Outside Magazine editor discusses decision to name Chattanooga one of top 10 best towns ever

Authored By Chloé Morrison

The process of narrowing the list down to 10 cities in the running for “best town ever” was no easy task, according to Ryan Krogh, research editor with Outside Magazine.

“We did go through a pretty laborious process,” he said. “It is already a distinction to be in this top 10 list. All these towns should feel really good about that.”

Outside Magazine has named Chattanooga one of the 10 best towns – ever. For the past 15 years the magazine’s editors have been highlighting cities across the country.

“This year we went back to the archives and realized we’d picked over 100 towns,” Krogh said. “A lot we’d picked a number of times. We decided to have a square off. Chattanooga was one of those towns that we highlighted a number of times.”

The magazine has featured Chattanooga four times and now faces off with nine other cities for the ultimate distinction.

“These top 10 towns all have the soul and the substance to be called Outside’s Best Town Ever,” Outside’s Editor-in-Chief Christopher Keyes said in a prepared statement.” Our audience is extremely passionate about where they choose to live and travel – so we are thrilled to engage them in a process to help us determine the best.”

Chattanooga joins Charleston, S.C., Madison, Wis., Portland, Ore., Portland, Maine., Santa Fe, N.M., Ashland, Ore., Boulder, Colo., Burlington, Vt., and Tucson, Ariz., in the face off.
Last year the magazine picked Chattanooga as an overall best town, Krogh said.

“The theme last year was sports specific towns,” he said. “(There is) great access to the river, a great climbing scene, great mountain biking, trail running.”

When narrowing down the list to 10 this year, the editors also considered home prices, average income and percentage of population with a four-year college degree, he said.

The contest goes live for three weeks and the final decision is made through a combination of public vote via facebook and by reader response, Krogh said. 

The editors will make more of a subjective call judging reader submitted photos and comments, he said.

All of the top 10 towns will be mentioned in the October issue of Outside Magazine and the winning town will get more promotion.

“We will send a writer and photographer to the town,” he said. “That will happen in July and the issue comes out in mid-September.”

Social media sound-off: Local residents responded via Twitter to the announcement: 

 Indieradiochatt: “Those guys are losers!! We are THE best town ever! We have weather, beautiful mountains, seasons, the folks here are really nice. Can’t beat the southern hospitality. Sweet tea. River front.”

  LeatherwoodTN: “Easy to see why #Cha was picked: hunting, fishing, hiking all near a vibrant downtown. Add in great people and we’re hard to beat.” 

 MsWonderland: I’m keeing my mouth shut on this one. I agree it has some good points . but . *grumblegrumblegrumble*  

 tntoak: #Cha is the best town because it’s home. Plus you have the lake, rivers and mountains right here!

 robbettis: Chattanooga has great character. We’re currently tied with Charleston in voting. Lots of character there too. Says a lot a/b #cha.