While there is always a lot of buzz surrounding large cities and metroplexes, many people still choose to move to smaller, less crowded areas. A new list shows the top smaller cities that are updating their downtown areas for a more welcoming feel.   

A study done by Livability, a site that explores what makes small to mid-sized cities great places to live, used the data from 2,000 cities to find the top 10 downtowns. The study used data from Esri, the Census Bureau, the United States Department of Agriculture and other sources.

“Having a great downtown is about more than just great stores and great restaurants. A great downtown needs people,” Livability editor Matt Carmichael said. “Great cities need great spaces to gather. These cities and towns are wonderful places to get out and engage with your friends, family and other residents.”

The study looked for places with low vacancy rates, new development and an influx of people into those spaces. It looked for cultural attractions and nightlife that draw people into the heart of their cities. Finally, it added in factors including the city’s affordability and diversity. It also included population parameters to ensure it identified places with more than just a quaint Main Street.

Here are the top 10 small and midsize downtowns in the U.S:

10. Evanston, Illinois

9. Colorado Springs, Colorado


8. Plano, Texas

7. Tempe, Arizona

6. Boise, Idaho

5. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania


4. Bellevue, Washington

3. Greenville, South Carolina

2. Santa Monica, California

1. Alexandria, Virginia