Nat Geo Travel names Spokane one of the best small cities

Riverfront ParkNational Geographic Traveler named Spokane in their list of 29 "Cities on the Rise." They drew from statistics and social media mentions to determine which cities rank highest in a variety of fun categories including green spaces, coffee shops, live music, and even Instagrammable moments. The list includes Honolulu, Hawaii, Boulder, Colorado, and Olympia, Washington.

The ten categories are:

  • Most Hipster Friendly (coffee shops, tattoo parlors, record shops, vintage stores)
  • Musically Grooviest (music venues, live music, instrument stores)
  • Most Instagrammed (hashtags)
  • Most Artsy (art galleries, art supply stores, art schools)
  • Best Groomed (barber shops, hair salons, hair removal services, cosmetic dentists)
  • Meatiest (butchers, delis, steakhouses)
  • Most Dog-Friendly (pet sitting, pet stores, pet groomers, dog-friendly restaurants)
  • Sudsiest (breweries)
  • Most Caffeinated (coffee shops)
  • Greenest (parks)

Results in each category were then broken down by population: 40,000-100,000. 100,000-200,000, and 200,000-600,000. 

“At Traveler, we’re passionate about tales of urban renewal, about communities that have collaborated to improve their main streets, about smart cities that have pursued development policies that produce happiness. In this article, we report on authentic small cities that each embody a surprising superlative,” says George Stone, National Geographic Traveler editor in chief. “Happy places for locals are also rewarding places for travelers. Our index of small cities on the rise is based on unconventional metrics that we think produce happiness: green spaces, coffee shops, breweries, music venues, Instagrammable moments and puppies!”

The 29 Best Small Cities are:

  • Albuquerque, New Mexico (Sudsiest)
  • Anchorage, Alaska (Trending- Most Caffeinated)
  • Ann Arbor, Michigan (Greenest)
  • Annapolis, Maryland (Trending- Dog Friendly)
  • Asheville, North Carolina (Most Artsy, Sudsiest)
  • Baton Rouge, Louisiana (Best Groomed)
  • Boulder, Colorado (Hipster Friendly, Musically Grooviest, Most Caffeinated, Sudsiest)
  • Charleston, South Carolina (Most Instagrammed, Most Artsy)
  • Columbia, South Carolina (Best Groomed, Meatiest)
  • Greenville, South Carolina (Meatiest)
  • Hagerstown, Maryland (Best Groomed)
  • Healdsburg, California (Trending- Greenest)
  • Hickory, North Carolina (Hipster Friendly)
  • Honolulu, Hawaii (Musically Grooviest, Most Instagrammed, Most Artsy)
  • Kansas City, Missouri (Trending- Most Artsy)
  • Lakeland, Florida (Most Dog Friendly)
  • Louisville, Kentucky (Trending- Meatiest)
  • Madison, Wisconsin (Greenest)
  • New Orleans, Louisiana (Trending- Hipster Friendly)
  • Newport, Rhode Island (Trending- Best Groomed)
  • Olympia, Washington (Most Caffeinated, Greenest)
  • Omaha, Nebraska (Trending- Musically Grooviest)
  • Pensacola, Florida (Most Dog Friendly)
  • Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (Trending- Sudsiest)
  • Portland, Maine (Most Instagrammed)
  • Rapid City, South Dakota (Trending- Most Instagrammed)
  • Reno, Nevada (Meatiest, Most Dog Friendly)
  • Santa Cruz, California (Musically Grooviest)
  • Spokane, Washington (Hipster Friendly, Most Caffeinated)

The results are in the February/March 2018 issue of Traveler magazine which can be found now on newsstands and online at

(story: Katie Karl, Content Coordinator,; photo:

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