America's Most Fun, Affordable Cities

  1. Good Times, Low Prices
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    Good Times, Low Prices

    It can be difficult to enjoy the wealth of dining and nightlife options in big cities such as New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco after housing and other expenses are paid. Fortunately, many areas outside of major metropolises offer both affordable homes and a variety of restaurants and bars, according to a new report from Better Homes & Gardens Real Estate. The company, with real estate data company Onboard Informatics, evaluated 6,106 Zip Codes where the median home price is within 20 percent of the state’s median home price. It then selected the 25 areas with the greatest number of bars and restaurants. The list of fun, affordable places includes tourism destinations, such as Honolulu and Myrtle Beach, S.C., which tend to have a greater number of restaurants and bars, as well as college towns, such as Wilmington, N.C., and Tempe, Ariz. Photographer: Superstock/Getty Images

    Click here to find out which are America’s most fun, affordable cities.

    Note: The following geographies refer to Zip Codes, but a city name is also included as a frame of reference for the reader.
  2. No. 25 Most Fun, Affordable City: Newark, Del. 19711
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    No. 25 Most Fun, Affordable City: Newark, Del. 19711

    No. of bars and restaurants: 127*
    Population: 56,559*
    Median home price: $215,000*

    Home to the University of Delaware, Newark has recently been revitalized into a diverse dining and specialty shopping destination, according to the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Downtown Newark alone has more than 60 restaurants, plus a food coop, according to the Downtown Newark Partnership. Photographer: Getty Images

    *Data source on all slides: Better Homes & Gardens Real Estate’s Lifestyle Search and Onboard Informatics. The geographies refer to Zip Codes, but a city name is also included as a frame of reference for the reader.
  3. No. 24 Most Fun, Affordable City: Athens, Ga. 30601
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    No. 24 Most Fun, Affordable City: Athens, Ga. 30601

    No. of bars and restaurants: 127
    Population: 21,857
    Median home price: $130,100

    Below the Blue Ridge Mountains, 70 miles from Atlanta, Athens offers eclectic nightlife and "one of the South's most progressive culinary scenes," according to the Athens Convention & Visitors Bureau. The bureau states: "Dozens of unique, independent eateries offer a distinctive culinary experience, from traditional Southern soul food to trendsetting nouveau Southern cuisine." Photographer: Andre Jenny/Newscom
  4. No. 23 Most Fun, Affordable City: North Charleston, S.C. 29406
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    No. 23 Most Fun, Affordable City: North Charleston, S.C. 29406

    No. of bars and restaurants: 128
    Population: 27,464
    Median home price: $139,900

    North Charleston is South Carolina’s third-largest city, after Columbia and Charleston. Restaurants can be found in the city’s historic district, which also has small family-owned businesses and shops, according to the city’s website. Shoppers can also find quick eats at the Centre Pointe shopping center and Northwoods Mall.
    Photograph: Courtesy of C. Ryan Johnson
  5. No. 22 Most Fun, Affordable City: Daytona Beach, Fla. 32118
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    No. 22 Most Fun, Affordable City: Daytona Beach, Fla. 32118

    No. of bars and restaurants: 129
    Population: 18,860
    Median home price: $99,500

    East Florida’s Daytona Beach has many dining venues along scenic waterways, including casual seafood eateries, trendy new bistros, and upscale dining establishments. There are also nightclubs and spots for dancing and live music. Photographer: Tony Arruza/Getty Images
  6. No. 21 Most Fun, Affordable City: Orlando, Fla. 32801
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    No. 21 Most Fun, Affordable City: Orlando, Fla. 32801

    No. of bars and restaurants: 130
    Population: 10,406
    Median home price: $130,000

    Dining in downtown Orlando ranges from outdoor cafes to upscale restaurants. The area also has a number of nightclubs and bars on Church Street and the Wall Street Plaza. Photographer: Newscom
  7. No. 20 Most Fun, Affordable City: Hattiesburg, Miss. 39402
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    No. 20 Most Fun, Affordable City: Hattiesburg, Miss. 39402

    No. of bars and restaurants: 131
    Population: 38,766
    Median home price: $159,750

    Hattiesburg, home to the University of Southern Mississippi, has many restaurants for steak, seafood, and American cuisine, chain restaurants, and sports bars and lounges. Photographer: Suzi Altman/Getty Images
  8. No. 19 Most Fun, Affordable City: Richmond, Va. 23220
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    No. 19 Most Fun, Affordable City: Richmond, Va. 23220

    No. of bars and restaurants: 133
    Population: 32,645
    Median home price: $180,500

    Locally owned establishments are on nearly every corner of Richmond’s Fan district, which also has such chains as Morton’s, Ruth’s Chris, Fleming’s, and P.F. Chang’s, according to the Richmond Metropolitan Convention & Visitors Bureau. The area also has pubs, a martini bar, and dance clubs. Photographer: Andre Jenny/Newscom
  9. No. 18 Most Fun, Affordable City: Memphis, Tenn. 38104
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    No. 18 Most Fun, Affordable City: Memphis, Tenn. 38104

