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Smithsonian ranks America’s top 20 best small towns to visit

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Smithsonian magazine ranked Chautauqua, N.Y. as the top small town in America.Chautauqua Institution for Smithsonian magazine

While there are many lists that rank America’s best small towns, few take a scientific approach.

For the third year in a row, editors at Smithsonian magazine worked with geographical informational systems company Esri to analyze data from towns or cities with a population of fewer than 15,0000 that still offer world-class cultural activities.

Chautauqua, N.Y., home of the Chautauqua Institution, took the top spot this year, and was cited for its splendid summertime art exhibitions, concerts, performing arts classes, and lectures (Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg spoke there last summer).  

From music, to visual arts, science and more, here are 10 of the 20 towns that have standout attractions.  It's time to start planning your next weekend getaway.

1). Chautauqua, N.Y.

2). Healdsburg, Calif.

3). Williamsburg, Va.

4). Steamboat Springs, Colo.

5). Woods Hole, Mass.

6). Marietta, Ohio

7). Beaufort, S.C.

8). Sedona, Ariz.

9). Nebraska City, Neb.

10). Lanesboro, Minn.

Click here for the full list.