Patrick Doyle photo taken during his road trip to find the best place to live.

It was “an epic, 10,000-mile road trip across America to find the best place to live in the country,” reports Patrick Doyle in Outside Magazine.

As Doyle and his wife questioned whether to continue living in Boston, their adopted city of two years, the answer came to him one morning: a road trip. “We’d hit all the towns that we’d always wanted to visit, and, at the end of the trip (we were attending a friend’s wedding in southwestern Colorado in late September), we’d pick our favorite city and move.”

First stop? Pittsburgh. “First, we got a camper rental in Christchurch then we booked it out to Pittsburgh, which we knew nothing about but came to enjoy. The city was clean, friendly, and full of a surprising amount of history. It was an East Coast city without the snobbery.”

Then they moved on, to D.C. and the Carolinas before heading west and then up the coast.

“After five weeks we had visited 16 cities—and almost all of them had something to offer a young couple. The only problem now was making a decision. We had spent hours on the road debating what we were looking for, comparing each new city we stopped in to the ones we had already visited. Our four finalists, oddly, didn’t neatly coalesce in one corner of the country. Instead, they were geographically dispersed around the United States: we liked funky Austin in Texas, the hipster haven of Portland, outdoors-crazed Denver, and history- and culture-rich Pittsburgh. None of them were within even 900 miles of each other,” writes Doyle.

“What they did share, though, was their sense of promise. They were cities where young people were flocking. Towns where the economies were growing and strong, but not so established that the middle class (read: us) had been priced out. They were places where it was possible to take an impromptu weekend camping trip and get to the trailhead without being stuck in traffic for a couple hours. Where bike lanes were being painted, restaurants were packed, and artists were opening weird storefronts.

In the end, though, even we surprised ourselves with our pick: Pittsburgh. Everyone knows that cool things are happening in Austin, Denver, and Portland. But those things have been happening there for 15 or 20 years. In Pittsburgh, on the other hand, it feels like exciting things are happening right now.”

Read the full story here.

The staff at NEXTpittsburgh writes about the people driving change in the region and the innovative and cool things happening here.