September 9, 2015

September 9, 2015
World's Unfriendliest Cities

Welcome to another day in my life. Today is Wednesday and we have almost made it through the middle of another work week. I hope you had a beary safe and great start to your week. Dab the AIDS Bear and I are getting back into the job after enjoying a beary great Labor Day weekend.

Dab the AIDS Bear and I have traveled the world speaking at all kinds of events. Yesterday, I started blogging about what some of the most unfriendly cities are even though I have to admit we have some friends in each of them. So read yesterday's blog first. These cities—"glum," "rude," and "not exactly the kindest"—didn't impress visitors with their people skills.

Not surprisingly, many of the cities that found themselves on our 2015 Unfriendliest Cities in America list (based on separate data from our annual America’s Favorite Places survey) were also called out in this census.

Here, some of our most-loved cities for cultures and the arts, or for wild nightlife and burgeoning food districts, show that even the best have room for improvement.

14. Frankfurt, Germany
Score: 71.528

Readers were, um, extremely passionate about Frankfurt’s airport. Some referred to it exclusively as “the city with the airport.” It’s no surprise, then, that unfriendly airport employees had a major impact on Frankfurt’s overall “Friendliness” ranking. “[The] airport is one of the most complicated and unfriendly,” reported one voter, while another claimed it was much too large. Our question? Voters—did you even leave the airport?

13. Washington, D.C.
Score: 71.411

All that filibustering makes D.C. a surly city, and a slow one. “Bobby Kennedy was right!” said a T+L reader. “[It’s] a city with Southern efficiency and Northern charm.” Brave the unfriendly streets, however, and you’ll be rewarded with a wealth of American history and culture. There’s no shortage of attractions here, many of which are free. Quintessential sites include seeing the original Declaration of Independence at the National Archives, taking a selfie with Lincoln at the memorial, and in springtime, admiring the cherry blossoms along the tidal basin.

12. Miami, Florida
Score: 70.681

Bikini-clad babes weren’t enough to keep this city from slipping to the bottom of the list this year. “It’s as if someone took the worst part of Los Angeles and slathered coconut oil all over it,” scathed one voter. Others just called it a hot mess. If you’re looking for a more polished Miami experience, stick to the design district, home to the Institute of Contemporary Art, or the famed graffiti walls of Wynwood.

11. Beijing, China
Score: 70.497

Voters seem to agree that this city had too many people to manage, regardless of the friendliness levels of its populace. Escape the crowds (and, yes, the pollution) inside one of the city’s new hotels, which continue to practice the region’s famous, anticipatory hospitality—even if locals don’t. Try the new Rosewood Beijing, fronted with cast-bronze dragon sculptures, and featuring cloisonné in the 282 loft-style guest rooms.

10. Cannes, France
Score: 69.910

Home to one of the world’s most glamorous A-list film festivals, Cannes is well-known for being wealthy, pretty, and, apparently, a bit snobby. “[Cannes’] charm is fading away,” said T+L reader Kathleen Dwyer. “Cannes is like an aging beauty,” another agreed. The fading movie star is most accommodating to visitors with major cash to spend.

9. Las Vegas, Nevada
Score: 69.462

“It isn’t deep,” observed one visitor, “but who cares?” It was it’s vaguely seedy pomp and flamboyant performances that earned the town its fame.

8. Baltimore, Maryland
Score: 69.380

Charm City didn’t live up to its reputation this year, and the recent protests likely played a large role in travelers’ disillusionment (tourism took a major hit this year). That doesn’t mean Baltimore has lost its delights; stay for the theatrical performances (catch one at the Hippodrome Theatre), Chesapeake Bay views, and Maryland blue crab. Oh, and head to Faidley’s for Red Crab Soup, Cream of Crab, Jumbo Lump Crabcakes, and Soft Crab Sandwiches.

7. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Score: 69.292

Even in the City of Brotherly Love, showing up on game day wearing a Giants hat is a bad idea. “[I] went to baseball and hockey games in Philly, and was heckled by rude fans because I’m not for the home team.” Avoid game-day quarrels by visiting The Barnes Collection of early modern art or the Anne d’Harnoncourt Sculpture Garden.

6. New York, New York
Score: 69.129

It’s no surprise that New York landed in this list’s top 10: it snagged the loathed No. 1 spot on our list of 15 Unfriendliest Cities in America, after all. One voter reported that “people are not exactly the kindest to strangers.”“New York has everything—just don’t ask a person in the street to help you find it.” Despite feeling overwhelmed by the crowds, most people agreed that the frustrations were worth the visit, thanks to boiled bagels, Central Park, and the new One World Trade Center’s staggering city views.

5. Los Angeles, California
Score: 68.090

Ceaseless sunshine isn’t enough to warm up Los Angeles, according to survey responders. While the city is filled with good-looking people, many of them come off as pretentious or holier than thou. “Rude, unhelpful people trying to scam you for everything” is what one disgruntled visitor encountered. We bet you’d be rushed and unhappy too, if you spent more than an hour on your 11-mile commute.

4. Marseille, France
Score: 66.316

Even the French feel conflicted when it comes to the country’s second-largest city. “Either [they] hate it,” observed Matthieu Gamet, the director of a Marseilles-based company, “or [they] love it.” The city is witnessing a cultural resurgence of late, but many travelers still found Marseille to be quite unkempt and gritty. Even with a relatively poor “friendliness” score, many thought this port city to be far more laid-back and accommodating than Paris.

3. St. Petersburg, Russia
Score: 65.419

While visitors are typically awed by the beautiful architecture (the new Mariinsky II theater, the frosty blue Winter Palace, the gilded and candy-striped Church of the Savior of the Spilled Blood) they are a bit disappointed by their encounters with residents.

2. Atlantic City, New Jersey
Score: 61.361

“It’s fun—if you like to gamble and don’t mind rude, fast-paced people.” Yikes. Some readers wondered if the city, known these days for its less-than-lustrous casinos and boardwalk, was still reeling from the tragic blow struck by 2012’s Hurricane Sandy.

1. Moscow, Russia
Score: 60.250

How did Moscow, which generally performs quite well in terms of landmarks and culture, slip to the bottom of our “friendly” list? Visitors didn’t find Muscovites to be particularly helpful. Book a private guide to help you navigate the capital city’s historical sites, including the Kremlin and Izmaylovsky Market. We suspect the city’s notoriously bad traffic and general “aloofness” of the people contributed to its low ranking, as well as its culinary scene, which was also ranked dead last in this year’s poll.

Hope you have a beary safe and great Wednesday!

Until we meet again; here's wishing you health, hope, happiness and just enough.

big bear hug,

Daddy Dab