Top Suburbs?

This forum loves to talk cities and debate what "tier" they fall in. 

I am interested in hearing cases for the best suburbs. For example, I have heard that the Greenwich/Darien/New Canaan area of CT is really nice. I have also heard the Newton/Brookline area outside Boston is nice. I am sure there are examples outside Chicago, LA, SF, etc. 

Comments (82)

2mo
Isaiah_53_5 💎🙌💎🙌💎, what's your opinion? Comment below:

- Encinitas, CA

- Orange County, CA

"If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them." - Bruce Lee

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2mo
CRE Finance, what's your opinion? Comment below:

OC, CA tier 1 - 1.5 depending on North, Central, or South. Anywhere East or Anaheim is eh, North of Irvine is bleh. South county is nice as long as you're north of Pendleton but I think that gets considered San Diego county 

“Bestow pardon for many things; seek pardon for none.”
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2mo
TangibleHardo, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Agree to a certain extent, depends on your "bleh". If you want a quiet lifestyle fit for family while not breaking the bank a la CDM, Brea / YL / Placentia are pretty sweet. Slowly gentrifying, seeing more and more new developments up there. But yes agree that these communities can definitely be 1. Old, 2. Boring, and 3. Just generally nowhere near as fun/glitzy as South County.

2mo
Stonks1990, what's your opinion? Comment below:

MD and VA have some killer ones. On the VA side, Great Falls & McLean are among the highest income individuals in the nation, while Loudoun County is also the most wealthy nationally via income per capita. Switching over to MD, Potomac & Chevy Chase holds near equal attraction.Some great roads and spots to chill over there, and the houses are beautiful. One day I'll be able to afford something like that… not that I'd want to!

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2mo
Stonks1990, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Nice! Some family friends live in GF, and their kids go to Langley. The amount of Teslas, Range Rovers, and everything of the type in the HS parking lot was insane. Good for you for understanding how hard your parents work - have no doubt you'll work to return the favor come their retirement while providing a good life for your kids. I spent a lot of time out in Ashburn where I consulted w/ AWS for data center work so I'm relatively familiar w/ the area (I live in Arlington). Overall a great spot!

2mo
Pizzaman Sachs, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I'll add on to that, Bethesda & Chevy Chase in MD are pretty damn nice. Grew up in that area and as far as DC metro area neighborhoods they are definitely up there.  

2mo
GeorgeSorosFinanceMaster, what's your opinion? Comment below:

What's the appeal of living in a top suburb?  Living in a top city neighborhood means you're close to jobs, restaurants, the best attractions in the city, etc.  Living in a top suburb means what exactly?  Being neighbors with some rich guy?  Keeping up with the Jones?

2mo
eloquence, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Excellent school district is usually the #1 draw - in some of these suburbs you can get a private school-level education for free. Pretty good deal with the top NYC private schools touching $60k per year these days

Also proximity to nice restaurants, country clubs, etc, town is usually well-kept with lots of cultural events and very safe area

Array

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2mo
matt19215, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Pretty much north/central Jersey, southern connecticut, west Chester, Long Island, etc.

I went to public high school in central NJ and searching through LinkedIn there are alumni in MD roles at pretty much ever BB and EB, there are alumni at every top PE fund, junior bankers at every firm you could imagine. I guess there is a bias of these towns being upper middle class and sending their kids to top universities

2mo
Gordon.Ghetto, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Lifestyle is much better. Grew up in the suburbs in the southern US. Spent nearly every day of my summer at the country club. Neighborhood had private school, country club, lakes, doctor's office, restaurants all within walking distance. Everyone gets around by golf cart, it's a different lifestyle. MD, VA, NC, FL is where it's at.

2mo
thatsnachocheese, what's your opinion? Comment below:

GeorgeSoros's comment is a funny one. I used to think that until I got a puppy and my wife got pregnant. Then the urge to eject from an urban setting skyrocketed. Bars and restaurants and all that just are no longer things you spend as much time taking advantage of and the appeal of being able to take your dog on nice walks, or walk around w your baby in a stroller without worrying about crime or weird sh** all over the sidewalks starts to far outweigh being able to walk to a bar. I could never go "full burb" but IMO the best residential neighborhoods (houses w yards) in my city also are within striking distance of country clubs, good restaurants, etc.

