Another bastion of cool-headed liberal types, this Midwestern capital city attracts a jovial mix of academics to its huge University of Wisconsin campus and its strong medical community. Together they make for robust employment, especially for a city fairly modest in size. The happy people of Madison appreciate their great bike-lane network, live music and performing arts scenes, and exceptional architecture — even beyond the beautiful legacies of childhood native Frank Lloyd Wright.
It's hard to argue with nearly 300 sunny days a year, and, in Honolulu, they're too happy to argue anyway. Covering the southwest coast of Oahu, this capital city is filled with smiling people who proudly wear shorts and sandals virtually all year long. Downtown skyscrapers and a $10 billion annual tourism industry underscore the city's strength as both a mid-ocean trading hub and an appealing destination. After all, in Honolulu, "aloha" — which translates to a slew of pleasant terms from "greetings" to "remember with affection" — is a way of life.
Also of Interest
- Keys to happiness quiz
- 2013 Best Employers for Workers Over 50
- The health care law — Look who's talking
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