Reader’s Digest Names Nicest Places in America for 2023


Reader’s Digest is pleased to announce the winner of the 2023 Nicest Places in America, a national crowd-sourced effort to uncover places where stories of kindness, respect and community shine bright. “Places” range from towns, neighborhoods, businesses, and more. This year, Buffalo, New York received the top honor.

Reader’s Digest editors read thousands of stories about a kinder America than you see on the evening news — from every corner of the country they learned about places full of generosity and love. One of this year’s standout stories comes from barbershop owner Craig Elston, who offered his business as a safe haven to the community during the blizzard of 2022, the largest since 1977. Elston opened the doors of his barbershop C & C Cutz, providing shelter and support to dozens of Buffalo residents over the course of five days.

Buffalo Bills Safety Damar Hamlin penned a heartwarming letter to the people of Buffalo for the resilience that inspired him following his cardiac arrest during the game against the Cincinnati Bengals earlier this year. “Over the last few years, this city has seen so many hard times and so much pain,” said Hamlin. “A shooting that horrified the world, taking lives and stealing dreams. An unimaginable blizzard that brought so much fear. A tragic fire that took young lives. Loss after loss, the challenges seemed to just keep coming. The people of Buffalo have experienced the kind of pain that could have broken them. But it hasn’t. Today, when I’m at home in Buffalo, I meet people full of hope and determination. I see a Buffalo that has chosen to come together rather than fall apart. I see why Buffalo is known as the City of Good Neighbors.”

Nicest Places in America is an annual initiative for Reader’s Digest and this is its 7th year. Last year the title went to Coulterville, California, where neighbors stepped up to help one another during a devastating wildfire.

“Nicest Places has long been a celebration of seeking out the good. Sometimes, that means finding those who are shining a light during their darkest hour like the people in Buffalo after facing such tragedy,” said Jason Buhrmester, Chief Content Officer at Reader’s Digest. “We believe that in sharing stories of kindness you can encourage more of it and we are honored to celebrate Buffalo this year and look forward to continuing to seek out the good.”

Each year Reader’s Digest gets help from a selected panel of judges to choose the stories to be crowned “Nicest Places.” This year’s panel of judges includes:

  • Mitch Albom – Philanthropist and author of “Tuesdays With Morrie”
  • Mónica Guzmán – Senior fellow for public practice at Braver Angels and author of “I Never Thought of It That Way”
  • Bonnie Kintzer – Chief Executive Officer, Trusted Media Brands
  • Jim Rhodes – Nominator of Coulterville, California, 2022’s Nicest Place in America
  • Denine Torr – Dollar General’s Vice President of Corporate Social Responsibility and Philanthropy

Finalist cities for Nicest Places included Providence, R.I.Red Lodge, Mont.Greenville, S.C.; and Colchester, Vt. You can read their stories here.

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Her fiction writing has received the Author / Ambassador at Library Journal Self-e Authors, Winner Queen of the West Reader Favorite Award, Amazon Bestseller - Historical, Double finalist in the Next Generation Indie Book Awards in the Mystery and Humorous Categories. Writing humorous cozy mysteries and romantic comedy, Jocie can find humor in most everything, even when she shouldn't. She lives in the Midwest on Dust Bunny Farm with her family.