What makes a good city a great city? Food? Tourism? Nightlife? Public Transportation? According to Travel + Leisure readers, it’s a special formula of qualities that makes a city truly great. The magazine recently published their list of America’s Best Cities, and while some are pretty standard — New York, Chicago, Miami — a few are a little bit surprising.
Here are five that we didn’t expect, but certainly want to check out!
1. New Orleans
Ranked numero uno for their music scene, nightlife (Hello, Mardi Gras!), happy hours, people-watching (that’s our favorite, too) and hometown spirit. Worst parts of the Big Easy? It’s apparently dirty and dangerous, according to T&L readers.
2. Santa Fe
This Southwestern gem surprised us for sure. Readers love this city not for it’s hopping social scene, but for its flea markets, day trips and beautiful fall seasons. Not so great? It’s sports bars and singles scene. Bummer.
3. The Twin Cities (Minneapolis and St. Paul)
Boasting clean streets, gorgeous summer weather and home decor stores — what’s not to love? According to residents, Spring Break and New Year’s Eve are not the tops.
The Pacific Northwest gets its first nod with fair Portlandia — ranking at the top for microbrews (Mmm), public transportation, street food, and friendliness. Way to go, guys! Least favorite things about Portland? The weather. No surprise there.
Ladies and gentleman, we give you the Emerald City, which took the top spot for it’s coffee (there really is a shop on every corner), intelligence, and environmental friendliness. Seattle winters are dreary though, and apparently so is Christmas? Say it ain’t so!
Bonus: San Juan
According to the polls, people find the Puerto Rican paradise attractive (read: gorgeous), and a great place to spend Christmas, New Year’s Eve or Spring Break. But if you want a good burger, it’s not the place to be. Also a negative: Their wireless coverage. But who goes to San Juan for burgers and wi-fi anyway?
Did your hometown make the list? See what’s hot and not-so-hot about America’s Best Cities.