#8 Columbia, MO

Columbia is the fourth most populous urban area in Missouri, and has a relatively low cost of living and a high level of entrepreneurial activity. Stephens College, University of Missouri, and Columbia College make Columbia a center of education, culture, and athletic competition. The city also has a reputation for progressive politics, a high emphasis on education, and appealing public art. For the complete rankings click here.

[Photo: Mizzou Quad, Wikimedia Commons]