By Southern Living Editors

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According to the U.S. Census, the South is the place to be. Not only is it the most populous region in the country, it accounted for 87% of our country’s growth in 2023. Plus, the South is the only region that maintained population growth during the pandemic. Visit any of the places on this year's Best Cities On the Rise list and you’ll quickly understand why.

These reader-selected cities have excellent food scenes, cool yet quaint downtown districts, incredible natural beauty, thriving arts communities, and the warmth our region is known for. And they’re not done growing. Each one has exciting new projects on the horizon, like a minor-league baseball stadium in Spartanburg, South Carolina, entertainment districts in Huntsville, Alabama and Alpharetta, Georgia, and even economic development, like electric vehicle manufacturing in Bowling Green, Kentucky.

How did we come up with the list? Southern Living editors compiled a large list of cities based on research, reporting, and our own experiences. Then, our readers selected their top picks in our annual South’s Best Awards survey. The result is a diverse mix of large and small cities, and each one has something different to offer. Whether you’re looking for a new place to live or somewhere fun to visit, you’ll find plenty of options here.

New Braunfels

6. New Braunfels, Texas

Those seeking a slower pace in the Texas Hill Country have flocked to New Braunfels, which wears its natural wonders and German influences proudly. The Comal and Guadalupe rivers wind through town, giving a picturesque turn to the landscape, and the Gruene Historic District is filled with German architecture dating to the 19th century. Just a few years ago, it was named one of the fastest-growing cities in America, so you can bet its distinctive blend of old and new continues to resonate.