Washington, DC, and two Virginia cities are named one of the best places to live in the country by U.S. News. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON, DC — If you look beyond the political strife, Washington, D.C., is bursting with history, culture and standout cuisine that makes it a great city to live in. Washington is the 19th best place to live among America’s 125 largest metro areas, according to a new report published Tuesday by U.S. News & World Report.

The two Virginia cities that made the list and their rankings are: No. 53 Richmond and No. 103 Virginia Beach.

The news and information publisher determined the rankings based on factors such as quality of life, job market, value of living there and desire to live there.

Here’s what US News says of Washington, DC:

"To the rest of the country, Washington, D.C., is the nation’s capital – and that’s it. It’s where lawmakers sit high and mighty, and it’s the scapegoat for every unpopular political decision. But those who live in the District are quick to point out that there’s more to their area than government.
The Washington, D.C., metro area has the perks of a large urban area. It’s serviced by an extensive public transit system and is home to plenty of restaurants, entertainment venues, a variety of museums, public parks and other cultural sites. Meanwhile, each neighborhood in the District and its surrounding towns has its own atmosphere. Residents gather for block parties, mingle at dog parks and converse at coffee shops, creating an ambiance similar to that of a much smaller community."

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And here’s some of what the magazine wrote about Richmond:

"Patrick Henry gave his famous "Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death" speech in Richmond’s St. John’s Church and, as the former capital of the Confederacy, the metro area was at the epicenter of the Civil War. Modern-day interests can easily be found in the region as well, including world-class museums, a vibrant food scene and a wide array of entertainment options from concerts and theater performances to family-friendly festivals.
Downtown Richmond is anchored by Virginia Commonwealth University, which draws a large crowd of younger part-time residents. But this college town (also home to the University of Richmond) has plenty to offer families and older residents, as well. Each of Richmond’s neighborhoods exudes a unique personality, from the historic 19th-century homes in Church Hill to rustic farms and family-friendly suburban communities in the outlying counties."

Of Virginia Beach the writers noted that despite being a resort city, it’s a friendly, relaxed town with award-winning restaurants and plentiful jobs.

"With the largest concentration of military personnel outside of the Pentagon, military presence is part of everyday life at the beach, with events like the Oceana Air Show and the Virginia Beach Patriotic Festival celebrating the armed forces. However, jet noise can be loud and takes some time to adjust to, so if you are going to be living in a particular noisy area, be prepared," US News says.

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The report only ranks the 125 most populous metro areas. Most of the top 25 are located in the middle of the country, though the tech boom has benefited the Pacific Northwest, too.

Austin ranked as the best place to live for the third year in a row, followed by two Colorado cities. Interestingly, the Northeast was notably lacking at the top of the list. Baltimore ranked 100th on the list.

"Our Northeastern cities, which are epicenters of higher education and economic development, are not growing nearly as much as places in Florida, California and Texas," Devon Thorsby, real estate editor at U.S. News, said in a release. "Plus, they are expensive to live in. Top-ranked places have the characteristics people are looking for, including steady job growth, affordability and a high quality of life."

Here are the top 10 places to live in 2019:

Austin, TXDenver, COColorado Springs, COFayetteville, ARDes Moines, IAMinneapolis-St. Paul, MNSan Francisco, CAPortland, ORSeattle, WARaleigh and Durham, NC

San Juan, the capital of Puerto Rico that was devastated by Hurricane Maria in September 2017, ranked last. Five California metro areas also fell in the bottom 10. They were: Bakersfield, Stockton, Modesto, Fresno and Salinas.

Other major metros at the bottom of the list include Memphis, New Orleans, Miami, Los Angeles and Philadelphia.

Quality of life and value received the most weight in the rankings. The authors created indexes for both using metrics such as crime rates, quality of health care and education, median household income, proportion of homeowners with a mortgage, and yearly housing costs. Click here to read the full methodology.

Patch national staffer Dan Hampton contributed to this report.

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