    No. of bars and restaurants: 134
    Population: 22,084
    Median home price: $113,000

    Beale Street (located near the 38104 Zip Code) is well known for its many bars, but other parts of the musical Tennessee city also offer a variety of dining and nightlife options. Midtown Memphis, located east of downtown, has a variety of clubs and bars that have become home to local musicians, reports the New York Times. Photographer: Richard I'Anson/Newscom
  10. No. 17 Most Fun, Affordable City: Kailua Kona, Hawaii 96740
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    No. 17 Most Fun, Affordable City: Kailua Kona, Hawaii 96740

    No. of bars and restaurants: 135
    Population: 32,008
    Median home price: $300,000

    This seaside area on the big island has developed into one of Hawaii’s more affordable areas, with a variety of shops and restaurants along Alii Drive, according to the Hawaii Tourism Authority. Photographer: Douglas Steakley/Getty Images
  11. No. 16 Most Fun, Affordable City: Lahaina, Hawaii 96761
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    No. 16 Most Fun, Affordable City: Lahaina, Hawaii 96761

    No. of bars and restaurants: 136
    Population: 20,101
    Median home price: $360,000

    This part of west Maui—which also includes Kaanapali, Napili-Honokowai, and Kapalua—"has been transformed into a Maui hot spot with dozens of art galleries and a variety of unique shops and restaurants," according to the Hawaii Tourism Authority. The area also has many spots for live music. Photographer: Steve Smith/Newscom
  12. No. 15 Most Fun, Affordable City: Myrtle Beach, S.C. 29572
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    No. 15 Most Fun, Affordable City: Myrtle Beach, S.C. 29572

    No. of bars and restaurants: 137
    Population: 8,019
    Median home price: $131,750

    Restaurants, pubs, dinner theaters, cafes, and coffee houses line Myrtle Beach, South Carolina’s popular vacation destination. Nightlife includes nightclubs, discos, sports bars, and beach clubs, according to the Myrtle Beach Area Convention & Visitors Bureau. Photographer: Andre Jenny/Newscom
  13. No. 14 Most Fun, Affordable City: Gainesville, Ga. 30501
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    No. 14 Most Fun, Affordable City: Gainesville, Ga. 30501

    No. of bars and restaurants: 140
    Population: 32,881
    Median home price: $150,000

    This section of Gainesville, a city 50 miles northeast of Atlanta, is home to Brenau University and has a number of casual dining, Southern cuisine, and fine dining establishments. David R. Frazier/Newscom
  14. No. 13 Most Fun, Affordable City: Florence, S.C. 29501
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    No. 13 Most Fun, Affordable City: Florence, S.C. 29501

    No. of bars and restaurants: 146
    Population: 40,754
    Median home price: $132,000

    The nonprofit Florence Downtown Development Corp., which is helping revitalize the city’s downtown area, has secured about 150,000 square feet of space for developing restaurants, shops, and entertainment places, according to its website. Photographer: Danita Delimont/Getty Images
  15. No. 12 Most Fun, Affordable City: The Wildwoods, N.J. 08260
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    No. 12 Most Fun, Affordable City: The Wildwoods, N.J. 08260

    No. of bars and restaurants: 150
    Population: 14,931
    Median home price: $306,250

    Dining locales in the Wildwoods—which includes Wildwood, North Wildwood, Wildwood Crest, and Diamond Beach—range from upscale to family restaurants. Nightlife includes dance clubs, Irish pubs, lounges, sports bars, deck hangouts, and live bands, according to visitnjshore.com. Photographer: Amy Toensing/Getty Images
  16. No. 11 Most Fun, Affordable City: Saint Augustine, Fla. 32084
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    No. 11 Most Fun, Affordable City: Saint Augustine, Fla. 32084

    No. of bars and restaurants: 155
    Population: 29,160
    Median home price: $93,250

    This Zip Code includes Saint Augustine and Villano Beach. Along the shores of Saint Augustine, the nation's oldest city, are martini bars, restaurants, biker bars, karaoke lounges, and jazz clubs, according to oldcity.com.
    Photographer: John Coletti/Getty Images
  17. No. 10 Most Fun, Affordable City: Winston-Salem, N.C. 27103
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    No. 10 Most Fun, Affordable City: Winston-Salem, N.C. 27103

    No. of bars and restaurants: 169
    Population: 33,822
    Median home price: $135,000

