Athens Named Finalist For Outside Magazine’s Best Town Contest

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Athens has been selected as one of 64 finalists in Outside Magazine’s fourth annual Best Towns competition. The winner will be selected by public online votes, with the "Best Place to Live" being announced June 15.

This is the first year the magazine has let readers select the best town in the U.S. via online voting. Voting began Thursday.

The 64 finalists are divided into four brackets: West, Midwest, East and South.

In the Midwest bracket, Athens is competing against Madison, Wis., Fargo, N.D., Houghton, Mich, Waterloo, Ill., Bloomington, Ind., Cincinnati, Ohio, Minneapolis, Minn., Iowa City, Iowa, Duluth, Minn., Columbia, Mo., Lawrence, Kansas, La Crosse, Wis., Rapid City, S.D., Grand Rapids, Mich., and Omaha, Neb.

In the first round of voting, Athens is facing off against Lawrence, Kansas. As of Friday afternoon, Athens had a narrow lead. Voting for the first round ends Monday.

Readers can vote once per round for each matchup and each round of voting will last five days. The four semifinalists will be announced June 4. The top two cities will be announced June 9 and voting will continue through June 15 for the best town in America.

To vote, visit Outside Magazine's website.