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Best small towns in America, according to Smithsonian Magazine

  • The town hall in Great Barrington, Mass., which topped the list for its sophistication, great food, arts, and plenty of hipsters.John Phelan

  • In second is Taos, N.M. The city’s plaza and its many galleries share a deep Hispanic and Native American past.Zeality

  • Topping three on the list is Red Bank, N.J. with its galleries, clubs, shops and musical history.Daniel Case

  • Stauton, Va., in the heart of the Shenandoah Valley, is number 10 for its cultural assets, such as the Mockingbird Roots Music Hall.Henri Stosch

  • At number 14, Siloam Springs, Ark. is the birthplace of Walmart, and home of the new Crystal Bridges Museum of Art.Arkansas.com

Smithsonian Magazine released its picks for the 20 best small towns in America in the May issue, with Great Barrington, Mass. and Taos, N.M., topping the list.

Great Barrington, long a favorite summer and fall getaway destination for vacationers, has a population of just 6,800 but boasts the sophistication of a larger city, with great food, arts, and plenty of hipsters. It's also surrounded by natural beauty, with lakes, woods and the nearby Berkshire Mountains.

The magazine says the charm of Taos centers around tourists and other outdoor enthusiasts packing the plaza of the old adobe town, along with its many galleries and museums steeped in a deep Hispanic and Native American past. The small mountain hamlet is located in northern New Mexico.

Editors enlisted geographic information systems company Esri to search its data base to help in the selection. To be considered, towns must have fewer than 25,000 people and are ranked based on culture. 

Also on the list are Red Bank, N.J.; Mill Valley, Calif.; Gig Harbor, Wash.; Durango, Colo.; Butler, Pa.; Marfa, Texas; Naples, Fla.; Staunton, Va.; Brattleboro, Vt.; Princeton, N.J.; Brunswick, Maine; Siloam Springs, Ark.; Menomonie, Wis.; Key West, Fla.; Laguna Beach, Calif.; Ashland, Ore.; Beckley City, W.Va., and Oxford, Miss.

For the full list visit Smithsonian Magazine