Metropolitan life is never dull, but not everyone is cut out for a big city.
City data resource Livability determined the 10 best small towns in America as part of its 2015 list of the Top 100 Best Places to Live.
Looking just at “micropolitan” areas with populations of fewer than 20,000 people, the folks at Livability factored in cost of living, health care spending, diversity, crime rates, civic engagement, natural resources, as well as visitor and resident opinions of the towns to come up with the ranking.
Here are the 10 best small towns in America.
10. Hailey, Idaho
Hailey is a big cycling town with a combination bike shop/restaurant called Power House serving as a neighbourhood hub for outdoorsy locals. Of the 10 cities on this list, Hailey had the highest level of employment and the greatest income distribution.
9. Traverse City, Michigan
Traverse City is known for its great schools, stable economy, and high home values. The “emerging beer town,” which is home to craft breweries like Mackinaw Brewing Company and Jolly Pumpkin Brewery & Distillery, also appears on Livability’s list of the best foodie cities.
8. Heber City, Utah
Heber City‘s economy, thanks to its mountainous location, is driven by tourists who come for great skiing and hiking. The town is full of fun and culture, with frequent music and arts festivals, parades, and rodeos.
7. Spearfish, South Dakota
Spearfish is surrounded by national parks and picturesque views, and has a lively college town vibe thanks to Black Hills State University. The town has a low carbon footprint and a tons-to-do downtown area full of restaurants, bars, and shops.
6. Glenwood Springs, Colorado
Glenwood Springs is steeped in “Wild West” history — it remains Doc Holliday’s final resting place — and is also home to the world’s largest hot springs pool. Residents of Glenwood Springs live mainly healthy lifestyles, and take advantage of good public schools and medical facilities.
5. Port Angeles, Washington
Port Angeles is, naturally, a port city with great seafood — especially Dungeness crab — and lots of neighborly camaraderie. The environmentally friendly residents are privy to low costs of living and lots to do in the area.
4. Hood River, Oregon
Sitting just one hour east of Portland, Hood River receives a lot of the larger city’s recent college graduates. Residents of Hood River are treated daily to views of Washington across the river, and one of the largest ski destinations on the west coast — Mt. Hood. Hood River is the place to be for both coffee and craft beer lovers.
3. Lebanon, New Hampshire
This quintessential New England town borders Vermont and is the perfect destination for local crafts and breathtaking fall foliage. Major companies with facilities in town — like Novell, Microsoft, and Merck — employ many people who live in Lebanon.
2. Northfield, Minnesota
Northfield is a scenic town, with great running, hiking, and ski trails. Notable in this town’s history is the 1876 raid on First National Bank, which residents of Northfield re-enact every year during the Defeat Jesse James Days Festival.
1. Los Alamos, New Mexico
Secluded but comfortable, Los Alamos is where the first atomic bomb was constructed. Mexican culture and cuisine is prevalent here, and community involvement is the highest of all the towns on this list. Los Alamos also has the lowest crime rate of the 10.
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