15. Jackson, WY
Sure, you’ve got your sham cowboy shootouts, chuck wagon restaurants and elk antler curios in Jackson. Your movie stars, glam ski apparel and ritzy Four Seasons. But there’s just no gainsaying this two-stepping town at the threshold of the jagged Grand Tetons, a magnet for artists, beginning with Albert Bierstadt and Thomas Moran, whose work vies with Mother Nature at Jackson’s Wildlife of the American West Art Museum. Mountain men, ranchers and big game hunters were drawn to the Snake River Valley, too, leaving vestiges of their wanderings at the Jackson Hole Historical Society and Museum and on the town’s iconic square, still lined by boardwalks but now way more cosmopolitan than Tombstone, Arizona, or Dodge City, Kansas. The Grand Teton Music Festival makes its home every summer at all-wooden, acoustically rich Walk Festival Hall, and the Jackson Center for the Arts sponsors year-round lectures, concerts and plays. Of course, most visitors spend their time making hay in the great outdoors or looking for wildlife at the nearby National Elk Refuge and inside the national park, where elusive bighorn sheep can sometimes be spotted on the sheer, snow-carpeted faces of the Grand Tetons.
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