The 10 Best Retirement Cities in America

Traverse City, Michigan (Alamy)
Traverse City, Michigan (Alamy)

By Jason Notte

NEW YORK -- Retirement restricted to Arizona or Florida was just fine for the Greatest Generation, but their kids want more.

The World War II generation grew up in cities during the Depression, headed to the suburbs after the war and retired in the sunshine -- so the American fable goes. Ensuing generations raised their kids in the suburbs, sent them off to college and suddenly found themselves with two incomes and no kids. Warm coastal life is still alluring, but dinners out, wine tastings, movies under the stars and full-service buildings with elevators, free gyms, window washers, delis and convenience stores downstairs and the occasional free meal in the lobby have just as much appeal.

For a generation that wants to set the Wayback Machine to 30 or 40 years ago, just about any affordable location that isn't in a remote suburb or Good School District, USA, will do. We consulted with the American Association of Retired People, the Census Bureau and the National Association of Realtors and found 10 cities that may not fit the golf-carts-and-community-game-nights stereotype, but reward retirees who aspire to more than socks, sandals and a sensible early bird special: