Rapid City is South Dakota's second largest city. It has a population of more than 74 thousand people - which is nearly ten percent of the state's population. Around here it's a big deal.

To the rest of the country though it's considered small. Which is how Rapid City ended up on National Geographic Traveler's list of the '20 Best Small Cities in the U.S.'.

The magazine worked with a group called Resonance Consultancy to develop what they call a 'Small Cities Index', which uses statistics and social media mentions to determine which cities rank highest in 11 different categories:

  • Most Hipster Friendly (coffee shops, tattoo parlors, record shops, vintage stores)
  • Musically Grooviest (music venues, live music, instrument stores)
  • Most Instagrammed (hashtags)
  • Most Literate (bookstores, college degrees)
  • 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)

Rapid City scored high in the 'Most Instragrammed' category, thus earning it a place on the elite list alongside other social media stars like Honolulu; Charleston, South Carolina; and Portland, Maine.

The other cities on the list:

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

Far be it from me to quibble with the good folks at National Geographic, but Pittsburgh (population 303,000), Honolulu (374,000), New Orleans (391,000), Omaha (446,000), Kansas City (481,000), and Louisville (615,000) on a list on small towns?

I guess in that context, Rapid City is pretty tiny after all.

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