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The Best Small Towns to Visit in the US

The Best Small Towns to Visit in the US

The Best Small Towns to Visit in the US

It is the first note of two related to the best cities in the United States, according to the 2023 Readers’ Choice Awards of Condé Nast Traveler magazine

 For 33 years in a row, travel magazine Condé Nast Traveler has surveyed the best cities in the United States or the favorites of the readers, according to registered voters. This year, the comments were so great that the editorial team divided the list into small cities (less than 250 thousand inhabitants) and large cities. Readers regularly choose the same places, but new members are on the list this year. Here are the top ten small towns in the United States:

JACKSON HOLE, WYOMING – The Best Small Towns to Visit in the US

Located at the base of the Teton Mountains, this city is undoubtedly synonymous with skiing. The Four Seasons Resort and Residences is the best option for skiing or staying at the elegant Anvil Hotel for easy access to the city’s shops and restaurants. Pause for a photo at the iconic antler arch before entering the Million Dollar Cowboy Bar for an authentic Wild West experience. When you’ve tired of big spaces, see nature from an artist’s perspective at the National Museum of Wildlife Art, which houses the work of Georgia O’Keefe and Andy Warhol, among others.

KEY WEST, FLORIDA – The Best Small Towns to Visit in the US

Many considered a hotspot for hippies and Jimmy Buffet fans, the island city defies stereotypes with its historic architecture, seafood restaurants, and magical sunsets. Fort Zachary Taylor State Park attracts thousands of divers each year. Don’t forget to make reservations to visit the Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum. Tip: Rent a bike when you arrive; it is the best way to explore this five-kilometer-long island.

SAVANNAH, GA. The Best Small Towns to Visit in the US

Start with a stroll through the historic district past horse-drawn carriages, ornate architecture, and charming buildings. Reserve early for a room at the Gastonian, a historic bed and breakfast located just two blocks from the 30-acre Forsyth Park. And for a fantastic dining experience, head to James Beard Award-nominated restaurant The Grey, an elegantly restored former Greyhound bus depot, where Chef Mashama Bailey serves elevated versions of Southern classics like foie gras and grits with fried catfish in tempura.

ASPEN, COLO. The Best Small Towns to Visit in the US

Here are some of the best ski slopes in the United States and some of the best resorts. The Little Nell is a popular choice for skiing; You can also stay at the St. Regis Aspen Resort, a three-minute walk from the base of Aspen Mountain.


The city of food offers the farm-to-table experience; visit Jianna for Italian oysters and Vault & Vator, the city’s first speakeasy, for a robust and well-crafted cocktail. It also has a dynamic mix of urban centers and abundant natural resources.

ALEXANDRIA, VA. The Best Small Towns to Visit in the US

The inhabitants of Washington, DC, know the secret. The charming and historic city across the Potomac River from the US capital attracts travelers and prospective residents. Most people begin to imagine that they will live there as soon as they set foot in the old town, once they have strolled along the red brick sidewalks, through street after street of 18th and 19th-century houses perfectly preserved.

LAGUNA BEACH, CALIF. The Best Small Towns to Visit in the US

An hour south of Los Angeles, Laguna Beach offers some of the most beautiful coastlines in California. Step up to the Montage Laguna Beach, perched high on a bluff on 30 beachfront acres. Laguna is known for its art scene, with many public facilities and galleries to explore. The Laguna Art Museum is a must-see, just off the boardwalk and featuring artwork depicting California life and history.


A ride down iconic Highway 1 is a must-do when visiting the area, as is stepping foot on the soft white sands of Carmel Beach. The site’s vibrant life means there is no shortage of tasting spaces in the city, along with first-class cuisine. Take a break from the coast with a day trip to nearby Carmel Valley to visit local wineries and restaurants.


It is the political and creative capital of New Mexico and one of those that repeat in the list of the best cities in the United States. The city’s many arts institutions, more than 250 galleries (especially SITE Santa Fe at the Railyard, an emerging contemporary art hub), and Spanish colonial churches keep culture lovers busy.


Charleston may be a small town, but this city offers a lot: history, culture, food, and charm. No wonder the so-called “holy city” has topped the list for ten years. Stately homes, cobblestone streets, sea views, and large flower beds make this spot a favorite of many.

If you plan to travel to the United States this year, or you live in that country and want to explore unforgettable and inexpensive places without so much noise and stress, we presented the list of the 15 smallest cities in the United States to visit in 2023. 

This ranking is based on a rigorous selection made by National Geographic magazine. In developing it, NG consulted brand consultants at Resonance Consultancy, who produced this ground-breaking ‘small town index,’ which is worth checking out this year.

