The best small towns to visit in America are easy to commit to for a weekend. It doesn’t take much to fall in love with Main Street; all you need is a couple of friends, a shaded porch, a six-pack of pale ale, and nothing but time to kill for you to think, “Hmm, I could get used to this.”
But if you're going to full on move to a small town, you gotta be selective. Pick wrong and you'll be bored, underpaid, and isolated. But pick right, and you can get all the best aspects of a metropolis -- energy, creativity, charm, excitement -- without the up-yours prices and the built-in migraines.
So we asked dozens of writers around the country to find the small American cities (with max populations of around 70,000) where they'd put down roots. We looked for up-and-coming hotspots (think, Asheville 10 years ago), underappreciated gems, and towns where a person with verve could scratch out a cool life. Places where you can raise kids and those kids can raise dogs and those dogs can raise hell. And where, when your friends visit from the city, they take a seat on your porch and say, Damn, this is nice. What does your mortgage cost, again?