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Abita Springs: #14 on The 25 coolest towns in America: 2019

14. Abita Springs, Louisiana

Population: 2,540

Back in the heyday of yellow fever in the 1900s, Abita Springs was a country getaway for wealthy New Orleanians looking to escape festering disease. The grand homes and stately hotels they built were a testament to Gilded Age wealth — until everyone lost their money and the place fell into disrepair. Flash forward to the 1970s when hippies and artists took over the old homes. Though they didn’t exactly restore them, they gave them new purposes as artist’s spaces and music venues.

That creative spirit might be part of why Abita Springs is home to Louisiana’s most famous brewery, Abita Beer, and its not-for-the-faint-of-heart Andygator brew. It also has the Abita Springs Opry, a venue dedicated to preserving bluegrass and country music that throws six concerts a year in the town hall. Crafters and collectors flock here in the spring for the annual Abita Springs Whole Town Garage Sale, where many residents clean out their houses and sell oddities you won’t find elsewhere. Except maybe the Abita Mystery House, a roadside attraction full of everything from stuffed gators to glass shards to a full-scale vintage gas station.

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