50 Best Small Town Downtowns in America

Best Choice Reviews - Best Towns America

By Kristen Fescoe
Posted January 2015

Small town Americana is alive and well across the entire United States. With thousands of sleepy towns and beautiful villages, a new idea of an American downtown has emerged. Gone are the days of a downtown area with a post office, market and police department. What has taken the place of this outdated notion are unique and eclectic downtown areas full of energy, entertainment and accessibility for Americans of all ages. Small towns have become the central gathering places for residents and visitors of the many small towns and cities across the country. Many of these downtowns have rich history and culture attached to them. In addition to their history, many of these small downtowns are now places to shop, unwind, dine, attend festivals, hear music and so much more.

Ranking Methodology

This ranking list has been created to outline the top fifty small town downtowns in America. We have defined a small town as a city or town with full time residency of 15,000 or fewer citizens. The data used for this measure was the 2013 United States Census. Attention was specifically paid to those towns that have been named on a respected ranking list for Best Small Town, Best Main Street or Best Downtown. These respected ranking bodies include Parade Magazine, Smithsonian Magazine, Fox News Travel, Travel and Leisure, Livability or Huffington Post Travel. A third consideration was given to the median income of the town, median home price as well as the median age of the residents. While no preference was awarded to towns with higher or lower median age of residents, it is good information for potential visitors or residents. We paid close attention to the general appeal to the downtown area, including such things as general appearance, festivals or special events, dining, shopping, entertainment, arts and culture, parks, proximity to airports and hotels amenities available. The goal of this ranking list is to find the best small town downtown areas for both residents as well as visitors to the area.

Ranking The Top 50 Small Town Downtowns in America

#50 – Mathews, Virginia

Mathews Virginia Best Small Town Downtown
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2013 Population: 8,884

City Website

First on our list is the quaint town of Mathews, Virginia. This is more than a small town; it is the smallest county in Virginia, with just eighty-four square miles . This small town boasts a historic, yet updated, downtown area with shopping, dining and art. The city also houses miles of Chesapeake Bay shoreline, which makes it an ultimate destination for summer beachgoers, bird watchers, bicyclists, fishermen, and boating enthusiasts.

Median Income: $55,192
Median Age of Residents: 50.6
Median House Price: $472,100
National Ranking:
2014 Livability List of Top Ten Small Towns

#49 – Deadwood, South Dakota
Deadwood South Dakota Best Small Town Downtown

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2013 Population: 1,263

City Website

The town of Deadwood is in the heart of the “wild west.” The downtown area is full of gaming, fine dining, and entertainment. You may even encounter an old-fashioned shootout on Main Street. While visiting you can see Broken Boot Mine, a number of historic homes and shops. The city has been named on two of the national lists for best small towns.

Median Income: $34,779
Median Age of Residents: 52.9
National Ranking:
Fodor’s Top US Neighborhoods
Huffington Post Travel – 15 of America’s Coolest Small Towns

#48 – Corinth, Mississippi
Corinth MIssissippi Best Small Town Downtown

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2013 Population: 14,870

City Website

The downtown area in Corinth is known as Fillmore Street. This street offers both visitors and locals an eclectic combination of the old and the new. There are historic buildings mixed with modern boutiques and galleries. There are many interesting inns and hotels in the downtown area.

Median Income: $31,347
Median Age of Residents: 42.5
Median House Price: $158,335
National Ranking:
Parade Magazines Top 16 Main Streets in the United States

#47 – Spearfish, South Dakota
Spearfish South Dakota Best Small Town Downtown

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2013 Population: 10,494

City Website

Spearfish, South Dakota is a town with an all-embracing attitude towards both a youthful energy and a downtown arts vibe. There are art galleries, theaters and musical performances. The town is home to Black Hills State University, which creates the feeling of a college town. The university offers entertainment options, such as live performances, art and cultural shows for students, residents and visitors. The downtown area supports coffee shops, pubs, restaurants and shops. The downtown area also hosts a series of Friday night concerts during the summer and a Christmas parade each December.

Median Income: $37,644
Median Age of Residents: 33.7
Median House Price: $329,364
National Ranking:
#7 On The Livability 2014 Top Ten Small Towns List

#46 – Rockland, Maine
Rockland Maine Best Small Town Downtown

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2013 Population: 7,209

City Website

Rockland, Maine is a picturesque, quaint “New England village.” The old fashioned, New England village vibe is mixed with a trendy art and culture scene, which makes the downtown area unique. The low average home price makes this a wonderful place to both visit and live.

Median Income: $37,549
Median Age of Residents: 46.9
Median House Price: $207,495
National Ranking:
Parade Magazines Top 16 Main Streets in the America

#45 – Eureka Springs, Arkansas
Eureka Springs Arkansas Best Small Town Downtown

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2013 Population: 2,095

City Website

The town of Eureka Springs can be found nestled in the Ozarks and has a place on the National Register of Historic Places. The downtown area is full of old-fashioned Victorian charm. The streets twist and turn through the mountainous terrain. There is a charming downtown trolley system that will wind you throughout the downtown area. Visitors and residents enjoy eclectic music, a fabulous arts scene and Queen Ann style Bed and Breakfasts throughout town.

