10 Small Cities With Distinctive Local Culture

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December 02, 2016

Located in the western portion of Montana, the town of Missoula may seem like a remote outpost on a map. In reality, it’s become a bit of a boomtown over the last few decades, doubling in population to 66,000 residents from 1980 to 2010. Young adults are attracted to Missoula’s art, documentary films, and craft beer scene.

Realtor.com named the 10 most cultured small cities in the nation. The list is based on the number of museums, libraries, galleries, book clubs, film festivals, and other artsy attractions in cities with populations between 20,000 and 80,000.

Cities atop the rankings are scattered across the nation. Wilmington, Del., has 25 museums in its area. Evanston, Ill., has an impressive historical home district. Ashland, Ore., has hosted the Oregon Shakespeare Festival for 80 years.

Surrounded by acres of desolate beauty, Santa Fe has an unrivaled art scene for a town this size (population 70,000). Whether it’s the engorged flower paintings of Georgia O’Keefe or the output of several generations of defining Southwestern artists, great works are in evidence pretty much everywhere you look.

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