Vote for the best towns
Chattanooga is back in the running for Outside magazine's crown of "Best Town in America."
The initial round of voting began Monday and lasts through Friday.
The Scenic City won the title in 2011. Sixty-four towns -- or big cities in some cases, Las Vegas and New York, among them -- are vying for the top spot in 2015. The magazine excluded winners and runners-up from the past three years for this year's competition.
The magazine's editorial staff selected 60 of the towns, and Instagram followers selected four "wild cards" through a social-media-driven voting process on Instagram that included 108 towns. Turns out Chattanooga's current voting-bracket rival, Roanoke, Va., is one of the wild-card choices. The 64 towns are grouped by region in seeded brackets.
The "best town" is supposed to have "top-notch restaurants, vibrant farmers' markets, friendly neighborhoods and unparalleled access to hiking and biking trails," according to an Outside press release. "In short, the perfect jumping-off point for adventure."
Chattanooga businesses, from venture incubator The Lamp Post Group to independent outdoor retailer Rock/Creek, have been encouraging locals to vote.
"ATTN: Chattanooga, we're up for Best Town Ever again! But to get the belt a second time, we need your help. Go vote!" Lamp Post Group wrote on its Twitter account Monday.
The first five rounds of voting last five days each.
People can vote once per round per matchup. On May 29, only two towns will remain. The winner will be the town with the most votes on June 5.
The magazine says it plans to profile various towns within the final bracket; the final 16 towns will be featured in its September issue.
In 2011, more than one-third of online voters chose Chattanooga as the winner.
Contact staff writer Mitra Malek at email@example.com or 423-757-6406. Follow her on Twitter @MitraMalek.
Outside magazine's Best Town in America competition is broken down by region and has five seeded voting rounds.
Annapolis, Md.; Bar Harbor, Maine; Brattleboro, Vt.; Cold Spring, N.Y.; East Stoudsburg, Pa; Elmira, N.Y.; Lake Placid, N.Y.; Lebanon, N.H.; Middlebury, Vt.; New Haven, Conn.; Northampton, Mass.; Pittsburgh, Pa.; Portsmouth, N.H.; Providence, R.I.; Red Bank, N.J.; New York, N.Y.
Alpine, Texas; Athens, Ga.; Beaufort, S.C.; Bentonville, Ark.; Birmingham, Ala.; Boone, N.C.; Charlottesville, Va.; Chattanooga; Fayetteville, W.Va.; Houston, Texas; Ocala, Fla.; Oxford, Miss.; Raleigh-Durham, N.C.; Savannah, Ga.; Tampa, Fla.; Roanoke, Va.
Bellaire, Mich.; Berea, Ky.; Columbus, Ohio; Detroit, Mich.; Eau Claire, Wis.; Ely, Minn.; Evanston, Ill.; Indianapolis, Ind.; Iowa City, Iowa; Kansas City, Mo.; Milwaukee, Wis.; Rapid City, S.D.; Rochester, Minn.; Spearfish, S.D.; Yellow Springs, Ohio; Saugatuck, Mich.
Ashland, Ore.; Bainbridge Island, Wash.; Flagstaff, Ariz.; Fort Bragg, Calif.; Glenwood Springs, Colo.; Hilo, Hawaii; Juneau, Alaska; Las Vegas, Nev.; Ogden, Utah; Pagosa Springs, Colo.; Santa Barbara, Calif.; Santa Fe, N.M.; Sheridan, Wyo.; Victor, Idaho; Whitefish, Mont.; Port Angeles, Wash.