This comes from my Smithsonian Magazine. They chose  towns with less than 15,000 population that are big on culture as the 20 best small towns in America for 2013.

What makes a small town big on culture?  Exceptional concentrations of museums, art galleries, orchestras, theaters, historic sites and other cultural blessings.

If the air is a little fresher, the grass greener, the pace gentler than in metropolitan America? All the better.  Generally, they’re devoted to preserving their historic centers, encouraging talent and supporting careful economic growth. There’s usually an institution of higher learning, too.

Most important are the people, unpretentious people with small-town values and high cultural expectations—not a bad recipe for society at large. As a sign on a chalkboard in Cleveland, Mississippi (our No. 2 pick) puts it, “Be nice. The world is a small town.”

Here is the List:

1. Gettysburg, PA.,             11. Galena, IL

Cleveland, MS.,                   Sausalito, CA

St. Augustine, FL.,               Hanover, NH.

Baraboo, WI,                      Oberlie, OH.

Astoria, OR,                         Jackson, WY.

Petoskey, MI,                       Lexington, KY.

Fairfield, IA.,                         Abilene, KS.

Los Alamos, NM.,                  Lihue, HI

Sitka, AK,                            Fredricksburg, TX.

Provincetown, MA.,              Glenwood Springs, CO.

I’m pleased to note I’ve visited Gettysburg, Baraboo, Astoria, Sitka ,Provincetown, Sausalito, and Fredricksburg. And in all cases, I found them delightful. So, traveler, fit one of these in your plans and you won’t regret it.

Read more about the towns they’ve chosen at their link.

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