The unfriendliest cities in the U.S.
10. MIAMI, FLORIDA Score: 53.4
To some, this Southeastern city is “too touristy,” “overpriced” and “too trendy,” but those who love it will tell you it’s “something to be experienced, if not lived in.” Revelers will find “great culture, shopping and dining and a fun nightlife” “no matter your age or time of year.” When you’re through with the “fresh white sand as far as the eye can see,” you can feast on the “great food” at Joe’s Stone Crab or Florida Cookery—not to mention countless spots that serve “authentic Cuban and Caribbean” specialties.
9. WILMINGTON, DELAWARE Score: 52.8
Delaware’s largest city is has culture, to be sure, and "cows—lots of cows,” according to one reader. Though most readers seem to travel here “for business,” some have found opportunities to explore. “The redone waterfront is very beautiful in summer,” and bakery-meets-bistro La Fia “might be one of the hardest reservations to nab” thanks to the work of James Beard-nominated chef Bryan Sikora.
Last year's ranking: no. 8 (unfriendliest).
8. THE HAMPTONS, NEW YORK Score: 50.6
The consensus here seems to be “incredible if you know someone, challenging if you don't.” Some choose to visit in the winter, when you can “get to know the natural environment and local artist communities, rather than the upscale summer crowd.” If you’re looking for an unpretentious spot to enjoy year-round, the South Fork Natural History Museum and Nature Center (SoFo) in Bridgehampton “includes a nine-mile trail through woods and wetlands and myriad talks, walks, and tips.”
7. LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA Score: 48.9
Ah, the City of Angels—or as its detractors would call it, the City of “too much traffic.” Though “driving can be a hassle,” it has its charms: art buffs tout the Getty Center and LACMA; shoppers savor Abbot Kinney and Old Town Pasadena; and pretty much everyone agrees you “can’t beat the weather,” even if it means having to put up with an “abundance of ‘excuse me, I'm famous’ attitudes.”
Last year's ranking: no. 6 (unfriendliest).
6. DETROIT, MICHIGAN Score: 48.0
Last year one blunt reader called Detroit "the armpit of the world," but plenty of Motor City fans are pulling for a renaissance. There are “cool buildings juxtaposed with ones that are crumbling,” but some people have already noticed that “they have made a big improvement in the city with safety and restaurants.” Wherever you are in town, you can “always find a cold beer and great grub,” including American Coney Island, which serves up the “iconic Coneys—Dearborn hot dogs smothered in chili sauce and onions.”
Last year's ranking: no. 4 (unfriendliest).
5. NEW HAVEN, CONNECTICUT Score: 47.2
Home to “leafy Yale University and the Shubert Theater,” this college town proves that one man’s stuffy is another man’s swanky. “Spend time during the summer when the streets are calm,” advises one visitor, who also compliments the town for having “the most art and architecture within a half-mile range.” One particular point of interest: the Skidmore, Owings, & Merrill-designed Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library, which will close for renovations in May 2015.
Last year's ranking: no. 3 (unfriendliest).
4. ATLANTIC CITY, NEW JERSEY Score: 46.3
Readers acknowledge that it’s been a rough road for this seaside spot: “It’s struggling with competition from Pennsylvania, Delaware and Maryland casinos, and the staff are becoming increasingly vocal about cutbacks,” says one respondent. Some don’t think that the “the shopping, nightlife, or dining is anything spectacular,” but others argue there’s plenty to appreciate aside from gambling—if you know where to look. “You can take a break from the machines/tables with a walk on the historic boardwalk or take a dip in the world famous beach.”
Last year's ranking: no. 5 (unfriendliest).
3. HARTFORD, CONNECTICUT Score: 45.5
Connecticut’s capital has “been trying to lift itself out of a slump since the 1980s." “Young professionals” find that it has a “great atmosphere to explore while doing business"—though as a tourist destination, it lags. You can, however, “walk everywhere, to restaurants, theaters and museums.” Locals love Hearty Kitchen for “lunch and weekend brunch,” particularly dishes like “locally sourced organic fried chicken and waffles.”
2. OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA Score: 40.6
“Oakland has a bad rap,” one commenter acknowledges, and another admits that it’s still “rough around the edges,” but “ask a local first” and you’ll avoid the less hospitable parts of town. A surprising number of people observed a rising food scene with “so much raw talent in little kitchens everywhere.” Also popular: Fox Theater, which welcomes everyone “from Thievery Corporation to Erasure.”
Last year's ranking: no. 2 (unfriendliest).
1. NEWARK, NEW JERSEY Score: 33.5
While one reader mentioned that New Jersey’s largest metropolis has “changed in a lot of ways for the better," most still consider Newark an “airport city” that’s “crowded and overpriced.” Still, one person pointed out that the “mayor tries hard"; another declared it a “good jumping-off point” for exploring New York City—and a standout in Portuguese cuisine (seek out the Ironbound District).
Last year's ranking: no. 1 (unfriendliest).