Niche Madness City Tournament: Round 1


The end of the year is winding down, and while many publications are releasing their “best of” lists, we’re leaving ours up to you.

Niche editors picked 16 colleges and cities to face off in the first-ever Niche Madness Tournament, and your voting will determine the winners in both brackets in an announcement on December 29. (The colleges and cities were selected based on discussion among the Niche experts, with criteria including colleges and cities to watch, underrated gems, and interesting rivalries.)

From Monday at 12 p.m. EST to Sunday at midnight, the polls will be open. Vote below in the Niche Madness City Tournament bracket (then check out our College bracket).


Rust Belt Renaissance

Collectively, Pittsburgh and Detroit are known for their fries on sandwiches, Motown, and back-to-back NHL Stanley Cup encounters. But with Marian Hossa playing for Chicago now, what will the deciding factor be this time between these Rust Belt rivals?


“Keep It Weird” Cities

If you go to Austin, Texas, or Portland, Ore., you’ll encounter “Keep [insert city name] Weird” souvenirs and trinkets everywhere. Which city deserves the distinction more?


Battle of BosWash
What if the area from Boston to Washington, D.C., was just one huge city? In 1967, George Fieraru coined the term “BosWash” as the name of the theoretical megalopolis extending from these two metropolitan areas. Which part of the proposed city would you rather live in: the Bos or the Wash?


State of Confusion
Outsiders often assume that rock ‘n roll city Cleveland is the capital of the state of Ohio, but not so. It’s Columbus, the 15th most populous city in the United States. So which one dots the “i” in Ohio: C-Town or “The Arch City”?


Two Southern Belles
Savannah, Ga., and Charleston, S.C., are the oldest cities in their respective states—“America’s First Planned City” and “Charles Towne” named for King Charles II of England. But which one is more quintessential for Southern living?



Twin Cities vs. Madtown
This match-up is almost like two cities versus one, but if there’s any Midwestern city that could take on this challenge, it’s Madison, Wis., the home of “Freakfest on State Street,” which pours tens of thousands of people into the streets every Halloween. On the other hand, Minneapolis piles people into the sky—with more than 11 miles of skyways in the downtown area.


Super “Bowl” Rematch
Denver and Seattle faced off at Super Bowl XLVIII in 2014, and now the two “legalized” cities are encountering each other again in a battle of the bowls.


Best Coast Clash
San Diego is known for having one of the best climates in the United States, while Oakland, Calif., is known for having one of the most diverse ones. In this contest between Northern and Southern California cities, which one will win?


Polls open Monday, December 1, at noon and close Sunday, December 7, at midnight.