100 Random Facts About This Year's Top 100 Best Places to Live List
What do Garth Brooks, illegal frolfing and a famous internet cat have to do with Livability's Top 100 Best Places to Live? A lot, it turns out.
To create this year's Top 100 Best Places to Live list, the Livability team spent hundreds of hours researching cities, interviewing locals and even doing some taste-testing (choosing the best brewery in each city was a tough job, but somebody had to do it!).
In the process of gathering so much information about 100 awesome cities, we also found a lot of weird, fun, not-totally-relevant-but-still-cool facts that didn't make it into the final text. From internet cats to Garth Brooks to some seriously strange laws still on the books, we couldn't resist compiling our favorite tidbits and sharing them here.
You can thank us later, when you use one of these to clinch a win at trivia night.
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1. 17 cities on this year’s list are the capital of their respective states.
2. The average median age for this year’s list is 32.7 years old.
4. This year’s #2 city, Raleigh, NC, is known as the ‘City of Oaks,’ because of the number of oak trees that line the streets.
6. President William H. Taft was born in Cincinnati, OH.
7. The city of Nashville, TN, was founded on Christmas Eve in 1779.
8. In 2008, Iowa City, IA, became the world’s third United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) City of Literature and remains one of the best lit cities in the country.
9. January Jones, known for her roles in “Mad Men” and “Last Man on Earth” is from Sioux Falls, SD, and worked at a local Dairy Queen before making it big.
11. Aaaand, speaking of rodents — it is illegal to keep a rat as a pet in Billings, MT.
12. Jacksonville, FL is the hometown of Jason Mendoza, a character on the popular TV show “The Good Place.”
13. Madison, WI’s capitol building was constructed in 1917 and uses 43 types of stone from six countries and eight states.
14. In 1960, a group of students staged a sit-in at a segregated Woolworth’s lunch counter in Greensboro, NC and from there the sit-in movement spread to college towns throughout the South.
16. Speaking of famous internet cats, Lil BUB, a true internet sensation, calls Bloomington, IN, home.
17. President Gerald Ford was born in Omaha, NE.
18. None of the scenes from the popular movie “Fargo” were actually filmed in Fargo, ND.
19. Pittsburgh, PA is also known as the City of Bridges and is home to 446 bridges.
23. President George W. Bush was born in New Haven, CT.
24. Bismarck, ND, holds the Guinness World Record for the largest number of people simultaneously making snow angels with nearly 9,000 people participating.
25. It is illegal to honk your car horn in front of a sandwich shop after 9 p.m. in Little Rock, AR. Don’t say we didn’t warn you!
26. Kelly Clarkson, the winner of the first season of “American Idol,” is from Fort Worth, TX.
27. Asheville, NC, has more breweries per capita than any other U.S. city. Cheers!
28. The AT&T Building in downtown Nashville, TN is called the “Batman Building” due to its resemblance to bat ears and similarity to the infamous Batman's infamous mask.
31. Richmond, VA, is one of the nation’s oldest major cities.
32. President Andrew Johnson was born in Raleigh, NC.
33. Manhattan, KS, is known as the “Little Apple" — not to be confused with the "Big Apple" of Manhattan, NY.
34. Speaking of the Big Apple, despite what those big city folks might claim, the Reuben sandwich was actually invented over a late-night poker game in Omaha, NE.
35. Downtown Charlotte, NC, is actually known as “uptown.”
39. We can thank Seth Wheeler of Albany, NY, for continuous roll toilet paper — before then it was only available one sheet at a time!
40. The 2019 Top 100 Best Places to Live list was made up of more than 50,000 words written by 13 writers from across the country — phew!
41. The World’s Largest Continuous Sidewalk is located in Tampa, FL.
42. Prince was born and raised in Minneapolis, MN.
43. There is a city ordinance in Madison, WI, that prevents any new building from being taller than the Capitol dome — making (and keeping) it the tallest building in the city.
