I'm planning on visiting the USA next summer to escape the southern hemisphere winter. Will spend a few weeks in Chicago, NYC and Boston doing the typical touristy stuff. Would also like to find somewhere good to stay for 1-2 months that meets the following criteria: - smaller city (say < 500k) - not too touristy - safe - no need for a car, need to be able to walk to supermarket, good public transport - nearby hiking trails a plus I would like to experience an American city like you see on TV (such as Cougar Town), if such a place exists. Nice laid back atmosphere, somewhere I can do a bit of trading then wander down to the local coffee shop, meet some locals, etc. Any suggestions?