Hikers take a break to enjoy the view at Sunset Rock atop Lookout Mountain.

The list

Most underappreciated cities you should move to:

* Chattanooga — "A Southern haven for the active, outdoorsy and entrepreneurial."

* Kansas City, Mo. — "A thriving arts and cultural scene that rivals the coasts."

* Houston — "Texas' most underrated big city does almost everything right."

* Grand Rapids, Mich. — "A beer-filled Midwestern alternative to Chicago."

* Boise, Idaho — "An outdoorsy Portland vibe without Portland prices."

* St. Petersburg, Fla. — "A hyper-affordable beach town for the non-retired."

* Providence, R.I. — "An artsy college town with student-friendly prices."

* Baltimore, Md. — "A unique mix of grit and glamour, north and south."

* Greenville, S.C. — "The small Southern city that feels much, much bigger."

* San Diego, Calif. — "A city of endless summer, ideal for alternative schedules and lifestyles."

* Milwaukee, Wisc. — "Brews and views on laid-back Lake Michigan."
* Gulfport, Miss. — "America's most affordable, under-the-radar beach city."

* Salt Lake City, Utah — "The picturesque West where your best life is outrageously cheap."

* Fayetteville, Bentonville, Ark. — "An easygoing economic center makes a play for arts fame."

* Des Moines, Iowa — "Coastal culture at blue-collar prices."

* Birmingham, Ala. — "An affordable post-industrial foodie mecca in the making."

Source" Thrillist

Chattanooga is among the top "underappreciated cities you should totally move to" because of its low cost of living, outdoor attractions and entrepreneurial economy, according to a new study by the website Thrillist.

The news site identified 16 cities where living costs are lower but quality of life is still attractive. The website said its list of under-appreciated cities includes "amazing places still lurking under the radar."

Thrillist Media Group, the 13-year-old digital media company that reaches more than 16 million monthly subscribers, called Chattanooga "a Southern haven for the active, outdoorsy and entrepreneurial."

Chattanooga's housing costs average 30 percent less than the U.S. average and its overall living costs are 8 percent below the national average, not even considering Tennessee's lowest-in-the-nation personal tax rate.

"Though we can't quite hurl superlatives at it like 'Best Town Ever' [as it was named by Outside magazine, twice], Chattanooga is still an outstanding place to call home," said Matt Meltzer, a contributor for the New York-based website. "This is especially true for entrepreneurs and startup whiz kids, as the city has roughly half the startup costs of Silicon Valley and is home to the INCubator, America's third-largest business incubator."

Chattanooga was one of a handful of cities in the Southeast that Thrillist said have not gotten too expensive or crowded and the website praised both the outdoor attractions and community support for business startups. Thrillist praised towns such as Nashville, Austin and Portland, Ore., but said rent, food and drinks are getting too pricey for many people starting out their careers in those cities.

"It's a big ole country we have here, and opportunity favors those in motion," Thrillist said. "But before you start daydreaming of swimming holes, remember: Austin is full. So is Portland, alas. Nashville is getting there."

As one of the emerging cities that have been overlooked, Chattanooga promoters said the Thrillist list is likely to encourage more mobile entrepreneurs to take a look at moving to Chattanooga.

Jack Studer, a former mentor at Lamp Post who now heads the business accelerator known as The Company Lab, welcomes the extra attention for the self-proclaimed "Gig City." Chattanooga was the only city in Tennessee or Georgia on the Thrillist list.

"Any time we can get a shoutout on our city and what we are doing, I think that is a good thing," Studer said. "More people are starting to find out about Chattanooga and what we have to offer here and that is drawing a lot of great people and new business to our city."

Contact Dave Flessner at or at 423-757-6340.