PopulationMetro: 603,668
The small but economically mighty city on Lake Erie has always worked hard. But its penchant for city building and giving back has created institutions and cultural tapestry evocative of much larger cities.

The Toledo Museum of Art’s $30 million Glass Pavilion celebrates the history of the city’s many local glassmakers. However this Ohio city of 280,000 near the western tip of Lake Erie has a thriving local economy that has diversified beyond its nickname.

Toledo has long been a major player in the glass manufacturing business; Libbey has called the city home since 1888. But it has steadily diversified its economy to include several Fortune 500 companies—Marathon Petroleum Corporation and Owens Corning, among others. In 2019, Toledo lands at #2 for Fortune 500 Companies in small cities and #4 overall in our Prosperity category. Not bad for a city with a population of 278,508.

“The Glass City,” as it’s affectionately known, is also an arts and culture hub. Positioned as its anchor is the world-renowned Toledo Museum of Art, which has a vast collection of works, including pieces by Picasso, Rembrandt and Monet. Ranking #37 in our Culture subcategory, Toledo boasts not only this world-class art museum but also an opera company, a ballet company and one of the country’s best zoos.

Place 36
Product 26
Programming 25
People 23
Prosperity 72
Promotion 28

Art and glass aside, Toledo has two great loves: food and sports. The city is home to two successful minor league teams, the Toledo Walleye hockey club and the Toledo Mud Hens baseball team.

The city has also long been said to have the most restaurants per capita in the country—ranging from Mediterranean at spots like Beirut to fine dining at Brim House, giving it a #28 ranking in our Restaurants subcategory.

With a revitalized downtown, a tradition of corporate support of livability and plenty of job opportunities, things are bright for The Glass City.