Median Income: $31,536
Median Age of Residents: 50.4
Median House Price: $267,500
National Ranking:
Travel & Leisure’s America’s Greatest Main Street List

#44 – Lanesboro, Minnesota
Lanesboro Minnesota Best Small Town Downtown

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2013 Population: 738

City Website

Lanesboro is fondly referred throughout Minnesota as the Bed-and-Breakfast capital of the entire state. The town is situated in a cliff-lined valley of the Root River, approximately 125 miles from Minneapolis-St. Paul. The town is full of beautiful old Victorian homes, many of which have been turned into the B&B’s so beloved by the town. The downtown area has plenty of dining and shopping to keep visitors entertained.

Median Income: $36,500
Median Age of Residents: 47.5
Median House Price: $360,608
National Ranking:
#10 on the Smithsonian Magazine Top 20 Small Towns to Visit List

#43 – Marietta, Ohio
Marietta Ohio Best Small Town Downtown

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2013 Population: 14,053

City Website

Marietta, Ohio is home to a bustling downtown area with both modern amenities and old-fashioned charm. Throughout the year, residents and visitors can enjoy the many festivals sponsored by the city. In September, the Ohio River Sternwheel Festival displays dozens of “paddle wheelers,” amidst music, fireworks and a pageant. The Sweet Corn Festival, each July, features such old fashioned traditions as roasted ears of delicious sweet corn and a feed corn bag-tossing tournament. The downtown area is a meticulously kept spot with hanging flower baskets lining the stress and beautiful old fashioned storefronts. There are historic sites as well, including the Schafer Leather harness maker shop established in 1867 and historic homes such as the Castle of Marietta, a Gothic Revival mansion which is open to the public.

Median Income: $31,739
Median Age of Residents: 40.1
Median House Price: $170,751
National Ranking:
#6 on the Smithsonian Magazine Top 20 Small Towns to Visit List

#42 – Buckhannon, West Virginia
Buckhannon West Virginia Best Small Town Downtown

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2013 Population: 5,645

City Website

Buckhannon, West Virginia can be found right in the heart of the state. In the contest for Coolest Small Towns in America, Buckhannon received more nominations than any other town in the country. The downtown area is an artsy Main Street, complete with specialty boutiques, antique shops, dining and art galleries. The downtown area also has many historical offerings and is an ideal spot for nature and wildlife lovers.

Median Income: $30,197
Median Age of Residents: 30.2
Median House Price: $180,329
National Ranking:
Huffington Post Travel – 15 of America’s Coolest Small Towns

#41 – Harrodsburg, Kentucky
Harrodsburg Kentucky Best Small Town Downtown

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2013 Population: 8,377

City Website

Harrodsburg is the oldest city in Kentucky and the oldest American settlement west of the Allegheny Mountains, earning the town the title “Birthplace of the West.” The entire town is wrought with the feeling and charm of centuries past. There is Old Harrod State Park, which has a full-scale replica of the original fort built in 1774. The town also has an active art and food scene. Bourbon lovers will especially love this old-fashioned town. The Ragged Edge Community Theatre can be found on Main Street and it is as an educational center for the arts, supporting plays and musicals for locals and visitors.

Median Income: $29,495
Median Age of Residents: 37.4
Median House Price: $173,823
National Ranking:
#17 on the Smithsonian Magazine Top 20 Small Towns to Visit List

#40 – Elkin, North Carolina
Elkin North Carolina Best Small Town Downtown

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2013 Population: 4,024

City Website

The beautiful city of Elkin, North Carolina is a place where you can find just about any outdoor sport you enjoy, including hiking, kayaking, canoeing, fishing, bird watching, and cycling. Aside from the outdoor appeal, the town also boasts art galleries, many historic buildings and sites, boutiques and shops, theaters, wine trails and fine dining. The town has so much to offer despite its small size.

Median Income: $37,429
Median Age of Residents: 40.7
Median House Price: $171,608
National Ranking:
Huffington Post Travel – 15 of America’s Coolest Small Towns

#39 – Everglades City, Florida
Everglades City Florida Best Small Town Downtown

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2013 Population: 403

City Website

Everglades City has an extremely small population of full-time residents. Despite the small population the city is full of charm and whimsy. It is considered the gateway to the mangrove estuaries and the thousands of islands of Everglades National Park. The downtown area has capitalized on the prime location just outside of the National Park and offers everything from dining to shopping. There are some of the states best destinations for delicious stone crabs, including the widely renowned Seafood Depot, an eatery situated in a 1928 train station.

