Outside Online scouted the 16 best places to live in the U.S. for those who want an exciting and adventurous city or small town. The editors talked to climbers, Olympic mountain bikers, musicians, and award-winning chefs about what exactly makes their hometowns so special and fun. Here's what they had to say about a few of the markets with large populations:

Denver: Colorado’s capital is one of the fastest-growing places in the country—transplants are drawn to big-city living within striking distance of 14,000-foot peaks and Rocky Mountain skiing and biking.

Boise, Idaho: Mat Erpelding, 41, represents Boise’s Downtown and North End in the Idaho state legislature, which means his district contains the majority of the city’s famous 190-mile Ridge to Rivers system. “The trails are the reason I live in Boise,” says Erpelding, owner of Idaho Mountain Guides, which leads rock-climbing trips in the area. Above, he walks us through his ideal Boise day: a bike-based quadrathlon via the Greenbelt, a 25-mile path along the Boise River.

Seattle: Three national parks and six ski resorts are within a three-hour drive, and they don’t call Seattle the Emerald City for nothing—green space is abundant, with some 465 city parks. The local job market is strong, thanks in part to giants like Amazon and Microsoft. Though home prices aren’t quite as bad as, say, San Francisco, the median is around $500,000, and houses in the most desirable neighborhoods command much more.

Billings, Mont., Jackson, Wyo., Yachats, Ore., Taos, N. M., Steamboat Springs, Colo., Ludington, Mich., Bellingham, Wash., Hanalei, Hawaii, Gunnison, Colo., Bend, Ore., Ketchum, Idaho, Grand Marais, Minn., Durango, Colo., also made the list.

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