Top 100 rank: 5
Lots of towns near Dallas have low crime, affordable homes, and good jobs; McKinney is no exception. What makes it stand out is its gem of a downtown. Lovingly restored 19th-century buildings house restaurants, boutiques, and galleries; the 1875 courthouse contains a new performing-arts center.
McKinney’s employment opportunities are robust, sparing many residents a rush-hour drive of up to an hour to Dallas. Defense contractor Raytheon has a 3,700-person division here, and a mix of businesses in financial services, medical technology, and eco-friendly manufacturing are moving in.
Though McKinney has grown like mad over the past decade, you’d never suspect it when driving through its tree-filled communities surrounded by ponds, parks, and hiking trails. —Vanessa Richardson
Is McKinney a great town, or what?