TLDR I think the shift in what you appreciate or value happens as you get older

2mo
Hugh Myron, what's your opinion? Comment below:

This pretty much mirrors our experience and decision making process.  Not going to lie, being in a major city during riots + COVID also had an impact - we found ourselves spending weekends/weeks at a time out of the city and realized it was going to fit our lifestyle much better on the wrong side of 30 vs. our mid-late 20s. 

2mo
thatsnachocheese, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Also, basically echo'ing Stonks and in keeping with the spirit of the original poster's question... we are in DC and the set-up here is pretty sweet... examples:  an easy (i.e., no traffic) 15-20 min drive to work; country club literally on the way between home and office; 15 min from city/squash club; surrounded by parks/trails; can get to any fun restaurant or bar we want (should the opportunity - albeit rarely now - arise) in sub-15 min; zero crime; 15 min from DCA airport; and the list goes on.

The great thing about DC (IMO) is that while yes, the MD suburbs (e.g., Chevy Chase or Westmoreland Hills in Bethesda) and the VA suburbs (e.g., McLean, Great Falls, Belle Haven... all just a little farther away than I'd like though) are nice, DC proper has some excellent neighborhoods in the Northwest quadrant of the city (Spring Valley, Kent, Wesley Heights, Foxhall, AU Park, Palisades, Cleveland Park, Chevy Chase DC, others) that not only afford pretty much all the benefits I outlined above, but also have excellent public schools (at least through elementary) so you can delay getting absolutely f***ed on tuition etc for at least the first 5-6 years of your kids' education.

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2mo
Brody92, what's your opinion? Comment below:

One thing for me- a "top" suburb cannot be a place that is so far away from a major city that a long commute to work is required. That alone is a major negative in terms of quality of life. If you are paying more money to be in a suburb and not in a rural area, might as well ensure that you get your moneys worth. A "top" suburb for me is a job center by itself. I live in such a place in Orange County, CA. Tons of tech, finance, pharma/biotech, etc jobs that I do not have to have to work in LA. That commute will be awful. I have a 10 minute commute to work and I only take surface streets. City is extremely safe and is rated the safest city for it's size by the FBI. Violent crime or homelessness is essentially non existent. For those of you who live in a big city (and I lived in NY, so I get it) who might think this is hyperbole, it really is not, trust me. This is a city where a 6 or 7  cops responded within 3 minutes in response to a bunch of bees attacking a college student, I am serious. The city I live in is kinda like a bubble. Once I leave the bubble, I then see homeless or crime. Since it's a "diverse" (quotes since there is diversity in terms of race but no economic diversity) city with nearly 50% non white population, restaurants and food options are great. In fact immigrants will tell you that the food here is so good and they know that because they get options like a specific type of food that is from a specific part of the country they are from. Usually they just see generic versions of their food that was made palatable for white people.

There are great public schools and echoing another comment on here, we get a private school education for free. City is clean, well maintained, literally almost every resident is within waling distance to a park. Tons of outdoorsy things to do- hiking, beach, sports (as a tennis fan its kinda ridiculous that we have so many public tennis courts and I take it for granted), concerts etc but I am also close enough to several weekend getaway spots. I feel like I am essentially having my cake and eating it too in terms of being in a place where I have a 10 minute commute to work but also live in a clean and safe area with fun things to do. 

2mo
Isaiah_53_5 💎🙌💎🙌💎, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Yeah OC is a nice place. My sister lives in San Clemente - I love that area. I saw Wu Tang in OC.

"If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them." - Bruce Lee

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2mo
Pierogi Equities, what's your opinion? Comment below:
Isaiah_53_5 💎🙌💎🙌💎

I saw Wu Tang in OC.

badass, how'd you like them? I saw some of them at Governor's Ball a couple years ago and they were decent

Quant (ˈkwänt) n: An expert, someone who knows more and more about less and less until they know everything about nothing.

2mo
TangibleHardo, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Not the commenter but can speak to this. Yes Irvine is heaven. Clean streets, zero and I mean ZERO homeless. I have no idea what Irvine PD / Irvine Company does with this but all I know is you will not see any. Food options are dope, lean Asian but lots of options regardless. Public schools are basically free private schools, especially the newer ones in the upscale neighborhoods. Zero crime, does not feel heavily policed at all but they will come quick if you call. The only downsides I can think of for Irvine are 1. Cookie cutter communities (I actually somewhat don't mind this) since the entire city was basically manufactured by the Irvine Company and 2. Zero nightlife - this is mitigated by the fact that NPB, OC's main nightlife hub is 10-15 mins away. Irvine is the shit, and it's in the literal center of SoCal to boot. 15-35 mins tops to any of the OC beaches, within 30 minutes of almost anywhere in OC, 1-1.5 hours to LA, 2 hours to SD.