Median Income: $38,750
Median Age of Residents: 46.7
Median House Price: $140,000
National Ranking:
Huffington Post Travel – 15 of America’s Coolest Small Towns

#38 – Wallace, Idaho
Wallace Idaho Best Small Town Downtown

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2013 Population: 784

City Website

The city of Wallace is also a town with a small, full-time population. Despite the size, Wallace has a neat and charming downtown area. The city is lined with large pine-topped mountain peaks and breathtaking sunsets. The downtown area, known as Bank Street, is a classic American Main Street, with beautiful brick buildings decorated in Italianate style. The town gives a nod to the silver boom that was a major factor in the history of northern Idaho.

Median Income: $35,000
Median Age of Residents: 43.8
Median House Price: $121,181
National Ranking:
Travel & Leisure’s America’s Greatest Main Street List

#37 – Ketchum, Idaho

Ketchum Idaho Best Small Town Downtown
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2013 Population: 2,706

City Website

Ketchum is home to a booming art and cultural center, as well as home to rich history and tradition. The town houses more than twenty individually run art galleries and sponsors a year-round lecture series. At any point in the year you can find musical and theatrical productions at the Sun Valley Center for the Arts. The downtown area is also an excellent place to shop or dine.

Median Income: $58,269
Median Age of Residents: 48.7
Median House Price: $720,400
National Ranking:
#15 on the Smithsonian Magazine Top 20 Small Towns to Visit List
Huffington Post Travel – 15 Places That Will Take Your Breath Away

#36 – Woods Hole, Massachusetts

Woods Hole Massachusetts Best Small Town DowntownImage Source

2013 Population: 781

City Website

Woods Hole, Massachusetts is a small community with a population of less than a thousand. The town is home to the Sea Education Association, the Woods Hole Research Center and the Children’s School of Science. The downtown area is full of education, arts and culture. The local public radio station broadcasts “One Species at a Time” from a 19th-century captain’s house on Water Street. The Woods Hole Film Festival attracts people from far and wide each year. Water Street is at the city center and has galleries, shops and many options for wining and dining.

Median Income: $75,000
Median Age of Residents: 52.9
Median House Price: $4.07 million
National Ranking:
#5 on the Smithsonian Magazine Top 20 Small Towns to Visit List

#35 – Nantucket, Massachusetts

Nantucket Massachusetts Best Small Town DowntownImage Source

2013 Population: 10,399

City Website

Nantucket is a very popular vacation destination in the summer months. The island city is 105 square miles of a designated National Historic District. The beautiful cobblestoned Main Street is the island’s historic center. The streets are lined with Greek Revival buildings, monstrous elm trees, and enough benches for enjoying the scenery. The downtown area is a combination of diverse boutiques and old-fashioned storefronts, selling needlepoint belts, saltwater taffy, and anchor-shaped door knockers. The islands harbor area was once considered the whaling capital of the world.

Median Income: $85,478
Median Age of Residents: 39.9
Median House Price: $3.519 million
National Ranking:
Travel & Leisure’s America’s Greatest Main Street List

#34 – Glenwood Springs, Colorado

Glenwood Springs Colorado Best Small Town DowntownImage Source

2013 Population: 9,614

City Website

Glenwood Springs was once a city that embraced the fast-paced lifestyle of the old wild west. The city is now a much more modern place to live or visit. There are a myriad of outdoors sports to enjoy and spectacular views. The town draws many visitors to the world’s largest hot springs pool and world class rafting in the Roaring Fork and Colorado rivers. With so many reasons to visit the city has developed its downtown area into a center for arts, culture, entertainment, shopping and fine dining. There is something for everyone.

Median Income: $53,687
Median Age of Residents: 35.3
Median House Price: $390,000
National Ranking:
Rand McNally #1 Fun Small Town
#18 on the Smithsonian Magazine Top 20 Small Towns to Visit List

#33 – Port Townsend, Washington

Port Townsend Best Small Town DowntownImage Source

2013 Population: 9,210

City Website

In 1850, the city of Port Townsend was built in the beautiful Victorian style. To this day you can still see the beauty and charm from the 1800’s. The downtown historic area has evolved into a center for the arts and culture. One of the most notable downtown features is the Rose Theater, which is an early 1900’s vaudeville theater that has been carefully restored. Now the theater invites watchers to view the movies of modern day. After catching a movie visitors and locals can frequent the many downtown shops and restaurants.

Median Income: $41,033
Median Age of Residents: 54.3
Median House Price: $386,365
National Ranking:
Travel & Leisure’s America’s Greatest Main Street List

#32 – Sedona, Arizona

Sedona Arizona Best Small Town DowntownImage Source

2013 Population: 10,111

City Website

Sedona, Arizona is a picturesque town full of southwestern charm. The downtown area has restaurants, hotels, boutiques and shops as well as public artwork like bronze cowboys and horse statues. From the early 1950’s, the city has gradually become a southwestern mecca for arts and culture. The downtown area has everything from historic structures like the Chapel of the Holy Cross to cultural centers like the art-gallery village of Tlaquepaque. There are many Mexican-style shops and eateries.

