The city and its citizens spend their money wisely, including for the preservation of historic buildings and to revitalize neighborhoods like Germantown, which was established in the 1850s by European immigrants. Small wonder, then, that the city ranks #20 in our vital Neighborhoods subcategory. The music scene continues to thrive as well, particularly as a younger generation of musicians—Jack White and the Black Keys come to mind— have chosen to live and set up recording studios in town. You can start your visit at the Country Music Hall of Fame, which traces the history of the genre. If you want to delve deeper into the personal stories of Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash and George Jones, well, they’ve got their own museums, too. With a #13 ranking for Culture, the city is finally getting the recognition it deserves for its long but subtle influence on the American fabric. Should you need a respite from culture and nightlife, the city offers a sprawling park system with more than 12,000 acres to explore by bike (B-Cycle bike-rental stations are located at greenway trailheads), or by kayak and canoe on the Harpeth River.