Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Travel + Leisure's America's Favorite Cities 2008

The votes are in, and my current geographical mate, Los Angeles, has placed last. In the "Traffic," "Public Transportation and Pedestrian Friendliness," "Safety," "Intelligence," and "Friendliness" categories, that is. Ouch. The only thing LA even did fairly well in was "Luxury Boutiques" (#3). Ahem. That's just super.

Fortunately, my future potential mates did much better. Here's how some of my Top 15 Geographical Crushes stacked up in this annual survey of America's Top 25 Cities:

PORTLAND
#1 in Environmental Awareness
#1 in Public Transportation and Pedestrian Friendliness
#1 in Cleanliness
#1 in Public Parks and Access to the Outdoors
#1 in Safety
#2 in Traffic (meaning the least traffic)
#2 in Farmers and Specialty Food Markets
Worst showing: Luxury Boutiques (#24) and Winter/Christmas Destination (#20).

AUSTIN
#2 in Live Music
#2 in Friendliness
#2 in Active/Athletic People
Worst showing: Luxury Boutiques (#23) and Museums/Galleries (#18).

SANTA FE

#1 in Peace and Quiet
#2 in Art Galleries
#2 in Relaxing Retreat
Worst showing: Wild Weekend, Cocktail Hour/Lounge Scene, Late Night Scene/Clubs and Singles Scene/Bars (#25 in all four).

CHARLESTON
#1 in Friendliness
#1 in Traffic (meaning the least traffic)
#1 in Antique Stores
#2 in Romantic Escapes
#2 in Thanksgiving Destination
#2 in Noteworthy Neighborhoods
#2 in Peace and Quiet
#2 in Vintage Stores/Flea Markets
Worst showing: Late Night/Club Scene (#24), Wild Weekend (#23), Singles Scene/Bars (#21).

NEW ORLEANS
#1 in Live Music
#1 in Ethnic Food/Cheap Eats
#1 in Vintage Stores/Flea Markets
#1 in Destination Restaurants
#2 in Wild Weekend
#2 in Singles Scene/Bars
#2 in Late Night/Club Scene
#2 in Antique Stores
Worst showing: Cleanliness and Active/Athletic People (#25 in both).

What does this tell me? LA continues to get a very bad rap, warranted (traffic) or unwarranted (safety???). Santa Fe and Charleston, despite being smaller cities, are nationally recognized as great places to live the good life. Their primary downside is sleepiness, as demonstrated by their reputation for anemic nightlife. Portland offers superior quality of life for everyone (including regular working class folk who don't shop at luxury boutiques), New Orleans dominates gastronomically (to the detriment of one's health and girth), and Austin has cool people who strive to be as fit as Lance Armstrong.

One other finding about Portland, New Orleans, Austin and Charleston that affirms why I am so hot to trot about them. All four placed in the top 10 for "Affordability". As you know, that turns me on a LOT these days. Santa Fe was middle of the road at #16. Something to ponder.

Finally, to indulge yourself in some geographical daydreaming, you should vote for America's Favorite City in T+L's fun, sports-bracket-style game. Be warned: there are some tough choices. For example, Portland meets Austin in the first round. Doh!

p.s. Your random trivia of the day. Cities with the most attractive and least attractive people? Miami and Philadelphia, respectively.

p.p.s. Click here to see how my recent beau, DC, performed. Strikingly, to follow up on my discussion of its high taxes, it came in #21 in Affordability.

1 comment:

justin said...

hmmm...very interesting post. I knew the first half of the trivia, (miami) but I would have never guessed Philly. O well good post none the less, i also found a cool site that i think you might like, its called baraaza.com