14 Best Places To Live in Kentucky in 2023

Last Updated on October 29, 2023 by Nikki Jain

Dreaming of living in Kentucky? We don't blame you. It is one of the more unique states to live in. The state boasts stunning scenery and incredibly low crime rates. The cities feel properly unique too.

Even the largest cities in Kentucky retain a little bit of that small-town charm, and we love it. You will be spoiled for choice when it comes to the best places to live in Kentucky. In fact, putting together this list of the best cities to live in Kentucky was immensely hard. We wanted to live everywhere. 

Read on, and you will discover the 14 best Kentucky cities to live in. We'll cover the crime rates, demographics, and other information to help you decide whether the place is for you. We have lots to cover, so let's jump in, shall we?

14 Best Places To Live in Kentucky

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1: Louisville

Louisville is one the top places to live in Kentucky | Dreamstime/Sean Pavone

Louisville isn’t just one of the best places to live in Kentucky, but one of the best places to live in the United States. According to studies, Louisville is the 3rd most affordable place to live in the country. Perfect for those living on a budget!

It’s also, apparently, a top 10 food location in the country, which is really saying something since the US produces some amazing food. Not bad for an incredibly large city, right?

Like most US cities, the demographics of Louisville are multi-ethnic. Roughly 75% of the population is white, 22% black, and the rest are made up of multiple ethnicities (including Pacific Islanders).

As you can probably guess from being a more affordable place to live, the average income is slightly lower than other major cities. This means that many of the higher-paying jobs cannot be found here.

Crime rates are very low for a city of this size too. While it has been trending down the list, Louisville is classed as the 7th safest large city in the United States. Although, most of the crime seems to happen in particular areas. Stay outside of the Russel Neighborhood, and you should be fine.

Love to be stimulated by culture? There's plenty to enjoy within Louisville, too. You have plenty of museums & art galleries. There is also a booming indie music scene (some massive bands started in Louisville).

As we said, Louisville is brilliant for food. On top of all of that, you have some minor league sports teams (mostly soccer and baseball).

Things to do in Louisville:

Address: Louisville, Kentucky

Also Read: Top Tourist Attractions In Louisville

2: Lexington

Historic buildings down Short Street in Lexington | Dreamstime/Jacqueline Nix

Lexington is slightly pricier than Louisville from a real estate perspective, but the cost of living is broadly the same. Many people opt for Lexington because it is an 'up and coming' place.

Real estate prices are on the rise, which can be a fantastic way to work your way up the property ladder. It is also one of the best towns to live in Kentucky if you are a fan of finding jobs.

There is plenty to go around in Lexington. In fact, it is probably the most desirable city in Kentucky from a jobseeker’s perspective. 

Lexington is also classed as the ‘horse capital of the world’, so if you’re into your horses, you’ll find plenty to keep you occupied here. In fact, a sizeable amount of the town’s population derives its income from working in equestrian-related jobs.

Racial demographics are broadly the same in Lexington as they were in Louisville. Overall, crime is slightly lower, although it seems to be trending up ever so slightly.

Although, this could be a statistical issue. It may come crashing down next year. Basically, you are not at risk of being a victim of a violent crime here. In fact, this may be one of the safest places to live in Kentucky.

Things to do in Lexington:

  • Kentucky Horse Park
  • Raven Run Nature Sanctuary
  • Aviation Museum of Kentucky
  • Mill Ridge Farm

Address: Lexington, Kentucky

3: Bowling Green

Bowling Green
Fountain Square in Bowling Green Kentucky | Dreamstime/Julie Feinstein

If you feel like living in a much more urbanized environment, Bowling Green could be a good choice. Bowling Green has a very suburban feel, and you often feel as if you are part of a major community here.

Housing prices are considerably lower than the national average in Bowling Green. You can expect the average home to cost a shade over $167,000. Although, you may need to act quickly.

Bowling Green's population is growing by about 10% yearly, and it won't be long before new developments cease, driving up the prices of the existing homes.

Bowling Green is a smaller place than Lexington and Louisville. Although, as we said, it is one of the great places to live in Kentucky if you want more of a community-focused experience. You will get to know your neighbors here.

Thankfully, that community feels really plays off really well in Bowling Green. The crime rate here is 20% below the national average, making it one of the safest areas in

Jobs are fine. You probably won't enjoy major employment (median household income is just $50,000), but the lower cost of living means you will be very comfortable in Bowling Green.

