Aug. 20--The words "Iowa" and "exciting" may not be paired often in a sentence, but if excitement is where you find it, then Burlington is one of the best places in the state to be.
At least that's what the real estate website Movoto.com has determined.
In a blog post Aug. 5, Burlington rounded out the Top 5 in an analysis of the state's 21 most-populous cities -- those with populations exceeding 25,000 -- based on factors such as night life, live music, active lifestyle opportunities, the arts and more.
Dining options were a significant factor driving the results, too.
Topping the list was Iowa City, followed by Ames, Dubuque and Des Moines.
"We're in pretty good company right there," said Jim Jennison, co-owner and manager of the Drake on the Riverfront, one of the restaurants cited in the post.
Following Burlington to complete the Top 10 were Cedar Rapids, West Des Moines, Cedar Falls, Davenport and Fort Dodge.
"Burlington didn't exactly have the young population or the nightlife and music that some of the others did," Movoto.com staff writer Natalie Grigson, said, "but it more than made up for this with its arts, active life, and, in particular, its cuisine."
The city, according to the site, has more restaurants per capita than 19 of the other 20 communities in the survey.
Jennison was thrilled Monday to learn about Burlington's ranking, and rattled off a list of reasons to support the No. 5 spot -- if not a higher one.
The Mississippi River is one key attraction, he said.
Local entertainment venues like The Washington, minor league baseball, Burlington Steamboat Days and the FunCity/Catfish Bend Casino complex are others, among many. The water park resort and casino, in particular, Jennison said, is unmatched anywhere in Iowa and "probably from here to Denver."
Mayor Shane McCampbell agreed Burlington has a lot to offer, though people who live here sometimes don't appreciate it the way visitors do.
All of which is to say, people who are at home in Burlington on a Tuesday night or a Saturday night and complain because there's nothing to do may be going about life here the wrong way.
"You're doing it wrong," McCampbell said, "and apparently, you live in a very, very small bubble of Burlington."
Just like family, he said, a hometown is so familiar, it often is taken for granted. It is up to people to break out of their bubbles and look around. Taking the perspective of a visitor may be one way to go about it.
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