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10 Best Retirement Cities In America

NEW YORK ( MainStreet) -- 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:  

Spokane, Wash.
Median home price: $145,000  
Nestled between the Rockies and the Cascades and the largest city between Seattle and Minneapolis, Spokane is perhaps the best place for a working retiree to take advantage of Washington's lack of income tax. Its lovely riverfront park, dam, historic downtown and tree-lined streets are lovely, but the AARP loves the $5 admission fee at its Northwest Museum of Arts & Culture. It's near great skiing in the Cascades and Rockies and 76 lakes and rivers for whitewater rafting and fishing. It also has a great health care infrastructure with six major hospitals, just in case the whitewater rafting doesn't go too well.  

Bend, Ore.
Median home price: $134,000  
Remember when we discussed the wants of the urban retiree? Yeah, Bend cashed in on all of that before it was cool to do so. As much as Bend is beloved for its hiking, biking trails through the Deschutes National Forest and kayaking on the Cascade Lakes and Deschutes River, the AARP says it's become similarly attractive for its concert venues, movie theaters, festivals and 10 craft breweries. The best part? You can get a growler of Chainbreaker Ale as part of a fire sale. Bend got a little too much hype in the mid-2000s, and the housing crisis knocked prices down 55% since their peak.  

San Antonio, Texas
Median home price: $135,000  
The first major league city on our list, the home of the NBA's Spurs only gets cheaper after the Spurs' tops-in-Texas $58.45 average ticket price. Season passes to Six Flags (SIX) are less than $60, the weekend price of a round of golf at top clubs is $40 and San Antonio's bike share program gives residents a bike for $10 a day. With five times as many low-to-no cost museums and libraries as Austin, the biggest Mexican marketplace outside Mexico in Old Market Square, the San Antonio River Walk's views and outdoor dining and more than 260 days of sunshine, those bike rentals can come in handy.  

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