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The Friendliest Cities in the U.S.


From Condé Nast Traveler

Over the last six years, we've asked our readers to rate a city's "friendliness" in the Readers’ Choice Awards survey, especially with respect to where you felt welcome. Did an outgoing local show you the way? Was the city easy to navigate? Hundreds of thousands of people took the survey this year—see what you had to say about the friendliest cities in the U.S.

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Telluride, Colorado

Telluride remains everyone's favorite mountain town this year, and we can't blame them. Pristine skiing meets luxury in this remote Colorado city—"by far the most beautiful and accessible ski resort in the country." Even the summer months have massive appeal, with the epic Bluegrass Festival drawing laid-back crowds every year. Our readers couldn't say enough about the lack of huge crowds and welcoming locals. That Colorado "chill" is is for real.


Des Moines, Iowa

Alright, Des Moines, we see you—so do our readers. Aside from the outdoor sculpture garden and trendy East Village, most people commented on the city's fast-growing community of both retirees and millennials. Aside from being a haven for architecture lovers (hello, Frank Lloyd Wright), Des Moines also happens to host the Iowa State Fair—one of the best in the country—every summer. Maybe such close proximity to deep-fried Twinkies gives the locals their friendly edge?


Natchez, Mississippi

[post_ads]This Mississippi River town is the first of several down-south cities to make the list this year, with "friendly people you won't find anywhere [else]." Like many Southern cities, Natchez is known for its beautiful antebellum homes, tree-lined streets, and, of course, hospitality. When your visit comes to an end, head out on the 444-mile Natchez Trace Parkway—the scenic drive will make your departure a little less heartbreaking.


Greenville, South Carolina

This South Carolina city offers the best of both worlds: small-town charm mixed with high-class culture. There's rarely a dull moment here, with diverse restaurants sourcing ingredients from local farmers, tons of festivals during the summer, and jazz musicians playing in the city's plazas. As for the residents, let's just say you can walk down Main Street and expect to be "greeted by strangers." The best place to get a piece of that action? The 32-acre Falls Park that runs through the middle of town—the perfect spot to walk after a massive dinner.


Columbia, South Carolina

Yet another South Carolina standout, Columbia is "a true Southern gem and is growing by the minute." Relatively low-key for a capital city, Columbia maintains its likability with gloriously hot weather and restaurants serving up comfort food. But the city also has a youthful energy, thanks to the University of South Carolina students cheering on their teams in the town bars on game nights.

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Chattanooga, Tennessee

Chattanooga isn't just a must-visit for foodies (although...). It just so happens to be "one of the friendliest cities in the South," with beautiful mountain views and fun activities for families, especially along the Riverwalk. It's also a great escape for outdoorsy types, with plenty of hiking and rock-climbing to get those endorphins pumping—keep it up, and you might find yourself as happy as the locals.


Bend, Oregon

It’s nearly impossible to be rude in a place as beautiful as Bend, which has near-perfect weather (70s and sunny as we speak...) and welcoming locals. Maybe it's the Deschutes River running through, or the incredibly fresh air. Or perhaps all the hiking, biking, kayaking, and SUP-ing opportunities that help residents work out any, er, unpleasantness. Whatever the case, one thing's for sure: "You won't regret a visit!!"


Park City, Utah

[post_ads]A perennial favorite among our readers, Park City continues to impress with its service-focused resorts and magnificent scenery. "I drive up the canyon frequently to get away from my work responsibilities," said one reader. Even at the height of winter ski season or the Sundance Film Festival in January, the locals are extremely friendly and welcoming. Happy people in a mountain setting...what's not to love about that?


Healdsburg, California

Although its just an hour's drive away from San Francisco, Healdsburg feels like a world away with its sprawling wineries and small-town vibe. It's not just the wine that makes our readers gush with compliments—the city's laid-back, welcoming vibe was mentioned more than a couple times. "Healdsburg is the epitome of quaintness," said one reader, while another called it "less fancy then Napa, but still very charming." We have no doubt Healdsburg will soon become your favorite Sonoma County stopover as well.


Savannah, Georgia

The locals of Savannah are so fun and talkative you'd think it was an act. (It's not.) One of our readers noted: "The folks in restaurants, on the streets, and on their balconies were so kind and welcoming." The city feels eminently walkable and safe, and even has chilling ghost tours for those who prefer their locals a bit more...spirited. The general laid-back atmosphere and squares dripping with Spanish moss make for an eminently peaceful setting.


See more at: Condé Nast Traveler

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Travel Magazine: The Friendliest Cities in the U.S.
The Friendliest Cities in the U.S.
That Southern hospitality is no joke.
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