Top Ten Cities to Live in the USA
2. Boise, Idaho
3. Portland, Oregon
4. Nashua, New Hampshire
5. Rochester, Minnesota
6. Ann Arbor, Michigan
7. Portland, Oregon
8. Gainesville, Florida
9. Fort Collins-Loveland, Colorado
10. Seattle, Washington
11. San Diego, California
12. Pittsburgh, Pensylvania
1. Madison, Wisconsin
In 1996 Money magazine identified Madison as the best place to live in the United States. It has consistently ranked near the top of the best-places list in subsequent years, with the city's low unemployment rate a major contributor.
The main downtown thoroughfare is State Street, which links the University of Wisconsin campus with the State Capitol square, and is lined with restaurants, espresso cafes, and shops. Only pedestrians, buses, emergency vehicles, delivery vehicles and bikes are allowed on State Street.
Continuing on the other side of Capitol Square is King Street, which is now developing along the lines that State Street has, but with less of a student character, and more appeal to the growing young white-collar high-tech population in Madison. Thus, King Street has more upper-end restaurants and cafes than are found on the more student-budget State Street.
The southern skyline of Madison as seen from Lake Monona looking northIn the summer, on Saturday mornings, the Dane County Farmers' Market is held around the Capitol Square, while on Wednesday evenings, the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra performs free concerts on the Capitol's lawn.The Great Taste of the Midwest craft beer festival, established in 1987 and the second longest running such event in North America, is the second Saturday in August and the highly coveted tickets sell out within an hour of going on sale in May.
In 2004 Madison was named the healthiest city in America by Men's Journal magazine. Many major streets in Madison have designated bike lanes and the city has one of the most extensive bike trail systems in the nation. Due to this, Madison has a very active cyclist culture and it is common place to see groups of friends bicycling together throughout the city on nice days.
In 2005, Madison was included in Gregory A. Kompes' book, 50 Fabulous Gay-Friendly Place to Live.The Madison Metro area is also credited as the most liberal in the state, and has a higher percentage of gay couples than any other city in the area outside of Chicago and Minneapolis. The city was also named the number one college sports town by Sports Illustrated in 2003.
Madison has also gotten publicity in conjunction with the University of Wisconsin-Madison and its consistent ranking as one of the top "party schools." Among the city's various neighborhood fairs and celebrations are two large student-driven gatherings, the Mifflin Street Block Party and the State Street Halloween Party.
2. Boise, Idaho
The name Boise comes from the French word boisé, which means "wooded". Many people assume that it means "tree", but the French word for "tree" is arbre, whereas the word bois means "wood". One legend claims that French-Canadian fur trappers of the early 1800s came over the mountains looked down upon the Boise River Valley and exclaimed "Les Bois!" (the wood!), and that this is also how Boise gained its nickname 'The City of Trees'.
Boise is also a regional hub for jazz and theater. The Gene Harris Jazz Festival is hosted in Boise each spring. The city is also home to a number of museums, including the Boise Art Museum, Idaho Historical Museum, the Basque Museum and Cultural Center, Idaho Black History Museum, Boise WaterShed and the Discovery Center of Idaho. Several theater groups operate in the city, including the Idaho Shakespeare Festival, Boise Little Theatre, Boise Contemporary Theater, and Prairie Dog Productions. On the first Thursday of each month, a gallery stroll is hosted in the city's core business district by the Downtown Boise Association. The city also has an Egyptian Theatre. In the Fall season, Downtown Boise hosts a film festival called Idaho International Film Festival.
Boise will host the Winter 2009 Special Olympics World Games. More than 2,500 athletes from over 85 countries will participate.
3. Portland, OR
Portland is proud of its parks and its legacy of preserving open spaces. Parks and Greenspace planning dates back to John Charles Olmsted's 1903 Report to the Portland Park Board, inspiring generations of urban greenspace advocates. In 1995, voters in the Portland metropolitan region passed a regional bond measure to acquire valuable natural areas for fish, wildlife, and people. Ten years later, more than 8,100 acres of ecologically valuable natural areas had been purchased and permanently protected from development.
Portland along with Bend, Oregon are the only cities in the contiguous U.S. with extinct volcanoes within their boundaries. Mt. Tabor Park was inadvertently built on one of Portland's; it is known for its scenic views and historic reservoirs.
Portland is well-known for its microbrewery beer. It is often said that Portland is the home of the microbrew revolution in the United States, sometimes being called Beervana. Today, with 28 breweries within the city, Portland is home to more breweries than any other city in the country. The McMenamin brothers alone have over thirty brewpubs, distilleries, and wineries scattered throughout the metropolitan area, several in renovated theaters and other old buildings otherwise destined for demolition. Other notable Portland brewers include Widmer Brothers, BridgePort, and Hair of the Dog, as well as numerous smaller quality brewers. In 1999, author Michael "Beerhunter" Jackson called Portland a candidate for the beer capital of the world because the city boasted more breweries than Cologne, Germany.
Portland is home to a diverse array of artists and arts organizations, and was named in 2006 by American Style magazine as the 10th best Big City Arts Destination in the U.S.
Major performing arts institutions include the Oregon Ballet Theatre, Oregon Symphony, Portland Center Stage, and the Portland Opera. Over 75 other arts organizations produce theatre, music, dance, folk art, media arts in Portland, helping Portland achieve its reputation as an arts destination for cultural tourists.