Reader’s Digest Contest Unveils Top Ten “Nicest Places In America”

Reader’s Digest today announced the ten finalists in its first annual “Nicest Place in America” contest in partnership with Nextdoor, the private social network for neighborhoods. The contest is a national crowd-sourced hunt for exceptional places whose people exemplify ways of life the country needs more of today. Americans across the country submitted over 250 nominations for the “Nicest Place in America” at The winning place will be announced online this fall and featured on the cover of the November issue of Reader’s Digest.

After reviewing the entries and votes, Reader’s Digest announced these places as the top ten finalists:

Franklin, NE: A small town that bands together when tragedy strikes, most recently to raise huge amounts of money for a family fighting cancer.

The India Point Park Area in Providence, RI: A local custom of flashing “Good Night Lights” to Hasbro Children’s Hospital patients has turned into a movement.

KidsCycle in Shorewood, WI: A local group of families swapping and selling used goods online has turned into an authentic civic movement that works to help the afflicted and make the lives of everyone in the community better.

Pflugerville High in Pflugerville, TX: This is the high school everyone wishes they went to – everyone is accepted, bullying is stamped out, and teachers and students all work to better the school community.

Rock Hall, MD: It’s a small town where everyone is welcomed in a particular way called the “Rock Hall Wave.” Neighbors and strangers alike get to enjoy it. It’s also a town that never leaves anyone behind.

Gallatin, TN: Outside of the booming metropolis of Nashville, Gallatin is a suburb doing things differently. It’s choosing to be diverse and welcoming to all, even in the face of tragedy.

South Whidbey on Whidbey Island in Puget Sound, WA: Everywhere in America should see South Whidbey as an example of how to live together even when we disagree. You can’t escape issues on an island, and while residents here debate issues fiercely, they come together as friends at the end of the day.

The Doak’s House in Waterford, OH: A place that exemplifies everything that is good about small-town America. The Doak’s house is one of generosity and friendliness, where, once every other year, friends, neighbors and strangers come together to make apple butter in what has become a heartwarming local tradition.

Hayesville, NC: When wildfires ripped across the region, threatening the small town of 400 people, the Feds sent in the Hotshots, super firefighters. And the town’s generosity and support for their efforts has become famous across the nation.

Oriole Park in Baltimore, MD: This Major League Baseball ballpark is known as one of the friendliest and most welcoming to hometown fans and those of opposing teams. But it’s a Nicest Place in America finalist because of a unique program it has to honor the city’s real heroes.

“The idea for ‘Nicest Places’ was simple: At a time when half the country seems to be unhappy with the other half, why not honor the best of who we are?” said Bruce Kelley, Editor-in-Chief and Chief Content Officer of Reader’s Digest. “We all know places where neighbors help one another in good times and bad, strangers always feel welcome, and people work together to get inspiring things done. Reader’s Digest wanted to celebrate those places that embodied that community spirit and remind us that kindness and enthusiasm are still America’s lifeblood.”

Each finalist is a physical location in the United States (e.g. a town, neighborhood, workplaces, park or a particular establishment, etc.). “Nicest Place” entries include a headline, title or tagline, stories about the place and why it should be nominated, as well as pictures, video, URLs and social media accounts that showcase the niceness of the people there.

Readers will have a chance to vote online at for the winning “Nicest Place in America.” To determine the winner, Reader’s Digest editors will consider the voting tally and other relevant factors including, but not limited to, the embodiment of the spirit of the people in the place.

Platinum-selling singer/songwriter Brett Young, who has hit the top of the Country charts with his first two singles “Sleep Without You” and “In Case You Didn’t Know,” will serve as a special judge to help determine the winning “Nicest Place in America.”

“I’m extremely honored to be able to help Reader’s Digest celebrate the goodness and kindness that I know is at the heart of this nation,” says Young. “As I tour around the country, it is incredible the amazingly kind and nice people that I encounter along the way who do so much for others in their towns and communities.”

Reader’s Digest has partnered with leading community-based organizations, including Nextdoor, the private social network for neighborhoods, to find the Nicest Place in America. On Nextdoor, neighbors create private websites for their neighborhoods where they can ask questions, get to know one another, and exchange local advice and recommendations.

“Nextdoor is focused on community building, a quality very apparent in America’s ‘nicest places,'” said Nirav Tolia, Co-Founder and CEO of Nextdoor. “We’re proud to partner with Reader’s Digest to discover and celebrate those places across the country where individuals and communities alike are building stronger, safer, and happier places to call home.”

Reader’s Digest also partnered with BYUtv’s hit show Random Acts to help spread the word about Nicest Place in America. Readers can learn more about the collaboration video here. Whimsical and heartwarming, Random Acts is a vibrant hidden-camera show that will make you laugh and inspire you to pay it forward.