MARIPOSA — The charming town of Mariposa, CA, is in the national spotlight for a cultural scene that residents and returning visitors alike know is among the best in the United States.
On Monday, May 9, Mariposa was named as one of 20 finalists for the 2022 USA Today 10 Best Readers’ Choice travel award in the category of Best Cultural Scene. To be considered for the award, a town must have fewer than 25,000 residents and have outstanding examples of museums, art galleries, performing arts and a strong stable of local events.
Winners and a top-10 list for the category will be decided by a public vote at the link here. Voting is open until June 6 and winners will be announced on June 17 at 12 p.m. (EDT). Voting is open now and each person can vote once per day for the length of the contest. A live leaderboard is also available. To be considered a “winner” Mariposa just needs to finish in the top-10 in voting, but finishing first is well within reach for Mariposa.
“We hear from visitors all the time about how much they love Mariposa’s culture, history and charm. It’s a completely authentic Gold Rush and western destination where culture is alive and well, and we’re on the doorstep of Yosemite National Park, so we feel that our great little town is certainly deserving of this recognition,” said Yosemite Mariposa County Tourism Bureau CEO and Executive Director Jonathan Farrington.
Mariposa is well suited for this contest and perhaps packs more of a punch pound-for-pound than any other towns listed as finalists. Despite its population of just 1,186 people, Mariposa is home to three museums including the Mariposa Museum and History Center, which was named by the Smithsonian Institution as one of the best small museums west of the Mississippi River. The town boasts three art galleries, local filmmakers that debut their works here in Mariposa and holds the title of being the smallest town in America with a symphony orchestra, the Mariposa Yosemite Symphony Orchestra.
Mariposa is home to multiple annual events including the Mariposa County Fair which showcases the incredibly rich agricultural scene that many destinations have left behind. Each spring, Mariposa is home to the Mariposa Butterfly Festival, a family friendly event that releases hundreds of butterflies. Mariposa is literally Spanish for “butterfly” and earned the name when Spanish settlers encountered hundreds of butterflies when the Valley the town sits in was first discovered by Europeans. Mariposa’s history goes back well beyond Spanish colonization to the Southern Sierra Miwuk, a local tribe which has called modern day Mariposa home for hundreds of years. The Miwuk and other local tribes are honored each year with an event of their own in Mariposa, the Mariposa Pow Wow.
A great place to stay for visitors, Mariposa is home to great lodging options running the gamut from camping to bed and breakfasts to boutique hotels and classic hotel brands that visitors from all over will recognize. Nightlife in Mariposa is fantastic as well. The town is home to great dining options and numerous music venues that provide live music entertainment nearly nightly throughout the year.
Mariposa has some stiff competition in the USA Today 10Best competition with other finalists including Sedona, Arizona; Camden, Maine; and other California towns such as Carmel-by-the-Sea and Solvang.
Mariposa is the county seat of Mariposa County, California, a large, but lightly populated county on the southwestern edge of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Mariposa County is home to rich Gold Rush history, outdoor activities like hiking, whitewater rafting, skiing and snowboarding and skydiving. Mariposa County is also home to Yosemite National Park, a world-renowned outdoor destination and UNESCO World Heritage Site.