Median Income: $48,450
Median Age of Residents: 57.6
Median House Price: $366,000
National Ranking:
#8 on the Smithsonian Magazine Top 20 Small Towns to Visit List
Fox News Travel Best Main Streets in USA

#31 – Red Lodge, Montana

Red Lodge Best Small Town DowntownImage Source

2013 Population: 2,199

City Website

Red Lodge, Montana is a modern cowboys dream city. Broadway Avenue is the main street of the town and is covered in amazing Wild West façades. Many well-known wild-west figures spent time in Red Lodge during the late-19th-century. In fact, The Sundance Kid once robbed a bank on Broadway. The more modernized city that you will find now is home to restored two-story shops, restaurants, and art. The downtown area is part of an 80-mile stretch of Mainstreet to Mountains Rocky Fork Trail used to access the wilderness just outside town limits.

Median Income: $49,031
Median Age of Residents: 47.5
Median House Price: $353,075
National Ranking:
Travel & Leisure’s America’s Greatest Main Street List

#30 – Decorah, Iowa

Decorah Iowa Best Small Town DowntownImage Source

2013 Population: 8,089

City Website

The small town of Decorah is home to excellent shopping. There are a number of local boutiques with interesting wares such as Norwegian fashions, locally produced soy and beeswax candles and much more. There are also a number of more modern shops and restaurants. The town’s main historic attraction is the Vesterheim Norwegian-American Museum, with more than 24,000 artifacts throughout twelve historic buildings. It is the most comprehensive collection of Norwegian-American artifacts in the world.

Median Income: $47,619
Median Age of Residents: 30.7
Median House Price: $253,052
National Ranking:
#19 on the Smithsonian Magazine Top 20 Small Towns to Visit List

#29 – Bath, Maine

Bath Maine Best Small Town DowntownImage Source

2013 Population: 8,357

City Website

The city of Bath is a port of entry formed by the Kennebec River estuary. Bath brings in many tourists each year with its charm and beauty. The beautiful downtown is built in the 19th-century style of architecture and offers many shops, galleries restaurants. The town is also home to the Heritage Day Festival, which is held each year on the Fourth of July.

Median Income: $42,602
Median Age of Residents: 40.7
Median House Price: $284,008
National Ranking:
Travel & Leisure’s America’s Greatest Main Street List

#28 – Placerville, California

Placerville California Best Small Town DowntownImage Source

2013 Population: 10,464

City Website

Placerville was established during the 19th-century gold rush. Since that time, the city has undergone a downtown restoration making it both an excellent place to live and visit. There are monthly stagecoach rides, an old-fashioned bell tower, and the 160-year-old Placerville Hardware Store, which was home to the late artist Thomas Kinkade, who often painted his beloved town.

Median Income: $44,096
Median Age of Residents: 39.4
Median House Price: $255,000
National Ranking:
Parade Magazines Top 16 Main Streets in the America

#27 – Galena, Illinois

Galena Illinois Best Small Town DowntownImage Source

2013 Population: 3,361

City Website

Main Street, in the town of Galena, is a beautiful curved lane that follows the Galena River, a tributary of the Mississippi River. Many Chicagoans view Galena as an excellent getaway from the stress of the big city. The downtown area is a mix of scenic brick storefronts and bay front windows, decorated in the Italianate style. Main Street is home to several chocolate shops and galleries. There are even trolley cars, which leave from Main Street to take visitors to some of the areas lovely wineries.

Median Income: $47,009
Median Age of Residents: 49
Median House Price: $242,077
National Ranking:
Huffington Post Travel – 15 of America’s Coolest Small Towns
Parade Magazines Top 16 Main Streets in the America
Travel & Leisure’s America’s Greatest Main Street List

#26 – Pahoa, Hawaii

Pahoa Hawaii Best Small Town DowntownImage Source

2013 Population: 945

City Website

Pahoa is one of the beautiful villages found on Hawaii’s Big Island. Located near the larger city of Hilo, Pahoa has a unique small town vibe. There are many eclectic shops and boutiques, eateries, art galleries and much more. The retro feeling of the town is a short distance from dried lava fields and under an hour from Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. The small town is an excellent place to both live and visit.

Median Income: $43,875
Median Age of Residents: 39.8
Median House Price: $172,000
National Ranking:
Huffington Post Travel – 15 of America’s Coolest Small Towns

#25 – Mount Dora, Florida

Mount Dora Florida Best Small Town DowntownImage Source

2013 Population: 12,895

City Website

Mount Dora, Florida is a town with all of the charm that a small town has to offer. Donnelly Park sits in the middle of the town with a beautiful place to have a picnic or spend an afternoon. There are festivals throughout the year, including the nationally ranked Mount Dora Arts Festival and the Fall Craft Fair, which is the largest outdoor event in the southeast United States. There are some of the best antique stores in the country. The early 1900’s rail depot brings in many visitors each year, because of its rich historic architecture. The town is also home to the world-famous Renninger’s Florida Twin Markets, which is an outdoor flea market and antique market held each Saturday and Sunday.

