Artsy:Santa Fe, New Mexico: Georgia O’Keefe (famous painter of American landscapes) moved to New Mexico because she was struck by the landscape, in addition to the striking natural beauty, you’ll find tons of art galleries and museums, as well as artists honing their craft.
For those who've not been there, the Twin Cities have a lot of artistic charm: The Walker Art Center, the Minneapolis Institute of the Arts, and the Frank-Geary-designed Weisman Art Gallery are all top-notch institutions. Throw in a handful of galleries scattered about the cities and a great literary scene, and you’ll have plenty to keep you busy.
|Asheville, North Carolina|
Austin, Texas: Beyond being the live musical capital of the world, Austin is a burgeoning nucleus of the technology and film industries (though some natives bemoan the city's "L.A.-ification"). Rents are cheap, the weather is warm. An added bonus! The city’s labor force tends to weather recessions well.
|New Orleans, Louisiana|
Nashville, Tennessee: The music city is not the birthplace of country music but it is definitely country music's home. For more than 200 years music has shaped its history. It houses publishing companies, studios and the most influential radio station in America, WSM-AM 650. Also, it's the birthplace of Elvis. (Com'on, how cool!)
Chicago, Illinois: I know it’s not a mid-size town, but it’s cheaper than many major cities on the coasts, and it is the place to be for theater. There’s the famous Steppenwolf Theater, the well-known Goodman Theater – and there’s also the Second City comedy club, IO Theater (improv), and tons and tons of storefront theaters.
Indianapolis, Indiana: Not only does the town have the Colts and the Pacers, Indianapolis has also hosted two men’s basketball Final Fours, regularly hosts other rounds of the NCAA Tournament, has a contract to host the men’s Big 10 Championship through 2013, and hosted the Super Bowl last year. Need we say more? Because we could: the town also boasts a Triple-A baseball team and the Indy 500! And, you’re within easy driving distance of Notre Dame, Purdue, and Indiana University, if you want more college sports.
Denver, Colorado: Colorado is justly famous for its great outdoors. Hiking in Rocky Mountain National Park, skiing in Vail, and whitewater rafting on the Colorado River are all possibilities when you live in Denver. Throw in a crunchy culture that values exercise, camping and wilderness, and you have an outdoors lover’s paradise.
Portland, Oregon: Often known as a hipster mecca, Portland is also one of the most bike-friendly towns in the nation. It’s surrounded by three national parks and near the ocean, so there’s plenty of opportunity to enjoy the natural world.