Photo of the Mobile Bay at sunset over the bay and Causeway

Best Places To Live In Alabama

Lauren Nowacki5-Minute Read
April 15, 2021

Life in Alabama can consist of just about anything – from hiking in the mountains or laying on a sandy beach to exploring the depths of space or standing on the hallowed grounds of some of the most historic moments of the civil rights movement. You can please your senses with the taste of barbecue, the smell of fresh flowers in their nurseries and the sound of country rock and blues – all within steps of each other.

When it comes to experiencing all that the state has to offer, consider moving to one of these best places to live in Alabama.

Best Major Cities To Live In Alabama

Alabama’s metropolitan areas offer the city living at a fraction of the cost of most other cities in the country. Here’s what you can expect from two of the best major cities in Alabama.

Birmingham

aerial view of Downtown Birmingham, Alabama
  • Population: 209,403
  • Median household income: $37,375
  • Median home sold price: $179,000
  • Average commute:9 minutes

With its low cost of living, diversity and relatively low commute times, Birmingham is a great city for young professionals. Its public school system needs improvement, but the city’s arts and culture vibe, energetic nightlife and culinary scene are top-notch. And as “the battlefield for the civil rights movement,” Birmingham is steeped in important American history. Check out homes for sale in Birmingham and explore Birmingham real estate trends to learn more.

Birmingham’s Best: The Top Places To Live In The Birmingham Area

Hoover 

The largest suburb of Birmingham, near the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, it features many parks and is home to both young professionals and families. 

Vestavia Hills

An inviting Birmingham suburb, Vestavia Hills has a highly ranked school district and is surrounded by parks, museums and unique local restaurants.

Homewood

Consistently listed as one of the best places to live in Alabama, Homewood ranks high amongst the rest when it comes to its public school system, diversity, nightlife and quality of life in general.

Mountain Brook

There’s plenty for young families to enjoy in Mountain Brook, including the Birmingham Zoo, Botanical Gardens, numerous parks and historical landmarks and an open-air shopping center.

Mobile

aerial view of downtown Mobile, Alabama
  • Population: 413,210
  • Median household income: $47,583
  • Median home sold price: $202,000
  • Average commute: 25 minutes

Residents say that Mobile was “born to celebrate,” and the city doesn’t disappoint. Many may not know, but Mobile is the birthplace of Mardi Gras in the United States. Festivities begin two and a half weeks before Fat Tuesday and include parties, balls and over 40 elaborate parades with floats, masked marchers and flying beads, trinkets and Moon Pies. If you can’t catch the celebration in February, the Mobile Carnival Museum is open year ’round. When Mobilians aren’t catching beads, they’re celebrating the simpler things in life, like farm-to-table meals, live music or the famous Moon Pie Drop to ring in the New Year. To join the festivities year ’round, view homes for sale in Mobile and learn more about the Mobile real estate market.

Getting The Most Out Of Mobile: The Best Places To Live In The Mobile Area

Spanish Fort

Outdoor enthusiasts will love visiting Spanish Fort’s rivers, numerous state parks and boat launches or participating in the city’s environmental efforts, including the International Coastal Cleanup.

Saraland

The self-proclaimed “City of Progress,” Saraland focuses on growth, with new subdivisions, businesses and community services joining the city. In 2006, Saraland created its own city school system, which is now one of the top public schools in the state. 

Semmes

While the Semmes Community was founded in 1900, the city of Semmes was incorporated only recently, in 2011. It may be a young city, but its character, charm and agricultural heritage are known throughout the state. In fact, the city’s azaleas and camellias, grown in nationally recognized, local nurseries, supply many gardens throughout the country. 

Best Small Cities And Towns To Live In Alabama

If bustling cities aren’t your thing, Alabama’s small towns have plenty to offer. Here are some of our favorites.

Gulf Shores

  • Population: 12,757
  • Median household income: $53,476
  • Median home sold price: $363,800
  • Average commute:9 minutes

One stroll along the sugar-white beaches of Gulf Shores and you’ll know why it’s one of the best places to live in Baldwin County. Situated along Alabama’s Gulf Coast, the city doesn’t just have 32 miles of beaches, it also features hiking trails that take nature lovers through nine different ecosystems. If you love being active outdoors, check out homes for sale in Gulf Shores for your next place to live.

Fairhope

  • Population: 22,677
  • Median household income: $75,197
  • Median home sold price: $350,000
  • Average commute:5 minutes

Fairhope is where southern and small-town charm collide. That’s one reason the city is said to be a great place to retire or raise a family. The area is also famous for its jubilees, when an extraordinary amount of fish, crabs, shrimp and other sea life show up along the shoreline. This phenomenon is said to happen in only two places in the world – the eastern shore of the Mobile Bay and Tokyo, Japan. Experience the excitement yourself by purchasing a home for sale in Fairhope.

Daphne

  • Population: 26,869
  • Median household income: $71,882
  • Median home sold price: $225,000
  • Average commute:2 minutes

Many families and young professionals are drawn to Daphne, with its top-rated school system, high employment rate. It’s also consistently rated one of the safest cities in Alabama. For those who want to escape the quiet, small-town life for just a bit, the city of Mobile is just a 20-minute drive away. Start your move to the quaint city by perusing the list of homes for sale in Daphne.

Trussville

  • Population: 22,635
  • Median household income: $97,226
  • Median home sold price: $320,186
  • Average commute:3 minutes

With tree-lined streets, a tight-knit community and a highly rated public school system, it’s no surprise Trussville residents call it “the gateway to happy living.” It’s also considered one of the best places to live in the Birmingham area. Learn more about life in the city by checking out homes for sale in Trussville.

Best Places To Visit In Alabama

While this article is about the best places to live in Alabama, we can’t ignore the great places to visit as well, also known as our honorable mentions for best cities to live in Alabama.

Huntsville

Located in northern Alabama, Huntsville, also known as the Rocket City, is home to the largest space museum in the world. If science isn’t your thing, there’s plenty of other activities and attractions, including several farmer’s markets, theaters, breweries and secret art trails.

Auburn

Auburn sits on the eastern side of Alabama and is home to Auburn University. The college town is one of the state’s fastest-growing cities and, if you come on a day the Auburn Tigers win a game, you may just see the town covered in toilet paper – a time-honored and famous tradition.

Montgomery

There’s much to see on a visit to Montgomery, the capital of Alabama. History buffs will want to check out the domed capitol building or visit the Civil Memorial Center, while nature lovers can stroll along several park trails, walk the riverfront or take a riverboat cruise.

The Bottom Line

From bustling cities and small towns with that Southern charm to miles of sandy beaches and inland trails, Alabama has much to offer with a lower cost of living than many other states. If it’s the place you want to be, let Rocket Homes® help you find your dream home.

*A number of the statistics in each listing were sourced from the U.S. Census Bureau, including 2019 population estimates, 2015-2019 median household incomes and 2015 – 2019 mean travel time to work for those 16 and older. Data from the February 2021 Rocket Homes® Trend Report was used for the median home values for each city.

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    Lauren Nowacki

    Lauren Nowacki is a staff writer specializing in personal finance, homeownership and the mortgage industry. She has a B.A. in Communications and has worked as a writer and editor for various publications in Philadelphia, Chicago and Metro Detroit.