Median Income: $47,863
Median Age of Residents: 44
Median House Price: $159,000
National Ranking:
#14 on the Smithsonian Magazine Top 20 Small Towns to Visit List

#24 – Nebraska City, Nebraska

Nebraska City Nebraska Best Small Town Downtown Image Source 

2013 Population: 7,255

City Website 

Nebraska City is home to the state’s first fire department, the oldest public building still in use (the brick Otoe County Courthouse) and the only recognized Underground Railroad station. The downtown area of the town has a lot to do. There is shopping, dining and entertainment to keep locals and visitors busy. Whether you are looking to relax and escape, or you want to surround yourself with history, you can find what you are looking for.

Median Income: $43,110
Median Age of Residents: 38.8
Median House Price: $155,796
National Ranking:
#9 on the Smithsonian Magazine Top 20 Small Towns to Visit List

#23 – Columbia, Pennsylvania

Columbia Pennsylvania Best Small Town DowntownImage Source

2013 Population: 10,382

City Website

Columbia, Pennsylvania is a scenic town along the banks of the Susquehanna River. Colonial English Quakers originally founded the town, and after a Civil War battle, it became a center of transport and industry into the 19th century. The town now brings in tourists year round to enjoy the historic offerings as well as the more modern amenities. You can find the nationally registered historic Bachman and Forry Tobacco Warehouse, the world’s only horology museum, or the National Watch and Clock museum. The downtown section of Columbia is also home to many opportunities for shopping and dining.

Median Income: $44,807
Median Age of Residents: 39.8
Median House Price: $111,000
National Ranking:
#13 on the Smithsonian Magazine Top 20 Small Towns to Visit List

#22 – Kelley’s Island, Ohio

Kelleys Island Ohio Best Small Town DowntownImage Source

2013 Population: 313

City Website

Kelley’s Island, Ohio has a great deal to offer visitors. The town has a very small full-time residence population, because of its tourism population. The island is a short ferry ride from Marblehead. It is close to the Sandusky, Ohio, which is home to the popular destination Cedar Point. The small island also has a wonderful downtown area. Visitors to the quaint village can enjoy shopping, dining and plenty of entertainment. There is much to do year round, with plenty of both indoor and outdoor activities throughout the year.

Median Income: $50,625
Median Age of Residents: 60.2
Median House Price: $525,000
National Ranking:
Huffington Post Travel – 15 of America’s Coolest Small Towns

#21 – Cazenovia, New York

Cazenovia New York Best Small Town DowntownImage Source

2013 Population: 2,756

City Website

Cazenovia, New York is a perfect getaway when you need an escape from big city living. The downtown area, known as Albany Street is like taking a trip back in time. The street has plenty of shopping, dining and historic offerings, including the Scottish-themed Brae Loch Inn. Albany Street looks and feels like it might have a hundred years ago. Despite the old-world charm, the town offers all of the modern luxuries and accommodations you are looking for. Nestled into the shores of the lake, Cazenovia is a quaint village that offers visitors many ways to rest and relax.

Median Income: $53,182
Median Age of Residents: 32.9
Median House Price: $390,557
National Ranking:
Huffington Post Travel – 15 of America’s Coolest Small Towns

#20 – Steamboat Springs, Colorado

Steamboat Springs Colorado Best Small Town DowntownImage Source

2013 Population:  12,100

City Website

Steamboat Springs, Colorado is known best for two things: skiing and music. The town boasts some of the best skiing conditions in the country due to the dry light snow that is often referred to as “champagne powder.” The music half of the town’s charm can be found in many different genres. The town is home to a symphony and chamber orchestra, an opera company and a world-class summer music festival. The festival brings together many different kinds of music including first chair performers from all over the country as well as rock artists and much more. The festival now features country, jazz and bluegrass. The downtown area has been updated to keep up with the many tourists that come to enjoy the music and the snow.

Median Income: $58,750
Median Age of Residents: 37.8
Median House Price: $370,000
National Ranking:
#4 on the Smithsonian Magazine Top 20 Small Towns to Visit List

#19 – Rockport, Texas

Rockport Texas Best Small Town DowntownImage Source

2013 Population: 9,133

City Website

Located along the warm Texas Gulf coast, Rockport is among the best kept secrets in the world of best small towns. This charming Texas town is a wonderful place to vacation or to live year-round. The beaches in Rockport offer excellent fishing, bathing and relaxing by the waters edge. The town is home to several fairs and festivals throughout the year including the Oyster Fest, Seafair, and a popular wine festival. Some of the historic attractions include the Fulton Mansion and the heritage district in downtown Rockport. The downtown area is full of shopping and dining.

Median Income: $52,820
Median Age of Residents: 48.3
Median House Price: $358,030
National Ranking:
Huffington Post Travel – 15 of America’s Coolest Small Towns

#18 – Estes Park, Colorado

Estes Park COlorado Best Small Town DowntownImage Source

2013 Population: 6,017

City Website

Estes Park, Colorado is the headquarters for Rocky Mountain National Park. This means that the town is extremely popular for skiing and snowshoeing. In the warmer months visitors and locals can enjoy rafting, fishing, and wildlife viewing. The downtown area is a popular hotspot for shopping and dining. There is also an arts and culture scene with galleries and studios.

