The most exciting travel story in America right now? The resurgence of cities large and small.
Nat Geo Travel is passionate about tales of urban renewal, about communities that have collaborated to improve their Main Streets, about smart cities that have pursued development policies that produce happiness.
They've identified the top U.S. small cities based on unconventional metrics that lead to happiness: green spaces, galleries, coffee shops, breweries, music venues, Instagrammable moments, and more.
Next we sorted U.S. cities into three groups based on their population: 40K-100K, 100K-200K, and 200K-600K.
They combined core statistics with social media data on nightlife, culture, restaurants, and the like to determine the city leaders for each population group in categories from meatiest (lots of steakhouses and delis) to greenest (most parkland), based on per capita results.
Happy places for locals are also rewarding places for travelers.
#11 Greenville, South Carolina
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.