Good things come in small packages, as the saying goes. That’s evident in the towns and small cities that populate America’s central corridor. While the bright lights of major metropolises might be alluring, smaller communities shine with distinctive charms. These 10 walkable, yet sometimes overlooked, destinations offer cuisine, museums, and outdoor activities just as enticing as those in large cities.

Lawrence Farmers Market

5. Lawrence, Kansas

Quirky and vibrant describe Lawrence, home to the University of Kansas. You’ll find abolitionist history and a thriving arts scene.

Stroll down Massachusetts Street (known locally as Mass Street) for boutiques, coffee shops, and fine food like Cajun gumbo at Terrebonne Po’ Boys. Sip a glass of beer at Free State Brewing Company, which became Kansas’ first post-Prohibition brewery when it opened in 1989.

Visit on the last Friday of any month for the Final Fridays art walk downtown and in the Warehouse Arts District. The area also comes alive with street performers during late May’s annual Lawrence Busker Festival. For other free cultural pursuits, explore the city’s sometimes violent past at the Watkins Museum of History, and admire a world-class collection at the Spencer Museum of Art.

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