Median Income: $59,826
Median Age of Residents: 56.3
Median House Price: $301,850
National Ranking:
Huffington Post Travel – 15 of America’s Coolest Small Towns

#17 – Berlin, Maryland

Berlin Maryland Best Small Town DowntownImage Source

2013 Population: 4,563

City Website

Berlin, Maryland was the location for the movies Tuck Everlasting and Runaway Bride. Anyone who has seen these classics understands just how charming this town is. Downtown Berlin is considered a National Register Historic District, which hosts festivals and events year round. There is a farmers market, as well as unique festivities like the Berlin Fiddlers Convention, Victorian Christmas, and even bathtub races.

Median Income: $57,031
Median Age of Residents: 40
Median House Price: $220,000
National Ranking:
Huffington Post Travel – 15 of America’s Coolest Small Towns

#16 – Travelers Rest, South Carolina

Travelers Rest South Carolina Best Small Town DowntownImage Source

2013 Population: 4,750

City Website

Travelers Rest is located between the Blue Ridge Mountains and Greenville, South Carolina. Some of the population comes from attendance at Furman University, which is located in the town. This helps promote a youthful, college town feel. In 2006, the City Council began a downtown revitalization, which helped bring about a modern, eclectic downtown area for locals, visitors and students. Because of this revitalization effort, the town is now home to many new businesses as well as increase presence of long-standing businesses. Whether you are looking to shop, eat or have fun, the town can take care of your needs.

Median Income: $50,768
Median Age of Residents: 31.4
Median House Price: $141,825
National Ranking:
Huffington Post Travel – 15 of America’s Coolest Small Towns

#15 – Beaufort, South Carolina

Beaufort South Carolina Best Small Town DowntownImage Source

2013 Population: 12,967

City Website

Beaufort, South Carolina is the locations where they leaders of the Secession first met in the state to draft the Ordinance of Secession, making South Carolina the first state to leave the union. This foundation has created a rich sense of history and culture in the town. Several of these historic building have been included in a National Historic Landmark District. The downtown area of Beaufort is a beautiful area shaded by oak trees and well established magnolias. The history can be seen in the beautiful storefronts found throughout the boutiques, shops and restaurants in the downtown blocks.

Median Income: $57,316
Median Age of Residents: 41.5
Median House Price: $168,000
National Ranking:
#7 on the Smithsonian Magazine Top 20 Small Towns to Visit List

#14 – Spring Green, Wisconsin

Spring Green Wisconsin Best Small Town DowntownImage Source

2013 Population: 1,647

City Website

Spring Green, Wisconsin has a very small year-round population. However the town brings in more than 100,000 visitors each year. This is because the American Players Theater, a classical theater is located right outside of the town. In addition the theater history found nearby, visitors also flock to enjoy the many architectural wonders from architects like Frank Lloyd Wright’s. His estate, a 600-acre property, can be found in Spring Green. The downtown area is a perfect place for the many patrons to shop, eat and enjoy.

Median Income: $59,911
Median Age of Residents: 43
Median House Price: $122,500
National Ranking:
#11 on the Smithsonian Magazine Top 20 Small Towns to Visit List

#13 – Lahaina, Hawaii

Lahaina Hawaii Best Small Town DowntownImage Source

2013 Population: 10,699

City Website

The downtown area of Lahaina has seen quite the evolution in its lifetime. It has gone from a Hawaiian Royals capital, to a whaling city (full of revelry), a local for missionaries and home to adventurers who thought the city would bring them fortune. Now, Front Street is a place for tourists to enjoy their vacations. Visitors can enjoy unique shopping, whale watching tours, dining, and much more. The beautiful small town lets tourists enjoy the beauty of Hawaii without the typical tourist city feel.

Median Income: $62,888
Median Age of Residents: 38.9
Median House Price: $510,000
National Ranking:
Travel & Leisure’s America’s Greatest Main Street List

#12 – Nevada City, California

Nevada City California Best Small Town DowntownImage Source

2013 Population: 3,046

City Website

Nevada City is a small town located sixty miles northeast of Sacramento, in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. There is not a huge tourist industry in the town, but visitors are always welcome. Both locals and visitors to the town can enjoy the towns offerings of music, art, dining as well as the close proximity to California’s amazing rivers, lakes, and the Sierras Nevada Mountain range. There are several restaurants, historic sites and art galleries found throughout the downtown area.

Median Income: $62,386
Median Age of Residents: 43.4
Median House Price: $314,750
National Ranking:
Huffington Post Travel – 15 of America’s Coolest Small Towns

#11 – Havre de Grace, Maryland

Havre De Grace Maryland Best Small Town DowntownImage Source

2013 Population: 13,501

City Website

Havre de Grace is located between Wilmington and Baltimore. The town has a long boardwalk that many people enjoy strolling in the morning hours. One of the bright spots is the beauty of sunrises at the spot where the Susquehanna River meets the Chesapeake Bay at Concord Point. The lighthouse in Havre de Grace is the oldest in Maryland, and visitors can climb the lighthouse and explore the grounds. The town’s downtown area is an excellent place to eat, shop or just relax.

