainment options.
Rancho Cucamonga, California
- Overall: Fifth
- Luxury Property: Seventh
- Diversity: Eighth
Home to historic wineries, breathtaking scenery, and a mix of residential, commercial, and cultural amenities, Rancho Cucamonga rounded out the top five rising luxury cities in the United States.
Luxury Living by Category
We’ll now take a more detailed look at our ranking metrics to showcase the top five cities in each of our six categories. We’ll start with the wealthiest rising luxury cities.
Being a Southern California resident often comes with a fairly high cost of living. This could be one reason why people in Carlsbad brought home the biggest paychecks, with 50.7% of their households earning more than $150,000 annually. Frisco, Texas (45.2%), and Irvine, California (44.5%), rounded out the top three.
Now, let’s look at the rising luxury cities with the most homes listed or sold for at least $1 million.
Irvine, California, had the most luxury homes of the cities we evaluated. Among properties sold in the first nine months of 2023, nearly 70% were sold at or over $1 million. As of October 2023, 68% of listed properties in Irvine were priced over that mark. Carlsbad, California, was close behind, with 63% sold and 65% listed. And after a steep drop-off, Scottsdale, Arizona, ranked third at 36% and 47%, respectively.
Interested in finding luxury for less? With fewer million-dollar homes, moving to Charleston, South Carolina, or Stamford, Connecticut, might be more affordable rising luxury city options.
When it’s time to go out on the town, it’s good to know what activities are available. Let’s look at the cities with the best luxury activities and interests, including art, fashion, fitness, performing arts, relaxation, and social venues.
Carlsbad, California, ranked number-one for the most balanced luxury activity and interest locations per 100,000 residents. Carlsbad’s fitness locations and art venues helped it claim the top spot. Coming in second, Lewisville, Texas, ranked high for its relaxation spots, as did third-place Tempe, Arizona. The most surprising find was fifth-place Thornton, Colorado, with numerous options for the performing arts.
Now, let’s look at where to find the best luxury eats.
Foodies looking for high-end meals at every corner should look no further than Manchester, New Hampshire. Nearly 50% of its restaurants were categorized as $$$ or higher on Yelp, with an average rating of 3.9 stars out of five. If quality is more important than quantity, our third-place winner is the better option. The average rating for luxury restaurants in Norman, Oklahoma, was 4.8 stars—making the locale home to the highest-rated fine dining among all the rising luxury cities.
When assessing luxury living in a city, we also took the community into account. We’ll next explore diversity and crime levels to see which rising cities are the safest and most inclusive.
Major U.S. cities, such as New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco, are well-known for their population diversity, which adds great depth to a city’s culture. Among rising luxury locales, Sacramento had the greatest diversity. Specifically, 34% of the population reported itself as “White,” 20% as “Asian,” 12% as “Black,” 1% as “Native,” and the remaining 33% as “Other.” Sacramento also had the smallest gap between the most and least common ethnicities.
Researchers have determined that more economic opportunities and greater diversity lead to safer communities. Luxury living and greater peace of mind coexist in Port St. Lucie, Florida, the safest rising luxury city in our study. It has the fewest crimes per 100,000 residents annually at just more than 1,600. The cities with the next-lowest crime rates were Frisco, Texas (1,936), and McKinney, Texas (2,073). Cary, North Carolina (2,084), and Cape Coral, Florida (2,167), complete the top five safest luxury cities on the rise.
The cities our study featured signal the emergence of a new phase of luxury living in America. These are communities where safety, achievement, and cultural diversity converge with luxury activities, homes, and restaurants. If you’re contemplating an upscale relocation, don’t forget to consider important factors such as choosing a reliable moving company to help you move your belongings with peace of mind.
How We Chose
For this study, we ranked the top rising luxury cities in America based on the lifestyle they provide. We defined a rising luxury city as a city with a population of more than 100,000 people in 2023 that showed population growth from 2020 to 2023. In total, we analyzed 115 cities.
We ranked each city based on the following factors and weights:
- Luxury Activities (30%): We scraped Yelp for the following types of locations (also accounting for the number of locations, their ratings, and their costs): golf, resorts, day spas, art museums, art galleries, fashion, shopping centers, fitness and instruction, festivals, music venues, opera and ballet, performing arts, social clubs, and wineries. These locations were grouped into six categories, each weighted at 5%:
- Performing Arts
- Luxury Property (25%): We scraped Redfin property listings in each explored city. We looked at the percentage of listings that were valued at $1 million or more. We split this variable into two halves, the first looking at the percentage of properties that sold for $1 million or more and the second looking at the percentage of properties listed for $1 million or more.
- Luxury Food (15%): We scraped Yelp for all restaurants within each rising luxury city. We split this variable into two halves. For the first half, we looked at the percentage of restaurants priced $$$ or higher. For the second half, we looked at the average rating of these higher-priced restaurants in each city.
- High Earners (10%): We analyzed the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey (ACS) wage data in each city, specifically looking at the percentage of households with a total annual income of $150,000 or higher.
- Safety (10%): We analyzed the latest FBI UCR reported crime data, specifically looking at the number of reported offenses in 2021 (most recent year available) per 100,000 residents. If a particular city didn’t report data in 2021, we referenced the previously reported data (2019).
- Diversity (10%): We analyzed the ACS population data in each city, specifically looking at the ethnicity percentage breakdown. To measure diversity, we looked at the percentage gap between the most common and least common ethnicities; the smaller the gap, the greater the diversity.
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