If you live in Louisville, your self esteem should be sky-high right now. Why? Because our good ol’ River City placed eighth in Outside magazine’s recent Best Towns Ever contest.

The list was apparently culled from reader voting (I could find no official statement, but each of the 16 entries showed a voting total), and each city got a blurb about the things that make it so livable and awesome.

Outside MagUnder the headline “The 16 Greatest Places to Live in America,” Louisville gets its due (as well as 47,271 votes).

“Louisvillians have a lot to be proud of,” writes Outside’s Graham Averill. “There are the bourbon and the horses, of course, but there’s also one of the country’s only urban forests, a 389-acre park designed by Frederick Law Olmsted. (It’s like a miniature Central Park, but more laid back.) There’s a burgeoning bike-trail system, much of which parallels the Ohio River, and the city hosted the Cyclocross World Championship in 2013.”

Averill notes, “by the end of 2015, expect 19 miles of greenway and a bike park with flow trails and pump tracks” adding, “If you’re a runner, head to Jefferson Memorial Forest, 6,527 acres of wilderness with 35 miles of trails. Then refuel at Holy Grale, an old church that’s been converted into a gastropub … .”

At the end of each blurb, advice for moving to that particular city includes recommended neighborhoods and employment opportunities: “Head to the perpetually hip Highlands, where houses go for $185,000 (citywide median: $139,400) and you can run or ride Cherokee Park straight from your door.”

It then cites the city’s median household income of $44,111, and name-drops GE, Ford, and UPS as top employers.

The top city in the contest was Duluth, Minn. (remember, this magazine is geared toward outdoorsy types and cyclists) with more than 220,000 votes. Provo, Utah; Minneapolis, Minn.; Anchorage, Alaska (really?), and Ithaca, N.Y., round out the top five.

At No. 6? Trendy and cool Ashveville, N.C. That’s right, Louisville – we finished just two spots behind Asheville. Strut. Burlington, Vt. was seventh.

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Kevin Gibson
Kevin Gibson tackles the 3Rs — retail, restaurants, real estate — plus, economic development. He loves bacon, loathes cucumbers and once interviewed Yoko Ono. Check out his books, “Louisville Beer: Derby City History on Draft” and “100 Things to do in Louisville Before You Die.” He has won numerous awards for his work but doesn’t know where most of them are now. In his spare time, he plays in a band called the Uncommon Houseflies. Email Kevin at [email protected]