Newport Makes National Geographic’s List Of Best Small Cities 

The City By The Sea made the cut, but the math is complicated.

By Margo Sullivan, Patch Staff | Jan 17, 2018 12:22 pm ET | Updated Jan 17, 2018 1:08 pm ET

Newport Makes National Geographic's List Of Best Small Cities

NEWPORT, RI— Newport has landed on a list of Small U.S. Cities On the Rise. National Geographic Traveler said this week it looked at 10 “superlatives” and picked 29 cities which were tops in these 10 categories. Newport was named one of the 29. The only other New England city on the list is Portland, Maine. Here is the list:

  • Albuquerque, New Mexico (Sudsiest)
  • Anchorage, Alaska (Trending- Most Caffeinated)
  • Ann Arbor, Michigan (Greenest)
  • Annapolis, Maryland (Trending- Dog Friendly)
  • Asheville, North Carolina (Most Artsy, Sudsiest)
  • Baton Rouge, Louisiana (Best Groomed)
  • Boulder, Colorado (Hipster Friendly, Musically Grooviest, Most Caffeinated, Sudsiest)
  • Charleston, South Carolina (Most Instagrammed, Most Artsy)
  • Columbia, South Carolina (Best Groomed, Meatiest)
  • Greenville, South Carolina (Meatiest)
  • Hagerstown, Maryland (Best Groomed)
  • Healdsburg, California (Trending- Greenest)
  • Hickory, North Carolina (Hipster Friendly)
  • Honolulu, Hawaii (Musically Grooviest, Most Instagrammed, Most Artsy)
  • Kansas City, Missouri (Trending- Most Artsy)
  • Lakeland, Florida (Most Dog Friendly)
  • Louisville, Kentucky (Trending- Meatiest)
  • Madison, Wisconsin (Greenest)
  • New Orleans, Louisiana (Trending- Hipster Friendly)
  • Newport, Rhode Island (Trending- Best Groomed)
  • Olympia, Washington (Most Caffeinated, Greenest)
  • Omaha, Nebraska (Trending- Musically Grooviest)
  • Pensacola, Florida (Most Dog Friendly)
  • Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (Trending- Sudsiest)
  • Portland, Maine (Most Instagrammed)
  • Rapid City, South Dakota (Trending- Most Instagrammed)
  • Reno, Nevada (Meatiest, Most Dog Friendly)
  • Santa Cruz, California (Musically Grooviest)
  • Spokane, Washington (Hipster Friendly, Most Caffeinated)

However, some cities on the list are tagged as “Trending,” like Newport. According to the press release,”through Resonance Consultancy’s algorithm, Traveler surfaced the cities that ranked the highest for each population size and identified ‘trending’ cities that didn’t top the list this year, but look to be climbing their way up. The Small Cities Index is based on Resonance Consultancy’s World’s Best Cities program, which is housed on and features a ‘Choose Your Perfect City’ tool based on this data, as well as extensive city profiles on their top 100 cities.”

So Patch asked if Newport is really on the list and a bona fide Best Small City? Or one that’s still climbing? Spokeswoman Meg Calnan said Newport is bona fide, even though it didn’t satisfy the algorithm’s criteria. The algorithm looked at these 10 categories:

Most Hipster Friendly (coffee shops, tattoo parlors, record shops, vintage stores)

Musically Grooviest (music venues, live music, instrument stores)


Most Instagrammed (hashtags)

Most Artsy (art galleries, art supply stores, art schools)

Best Groomed (barber shops, hair salons, hair removal services, cosmetic dentists)

Meatiest (butchers, delis, steakhouses)

Most Dog Friendly (pet sitting, pet stores, pet groomers, dog friendly restaurants)

Sudsiest (breweries)

Most Caffeinated (coffee shops)

Greenest (parks)

Apparently, Newport is only “trending” in the Best Groomed category. But it turns out there is more than one way to make the National Geographic Traveler list of Best Small Cities in the U.S. The regular route is to meet the mathematical criteria. Then, there’s the way Newport made it. An editor intervened and put Newport on the list.

George Stone, the editor in chief, explained the thinking in an e-mail message. 

“Our ‘Cities on the Rise’ index is based on data-crunching—on real numbers indicating which American cities are the most Instagrammed, most dog-friendly, most caffeinated. Our trending cities are ones that the editors love and which, by the numbers, could well break into our index next year. So we wanted to include cities like Newport, which are treasured as classic travel destinations but which are also continually reinventing themselves to present a fresh face to the world. In Newport, there’s a mix of past history, present traditions (like the Weekend of Coaching), and a new creative spark that infuses the food, the art scene, and the overall vibe of one of America’s best small cities.”

And there you go. Newport’s officially on the list of Small Cities On The Rise.

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