Are you tired of the vacationing at the usual big cities, say New York or Miami? Lookin for smaller, more charming cities to get away from the hustle and bustle? Well, this list might be just for you!
Over 800,000 Conde Nast readers were surveyed about their favorite small US cities in 2021. The result reflects cities the readers love to visit or the cities where they absolutely love living in.
Here are the top 10 cities voted the best small cities in the US.
Newport, Rhode Island
Newport is a popular name for a beach town, there is Newport Beach in California and Newport News in Virginia. But the Newport that made it on the top 10 best cities in America is the one located in the tiny state of Rhode Island. Newport was also named one of the best beach towns by the same publication recently.
Of course, Newport is much more popular during the summer season with tourists flocking there for the very cool New England beach town vibe. Besides its yacht-filled harbor, Newport is also known for the Gilded Age mansions lining Bellevue Avenue, some of which are now museums.
Jackson Hole, Wyoming
Although famous for skiing, Jackson Hole is a city that can be enjoyed all year round. Located at the base of the Teton mountains, this stunning city is a nature lover’s paradise, with beautiful hiking trailers and plenty of wildlife to enjoy. Jackson Hole also has a great selection of hotels and restaurants to choose from.
Besides the beautiful surroundings, Jackson Holes can also give you a taste of the Wild West that the great state of Wyoming is known for.
If you’re surprised by Savanna’s selection as one of the best cities in America, you will likely not be alone. But this southern city probably has more charm than all the other cities on this list combined. Savanna is known for manicured parks, horse-drawn carriages and classic southern architecture.
Take a walk down its historic cobblestoned squares or take a break at one of the parks filled with oak trees covered with Spanish moss. Either way, you will be charmed off your feet by the beauty and laid back vibe of Savanna.
Key West, Florida
Where else can you find the tropical island getaway feel without leaving the lower 48 besides Key West? This island city is Florida’s southernmost point, lying only about 90 miles north of Cuba. Key West is known for its artificial coral reefs, stunning sunsets, pastel-hued houses. It is also a popular cruise-ship stop.
If you’re a fan of American literature, you can also take a break from all the water activity to tour the Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum.
If you’ve never heard of this small Beach city on California’s Monterey Peninsula, you are likely not alone. The city is known for the fairytale cottages and galleries of its village-like center and its soft white sand beaches. Taking the scenic Highway 1 drive is a must when you’re in the area and the famous Bixby Creek Bridge connects Carmel-by the Sea and Big Sur to the south.
The area also has a vibrant wine scene with plenty of tasting rooms. Another fun activity is the Lavender harvest Festival every summer at the Carmel Valley Ranch.
Greenville, South Carolina
Greenville is a city made both for the outdoor enthusiasts and foodies as it has a growing farm-to-table scene. The city is also home to the greenville County Museum of Art which houses works by Southern artists spanning several centuries.
To appreciate the area’s natural beauty, head over to the 32 acre Falls Park which has riverside gardens, a suspension bridge, and waterfall views. The park also has a 22 mile biking trail.
Santa Fe, New Mexico
If you’re looking for an eclectic and historic town in the south West, New Mexico’s capital city just might be the right fit for you. The city is known for its art galleries, adobe style houses, and Spanish colonial churches. A traditional Plaza sits at the heart of Santa Fe which is reflective of its founding as a Spanish colony in 1610.
Artists like Georgia O’Keeffe were inspired by this vibrant city that sits at the heart of one of the most overlooked states in the US.
Just across the Potomac River from the nation’s capital sits a historic city that has been one of the best kept secrets in the country. Known for its Old town with well preserved 18th and 19th century buildings, Alexandria is a popular city among those in the DC political scene. King Street is packed with boutiques stores and restaurants. Founding fathers used to drink at Gadsby’s Tavern which is now a museum with period objects and photographs.
Alexandria is also keen on outdoor activity with more than 900 acres of parks and dedicated public spaces.
Charleston, South Carolina
If there is one city that can compete with the Southern charm of Savanna, it would be Charleston. Founded in 1670, Charleston is known for its cobblestone streets, horse-drawn carriages and antebellum houses. The so-called Holy city offers so much history and culture and has made Conde Nast’s best small cities list for ten years running.
Charleston has a steady annual circuit of nationally recognized food and culture festivals for locals and those visiting.
And the number one most loved small city in America is Aspen, Colorado
Aspen has long been the favorite winter getaway of not just the rich and famous but the everyday skiing enthusiast. Some of the best ski slopes in the country can be found in this city along with some of the best resorts. Located in Colorado’s Rocky Mountains, Aspen is not just a winter destination as it is the playground of outdoor enthusiasts all year round.
Besides outdoor activities, Aspen is also known for high end restaurants and boutiques as well as various landmarks like the Wheeler Opera House, which was built in 1889 during the area’s silver mining boom. If you’re planning on moving to Aspen, be warned that Aspen is the US’s most expensive ski town.
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