Last summer, Conde Nast Traveler readers told us what they thought were America's 10 best small cities. And while we appreciated their efforts, we actually now have hard, super-scientific data to prove that -- despite probably being very nice people -- they were dead wrong. In fact, not one of their towns made this 2015 list.
Turns out, Madison, WI, is the most livable small city in the country, at least according to Livability.com. Although this really shouldn't surprise anyone; we declared it the best college town in America just last fall, right here. The place is fantastic.
But back to the numbers. The real estate experts calculated a "livability score" for over 2,000 small- to mid-sized US cities (populations between 20,000 and 350,000) based on factors like affordable and quality healthcare, housing, amenities, and education, as well as diversity and community pride. Then they ranked the top 100.
Madison scored top marks (705) due in large part to its housing and health, while Rochester, MN, snagged second thanks to accessible healthcare and quality education. Arlington, VA finished third.
Meanwhile, much as Texas shocked the nation by boasting three of the country's most porn-obsessed cities, California put three towns in the most livable top 10 -- Palo Alto (no. 5), Berkeley (no. 6), and Santa Clara (no. 7). Yeah, California.
Anyway, before you write to Livability or comment below to complain that Little Rock didn’t make it, though, have a look at all the data here.
10. Iowa City, IA - 665
10. Boise, ID - 665
8. Missoula, MT - 668
7. Santa Clara, CA - 671
6. Berkeley, CA - 672
5. Palo Alto, CA - 679
5. Boulder, CO - 679
3. Arlington, VA - 680
2. Rochester, MN - 685
1. Madison, WI - 705
Chloe Pantazi is an editorial assistant on Thrillist's travel team. Yes, that's a British accent. No, she doesn't watch Doctor Who. Follow her on Twitter at @ChloePantazi.