    Winston-Salem has undergone a revitalization and its downtown area (near this Zip Code) has gained an arts district, new restaurants, bars, galleries, and residential developments, according to the Winston-Salem Chamber of Commerce. A search on yellowpages.com shows that this section of the city, which stretches to Clemmons, has a number of restaurants along Hanes Mall Boulevard, Stratford Road, and Peters Creek Parkway.
    Photographer: Andre Jenny/Newscom
  18. No. 9 Most Fun, Affordable City: Makiki, Honolulu, Hawaii 96813
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    No. 9 Most Fun, Affordable City: Makiki, Honolulu, Hawaii 96813

    No. of bars and restaurants: 169
    Population: 28,377
    Median home price: $293,500

    The Makiki section of Honolulu, just two miles from downtown, has views of the Pacific Ocean and Diamond Head. There are restaurants and bars on Bishop Street, Alakea Street, and Fort Street Mall, according to yellowpages.com. Photographer: Getty Images
  19. No. 8 Most Fun, Affordable City: Anchorage, Alaska 99503
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    No. 8 Most Fun, Affordable City: Anchorage, Alaska 99503

    No. of bars and restaurants: 177
    Population: 14,153
    Median home price: $241,176

    Anchorage has many funky Alaska pubs, themed bars, and dance halls, according to the Anchorage Convention & Visitors Bureau. The city also has plenty of fresh seafood, from cold-water Kachemak Bay oysters and Alaska king crab to halibut and wild Alaska salmon. Photographer: Michelle McCarron/Getty Images
  20. No. 7 Most Fun, Affordable City: Wilmington, N.C. 28403
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    No. 7 Most Fun, Affordable City: Wilmington, N.C. 28403

    No. of bars and restaurants: 186
    Population: 32,878
    Median home price: $178,900

    This part of Wilmington is home to the University of North Carolina Wilmington. The city has a many seafood restaurants and bars and also offers international cuisine, including Thai, Indian, Vietnamese, and French dishes.
    Photographer: Lynn Seldon/Newscom
  21. No. 6 Most Fun, Affordable City: Sacramento, Calif. 95814
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    No. 6 Most Fun, Affordable City: Sacramento, Calif. 95814

    No. of bars and restaurants: 188
    Population: 10,061
    Median home price: $228,500

    Besides museums and shops, Downtown Sacramento, the city’s original commercial district, has a diverse variety of restaurants, cafes, pubs, and wine bars, according to the Downtown Sacramento Partnership. Photographer: Newscom
  22. No. 5 Most Fun, Affordable City: Greenville, S.C. 29607
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    No. 5 Most Fun, Affordable City: Greenville, S.C. 29607

    No. of bars and restaurants: 196
    Population: 36,389
    Median home price: $134,875

    Dining in Greenville ranges from local cuisine to popular national chains, according to the city's website. After downtown, the Haywood Road area has the most restaurant activity and generates the most retail sales in the city.
    Photographer: Getty Images
  23. No. 4 Most Fun, Affordable City: Scottsdale, Ariz. 85251
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    No. 4 Most Fun, Affordable City: Scottsdale, Ariz. 85251

    No. of bars and restaurants: 196
    Population: 35,383
    Median home price: $140,000

    Downtown Scottsdale offers some of the finest dining in the Phoenix metropolitan area. The variety of cuisines is wide, ranging from Continental to East Indian and Mediterranean, according to listings on scottsdaledowntown.com. Photographer: Getty Images
  24. No. 3 Most Fun, Affordable City: Tempe, Ariz. 85281
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    No. 3 Most Fun, Affordable City: Tempe, Ariz. 85281

    No. of bars and restaurants: 265
    Population: 61,010
    Median home price: $119,900

    The northern section of Tempe, home to Arizona State University, includes the Tempe Mill Avenue area, which has a greater concentration of restaurants than any other restaurant row around and offers both casual and upscale venues, according to the nonprofit Downtown Tempe Community. Nightlife includes swing, jazz, and rock-n-roll spots, brewpubs, and sports bars. Photograph: Courtesy of Michael Ging Photography
  25. No. 2 Most Fun, Affordable City: Ala Moana-Kakaako, Honolulu, Hawaii 96814
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    No. 2 Most Fun, Affordable City: Ala Moana-Kakaako, Honolulu, Hawaii 96814

    No. of bars and restaurants: 273
    Population: 19,576
    Median home price: $357,000

    The Ala Moana-Kakaako section of Honolulu has a number of restaurants and bars along Ala Moana Boulevard, South King Street, and Kapiolani Boulevard, according to yellowpages.com. Photographer: Getty Images
  26. No. 1 Most Fun, Affordable City: Ocean City, Md. 21842
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    No. 1 Most Fun, Affordable City: Ocean City, Md. 21842

    No. of bars and restaurants: 277
    Population: 10,246
    Median home price: $243,600

    Ocean City, Maryland’s popular waterfront vacation destination, offers such boardwalk fare as pizza and burgers as well as more formal dining, including seafood and steak. Pubs and nightclubs line the boardwalk, described as "three miles of pure entertainment" on the city’s website. Photographer: Dennis Brack/Newscom