Cities like Rapid City in South Dakota or Madison in Wisconsin are part of this select ranking to visit, initially published in the magazine. From there, we selected ten cities of the 29 most minor in the United States that are worth visiting. The list was made based on statistics and mentions on Instagram and Yelp. The cities cited were the most favored in the best rank of the following ten categories:

  • The friendliest for fashion lovers (tattoo parlors, coffee shops, vintage shops, nightclubs)
  • The Grooviest (wonderful) offering music, live music, instrument stores
  • Most Instagrammed (hashtags)
  • The best galleries and art schools supply stores.
  • The best care (beauty and cosmetic salons, hairdressers, hair removal services)
  • The best fast food restaurants
  • The best pet stores, groomers, and dog-friendly restaurants.
  • Best bars and breweries
  • Best coffee shops
  • Best parks

The results of each of these criteria were classified into three categories according to the size of the city: from 40,000 to 100,000 inhabitants, from 100,000 to 200,000, and from 200,000 to 600,000 inhabitants. Subsequently, an algorithm determined which cities had the best score per capita in each category or criterion.

Similarly, National Geographic editors included “trending” cities that didn’t make a list this year but appeared to be on the rise.

Olympia, Washington – Greenest, most caffeinated

Area : 48.0 km²

Population:   46,478 inhabitants.

Olympia’s greenery blends with its signature oceanic climate. Its coffees are an ode to calm and the delight of an excellent relaxed conversation between sips of good wine or simply a cup of coffee in its various presentations.

After your caffeine kick, you can explore its expansive coastline at Priest Point Park.

Omaha, Nebraska – trending, brighter

Area:   307.9 km²

Population:   446,970 inhabitants.

Located on the banks of the Missouri River, Omaha has a lot of history in its exciting museums and galleries, which chronicle the process of American colonization.

It’s a lively, fabulous Midwestern city with quaint cobblestone streets, dozens of coffee shops, fine dining restaurants, and boutiques—ideal for lovers of good music.

Madison, Wisconsin – greener

Area:   243.54 km²

Population:   233,209 inhabitants

Elegant and evergreen Wisconsin is an encounter with nature and beauty. After filling your lungs with plenty of fresh air in your 11.6 pairs, breathe in all the air if you’re looking for a breath of fresh air while in a city; there are 11.6 parks for every 10,000 residents in Wisconsin’s capital, along with trails and beautiful views.

Pensacola, Florida: More dog-friendly

Area:   105.43 km²

Population:   51,923 inhabitants.

Its spectacular beaches and warm atmosphere give this city a bucolic and cosmopolitan air, reminiscent of its past as “the city of the five flags.” Pensacola is a port city bathed in the sun that you can enjoy walking along its wide sidewalks or on the sands of its beaches full of high-end tourists.

There you will find a variety of galleries, shops, and gourmet restaurants amidst old and new buildings.

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania – Trending, More Sparkling

The city is full of craft breweries, almost all located in old buildings full of history that recall its industrial past and even a beer museum. Beer lovers will be in heaven as they enjoy a stroll through this small city crossed by three rivers.

Portland, Maine – most Instagrammed

Area:   143.71 km²

Population:   70,812 inhabitants.

In the always beautiful city of Portland, you can eat Thermidor lobster or whatever you prefer and then walk around its surroundings full of dream places and take many selfies with backgrounds of fishing boats, open-air markets, and lighthouses.

Rapid City, South Dakota – trending, most Instagrammed

Area:   143.71 km²

Population:   70,812 inhabitants.

This beautiful city has spectacular views. It is close to Mount Rushmore. From there, you can see the Dinosaur Park and contemplate the impressive landscape to the rhythm of a bubbly beer.

Reno, Nevada – The meatiest and friendliest for dogs

Area:   274.2 km²

Population:   225,221 inhabitants.

There is a place there called Harrah’s Steak House, where you can enjoy an incredible moment while eating and drinking to your heart’s content; Since 1937, serving delicious prime cuts of beef, you’ll remember for a lifetime.

2 Santa Cruz, California – The most spectacular

Area:   40.4 km²

Population:   59,946 inhabitants.

You can browse the record stores, plenty of them, and listen to live music after a day at the beach in this Cali hotspot, every music fan’s dream.

Spokane, Washington: The most “caffeinated” and age-friendly place area:  151.6 km²

Population:  208,916 inhabitants.

You can visit Garageland, a famous gastropub/vinyl store with a canoe hanging over the bar, or if you see it in the summer, you can take a stroll through Riverfront Park, where music and beer festivals are held along the river.

The Best Small Towns to Visit in the US

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