In Outside's new list of "The 16 Greatest Places to Live in America," the magazine's readers conclude there is no place greater than Duluth, Minnesota.
We're not sure we'd take Duluth over say, San Francisco, but then again, we're probably not quite as outdoorsy as Outside readers, who also voted Minneapolis as the third best place to live. (Number two honors go to Provo, Utah -- now we get what Tom Torkildson was talking about.)
In addition to reader votes, Outside editors also created their own "O-Score" metric. Here's how that methodology works:
To develop our own Outside Score, we tapped a rocket scientist (seriously) to combine factors like number of outfitters, miles of trails, and number of bike shops--plus considerations like unemployment rates, median incomes, and, yes, an editors'-choice variable--into a single mathematical formula. The resulting O-Score is intended to summarize just how livable a place is, even if that differs from how readers voted. O-Scores are assigned on a scale of 0 to 100, with 100 being paradise and 0 being Tulsa, Oklahoma. (Kidding, Tulsa--we love you!)Here's the full top 16, with each city's O-Score in parentheses, along with the total number of reader votes:
Montepelier, Vermont (74 O-Score -- 23,560 reader votes)
Houghton, Michigan (76 -- 26,353)
Nashville (77 -- 26,898)
Portland, Maine (88 -- 30,230)
Charleston, South Carolina (84 -- 32,178)
La Crosse (74 -- 35,394)
Boulder (91 -- 39,613)
Missoula (82 -- 40,530)
Louisville (73 -- 47,271)
Burlington, Vermont (83 -- 52,743)
Ashville (80 -- 70,665)
Ithaca (89 -- 86,418)
Anchorage (83 -- 86,601)
Minneapolis (81 -- 93,164)
Provo (80 -- 185,602)
Duluth (88 -- 221,350)
In its remarks about Minneapolis, Outside quotes a certain mountain biker and nordic skier named Steve Yore who says, "I can put a canoe in Brownie Lake a half-mile from my house and paddle over to Uptown's restaurants."
We're not so sure about that (this ain't Venice, after all), but here's one thing we do know -- Minnesotans really like to vote in contests that make our cities look good. For instance, remember when St. Paul was voted North America's most romantic city?