2mo
Pierogi Equities, what's your opinion? Comment below:
Southern_cre

Is this Irvine?

They should call it UC Newport Beach because it's right there.

Quant (ˈkwänt) n: An expert, someone who knows more and more about less and less until they know everything about nothing.

2mo
BankMeMommy, what's your opinion? Comment below:

OC is a great spot for younger people that are ambitious but want to be near a beach or not pay the higher apartment costs in LA, NY, SF.

Lots of fun bars/nightlife and beach access.

2mo
teslastem, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Medina, WA is probably the most prestigious Eastside suburb. Redmond, Sammamish and Issaquah are also fairly upscale.

2mo
Hugh Myron, what's your opinion? Comment below:

In the Philly metro it's the western suburbs known as the "main line," the series of towns that sprung up around the old Pennsylvania Rail Road's... main line.  Gladwyne and Villanova probably have the biggest estates, and other nice towns include Devon, Wayne, Radnor, Bryn Mawr, Haverford, Wynnewood, to name a few.  Not-so-coincidentally, this is where most PE funds are located, and a few boutique banks are in neighboring Conshohocken (and some other notable firms like Vanguard in Malvern, SIG in Bala Cynwyd).  Pretty quintessential high-QoL suburbs: no crime, top public schools, great municipal services, golf courses for days (including Merion, where all of the PE partners are members), plenty of good private schools if you forego public, direct train access to Philly and NY.

2mo
KindaOrange, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Can confirm. Pretty nice out here. Great restaurants, tons of parks (kinda surprised at the size of some). For the cost of Philly taxes, I bought a sports car lol and pay cheaper rent

2mo
lumber_cruncher, what's your opinion? Comment below:

For Boston at least, the commuter suburbs like Brookline and Newtown are of course nice, but it's still common to find people living out in the Cape or up to the Portland, ME area that go into the city daily for work. And every where along that stretch is nice.

2mo
burnedoutanalyst, what's your opinion? Comment below:

How do you live on the Cape and commute in everyday? Take the ferry from Ptown or what? Also, not sure if this is on the same level, but would add some North Shore towns eg. I've been to Marblehead and it was very nice

2mo
Yankee Doodle, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Chicago: the North Shore burbs along Lake Michigan (Winnetka, Kenilworth, Lake Forest, and some of the others I can't remember). There are also 1-2 Western suburbs that are up there (Western Springs maybe)

"Work ethic, work ethic" - Vince Vaughn

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2mo
TechBanking, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Barrington is a good one to the West. 

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2mo
theAudiophile, what's your opinion? Comment below:
Carl Icon

In Dallas the only places in the conversation are the Park Cities (University and Highland Park near SMU) along with Preston Hollow

*Turtle Creek has entered the chat*

2mo
LofiAviator, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Fortunately or unfortunately, I have to live in a relatively sleepy town straight outta college for my job. That's the sacrifice you make when becoming a physical trader lol.

Edit:  Yes I know firms have offices in major cities but usually in the US, they put them in non-major cities.

2mo
KindaOrange, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Lucky fellow. I got a buddy with similar setup. Dude went to VT for engineering, works at a shop in the woods, makes city-sized comp, owns multiple properties, a motorcycle, met a great girl. Dude's 30 & living a great life

2mo
LofiAviator, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Yeah when I said sleepy town I didn't mean middle of nowhere.  I just meant a relatively sleepy *city* that is outside a major city.

2mo
TheBuellerBanker, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Queens or Tennessee? Assuming you mean Queens

2mo
dimbruce, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I grew up in New Canaan and honestly had a perfect childhood, the people are super cool the community is really nice the schools are good. I'm currently in college and pretty set for the future because of the networking of the town the people are so helpful. I don't think Greenwich is a great place to raise a family honestly, the people were never to nice and it didn't seem like a great place to grow up as a kid. But Westport Darien and New Canaan are honestly perfect suburbs. It's also easy to get to the train from the city. 

2mo
ButteryScontch, what's your opinion? Comment below:

People don't realize Greenwich has a "hood" part lol. I mean the town's got 90k residents. You'll get all types of people there, not just the wealthy white collars. I'd rather live in Westport / New Canaan. Darien is nice, but doesn't have a great downtown or close knit community feel like Westport and NC do.

