So, you’re thinking about making the move from the UK to the US? That’s quite an exciting prospect! The US is famous for its diverse cultures and unique cities, each offering its own set of charms and challenges. It can be a tad overwhelming for British expats to decide where to settle down, but that’s what we’re here for. The aim of this guide is to help you navigate your options and choose your new home away from home.
Best 5 US Cities for British Expats
We’ve meticulously handpicked five of the best US cities for British expats, taking into account factors like climate, the size of the British community, cost of living, healthcare services, and overall lifestyle. This is your ticket to uncovering what life might look like across the pond, so let’s dive in and explore these potential new hometowns together.
Remember that when living in the US, there are certain extra expenses you need to account for. Insurance is necessary everywhere in the world, but it is something you will spend far more time thinking about in America. If you are going to live as a tenant in the US, you should consider purchasing renters insurance. This is the most basic policy you’ll need – it ensures your possessions are protected no matter where you’re staying.
1. New York, New York
We’ll start with an old classic, the city so good they named it twice. New York, New York. It’s a bustling, cosmopolitan city filled with diverse cultures, countless entertainment options, and opportunities galore. The Brits are no strangers here. As of my knowledge cutoff in 2021, there’s a sizable British expats community in NYC, with numerous British pubs, clubs, and shops sprinkled throughout. It’s like a slice of Britain in the heart of Manhattan.
The weather is a mixed bag, though. You’ll experience four distinct seasons, with cold, sometimes snowy winters, and hot, humid summers. The cost of living and healthcare can be steep, but if you’re landing a good job in the city, it’s manageable. It’s not all about work though, the city’s cultural vibrancy, Broadway shows, historic landmarks, and the unmistakable buzz of Times Square make for an intoxicating mix of work and play. Despite its reputation as “the city that never sleeps,” you’ll find quiet, green corners in parks like Central Park and Prospect Park.
2. Boston, Massachusetts
If you prefer a quieter city but with a distinct European charm, Boston is a solid choice. Its history intertwines with British history. After all, it was here that the American Revolution sparked, giving rise to a nation. Today, it’s a city brimming with British influence, from architecture to the prevalence of tea.
Bostonians experience a climate similar to NYC’s but with slightly cooler summers. As for British expats presence, you’ll find several British pubs and societies in the city. Plus, its strong educational and healthcare systems (home to renowned institutions like Harvard and Massachusetts General Hospital) make it a practical choice. The cost of living can be high, especially in the city centre, but less expensive options exist in the suburbs. And for downtime? From the historical Freedom Trail and Fenway Park to the Boston Tea Party Ships and Museum, there’s plenty to explore.
3. Seattle, Washington
On the West Coast, let’s turn our attention to Seattle. Nestled amid water and mountains, this gem is ideal for nature-loving Brits. The climate is somewhat similar to the UK, with mild summers and cool, rainy winters, making it feel closer to home.
Seattle hosts a robust British community, complete with cultural events like the British-American Business Council’s Christmas luncheon. The city is also renowned for its healthcare facilities and environmental initiatives. While the cost of living can be quite high, especially if you’re close to the city centre, the city offers good job opportunities, particularly in the tech industry. And when it’s time for leisure? The city’s vibrant music scene, outdoor activities, and landmarks like the Space Needle will keep you entertained.
4. Austin, Texas
For those looking for a warmer climate and a laid-back lifestyle, Austin is a brilliant choice. This fast-growing city offers a unique blend of Southern hospitality, a thriving tech industry, and an electrifying music scene. It’s known as the “Live Music Capital of the World,” after all.
Though Austin’s summer can be hot, its winters are mild and much less snowy than the North-East. Its cost of living is generally lower than in the aforementioned cities, and healthcare is accessible. The British community here might not be as large, but there are British-themed events like the annual Austin Celtic Festival. From lakes and parks for outdoor fun to lively festivals like SXSW, Austin is an energetic city with a charm that grows on you.
5. Sarasota, Florida
If your idea of a good time involves sunny beaches and golf courses, then Sarasota might just be your American dream. It’s a smaller city with a relaxed vibe, ideal for retirees or anyone seeking a slower pace of life.
Sarasota enjoys a tropical climate, with hot, humid summers and mild winters. For those who are weary of the UK’s grey skies, the abundance of sunshine is a definite perk. The city is home to a significant British community, with societies like the British-American Club of Southwest Florida organising regular events. The cost of living is reasonable, and the city has excellent healthcare facilities. Best of all? Pristine beaches, golf courses, and nature reserves are at your doorstep.
These are our picks for the five top US cities for British expats. Of course, which city suits you best depends on your lifestyle, work, and personal preferences. From the bright lights of NYC to the sun-soaked beaches of Sarasota, each city offers a unique slice of American life. Whatever your choice, one thing’s certain: the US holds a grand adventure waiting for you. Happy travels!