Nat Geo, Gallup and author Dan Buettner have announced The 25 Happiest Cities in the United States based on The National Geographic/Blue Zones® Index. The Index was specifically developed to measure a population’s happiness based on 15 metrics including civic engagement, walkability and healthful food options. Boulder, Colorado tops the list with walkability, access to nature and sense of community as contributing factors to its residents’ happiness.

In his eye-opening new book, The Blue Zones of Happiness (National Geographic Books), the author turns the spotlight from health to happiness revealing surprising secrets of the world’s happiest places—and shows us how we can all apply the lessons of true happiness to our own lives. Are you fortunate enough to live in one of these lovely, happiest cities in America?

Boulder, Colorado

Tthe happiest city in America according to the National Geographic Gallup Special Index — is best explored on two wheels, over more than 300 miles of dedicated bikeways.
Pearl Street Mall in Boulder Colorado

Photo by rafalkrakow/istock editorial

San Luis Obispo, California

The area around San Luis Obispo, California, has no shortage of incredible day trips. Locals and visitors can relax at wineries, explore sand dunes, or take in coastal views along hiking and
biking trails.
Happiest Cities in San Luis Obispo, CA

Area around San Luis Obispo. Corey Jenkins/Getty Images

Barnstable, Massachusetts

Situated on Cape Cod, Massachusetts, the Town of Barnstable stretches between Nantucket Sound and Cape Cod Bay. It’s made up of seven idyllic villages, including Hyannis.

Happiest Cities Cape Cod, MA

Photo by Radius Images / Alamy Stock Photo

Anchorage, Alaska

Anchorage is the starting point for countless Alaskan adventures, with five national parks nearby and plenty of daylight during the summer.

anchorage alaska

Photo by HagePhoto/ Aurora Photos

Santa Barbara, CA

The Santa Maria-Santa Barbara metro area, about a hundred miles from Los Angeles, has plenty to see in its own right. Walkable streets, beach and mountain views, and a Mediterranean climate make this “American Riviera” a Pacific Coast gem.

Santa Barbara

Photo by Leonid Serebrennikov / Alamy Stock Photo

San Francisco, California

San Francisco, California’s steep hills inspired its famous cable car system. Inventor Andrew Smith Hallidie wanted to create a safe mode of transport around the hilly city. His cable car system began operating in 1873.

A cable car on Hyde Street in San Francisco.

Photo by Matthew Wakem/Aurora Photos

Ventura, California

It’s no surprise that California is home to many of the happiest places in America, including Ventura. With its combination of great weather, beaches, and nearby national forests, adventure awaits around every corner.

Happiest Cities Ventura, CA

Photo by Michael Hanson/Aurora Photos

San Diego, California

Visitors come from all over the world to Balboa Park, a 1,200-acre oasis in San Diego, California. The urban park includes the famous San Diego Zoo, home to more than 3,500 animals.

San Diego, CA

Photo by Sean Pavone / Alamy Stock Photo

Austin, Texas

Within Austin’s Zilker Park is Barton Springs, a three-acre pool with water sourced from underground springs. People from all walks of life take advantage of this year-round pool.

Austin TX

Photo by Daniel R Westergren/National Geographic Creative

Full list of 25 Happiest cities in America:

  1. Boulder, CO
  2. Santa Cruz-Watsonville, CA
  3. Charlottesville, VA
  4. Fort Collins, CO
  5. San Luis Obispo-Paso Robles-Arroyo Grande, CA
  6. San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA
  7. Provo-Orem, UT
  8. Bridgeport-Stamford, CT
  9. Barnstable Town, MA
  10. Anchorage, AK
  11. Naples-Immokalee-Marco Island, FL
  12. Santa Maria-Santa Barbara, CA
  13. Salinas, CA
  14. North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton, FL
  15. Urban Honolulu, HI
  16. Ann Arbor, MI
  17. San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA
  18. Colorado Springs, CO
  19. Manchester-Nashua, NH
  20. Oxnard-Thousand Oaks-Ventura, CA
  21. Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV
  22. Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, MN-WI
  23. San Diego-Carlsbad, CA
  24. Portland-South Portland, ME
  25. Austin-Round Rock, TX

Source: National Geographic

Also Read: 

Norway to New Zealand: Travel to The World’s 10 Happiest Countries

America Travel: 10 Greenest Cities in the US