Thursday, October 11, 2007

OK Boston, what does America think of us?

Travel + Leisure magazine and CNN Headline News asked Americans to rate their favorite cities, and the results are in. Overall, Boston did pretty well. People like our sports, historical sites, classical music, and notable neighborhoods. They don't care much for our affordability, barbecue, and weather. Any surprises, yet?

Voters were asked for their opinions on culture, shopping, people, food, and city characteristics for 25 American urban destinations. Of the nearly 60 categories, Boston was in the top five among visitors for:
  • Ease of getting around/public transportation (hmm..)
  • Notable neighborhoods
  • Classical music
  • Culture
  • Historical sites/monuments
  • Theater
  • Pizza
  • Intelligence
  • Worldliness
  • Antiques
  • Sophisticated getaway
  • Sports fan's vacation
Boston was in the bottom five among visitors for weather, barbecue, flea markets, and friendliness (Yeah? Screw you.).

In addition to visitors, residents ranked their cities in these categories as well. It's kind of interesting to see how we see our city's pluses and minuses compared to the rest of the country. We don't think there's much going on here after the sun sets. Residents ranked Boston 21st out of the 25 cities for after dark activities, while visitors ranked it 12th. Funny, visitors ranked Boston's weather the second-worst in the country (behind Chicago). We think they were overly optimistic. Bostonians ranked the city last for weather. The rest of the country likes us better than we like ourselves. They rated us higher in friendliness (21st vs. 24), attractiveness (16th vs. 20) and fun (18th vs. 22).

One of the fun things on the web site is to compare two cities side by side. Boston ranks behind Philly in terms of culture? (Guess that annoying Southwest Airlines commercial was right: Philly has "a lot, a lot of culture.") Yeah, well at least we aren't the least attractive people in America, Philly.

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