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The 20 Best Mid-Size Cities in the United States

A big city getaway can be overwhelming – the traffic, the prices, all those people! Thankfully mid-size cities have it all, only on a slightly smaller scale. Here are 20 mid-size cities to put on your travel bucket list.

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Photo: Mike Krivit Photography, courtesy of Meet Minneapolis

Mid-Size Cities on the Up an Up

When you’re eager for a city getaway, but you’re not quite up for the big city part (aka New York or Chicago) there are bountiful options.

But don't take our word for it.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau and the nonpartisan think tank, the Milken Institute, newcomers are flocking to these cities with populations from 100,000 to 500,000 that are adding residents at a steady clip. Visit for the outdoor pursuits, sporting events and public artworks, but be warned: you may be inspired to stay awhile when you check out these places where the living is easy and the fun is almost guaranteed. Here are 20 of our favorite mid-size cities on the upswing that are worthy of your attention.

Here are 20 of our favorite mid-size cities on the upswing that are worthy of your attention.

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Photo: Visit Tampa Bay


Tampa has a population of nearly 400,000 and it’s showing no signs of slowing down, continuing to attract visitors with easy access to theme parks, major league sports teams, contemporary museums and, of course, white sandy beaches on Florida’s Gulf Coast. Visitors flock to Tampa for Busch Gardens Tampa Bay and the Tampa Museum of Art, as well as the 2.6-mile Tampa Riverwalk that meanders alongside Hillsborough River. In fall 2022, Tampa welcomed its first-ever five-star hotel, The Tampa EDITION.

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Photo: Shutterstock/Kit Leong

Henderson, Nevada

Henderson is 20 minutes southeast of Las Vegas, but for many newcomers, this is just right. As in, the Las Vegas Strip is close, but not too close. It’s easy to enjoy year-round sunshine, zero state income taxes and outdoor recreation without all that neon and noise. Henderson is the second largest city in Nevada with a population of 314,000 and notable attractions like Lion Habitat Ranch, the Clark County Museum and the Henderson Bird Viewing Preserve.

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Photo: St. Lucie County

Port St. Lucie, Florida

Port St. Lucie, a town of more than 200,000 residents, jumped in population size by 5% in one year. Of course, Clover Park is a fan favorite. It’s the spring training home for the New York Mets. Not a baseball fan? Not a problem. There are plenty of outdoor draws for nature enthusiasts, like Port St. Lucie Botanical Gardens and Savannas Preserve State Park, which is a go-to for kayaking, biking and birdwatching. For beach access, head to Jensen Beach for quiet stretches of coastline and fantastic fishing.

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