If you're willing to pay a little higher cost of living to be in a great city you should check out where we're living in Manchester, Missouri. My fiancé and I rent an apartment here and we absolutely love it. There are so many unique places to go.
I really enjoy shopping at the one of a kind boutiques in the area, like Dainties By Denise on Old Sulphur Spring Road. But as a bride-to-be, the most exciting thing for me right now is having three bridal shops within a few miles of each other. For my registry, the best area in Manchester is at the intersection of Highway 141 and Highway 100. There's a Bed, Bath, and Beyond, a Best Buy, and many other stores.
One favorite place is Bones French Quarter, which is a bar that has a Mardi-Gras theme and Cajun food. Another is the Flying Spider Extreme Air Sports. We love those locations to go out and have some fun together.