7. Spearfish, SD
Abundant natural resources, technological innovations and an impressive collection of recreational facilities make Spearfish, S.D., an attractive destination for young families, entrepreneurs and businesses. Residents enjoy a healthy environment with low carbon dioxide emissions; arts and cultural amenities like galleries, theaters and live musical performances; an excellent school system, which provides every high school student with a laptop; and a diverse economy that provides ample job opportunities.
The presence of Black Hills State University gives Spearfish a college town vibe, complete with the benefits that a college offers to its community. The university provides many entertainment options, including live performances, art shows and educational opportunities, not to mention the more than 4,400 students who support local businesses. Coffee shops, pubs, restaurants and shops draw a steady stream of people to the downtown area, which hosts a series of Friday night concerts during the summer months and a Christmas parade in December.
The restored Matthews Opera House is home to several community and professional theater troupes that provide year-round entertainment. A variety of festivals and celebrations help unite the community. Children never seem to tire of visiting the D.C. Booth Fish Hatchery, which features underwater viewing areas along with playgrounds, a museum and tours of a historic home. The High Plains Western Heritage Center treats patrons to live Western music and poetry shows; stagecoach, buggy and chuck wagon displays; and exhibits about mining, Native Americans and cowboys.
More than 25 parks and athletic areas provide Spearfish residents with opportunities to engage in a large number of recreational activities including swimming, hiking, sports, skateboarding and fishing. The city's 2-acre water park lets residents cool off during warm months by floating in the lazy river, splashing down three large water slides or getting soaked under the 400-gallon dump bucket. The water park includes a splash area for kids, climbing wall and areas for water aerobics and lap swimming. Spearfish Creek runs through town. Its continually fast flow carved a gorge that is believed to be older than the Grand Canyon. Famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright, who visited Spearfish Canyon in the 1930s, called the area “unparalleled elsewhere in our country.”
Much of Spearfish is connected to the Internet through high-speed fiber optic lines, making it possible for many residents to telecommute to work. Businesses have four telecommunications providers to choose from.