Taking the top spot was Hoboken, New Jersey.
Chapel Hill Mayor Mark Kleinschmidt says he is thrilled that his “cool” city made it onto the list.
“I am very proud. I think it is reflective of some of the great work we have done to make sure that we are an exciting community to live in and to visit. The vibrancy and excitement of Franklin and Rosemary Street is starting to become well-known to people all over the country,” Kleinschmidt says.
Cities with populations between 50,000 and 60,000 residents were considered. “Excitement” was measured in terms of available nightlife options such as bars and clubs, live music venues, active life options, and the percentage of young residents ages 20 to 34 – the higher the better.
If the cities had a high number of fast food restaurants, that was considered a negative factor.
The opening of 140 West Franklin, which brought more housing, dining and retail options to downtown, Kleinschmidt counts as an accomplishment in helping to make Franklin Street more vibrant.
The old favorites of the area, like Mama Dips and The Cave, Kleinschmidt says, keep the traditions of Chapel Hill alive as well.
“We create opportunities for people to live in downtown so that we aren’t just a ‘9-to-5’ [community] or a downtown that is dependent on the school year. I think a lot of the efforts that we have undertaken and the accomplishments that have been made have moved us in the right direction.”
Kleinshmidt says he is also proud of the inclusive atmosphere Chapel Hill offers.
“We have an environment in which everyone can feel comfortable and be made to feel welcomed.”
The article also called Sunrise Biscuit Kitchen and Merritt’s Grille “unique gems” of the area.