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The best small towns provide beautiful locales that inspire creativity and activity. You’ll find them in the bends of rivers and at the bases of mountains, blending into the landscape rather than disrupting the scenery.
They offer a respite from the frantic pace that often comes with living in a major metropolitan area. They are filled with unpretentious people who want to preserve what makes their places unique.
The best small towns provide beautiful locales that inspire both creativity and activity. Their downtowns remain homages to the past, offering unhurried atmospheres where residents savor conversations as much as they savor morsels.
These are the best small towns in America:
20. Hailey, Idaho
Hailey is located in Blaine County in Idaho. The median income is $57,634 and the median home value is $299,000. Workers commute an average of 19.5 minutes to work each day.
The population is 72% White, 0% Black, 0% Asian, and 2% Native American or Native Hawaiian. 3% identify as another race or ethnicity, or two or more races. 25% of residents are of Hispanic or Latino origin.
Located on Main Street in Hailey, Idaho, is a place called Power House. This hybrid of a bike shop and restaurant represents the type of atmosphere you’ll find in Hailey. Cyclists come to power up on organic eggs, oat burgers and ahi tuna sandwiches or sip on craft beers while their bikes get tuned up and ready to hit the trails. Just like the town, Power House is a gateway to outdoor adventures and a place to recharge and relax.
In addition to good schools, low crime, low pollution and high community involvement, Hailey has the highest level of employment and the greatest income distribution of any city on this list. What that means is the gap between the haves and have-nots isn’t as big as it is in most places.
Nestled in the Wood River Valley, the city itself is located on relatively flat terrain, but outside the city limits, the elevation quickly rises.
The area was first inhabited by Native Americans and fur traders, then became a mining town and later a home to sheep ranchers. Tourism plays a large role in Hailey’s business scene today. The city is now home to several technology companies such as Marketron and the recruiting firm Redfish Technology.
The people who live in Hailey enjoy a laid-back lifestyle filled with outdoor excursions to nearby ski resorts, hiking trails and fishing holes. The city of Hailey maintains several parks and trails, including Hop Porter Park, which hosts the Northern Rockies Music Festival.
The city is currently in the midst of improving its Rodeo Grounds by adding an ice skating rink, expanding the adjacent skate park and adding more parking spaces to the area. Also in the works is a plan to create a system of trails that would encircle and connect the entire community.
Restaurants in Hailey provide diners with an assortment of menus to choose from. Meals here range from grilled Idaho trout and seared lamb to barbecue, Thai and pizza. The Center combines artists’ work space with a gallery that is routinely open for public viewings.
The Liberty Theatre, built in the 1930s, was remodeled in 1996 and serves as the home of Idaho’s Company of Fools, a group of actors and performers.