Dayton named on ‘America’s best towns ever’ list

As corporate headquarters fled Dayton and manufacturing jobs evaporated during the fallout of the Great Recession, the Gem City was down on its luck.

The city has since regained its footing. Outside Magazine has acknowledged Dayton’s rebound, naming it one of America’s most fit, fun and adventure-ready towns. 

Dayton is among 25 of the magazine’s 2017 “America’s best towns ever.” A council of adventure advisers cited Dayton for its “rebirth of the American Dream.” 

Lucky's Taproom & Eatery in Dayton's Oregon District is among Ohio's best reviewed bars on the Yelp app. Photo by Amelia Robinson
Photo: Photo by Amelia Robinson

“Cultural Vibrancy has returned in places like the artsy Oregon District and the 2nd Street Market. But what people find outside town is the real draw — hundreds of miles of hiking trails, 60 miles of mountain-biking track (ten of them within city limits), and 400 miles of waterways in the Miami River valley,” according to the magazine in a Tuesday news release.

A Dayton sewer access road between Patterson and Shroyer roads has been converted into a new section of a bikeway. The section is part of work, now open, that completes a network from the University of Dayton south to I-675 in Centerville. CHRIS STEWART / STAFF
Photo: Chris Stewart/Dayton Daily News

» Dayton’s 2nd Street Market: 3 in 4 vendors will open to test Sundays 

» PHOTOS: 23 images that prove Dayton is a great place for biking 

» Local bike trails attracting worldwide attention 

While Dayton’s new RiverScape River Run, a kayak play area on the Great Miami River, just opened, another city, Grand Rapids, Mich., was selected the best river town by the magazine.

Seattle was named the best big city for adventure. Sante Fe, New Mexico was picked for its “combination of mountains and margaritas.”

» RELATED: Dayton’s $4M River Run offers chance ‘to reconnect with the river’ 

» RELATED: River Run opening pushes more change in heart of Dayton

Martha Jeanette Rodriguez, is a fair housing manager for Welcome Dayton, a native of Columbia who became a U.S. citizen in April 2013. JIM WITMER/STAFF
Photo: Jim Witmer

The panel also took into account a city’s dining scene and how welcoming it is to people of all backgrounds, including kids.

Readers of the magazine had selected the best adventure towns for the previous five years, said Associate Editor Jonah Ogles. This year’s list was assembled by a council of advisers. Each expert suggested 20 of their favorite towns and ones that received at least two nominations became finalists. 

» RELATED: Dayton could get ‘high line’ elevated bike trail like NYC, Chicago 

» RELATED: MetroPark’s new mountain bike trails meant for all skill levels 

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