Median Income: $65,357
Median Age of Residents: 42.9
Median House Price: $230,500
National Ranking:
#12 on the Smithsonian Magazine Top 20 Small Towns to Visit List

#10 – Woodstock, Vermont

Woodstock Vermont Best Small Town DowntownImage Source

2013 Population: 3,232

City Website

Woodstock, Vermont is a quaint small town with a lot of charm. Center street is littered with shops, boutiques and bakeries that draw quite a crowd. There are large historic homes along the picturesque streets. At one point the town was a prosperous 19th century center of industry, but now it is a beautiful place to live or visit. The main street, Center Street, forks at “The Green” which is a beautiful park with historic houses and a covered bridge. This downtown has all of the charm that you might expect from a northeastern small town.

Median Income: $68,269
Median Age of Residents: 52.9
Median House Price: $312,500
National Ranking:
Travel & Leisure’s America’s Greatest Main Street List

#9 – Excelsior, Minnesota

Excelsior Minnesota Best Small Town DowntownImage Source

2013 Population: 2,397

City Website

Excelsior, Minnesota is a small town with plenty to offer locals and tourists. The main street found in town, Water Street, is lined with shops, boutiques, restaurants and galleries. If you take a stroll down Water Street you will be led to “The Commons,” a thirteen acre park and beach area. The town offers a restful, relaxing location to vacation or take a break from the fast pace of normal life.

Median Income: $77,750
Median Age of Residents: 48.4
Median House Price: $475,000
National Ranking:
Parade Magazines Top 16 Main Streets in the America

#8 – Huntington Woods, Michigan

Huntington Woods Michigan Best Small Town DowntownImage Source

2013 Population: 6,288

City Website

In addition to being ranked as one of the countries coolest small towns, Huntington Woods has also been ranked as one of America’s friendliest towns, by Forbes and one of America’s top 10 suburbs, by MarketWatch. The town does not have a strong tourism industry, but residents of this small town enjoy the many amenities it offers. This city is a quiet suburb of Detroit and even houses a small part of the Detroit Zoo. The downtown area of the city has shops and restaurants to enjoy.

Median Income: $112,869
Median Age of Residents: 41.9
Median House Price: $309,750
National Ranking:
Huffington Post Travel – 15 of America’s Coolest Small Towns

#7 – Hailey, Idaho

hailey-idaho

Image Source

2013 Population: 8,014

City Website

Hailey, Idaho is located in the Wood River Valley, and is situated on relatively flat terrain. Once you leave city limits you are met with the beautiful mountains that surround Hailey. Despite its small size, Hailey has a large tourism industry and offer many modern amenities to visitors. Both locals and tourists can enjoy the laid-back lifestyle with plenty of outdoor activities at nearby ski resorts, hiking trails and fishing holes. The downtown area has seen many improvements over the past few years including hosting the Northern Rockies Music Festival, adding an ice rink to the rodeo grounds and creating a system of trails that connect the entire community.
There are many different kinds of restaurant offerings found downtown as well as plenty of shopping and entertainment.

Median Income: $65,101
Median Age of Residents: 35.1
Median House Price: $244,000
National Ranking:
2014 Livability List of Top Ten Small Towns – #10

#6 – Littleton, New Hampshire

Littleton New HampshireImage Source

2013 Population: 5,845

City Website

Littleton, New Hampshire is not located near any large cities or metropolitan areas; however, they still have a vibrant downtown area with lots to do for locals and visitors. The buildings found downtown are interesting and eclectic, with many different competing styles and themes. There are places to eat, shop, and be entertained. Chutters candy store is a long time tradition in the town and boasts the title of the longest candy counter in the world! Littleton is also home to excellent antiquing with many shops to choose from.

Median Income: $49,073
Median Age of Residents: 46.1
Median House Price: $137,050
National Ranking:
Travel & Leisure’s America’s Greatest Main Street List

#5 – Heber City, Utah

Heber City Colorado Best Small Town DowntownImage Source

2013 Population: 11,362

City Website

The Heber Valley area of Utah has remained at the top of the list for most popular vacation destinations in the western part of the country. Heber City has a great deal of natural amenities, such as boating, golf, horseback riding, snow skiing, hiking and biking. The town is proud of its low crime rate, excellent schools and top-notch health-care system. This makes it an ideal place to vacation or to live. The downtown area is home to a thriving art and culture scene with various festivals and special events held almost weekly. There are theatrical performances, art shows and Native American celebrations. The town also hosts the annual Wasatch County Fair, which is a weeklong event with a parade, carnival rides, demolition derby, rodeo and beauty pageant.

