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Best Places to Live + Play: Cities
National Geographic Adventure announces this year's top 50 adventure towns, state-by-state.   Text by Dan Koeppel

Wilderness  |  Small Towns  |  Mountains  |  Waterfront  |  Cities  |  Las Vegas 

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Hot Spot: Chicago, Illinois >>

Nashville, Tennesse
- Population: 602,679
- Median home price: $254,442
- The radius: Music City flexes its multisport cred in 10,500 acres (4,249 hectares) of urban parks, while down-home city life plays out at Nashville's 2,000-plus eateries, honky-tonks, and Tennessee Titans NFL games (a hotter ticket than the Grand Ole Opry). 

Austin, Texas 
- Population: 735,088
- Median home price: $163,800
- The radius: Austin is the ideal amalgam of art-house style and rough-and-tumble Lone Star play. Audiophiles relish 200-plus live-music venues and the annual South-by-Southwest Festival, while cyclists tackle the technical six-mile (ten-kilometers) Emma Long loop downtown. (Cowboy boots optional.)

Huntsville, Alabama
- Population: 166,313
- Median home price: $97,300
- The radius: High-tech with a southern twang, Huntsville is a major base for NASA and the U.S. Army. Pedal 11 miles (18 kilometers) of singletrack in Wade Mountain Preserve, or trek to the top of 1,100-foot (335-meter) Devil's Race Track for views into Tennessee.

Gainesville, Florida
- Population: 120,919
- Median home price: $219,100
- The radius: Home to the University of Florida's championship football and basketball teams, this sports-crazed city makes playtime a priority. From town, pedal the 16-mile (26-kilometer) Gainesville-Hawthorne Trail through citrus groves to Paynes Prairie Preserve, alongside alligators, bison, and wild horses.

Overland Park, Kansas
- Population: 167,770
- Median home price: $238,172
- The radius: Eight miles (13 kilometers) south of Kansas City, Overland Park is more like a quieter, greener extension of downtown than a residential suburb. Locals have 78 parks and four lakes outside their doors, including a 300-acre (121-hectare) arboretum and botanical garden.

Albuquerque, New Mexico
- Population: 507,785
- Median home price: $149,900
- The radius: This biking mecca has cycling paths along the Rio Grande through town and the 52-mile (84-kilometer), high-desert Turquoise Trail for bigger thrills outside city limits. Jobs revolve around the University of New Mexico and the Los Alamos National Laboratory.

Tulsa, Oklahoma
- Population: 388,120
- Median home price: $125,000
- The radius: Tulsa has two major art museums, pro ballet and opera companies, and a revitalized art deco district, but it's far from arts-centric: There's serious hiking in the Ouachita Mountains and hard-core singletrack in Osage Hills State Park.

Springfield, Missouri
- Population: 150,298
- Median home price: $91,500
- The radius: Within a hundred miles (161 kilometers) this Ozarks town has 7,500 miles (12,079 kilometers) of shoreline, containing some of the Midwest's best float trips, including Jacks Fork and the spring-fed Current River. Back in town, six local colleges set the pace at Springfield's friendly watering holes.

Hattiesburg, Mississippi
- Population: 44,779
- Median home price: $71,400
- The radius: Grand Tudor and Victorian homes line Hattiesburg's elegant, oak-edged streets; Saenger Theater, a restored 1929 art deco movie house, hosts the Light Civic Opera. Hit a high note on De Soto National Forest's 41-mile (66-kilometer) Black Creek Trail, which winds along its namesake tannin-rich creek

Wilderness  |  Small Towns  |  Mountains  |  Waterfront  |  Cities  |  Las Vegas 

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