Source - grew up in Fairfield county. Place truly is a bubble. I'd be hard-pressed to find a better place in the country to raise a family.

2mo
Nitrogenesis, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Marin, Tiburon, Sausilito and Mill Valley all like 15 - 30 mins away from SF.

Surrounded by nature still easy access to Lake Tahoe and a short drive into the city.

2mo
Kevin25, what's your opinion? Comment below:

you guys work 100h/weeks for a decade under immense stress so you can get a house in a quiet place with not much to do except several restaurants and a golf course nearby? could have just moved to some small rural town and buy yourself a bombass house for $100k instead of $5M that you'll need to pay in your prestigious suburb that's pretty much the same but filled with rich snobs.

and before you say about jobs, you can do a remote job nowadays, there are also Big4 offices everywhere, and at Big4 you can actually work fully remote if you want. hell you can even retire and be a full-time parent cause it's cheap to live in rural towns and your $2M saved for down payment in prestigious suburb will be enough for the rest of your life in a rural town.

2mo
ButteryScontch, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Suburbs like Fairfield county CT while yes are extremely pricey and filled with snobs, have the best public schools in the country (don't have to pay extra for your kid to have a private school level education), you can let your 8 year old children hang out in the neighborhood at 10pm alone with friends it's so safe, and, if it interests you, which I assume it does most the people on this website, get those "rich people" perks like country clubs, nice cars and fancy restaurants. All without the stress, grime, noise and smell of NYC.

2mo
curious11, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Grew up in one of the less wealthy areas in the Palo Alto adjacent suburbs and loved it. Close enough to the city and plenty of jobs / things to do directly in the Peninsula. Definitely want to move back eventually when I settle down. Amazing weather, variety of nature / outdoor activities (beach, mountains, golf, etc.), plenty of nice quieter downtown areas Palo Alto, Redwood City, etc. 

2mo
Irehdna, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Buckhead, GA. Have been there once and the lifestyle one can live there is insane. Short drive to all of Atlanta's main business districts while having well-designed homes on custom lots in a forest-like setting. Excellent access to top schools as well.

Chestnut Hill, PA. 30 minute train from Center City Philly and feels like another world. Cobblestone Main Street, lots of mom and pop shops, insane homes, rolling hills. Only hurt by having to commute to Philly or the Main Line as not many jobs right in/around CH.

2mo
Hugh Myron, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Chestnut Hill is beautiful, only reason I didn't include it on my list is because it's still in city limits and therefore you get shafted by city taxes.  There are some absolutely crazy houses on the park, Cricket Club is right there - really great spot to live.  I guess you can escape city taxes if you live just on the other side of Stenton ave. 

2mo
NeedSomeHelp, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Surprised no one's mentioned Buckhead (edit: just realized the comment above gave a shoutout) - although recent commentary anecdotally has indicated it might be going to shit. I would echo the New Canaan/Darien votes - went to college with a lot of folks from those towns and they seemed to be some of the more well adjusted people I knew accounting for the obvious silver spoon privilege.For what it's worth, everyone I knew from Wellesley/Weston in Mass were fucking douchebags.Don't sleep on the nicer suburbs of so-called tier 3-4 cities. I've often thought that on a quality of life versus purchasing power index a high earning professional can have a much better experience raising a family in the nicer suburbs of Kansas City or Indianapolis or Baltimore or Cleveland relative to aspirational hubs like SF/Boston/NYC. But that sort of calculation comes down to value judgments around prestige and the like. It's akin to that final scene in Mad Men when Pete decides to take the Lear Jet exec job in Wichita to save his family and live like a king in the Midwest rather than continuing to pursue the NYC rat race. FWIW I also have a close friend who worked for Stephen's and apparently the folks who stick it out in Little Rock end up running that town and living it the fuck up at the IB VP level and above compared to their peers at similar levels in NYC paying 30% of TC for a fucking shoebox in Manhattan

Adding on - main line Philly has always struck me as a lovely place to live. Episcopal, haverford, malvern prep etc are awesome schools and the Publics like conestoga are no slouches either.

Following up on the off-the-beaten path Midwest areas - my favorite clients on the public equity side are folks at Principal, American Century, etc type firms. They make a shitload of money and are underratedly shrewd investors but most importantly they're fucking happy guys. Worth consideration IMO

2mo
Synergy_or_Syzygy, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Palisades, La Canada, Pasadena

Be excellent to each other, and party on, dudes.
2mo
Andgie, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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2mo
texasrancher, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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