Things to Do in Bowling Green:

Address: Bowling Green, Kentucky

4: Covington


One of the main attractions of living in Covington is that you'll be just 8 miles from Cincinnati. In fact, it probably wouldn't surprise you to know that a good number of people who live in Covington end up working in Ohio.

So, finding jobs certainly shouldn't be an issue if you live in Covington. There's a major city right on your doorstep. That being said, job prospects are high in Covington, so you should be able to find a job easily.

Considering its proximity to a major city, Covington has a decent cost of living. It is a bit higher than other areas of Kentucky, but not so expensive that living here would be unaffordable. Hence why so many people prefer Covington over Cincinnati.

We also enjoy the vast selection of properties in Covington. If you want to live in a larger home, you can. If you want a waterfront property, you can. If you want an apartment, you can get one. A lot of the time, you'll be nestled on the cusp of nature.

The downside is that poverty and crime rates in Covington tend to be a bit higher than some of the other best places to live in Kentucky. It still isn't drastically high compared to other cities throughout the US, but it is always worth considering.

Things To Do in Covington:

  • Tammany Trace - a 30-mile walking and cycling path.
  • Covington Farmers’ Market
  • Insta Gator Ranch & Hatchery

Address: Covington, Kentucky

5: Owensboro

Dreamstime/Lisa Mckown

With over 60,000 people living in Owesboro proper, this is the 4th most populated city in the state. It is gorgeous, both from an architectural standpoint and a natural standpoint. It is, quite simply, a stunning city.

Despite the raw beauty of Owensboro, the housing prices are meager. In fact, they are about 15% lower than the US average, making this one of the best cities in Kentucky to live if you are seeking an affordable home.

Crime is incredibly low in Owensboro, and educational standards are awfully high. In fact, many people claim that this is one of the best places to live in Kentucky for families. You feel safe here, and the smaller size means a real community feel to everything.

Unfortunately, the job market isn't thriving because it is a smaller location. Although unemployment levels in Owensboro are certainly on the lower side of things, a bit of effort could net you a job, even if it isn't necessarily the job you want.

Things to Do in Owensboro:

  • Walk alongside the Ohio River
  • Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame & Museum
  • Friday After 5 - Series of Free Music Concerts in the Summer
  • Panther Creek Park

Address: Owensboro, Kentucky

Also Read: Top Tourist Attractions In Kentucky State

6: Elizabethtown

Elizabethtown Nature Park

With just 30,000 people living in Elizabethtown, it is one of the smaller towns on this list. The small size means that it is a firm favorite among families, although the hefty professional population will often have Elizabethtown on a list of the best places to live in Kentucky for young adults.

There are lots of skilled jobs in the area, and if you can't find one, you won't be too far from somewhere that has them.

While Elizabethtown isn’t drastically team when it comes to Kentucky standards, the average cost of housing and living is still significantly lower here than the average in the United States.

Do bear in mind that Elizabethtown is one of the more densely populated areas in Kentucky. So, this may not be for you if you are a fan of wide-open spaces around your home. Well, not unless you are willing to pay a huge amount of cash. This is more about the urbanization.

Education is great in Elizabethtown, and many suggest you can find some of the best schools here.

Elizabethtown's crime rate is slightly higher than the Kentucky average but not massively high. You are unlikely to be the victim of a crime here.

Things to do in Elizabethtown:

Address: Elizabethtown, Kentucky

Also Read: Best Small Towns in Kentucky

7: Frankfort

Kentucky State Capitol in Frankfort | Dreamstime/Sean Pavone

Frankfort is a densely packed urban center with around 26,000 people living there. It is a very desirable place to live in Kentucky. Despite this, Frankfort's property prices are significantly below the Kentucky and the national average.

Although, this is more likely because job opportunities are not that high in Frankfort. The bulk of the population are young professionals who work in nearby, larger locations.

It is worth noting that most people in Frankfort rent their properties, one of the only places in Kentucky where renters outnumber the buyers.

This shows that Frankfort isn't really a place where people go to settle down (although you can). It is more of a place where people can test Kentucky to see what they like or save up to buy a home in another community.

Crime is a bit higher than the Kentucky average, but it isn't as high as in most places in Kentucky. You'll be safe here, especially if you are raising a family.

Things to do in Frankfort:

  • 9 different parks
  • Josephine Sculpture Park
  • Bourbon Boat Tour
  • Salato Wildlife Center

Address: Frankfort, Kentucky

8: Henderson


Henderson can be found on the Ohio River. Technically, it is just a suburb of Evansville, but most people see Henderson as its own distinct area.

Just over 28,000 people live here, with most of the area being a dense suburban area, which makes it perfect for families who desire socialization.

The median house price in Henderson is about half that of the average US house price. Renting a property here averages about $100 cheaper than most other places in Kentucky, so it can be perfect for renters too.

One of the reasons we love Henderson is due to the available job opportunities. Typically, smaller suburbs like this don't have a huge job market.

However, Henderson has plenty of jobs available in the manufacturing sector. Of course, you have Evansville nearby, too, which will help to round out the job options a little.

Mostly, Henderson's crime rates are considerably lower than the US average. At least with everything other than burglary. Although most of that seems to be targeted at businesses rather than homeowners, you should be fine.'

Things to do in Henderson:

  • Yearly tri-fest festival
  • John James Audobon State Park
  • Metzger’s Tavern - oldest operating tavern in Kentucky

Address: Henderson, Kentucky

9: Danville

Danville | Flickr/Warren LeMay

With a population of just over 17,000 people, Danville is probably the smallest location on this list, but don't let that put you off. The small population ensures lots of space and a massive community feel.

A few years back, Danville was not only classed as one of the best cities to live in Kentucky but one of the best places in the United States to retire. As a result, the bulk of the people that live here are retirees.

In comparison to the rest of Kentucky, rental prices in Danville are incredibly cheap. We are talking $150-$200 below the national average, with property prices around $100,000 below the national average.

Because Danville is more of a retirement area than a bustling area filled with youth, job options are not all that high, although commuting to nearby areas shouldn't be too much of a problem.

Despite the aging population, Danville does have some fantastic schools. The older skew in the population also means crime is very much on the lower side, so this is one of the safer areas in Kentucky.

Things to do in Danville:

Address: Danville, Kentucky

10: Fort Thomas

Fort Thomas
Flickr/Warren LeMay

On most metrics, Fort Thomas is one of the best towns to live in Kentucky. There is a high rate of property ownership in Fort Thomas, with around 75% of properties being owned by their occupiers.

However, do bear in mind that the average property prices in Fort Thomas are slightly closer to the US average of $236,000. Rental prices are a little bit lower, though.

The reason why people move to Fort Thomas is because they want a little bit of space around them. While it is clear that Fort Thomas is urbanized, the area is sparsely populated, and when buying a home, you often get a lot of bang for your buck.

It is clear that you can find a property that is perfect for raising your children in, and plenty of people do!

Because the area is sparsely populated, there is a lot of natural beauty here. In our opinion, when it comes to natural beauty, Fort Thomas manages to beat just about every other Kentucky town and city on this list.

There are stunning parks where you can exercise, play, or just while away hours reading a good book.

As you can probably imagine, crime is fairly low around this area, and you aren’t at risk of violent crime.

In fact, one of the only downsides of living in Fort Thomas is the weather (it is a bit more sporadic than other areas in Kentucky). Jobs are minimal, but we suppose this is something you expect from such a small area.

Things to do in Fort Thomas:

  • Newport Aquarium
  • Various parks & walks
  • Coney Island Park

Address: Fort Thomas, Kentucky

11: Berea

Scenic view of countryside near Berea | Dreamstime/Alexey Stiop

Berea normally wouldn’t be featured on a list of great places to live in Kentucky. This is because it is a very 'out of the way' area, sparsely populated, and has a low median income.

However, we have opted to include it here. This is because if you are looking for an 'out of the way' place in Kentucky, we don't think Berea can be beaten.

Berea has a very traditional American town feel to it. As we said, the median income is considerably lower than most other places in Kentucky (by as much as $16,000).

However, the lower property prices have attracted young professionals and new families to the area, many of whom work in nearby Richmond.

While Berea isn't an amazing place, it offers good value for money. Nothing about it is necessarily terrible. It has good nature, affordable homes, and a low crime rate.

It is just that other Kentucky areas are often better for some people. However, if you want to live virtually in the middle of nowhere (or at least feel like you do), then Berea is perfect.

