It’s not just hot air: one reason that the urbane Windy City made the highfalutin top 10 is its renowned theater scene, although it’s hard to call the sketch work at Second City, or the improv at iO Chicago Theater, snooty. A favorite among serious architecture buffs, Chicago did win the survey for one great (culinary) equalizer: pizza.
|SEATTLE #5 ties with SANTA FE at #5)|
In this city of coffee connoisseurs and tech-savvy early adopters, it can be easy to feel hopelessly out of step. To relive the city’s pre-Internet tech scene, check out the Museum of Flight (home of the original Air Force One) or Everett’s Flying Heritage Collection, launched by Microsoft alum Paul Allen. And you don’t have to be schooled in contemporary art to appreciate the city’s Olympic Sculpture Park and its view of Puget Sound.
|SANTA FE, NM (ties with Seattle at #5)|
Georgia O’Keeffe’s old stomping ground certainly ranks as an A-list art town with readers: it won the survey for being a cultural getaway and scored highly for its museums. Beyond the galleries and boutiques of Canyon Road, the New Mexicans also came across as being pretty affable—but it may depend on your topic of conversation: the city ranked near the bottom for its sports bars.
|MINNEAPOLIS, SAINT PAUL #4|
Perhaps readers felt intimidated by these bookish, indie-music-loving, craft-beer-drinking hipsters, who also ranked highly for being exceptionally tidy. If these Minnesotans feel self-satisfied, is it any wonder? They also scored well for being fit and outdoorsy; you can join them at the Chain of Lakes, where, depending on the season, folks are hiking, paddling, or even ice-surfing.
In this college town steeped in history, visitors may detect a certain air of superiority: after all, the locals rank near the top for their Ivy League–worthy brains and for supporting old-school culture, such as the symphony. On Harvard Square, you can tap into that brainpower by browsing high-concept bookstores—from Grolier Poetry Bookshop to Schoenhof’s Foreign Books. But there is one realm where Bostonians falter: their driving, which ranked near the bottom of the survey.
|NEW YORK CITY #1|
The fast-paced manners of New Yorkers may put off some visitors, but there’s no denying that the Big Apple has ample reasons to be proud: it ranked at the top of the survey for its theater and art scene and for dressing to the nines. Manhattan's Meatpacking District, with its exclusive clubs and stiletto-heeled crowd, is one see-and-be-seen area, as is Williamsburg. That said, many New Yorkers’ definition of cool has more of a laid-back, off-the-grid feel: an example is Brooklyn’s Greenwood Park, a beer garden with 60 brews on tap and a bocce league.
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