Columbia was named one of the top small cities in the U.S. by National Geographic Travel.
In the article titled “Most surprising cities to visit in the United States,” Columbia is ranked among the top 29 small cities in the country.
It’s joined by Palmetto State cities Charleston and Greenville on the list, which was compiled by using unconventional metrics that National Geographic Travel described as leading to happiness.
“Happy places for locals are also rewarding places for travelers,” said George Stone, National Geographic Travel editor in chief.
Among the categories used to determine a city’s happiness were green spaces, galleries, coffee shops, breweries, music venues and Instagrammable moments.
Additionally, cities were rewarded for their tales of urban renewal, about collaborating to improve their Main Streets and pursuing development policies. Columbia is in the midst of a Main Street renaissance.
“We’re thrilled to share that Columbia has been named one of the 29 “Cities on the Rise” for 2018,” Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin said in a news release.
What distinguished Columbia as a fun and happy place were two specific areas. It was determined to be among the “meatiest” and “best groomed” cities by National Geographic Travel.
“With BBQ an essential menu item for South Carolinians, Columbia tops our list for meatiest city per capita in its population group,” the writers at National Geographic Travel said. “Locals get their grilled meats buffet-style at Little Pigs Barbecue or stuffed in delectable sandwiches at Southern Belly BBQ’s three locations.
“But don’t think that they neglect their grooming. Columbia also tops our list in its population group for its number of barber shops and salons.”
Most surprising cities to visit in the United States
- Boulder, Colo.
- Anchorage, Alaska
- Annapolis, Md.
- New Orleans
- Madison, Wisc.
- Reno, Nev.
- Healdsburg, Calif.
- Santa Cruz, Calif.
- Olympia, Wash.
- Spokane, Wash.
- Albuquerque, N.M.
- Rapid City, S.D.
- Ann Arbor, Mich.
- Asheville, N.C.
- Baton Rouge, La.
- Kansas City, Mo.
- Lakeland, Fla.
- Newport, R.I.
- Portland, Maine
- Louisville, Ky.
- Hagerstown, Md.
- Pensacola, Fla.
- Omaha, Neb.
- Hickory, N.C.
SOURCE: National Geographic Travel