NEW YORK (MainStreet) -- Sometimes, there's a city and, well, it's the city for its time and place. It fits right in there.
With all respect to the Coen brothers, Sam Elliot, The Big Lebowski and The Dude himself, there are just some cities that are stepping into the spotlight at the right time in 2012.
As years go, this one isn't exactly insignificant. Anyone who clutched at the nearest string of pearls when Mitt Romney insinuated in New Hampshire that he liked firing people -- unthinkable of the founder of Bain Capital, who basically did just that for a living -- is already well embroiled in the upcoming presidential race. Meanwhile, those inspired to take a few laps at the Y after watching Michael Phelps dominate the field in China almost four years ago are already familiarizing themselves with the Telemundo, MSNBC and former Versus network channel numbers for this year's Summer Olympic Games.
But where are the best seats for the action? Which towns aren't content to trot out the same parades, pro sports and dog-and-pony shows and are pulling out all the stops to separate themselves from the pack in 2012? Even if they're not being that flashy, which cities are making sure their dwellers have enough cash lying around to enjoy those big-ticket events from the comfort of their own homes?We flipped through our shiny new calendars, pored through this year's financial forecasts and found 10 metro areas that are taking their shot at the big time in 2012. If your town isn't here, better luck next year: