7. Anaheim (tie)
Average home cost: $275,000
Number of parks: 42
- Offers very good air quality, with only one day that the ozone exceeded EPA limits in 1999 (one city in smog-prone California had high levels on 88 days)
- Is located a few miles from Children's Hospital of Orange County, ranked 11th in a Child survey of 178 pediatric centers
- Sports a new theme park, Disney's California Adventure, complete with boardwalk-type rides and an 8-acre recreation area among the redwoods
City highlight: Big cities usually have big crime rates -- well above the Federal Bureau of Investigation's national average. But with Anaheim's crime rate 20% below that of cities of similar size, the streets haven't been as safe in 30 years. The key: "Police officers have switched their focus from a quick fix to a long-term solution," says Sergeant Rick Martinez, a public information officer. For instance, when there is a rash of juvenile crimes, officers call on the Police Athletic League and school officials to help kids find better ways to spend their time. "An officer used to return to the same neighborhood daily for the same reason," says Martinez. "Now, although it takes more creativity and time, the problem is often fixed for good."