A “Best Small Town” To Visit 27 March 2013

Smithsonian Magazine has continued its quest to identify small towns and communities worth visiting based on a single but substantial quality: culture. The magazine worked with Esri, a geographic information company, to identify communities with populations of less than 15,000 that have “exceptional concentrations of museums, art galleries, orchestras, theaters, historic sites, and other cultural blessings.”

Guess what “small town” made the cut? Oberlin.

Although this community of 8,300 doesn’t classify itself as a small town, Oberlin certainly met all the criteria with such cultural gems as the Allen Memorial Art Museum, the Bench By the Road historical landmark near the intersection of Main and East Lorain streets, and the recently renovated, single-screen Apollo Theatre. The magazine placed Oberlin 14th out of 20 in the second year of its Best Small Towns to Visit list, citing such features as “… Friday night “Organ Pump” events in Romanesque Revival Finney Chapel, all-bassoon Christmas concerts, and the Artist Recital Series, attracting internationally acclaimed soloists and orchestras.”

Photograph by Greg Pendolino