Things to do in Berea:

  • Nearby walks through the Appalachian Mountains. 
  • Memorial Park
  • Berea Farmers’ Market

Address: Berea, Kentucky

12: Bellevue

Bellevue | Flickr/Warren LeMay

Under 6,000 people live in Bellevue, with 96% of the population being white, which makes Bellevue one of the least ethnically diverse places in Kentucky.

With property prices averaging $148,000, the cost of moving to Bellevue is much more affordable than other places in Kentucky. Since the area is sparsely populated, many homes will have a decent amount of land attached to them.

For this reason, many people will recommend Bellevue as a great place for families. There is plenty of space to raise your children.

Despite the small size of Bellevue, there is a surprising number of shops and restaurants in the local area, so it should be easy to enjoy yourself without venturing into the larger towns and cities.

The major issue is the schools. There aren't many schools in this part of Kentucky, and children will often face longer bus trips if they want to head to better schools. Although, the connections are still pretty good, so this shouldn't put off any families that want to live here.

While there aren't many jobs available in Bellevue itself, there are a lot of jobs in the local area. This has made Bellevue one of the Kentucky towns with the highest median income, coming close to $70,000. (as you may remember from earlier, some places had half that!).

Things to do in Bellevue:

  • Krohn Conservatory
  • Nature walks
  • Newport Aquarium (nearby)

Address: Bellevue, Kentucky

13: Paducah

Buildings along the Main Street in downtown Paducah | Dreamstime/Angela Perryman

Paducah is perhaps one of the most affordable places to live in Kentucky. The median home value is just $125,000, although bear in mind that the houses are a bit smaller than in some of the other locations. You'll be in a relatively densely packed urban area, after all.

The median income in Paducah is around $40,000, which is a bit lower than the average for Kentucky. Most jobs in Paducah are related to the river, railroad, and several barge companies that operate within the area. However, other major businesses are operating through Paducah.

Schooling in Paducah is rated as some of the best in Kentucky. Well, at least the public schooling. This makes Paducah a fantastic place to raise your children.

The only downside is that the crime rate in Paducah is a bit closer to the average crime rate throughout the United States.

This makes it a touch more dangerous than other places in Kentucky, although most of those issues seem to be concentrated in certain areas.

Things to do in Paducah:

  • The National Quilt Museum
  • Market House Theatre
  • Bob Noble Park
  • Civil War Museum 

Address: Paducah, Kentucky

14: Glasgow

Fort Williams

Last but certainly not least, we have the town of Glasgow. It has a little over 15,000 residents, although the population has grown in recent years.

This may have been impacted by the low median home value of $127,000, with plenty of major developments happening.

While many people recommend Glasgow as a place for families to grow together, it is a place that has managed to attract a lot of retirees. This is partly down to the incredibly low rental prices compared to the rest of the US (a little over $750).

Public schooling in Glasgow is ranked in the top 30 in Kentucky (with over 250 districts in that chart), so it isn’t bad at all. Again, this makes it the perfect place to raise children.

Crime is close to the US average, but, once again, most of this seems to be focused on particular areas.

Major employers in the area include Walmart and manufacturing companies. It is easy to find jobs in Glasgow.

Things to do in Glasgow:

  • Ralphie’s Fun Center (Bowling)
  • Plaza Theatre
  • Mammoth Cave National Park
  • Fort Williams

Address: Glasgow, Kentucky


What are the Pros and Cons of living in Kentucky?

Kentucky is a very affordable state to live in, which is a major pro. House prices are low, and crime rates are very low. However, many people are not fans of the lack of a 'big city' feel that even the largest cities in Kentucky have.

Where is the best area to live in Kentucky?

It depends on what you are after. Most people consider Louisville one of the best areas to live in Kentucky due to the property prices and the larger number of jobs.

Is Kentucky considered a good state to live in?

Everybody wants something different from where they live. However, Kentucky is a good state to live in, particularly if you feel you need a more rural lifestyle.

What is the safest place in Kentucky to live?

Considering its size, Louisville is one of the safest places in Kentucky to live.

Final Thoughts - Places To Live in Kentucky

As you can see, Kentucky has some amazing places to live and work. Each location on this list of the best places to live in Kentucky offers something completely different. Why not check out a few locations to see which one best fits your needs?

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