5 Carolina Towns Ranked Among The 30 Best Small Cities in America


National Geographic just released a new ranking of the “Best Small Cities in The United States“.

To compile the list, National Geographic “partnered with Resonance Consultancy, a global destination branding advisor, to identify the top U.S. small cities based on unconventional metrics that we think lead to happiness: green spaces, galleries, coffee shops, breweries, music venues, Instagrammable moments, and more.”

A total of 5 Carolina towns landed on the ranking, which is quite impressive, considering there are only 2 California towns and 2 Florida towns on it. South Carolina actually has more towns (3) on the list than any other state in the country. North Carolina was tied for #2 with 2 towns.

North Carolina’s Asheville was unsurprisingly featured;

More than three dozen craft breweries and brewpubs (the most per capita of any U.S. city) work hoppy magic in and around this North Carolina town. Many cluster in the South Slope, a former automotive zone where you can now walk between spots like Wicked Weed’s Funkatorium and Catawba Brewing Co., with a spacious deck boasting views of Mount Pisgah. Crafts of a less intoxicating sort also headline throughout the city, including at the historic Grovewood Village, with its artisan studios, art galleries, and sculpture garden.

Our second town is far more surprising – a place that was recently ranked among the ‘10 Least Educated Cities in America‘ – Hickory, NC;

A thriving 20th-century manufacturing hub for furniture and textiles, Hickory now finds itself heading our list for its hipster-friendly offerings, from tattoo parlors to vintage clothing boutiques. Craft-beer enthusiasts gather at the popular annual Hickory Hops festival featuring more than 50 microbreweries and live music.

South Carolina’s record 3 towns include Greenville;

“Now known for its start-up spirit and urbane downtown, Greenville makes our hot list for its number of butchers, delis, and steakhouses. Savor a steak at Halls Chophouse, then head to Falls Park, where a nearly 40-foot natural waterfall churns just off Main Street, and a pedestrian-only bridge curves gracefully overhead.”

SC’s capital of Columbia;

“With BBQ an essential menu item for South Carolinians, Columbia tops our list for meatiest city per capita in its population group. Locals get their grilled meats buffet-style at Little Pigs Barbecue or stuffed in delectable sandwiches at Southern Belly BBQ’s three locations. But don’t think that they neglect their grooming. Columbia also tops our list in its population group for its number of barber shops and salons.”

and not surprisingly, Charleston;

“Instagrammers love Charleston’s abundance of art. Works by local artists will fill the rooms and public spaces of the new Hotel Bennett, opening this summer on a chunk of prime real estate overlooking Marion Square. It’s a great crash pad for checking out Charleston’s booming arts scene, which ranks high in our survey because of a large number of schools and galleries, like the Art Institute of Charleston and Helena Fox Fine Art. The latter specializes in works by southern artists such as West Fraser, known for his muted paintings of nearby Low Country. Performing arts shine at the grand, three-year-old Gaillard Center, which hosts concerts and dance shows and serves as one of the venues for the city’s celebrated Spoleto Festival, taking place May 25 to June 10 in 2018.”

The full list includes (in no particular order);

#1 Boulder, CO
#2 Honolulu, HI
#3 Pensacola, FL
#4 Columbia, SC
#5 Charlottesville, VA
#6 Hickory, NC
#7 Santa Cruz, CA
#8 Charleston, SC
#9 Ann Arbor, MI
#10 Portland, ME
#11 Newport, RI
#12 Pittsburgh, PA
#13 Anchorage, AK
#14 Annapolis, MD
#15 New Orleans, LA
#16 Madison, WI
#17 Reno, NV
#18 Healdsburg, CA
#19 Olympia, WA
#20 Spokane, WA
#21 Albuquerque, NM
#22 Rapid City, SD
#23 Baton Rougue, LA
#24 Kansas City, MO
#25 Lakeland, FL
#26 Asheville, NC
#27 Louisville, KY
#28 Hagerstown, MD
#29 Greenville, SC
#30 Omaha, NE

Do you agree that these are the best small cities in America?

How many of the top 30 cities have you been to?