The Tri-Cities metro is comprised of several towns including Kennewick, Pasco, and Richland.

Even though the Tri-Cities is generally treated as the sum of its parts, one big metro, there are several governments at work. You have the individual city governments, and you have two county governments all at play. These governments oversee various aspects of your life, including school districts, parks, road maintenance, and just about anything you need, enjoy, or become frustrated by. Live in Kennewick and want to get married? You can pick up your marriage license at the Benton County seat in Prosser. Despite all of this, most of us are in at least two of the "big three" every day.

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I have worked in Pasco for ten years, and in that time I've commuted from Pasco, Kennewick, and Richland as I've moved around the Tri-Cities. When I was a teenager, I lived in Pasco and went to high school in Kennewick. Even with a rise in population and traffic, commuting from Kennewick to Pasco can be faster than traversing within one big city like Seattle. It can be easy to forget there are three towns, then Fourth of July comes around with the differing laws across the Tri-Cities.

Which Tri-Cities town is the best?

Everyone has their own taste, and not everyone grew up in the same town around here to have a universal favorite. A few months ago, I said that Pasco was better than Kennewick, and I live in Kennewick. But if you're looking for hard answers with data to back it up, you turn to the experts.

Which town in Tri-Cities do the experts say is the best?

Richland is a runaway winner on Niche, but why? With an overall "A" grade, it beats out Kennewick's "B+" and the "B" grade for Pasco. So, let's break it down. These grades are composite scores that add up various categories such as nightlife, crime & safety, schools, and activities.

Why is Richland the best town in Tri-Cities to live in?

With high marks for weather, families, diversity, health & fitness, and outdoor activities, Richland scores higher than the other main Tri-Cities towns. It's above average in housing, public schools, jobs, nightlife, and commute. Where is Richland less than stellar? Richland's C+ grade for crime & safety is average for the rest of the country, but you'd hope it was much higher. The cost of living grade is also average in Richland with a C+.

Is Kennewick a good place to live?

Kennewick is above average overall, with a B+ score. It ranks higher than Richland with an A for diversity and is similar in terms of weather and outdoor activities. Kennewick ranks higher than Richland in cost of living but lower in housing and public schools. Kennewick's crime grade is the same as Richland's, which again, is average.

Is Pasco a safe place to live?

Pasco shares a C+ grade with Kennewick and Richland for crime & safety but is ranked lower than both for public schools, nightlife, and commute. It ranks similarly high in weather, diversity, and outdoor activities. Niche doesn't grade the quality of food, which Pasco would blow the rest of the Tri-Cities out of the water.

At the end of the day, it really comes down to preference. If you're a parent of school-aged kids, public education may be more important to you. If you like going out on the weekends, a healthy nightlife will weigh heavier on your list of priorities.

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