The usual suspects … and a few surprises as well?
People say there’s wisdom in crowds.
If that’s the case, then the ~128,000 people who participated in the Condé Nast Traveler Readers’ Choice Awards survey in 2015 must count for something when it comes to which cities are America’s friendliest.
… And the survey results show that if you want to find America’s friendliest folks, head south and west.
That is correct: Of the ten cities rated the most friendly, just one is located in the Northeast … and absolutely none are in the Midwest.
For the record, here are the ten friendliest American cities based on the Condé Nast survey:
- #1 Charleston, SC — America’s friendliest city
- #2 Park City, UT
- #3 Savannah, GA
- #4 Nashville, TN
- #5 Austin, TX
- #6 Santa Fe, NM
- #7 Asheville, NC
- #8 Jackson (Jackson Hole), WY
- #9 New Orleans, LA
- #10 Burlington, VT
Of course, there are also the ten unfriendliest cities as determined from the same survey — no doubt the subject of just as much curiosity.
Those seem to be just as clustered — but elsewhere — primarily in the Northeast, but also a few in California. And Detroit, too:
- #1 Newark, NJ — America’s unfriendliest city
- #2 Oakland, CA
- #3 Atlantic City, NJ
- #4 Detroit, MI
- #5 Hartford, CT
- #6 New Haven, CT
- #7 Dover, DE
- #8 Wilmington, DE
- #9 Los Angeles, CA
- #10 Baltimore, MD
I have no earthly idea if these rankings are accurate or not; it’s actually well-nigh impossible to have a definitive listing based on a ranking criterion that’s so subjective.
But having lived in both Nashville and Baltimore — and having visited 13 of the other 18 cities — I do get a sense of where the Condé Nast survey respondents are coming from.
How about you? Do you think that any of these cities are unfairly ranked? And what other cities do you think should have made it on either list? Like New York City or Philadelphia, for instance?
Incidentally, the 2016 Readers’ Choice Survey results are currently being tabulated and are due to be published in October. It will be interesting to see if there are any big changes in the listings …
3 thoughts on “Condé Nast Traveler and its readers weigh in on America’s friendliest and unfriendliest cities.”
I have visited both Charleston and Savannah and agree that they are the friendliest places that I have ever been. There is something about the pace of life in both places, even though they were very different.
In Savannah, we were greeted by “How y’all doin’?” everywhere we went. It felt genuine. In Charleston, even though there seemed to be more tourists than locals, it was clean, orderly and pleasant. There were no unsightly buildings (at least none where we were) and there was something a little less “casual” about the dress.
My dad used to say that if one dressed properly, it changed one’s behavior. He may have been right.
Many of the ‘friendliest’ cities have robust tourism industries.
It’s interesting that Atlantic City, a town that depends so heavily on tourism, ranks near the bottom of the list. Maybe the people there need to make an effort to be a bit more hospitable.
Parisians — who for years have had a bad rap for rudeness — are constantly admonished to be nice to visitors. Some would argue it falls on deaf ears, but at least the tourism office there understands that people like smiles.
All the friendly cities listed are small, except for New Orleans.
I hate to say it, but the unfriendliest seem to be the ones with large problematic inner-city populations. Say what you will about the reasons for inner-city youth to be found hanging around the streets, but it scares the hell out of tourists.
Here in San Francisco, we are often told how friendly we are by visitors, who are invariably offered help with their maps by strangers. But we have a large homeless population who hits on everyone constantly as well. Even though our homeless do so without threat, people don’t know that. So we are not on the list!
I’d be careful about the “friendliness” of New Orleans, the only big city on the friendly list. It has a slightly criminal mindset compared with San Francisco. You’ll get your cedit card scammed at restaurants … with a smile.