Best small towns next to big cities
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Ready for a slower pace and more space but still want to enjoy the perks of a big city? These small cities offer the best of both worlds. Over the past few months, the COVID pandemic has prompted many people to re-examine their living situations. Amid shutdowns, for instance, having easy access to open space — or a backyard at the very least — emerged as a new priority for many. That means you can enjoy the wide open spaces and quaint downtowns, but still zip into the big city for amenities and attractions when they re-open, of course like pro sports, malls, museums and amusement parks.
Ahead, eight awesome small cities that are close to big cities — so you can enjoy the best of both worlds. Proximity to Denver, CO: 30 miles. A southern suburb of Denver, residents in Castle Rock enjoy wide open spaces 5, acres of it, to be exact with the snow-capped Rocky Mountains serving up a glorious backdrop.
Proximity to Detroit, MI: 45 miles. Small town charm collides with collegiate charisma in Ann Arbor. Here, the beloved Literati Bookstore bestows upon the community a public typewriter where customers can write anonymous letters and inspiring messages. Installed on some businesses and homes are tiny fairy doors — architectural doubles of human-sized doors — to serve as portals for the mythical creatures bringing magic and whimsy to Ann Arbor.
Perusing the farmers markets, catching a festival or cheering on the Wolverines can easily fill up weekends in Ann Arbor, which you can rightfully call by its nickname, A-squared, once you live here. But in less than an hour, you can also be in downtown Detroit, enjoying an incredible arts scene and cultural gems like the Motown Museum and the General Motors Center for African American Art inside the Detroit Institute of Arts.
For an architectural case study on the future of stadiums, pay a visit to Little Caesars Arena, where the Pistons and Red Wings play. The deconstructed layout allows for restaurants and retailers to be connected to the stadium, and remain open even when no games or concerts are scheduled.
Even better? Old Town features dining and artisan shops, plus the city has a botanical garden, brewpubs in Nob Hill and a bonafide nightlife scene that keeps Central Ave. Thinking of making a move? Perfect timing! We put all our best escapist content in one place, just for you.
A regional Pie Trail epitomizes small town living, right? The historic city is within close proximity of Washington, D.
Mountain biking! Whitewater rafting! Residents here love dogs and have an appreciation for great food nearby farms supply the bounty to restaurants. Instead, jam out at one of the acclaimed live music venues. National Whitewater Center, a must-visit attraction for intrepid types to try out whitewater courses on kayaks and rafts. Go on a self-guided barbecue tour, shop the 7th Street Public Market, and enjoy the nightlife.
We double-dare you to ride the mechanical bull at Dale Earnhardt Jr. Seasonal festivals like IceFest , where ice sculptors chisel works of art out of blocks of ice, bring the community together even in the doldrums of winter.
Proximity to Nashville, TN: 21 miles One visit to Franklin makes it easy to see why this small city outside of Nashville is growing fast. Franklin has all the charm of a historic Southern town, including a seriously picturesque Main Street and downtown, friendly people and fantastic restaurants cooking up Tennessee favorites from scratch. The mile Hood River Fruit Loop packs a lot of charm per square mile, with snow-capped peaks, orchards, lavender fields, fruit stands and alpacas.
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Best small towns next to big cities –
Urbanites themselves often find themselves idly researching the best small towns in America. Luckily, the U. Discover the 25 best small towns to live in. A hub for lovers of wine, beer, spirits—and cherries Population: 15, Though the biggest town in Northern Michigan, Traverse City has a population of only about 15, It’s famous for being the largest producer of tart cherries in the U.
Catch a performance at the City Opera House, a Victorian theater that opened in , or stop by the Denos Museum Center to see the institution’s extensive collection of Inuit art. But in the s, Jacksonville was designated a National Historic District, and today it’s the heart of the Southern Oregon wine region.
Outdoorsy visitors will enjoy the nearby Woodland Trails and Forest Park. Step back into the Gold Rush era Population: 6, Though on the opposite side of the country, Dahlonega has a lot in common with Jacksonville, Oregon. It was the site of the first Gold Rush in the U. The area is also home a number of spectacular waterfalls and offers plenty of opportunities for trout fishing.
Home to art colonies and incredible landscapes Population: 5, Known for its pueblo houses, Taos has long drawn artistic types to its rugged setting, including influential abstract painter Agnes Martin. Today there are three art museums, more than 80 galleries, and several performing-arts venues. A ski village with small-town charm Population: 4, Skiing might be the most popular tourist pastime in Stowe, but the town has much more to offer.
In addition to the myriad of outdoor activities like zip-lining and rock climbing , there are more than 70 shops and 40 restaurants nearby. See antique iron bridges and historic grist mills. By Kelly Dawson. By Andrea Servert Alonso-Misol. By Kate Lawson. A remote island town accessible by plane or boat Population: 8, For a truly remote destination, head to Sitka, which is accessible only by plane or ferry. The island town is a wildlife lover’s dream, as sightings of bald eagles, brown bears, humpback whales, and sea otters are common.
Sitka is also the former capital of Russian Alaska and is still connected to its Russian history. A must-visit for lovers of America’s pastime Population: 1, While you should stop by the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, you don’t have to be a sports aficionado to enjoy the town. Brewery Ommegang is located here, as is the Fenimore Art Museum, which houses an extraordinary collection of American folk art and American Indian art.
The town was a popular summer retreat starting in the mids, and many of its historic lakeside estates are still used today. The grand Otesaga Hotel, built in , is a local landmark. A quaint seaside spot with an impressive food scene Population: 4, Situated between Portland and Bar Harbor, this seaside town is surrounded by stunning landscapes perfect for adventure seekers, but it also has its fair share of cultural attractions, like the Camden Opera House.
Its population surges each summer when the beach lovers arrive, but the off-season is still a prime time to visit.
An artistic haven on the beach Population: 3, This coastal California town celebrated its th anniversary in Whether you’re looking to spend time at the beach, at the shops, or at the Basilica Church, a registered National Historic Landmark, there’s something for visitors of all kinds. The town has long attracted artists, writers, and entertainers, including former Carmel mayor Clint Eastwood. Low-country living at its finest Population: 13, Beaufort is the second-oldest city in South Carolina after Charleston, and you can get a taste of that history through its abundant antebellum homes.
Fishing, boating, and other water sports are popular in the town, which is located on Port Royal Island. You might recognize Beaufort from Forrest Gump, which used the bucolic setting during filming. Genevieve is Missouri’s oldest town. Visit the historic homes some of which are more than years old , or go tasting at one of the many wineries in the area. But year-round you can enjoy a huckleberry cocktail—a regional specialty—at the town’s two microbreweries and two microdistilleries.
In the summer you can rent paddleboards on Whitefish Lake. Stroll down Central Avenue, home to many of the town’s shops and restaurants. A walkable town a quintessential Main Street Population: 4, Only seven miles south of the bustling boardwalk of Ocean City, Berlin offers a small-town feel with plenty of charm. Forty-seven of its buildings are on the National Historic Register, and you can find plenty of shops, restaurants, and galleries on Main Street, which had a star turn in Runaway Bride.
Head east to Assateague Island to see its famous wild horses. A mining town with an artistic spirit Population: 5, Nestled in the Mule Mountains of Arizona, Bisbee is a former mining town now known for its unique architecture, which ranges from Victorian-style homes to an Art Deco courthouse.
A mountain town with a fun side Population: 4, Gatlinburg became a popular tourist destination upon the founding of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, which is located right next to the town, but it dates all the way back to the Civil War.
A town with over years of history Population: 14, Founded by a Spanish admiral in , St. Augustine is the oldest continuously occupied European-established town in the continental U. Tour the fortress Castillo de San Marcos for a trip back in time, and stroll the streets to admire the town’s Moorish Revival—style architecture. The Lightner Museum showcases an eclectic collection of fine and decorative art in the former Alcazar Hotel, built in by Henry Flagler.
Take a soak in this spa town in the Ouachita Mountains Population: 36, A trip to Hot Springs wouldn’t be complete without a stop at the eight historic bathhouses to soak in the town’s namesake mineral springs. Be sure to check out the town’s collection of Art Deco buildings. Since then, artists from around the world have been drawn to the town, which is now home to the Chinati Foundation, the Judd Foundation, and a handful of galleries.
Enjoy the magnificent waterfalls in Spearfish Canyon, or try a locally sourced dish from one of the town’s restaurants. The welcoming Main Street is the perfect spot for a stroll. A ski town with Victorian flair Population: 4, During the gold rush, Breckenridge mines produced approximately 1 million troy ounces of gold about 68, pounds. Though the mines are now closed, the town’s historic district preserves much of the era’s commercial and residential atmosphere.
While skiing, of course, is a big draw, Breckenridge is also known for its vibrant arts scene. The picture-perfect locale also boasts the country’s oldest Fourth of July celebration, and the traffic lines on one of the main streets are painted red-white-and-blue. A charming and family-friendly nautical town Population: 4, Perhaps best known as the setting of the film Mystic Pizza, this Connecticut village is home to a number of coastal attractions.
The Mystic Seaport is a maritime museum with historic ships and a recreation of a 19th-century village. The Mystic Aquarium is a popular destination that’s home to beluga whales, African penguins, and a wide array of other species. A mining town with literary history Population: 2, Ketchum is a former mining town that, along with nearby Sun Valley, now attracts skiers and other travelers looking to enjoy the great outdoors.
The village was a favorite of Ernest Hemingway, and the author is buried there. Architectural wonders in small-town Pennsylvania Population: 4, Rounding out our list of the best small towns in America is the town named in honor of Olympic athlete Jim Thorpe. It’s nestled in the scenic Lehigh Gorge. The picturesque setting has been nicknamed the «Switzerland of America» and boasts 19th-century architecture and mountain views. Whitewater rafting and hiking are popular activities for visitors.
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Best Small Cities to Live in the US in – Thrillist
Nov 11, · Population: 6. Population: 2, If you like the idea of being a part of a town’s beginnings, you may want to look at Westlake, Florida. A part of Palm Beach County, . Jun 10, · Population: 66, The East Coast’s Portland is rising in the ranks as a go-to for weekenders from cities like New York and Boston, not just for its historic character (think ivy . Jun 14, · For just $, it’s possible to get into a three-bedroom house on a lake or, for $,, a four-bedroom duplex with a giant backyard. 3. Jamestown, ND. Jamestown, ND, .