The City of Oaks checks all the boxes for a bright, ambitious city of the new south: Raleigh is part of North Carolina’s Research Triangle, one of the country’s largest and most successful research parks—think high-tech and biotech research and advanced textile development. Ranked #20 for Prosperity among large U.S. cities, including #14 for highest median Household Income, Raleigh is also a magnet for immigrants. It ranks #11 in our People category, comprising the subcategories of Education Attainment and Foreign-born Residents. But it’s in education where Raleighites truly shine bright—ranking #5 in the U.S. for educated big-city citizenry. So what do all these smart people do for fun? They’re indoors and out: the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences attracts more than a million people annually; there’s a Contemporary Art Museum, bluegrass festivals and craft brews. While our rankings don’t tell the food story yet (the city comes in at #43 for Restaurants), the culinary scene is vividly imaginative: Bon Appétit granted one of its coveted Top 10 America’s Best New Restaurants for 2017 to a quirky and beautiful combination brewery, bookstore, flower shop and dim sum restaurant called Brewery Bhavana.