For any history buff, the act of moving to another city carries with it a single absolute requirement. The town must contain all the lore and attractions that make a historic city truly historic. Of course, such things as housing prices and weather and access to schools must be considered, but for history buffs, what matters is the history. Otherwise, why bother moving at all? The following are five can’t-go-wrong historic choices.
5. Charleston, South Carolina
Soon after its founding in 1690, Charleston, SC, commonly known as Charles Town, after England’s King Charles, became the largest city in our budding nation. In the 17th century, its economic roots run deep in rice and indigo. Although indigo, a blue dye used for fabrics, no longer enjoys its prominence as a commercially traded resource, Charleston’s rice industry, especially its gold rice, is world renown, described by BBC-Travel as a “home-grown rock star.” Another historic element rising to the rock-star status is the Colonial architecture, much of which still survives, dating back to the 17th and 18th centuries.
For anyone moving to this city, the median home price for Charleston is somewhat higher than in other cities, historic or otherwise, but to balance that out is the bustling economy. With an unemployment rate of only two percent, Charleston offers a rich number of career opportunities. From aerospace to IT to energy to the life sciences, residents report a higher-than-average level of happiness, which might explain the fact that Charleston is rated as one of the friendliest cities in America. Of course, that high-level of happiness might also be due, in part, by the weather and the views.
Charleston is a coastal city with lots to do and see. Considering it offers 209 sunny days per year (just above the national average) it is easy to understand why the mix of history, employment, and climate make this a top choice for history buffs.
4. Boston, Massachusetts
Any list of historic places to live must include Boston. Its architecture dates back to the revolution, and its pivotal roots in the independence of the United States are not something to be read about or seen on television. Instead, tourists and residents alike can experience the rich history this city has to offer. From Freedom Trail, a tour of 16 historical sites where people worshiped or met as they went about conspiring for the freedom of the states, to Boston Park, the oldest park in the country, the attractions in Boston allow history buffs to literally bask in history.
As far as historic cities go, Boston is mid-size. In terms of housing, it is not one of the least expensive cities, but the amenities abound. Breweries, historic attractions, coastal views, and sports events offer residents endless activities. Additionally, the schools, both private and public, are Ivy League, making this a great choice for families with an unquenchable taste for history.
3. New Orleans, Louisiana
New Orleans’ roots go to back to France, which yielded the city to Spain in 1763. Much of the architecture is French style, and the French Quarter is a top tourist attraction. Perhaps the most famous historic attraction is the Garden District. Comprised of preserved, historic mansions, the Garden District offers views of how the southern elite lived, and still do.
Compared to other historic cities, its summer months can be hot and humid, but the winter months, especially from February to May, offer comfortable highs of 65 degrees along with pleasant weather. Top economies include healthcare, education, energy, manufacturing, and tourism, and with an unemployment rate of only 4.7 percent, it offers new residents a variety of job and career opportunities. Median home prices of approximately $250,000 rank as the average for mid-size cities, so it represents an affordable choice for individuals and families alike.
2. Santa Fe, New Mexico
Founded in 1610, Santa Fe’s capital is the oldest established city capital in the United States. Home to a variety of community colleges as well as the University of New Mexico, it offers a unique blend of modern education with roots pre-dating this nation’s founding.
Of course, summer weather can be dry and hot, but unlike other areas of the United States, that heat is a dry heat. What this means is the sunlight is hot, yet the shade can be up to 10 to 15 degrees cooler because there is less standing water moisture (humidity) heating up the surrounding air. With less humidity, the shade stays cool, as it should. Additionally, although Santa Fe’s summer months can heat up, the average annual temperature is actually quite low, coming in at a very enjoyable 65 degrees.
Regarding housing prices, although the median housing prices in Santa Fe are somewhat higher than the surrounding areas, a healthy real estate market exists for all price ranges, allowing anyone interested in this historic city to begin establishing their own roots.
1. St. Augustine
For history buffs, St. Augustine ranks as the oldest, continuously inhabited, European city founded in the United States. In the context of old, historic cities, what does old really mean? Baltimore, for instance, was founded in 1729. Boston, even older, was founded in 1630. At 289 and 388 years old, respectively, each of these cities will offer a lot of history. However, founded in 1565, St. Augustine is over 450 years old. In comparison, these other so-called old cities might as well be teenagers.
Not only is it the oldest city in the United States, but it also offers glimpses into the past via an entire street lined with buildings built between 1500 and 1699. Note: the previous claim is actually incorrect—there is not just one street-there are, in fact, many streets with homes, buildings, and forts dating back 300 to 400 years. As a tourist or new resident, walking amid neighborhoods of homes built over four-hundred years ago—there just is nothing like it.
Making this not-so-hypothetical walk down the sidewalks even nicer is, of course, the fact it is being done in Florida. With an average annual temperature range between 75 and 89 degrees, catching some sun in St. Augustine is a nice place to catch it. Combined with top-ranked schools, proximity to renown beaches, and a median home price of $253,000, it offers a near-perfect blend of history, livability, and history-rich amenities.
However, all this history comes at a price. Navigating all the red tape associated with moving or building in a historic city can be daunting. Make sure you’re choosing a builder and moving company that is fluent in the nuances of the process. SEDA Construction and Suddath professional movers are some of the few companies that can offer the expertise necessary to get the job done right in St. Augustine.
So, there it is history buffs. With hundreds of years’ worth of history between them these 5 cities are a historians dream. Plus, each offers so much more than antiquity, because let’s face it, as incredible as history is, it’s equally as important to make our own mark while we’re here, so why not do it somewhere you love.