Did your hometown make the list?

By Blake Bakkila
October 27, 2017

You might want to pack a pair of skis and head west for your next vacation. According to a Gallup study conducted in collaboration with National Geographic Explorer and best-selling author Dan Buettner, Boulder, Colorado tops the list of the best cities in the United States.

The study analyzed information from nearly 250,000 interviews with adults from 2014 to 2015 in 190 metropolitan areas in the U.S. Among the 15 metrics reviewed were eating habits, vacation time, and financial security. Boulder’s access to outdoorsy activities, its highly active population, and low obesity rates made it worthy of the No. 1 slot.

“There’s a high correlation between bikeability and happiness in a city,” Buettner said, explaining Boulder’s rank. “This benefits visitors, who can experience an emphasis on greenery, a high-quality culinary community, limited marketing onslaught, and no billboards.”

The other four cities rounding out the top five are the Santa Cruz-Watsonville area in California, Charlottesville, Virginia, Fort Collins, Colorado, and San Luis Obispo, California, respectively. On the opposite end of the spectrum, the study concluded that Charleston, West Virginia, Fort Smith, Arkansas, and the Hickory-Lenoir-Morganton area in North Carolina are the least happy places in the country.

“My findings indicate that if you want to get happy, don’t try to change your belief system,” Buettner said. “Change your environment.”

Check out the entire list of 25 happiest cities in the U.S.:

  1. Boulder, Colorado
  2. Santa Cruz-Watsonville, California
  3. Charlottesville, Virginia
  4. Fort Collins, Colorado
  5. San Luis Obispo, California
  6. San Jose, California
  7. Provo, Utah
  8. Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk, Connecticut
  9. Barnstable Town, Massachusetts
  10. Anchorage, Alaska
  11. Naples-Immokalee-Marco Island Florida
  12. Santa Maria-Santa Barbara, California
  13. Salinas, California
  14. North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton, Florida
  15. Honolulu, Hawaii
  16. Ann Arbor, Michigan
  17. San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, California
  18. Colorado Springs, Colorado
  19. Manchester-Nashua, New Hampshire
  20. Oxnard-Thousand Oaks-Ventura, California
  21. Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, District of Columbia/Virginia
  22. Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, Minnesota/Wisconsin
  23. San Diego-Carlsbad, California
  24. Portland, Maine
  25. Austin, Texas