44. The world’s first color television was manufactured at the RCA Factory in Bloomington, IN, in 1954.
45. The city of Pittsburgh, PA, has more than 700 staircases, which are maintained by an Inspector of Steps from the city’s planning commission. Yes, really.
46. Louisville, KY, is home to “The Big Bat,” AKA the world’s largest baseball bat made of steel that weighs more than 68,000 pounds and towers 120 feet into the sky.
47. Spokane, WA, is the smallest city to host the World’s Fair.
48. The famous (or perhaps infamous) Sunsphere in Knoxville, TN, was built for the 1982 World’s Fair.
49. Baltimore, MD, is made up of more than 220 neighborhoods.
51. In Helena, MT, it is illegal to host frisbee golf (or "frolf") contests at night.
52. Steven Spielberg, who directed greats like "E.T." and "Jaws," was born in Cincinnati, OH.
53. In 1923, Emma J. Harvat was named mayor of Iowa City, IA, and became the first woman to be elected as a leader of a U.S. city with a population over 10,000.
56. Forty-eight percent of Americans live within a 600-mile radius of Columbus, OH.
57. Charlotte, NC, is home to nine Fortune 500 companies.
58. The Big Mac was invented in the suburbs of Pittsburgh, PA, by a local franchisee and was first sold in the greater Pittsburgh area in 1967 before being released nationwide in 1968.
59. Edgar Allen Poe grew up in Richmond, VA.
60. During the 1850s, fire destroyed much of Marietta, GA, on three separate occasions.
61. Chattanooga, TN, was home to the first patented mini golf course.
63. To fund the demolition of the Orlando, FL city hall, the city allowed the building to be blown up for the opening scene of "Lethal Weapon 3."
64. Scotty McCreery, the 10th season winner of "American Idol," is from Raleigh, NC.
67. A record 45 cities made their first appearance on this year’s list.
68. Fast food giant Wendy’s opened its very first location in Columbus, OH.
71. Limestone from the greater Bloomington, IN, area has been used to build 35 of the 50 state capitals and makes up parts of many famous buildings, including the Empire State Building and the Pentagon.
72. It is against the law to swim or wade in public fountains in Wichita, KS.
73. Charlotte, NC, is the nation’s second-largest banking center.
78. Grand Rapids, MI, was the first city to add fluoride to its drinking water in 1945.
80. Rock band REO Speedwagon got its start in Champaign, IL.
81. Father’s Day was founded at a YMCA in Spokane, WA, in 1910.
83. Cincinnati, OH, has been called the "Chili Capital of America" because it has more chili restaurants per square mile than any other city in the world.
84. A company based out of Louisville, KY, claims to have produced 90% of the country’s disco balls during the disco craze of the ‘70s.
86. Durham, NC, is called the "City of Medicine" as it has more than 300 health-related and medical companies and medical practices.
87. In New Orleans, it is illegal to ride a Mardi Gras float without a mask.
89. Well-known burger chain White Castle was founded in Wichita, KS, in 1921.
90. Many signs in Worcester, MA, feature a heart as it is commonly referred to as the "Heart of the Commonwealth."
91. There are 37 city parks, 84 miles of trails and 15 natural areas in Fayetteville, AR!
93. Many parking lots in Fairbanks, AK, provide electrical outlets for plugging in vehicles’ engine block heaters so they will start during cold weather.
95. The world’s first franchised Coca-Cola bottling plant was built in Chattanooga, TN, by two attorneys who bought the franchise bottling rights for $1 each.
96. Kansas City, MO, is the backdrop for Season 3 of Netflix’s breakout reboot of "Queer Eye."
97. Michael Phelps, the most decorated Olympian of all time, was born in Baltimore, MD.
98. Garth Brooks, the best-selling solo artist in the United States, was born in Tulsa, OK.
99. Tucson, AZ, is one of the sunniest cities in the nation — averaging 350 days of sunshine a year.