Median Income: $58,883
Median Age of Residents: 27.3
Median House Price: $796,837
National Ranking:
2014 Livability List of Top Ten Small Towns

#4 – Silver City, New Mexico

Silver City New Mexico Best Small Town DowntownImage Source

2013 Population: 10,273

City Website

Silver City began its life as a mining town and since then has evolved into a cultural destination with a thriving downtown arts district. The town hosts several annual festivals that celebrate the town’s cultural heritage and rich arts culture. Visitors and residents of the town can enjoy authentic Mexican cuisine, as well as other types of eateries in the downtown area. Nearby is the 3.3 million-acre Gila National Forest with the Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument. You can also enjoy a day at the natural hot springs along the Trail of the Mountain Spirits. Downtown Silver City displays 19th century architecture with architecture ranging from adobe to Victorian. The majority of the town’s art galleries are found in the downtown area, as well as plenty of coffee shops, boutiques and restaurants.

Median Income: $35,068
Median Age of Residents: 39.1
Median House Price: $242,144
National Ranking:
#18 on the Smithsonian Magazine Top 20 Small Towns to Visit List
Fox News Travel Best Main Streets in USA

#3 – Traverse City, Michigan

Traverse City Michigan Best Small Town DowntownImage Source

2013 Population: 14,911

City Website

Traverse City is home to festivals, shopping, dining and various outdoor activities, which has made it a popular vacation destination for people throughout the country. The town is known for its unique festivals such as the National Cherry Festival and the Traverse City Film Festival, created by filmmaker Michael Moore. The town is also the home of one of the largest historic preservation and adaptive reuse projects in the country. The popular Village at Grand Traverse Commons was once the Northern Michigan Asylum. Throughout the city you will find wineries and breweries, many of which are popular restaurants.

Median Income: $45,497
Median Age of Residents: 38.6
Median House Price: $338,886
National Ranking:
2014 Livability List of Top Ten Small Towns – #9
Fox News Travel Best Main Streets in USA

#2 – Healdsburg, California

Healdsburg California Best Small Town DowntownImage Source

2013 Population: 14,911

City Website

Healdsburg, California is located in Sonoma County, and is one of the nation’s most agriculturally productive counties for over 100 years. The town is centrally located with access to more than 100 world-class wineries and tasting rooms in the Northern California wine regions of Alexander Valley, Chalk Hill, Dry Creek Valley and Russian River Valley. There are many different restaurants and artisan food producers that are participating in the local food movement. The town’s central downtown plaza offers chic boutiques, art galleries, eclectic bookstores and a variety of antiques stores.

Median Income: $45,497
Median Age of Residents: 38.6
Median House Price: $338,886
National Ranking:
Fox News Travel Best Main Streets in USA
#2 on the Smithsonian Magazine Top 20 Small Towns to Visit List

#1 – Montpelier, Vermont

Montpelier Vermont Best Small Town DowntownImage Source

2013 Population: 7,755

City Website

Earning the number one spot on our list is Montpelier, Vermont. This small town has minimal crime, excellent schools and is a pleasure for residents and visitors alike. The downtown area is not only beautiful, but it also offers many craft-beer bars and excellent dining establishments. Long time residents own many of the shops in the downtown area and the locals are proud of their small town fellowship. Downtown Montpelier offers delightful boutiques and shops, adorable bookshops, antique stores, coffee shops and plenty of places to eat. The town is full of both small town charm as well as big city amenities.
Median Income: $62,276
Median Age of Residents: 42.7
Median House Price: $230,000
National Ranking:
#16 on the Smithsonian Magazine Top 20 Small Towns to Visit List
Parade Magazines Top 16 Main Streets in the America

Opportunities for the Best Small Town Downtowns in America

Each one of these cities is offering and excellent appeal to its downtown area. Whether they a flair for arts and culture or they offer excellent shopping, these downtowns are among the best and the most beautiful in the country. If you are looking for a great place to live or you want to visit one of the many wonderful small towns this country has to offer, there is a small town on this list that is perfect for you. From music to museums and food to festivals, the many small town downtowns in America offer something for everyone.

Sources:

Fodor’s Top 10 United States Neighborhoods

Fox News Travel Best Main Streets in the USA

Huffington Post Travel 15 of America’s Coolest Small Towns

Huffington Post Travel 15 Northwestern Spots That Will Take Your Breath Away

Livability 2014 Top Ten Small Towns

Parade Magazines Top 16 Main Streets in the United States

Smithsonian Magazine: 20 Best Small Towns to Visit

Travel and Leisure’s America’s Greatest Main Streets

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United States Census Bureau – American Fact Finder – Community Facts

United States Census Bureau – 2011 County Business Patterns

About the Author

Through her academic career earning a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Rutgers University and then a Master of Science in Clinical and Forensic Psychology from Drexel University, Kristen Fescoe was passionate about research, writing and traveling. After a few years in the field of psychology she accepted a teaching position at a local college where she currently teaches online psychology courses. After securing this position, Kristen had the opportunity to return to her passion of research and writing and enjoys her work as a researcher, writer, editor, professor and mother.