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18. Charlottesville, Va.
Population: 40,877
Pro: A lively college town
Con: Served by a small airport

Home to the University of Virginia and Thomas Jefferson's Monticello, Charlottesville is also a business-minded city with a diversity of industries, including manufacturing, medical services, life sciences, and technology. High-tech businesses in the area generate an estimated $4 billion in annual revenues.

The city's Industrial Development Authority helps finance businesses by issuing tax-exempt industrial development revenue bonds with low interest rates. SCORE (the Service Core of Retired Executives) keeps its local office in Charlottesville's Chamber of Commerce Center, and counsels entrepreneurs and business leaders on topics ranging from taxes to human resources. In addition, there are federal contracting preferences in certain HUBzones (historically underutilized business zones) in the area.

A lively college town, the Charlottesville is full of arts, culture, and shopping venues featuring antiques shops and clothing boutiques. Outdoor enthusiasts will love the local rivers and lakes, where they can sail, kayak, canoe, and fish. -Kelsey Abbott

Interactive map: Charlottesville, Va.
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Last updated July 02 2008: 11:16 AM ET
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