From Miami to Honolulu and every town in between, people are generally very proud of the place they are from. But what makes the citizens of a certain city passionate about it? For one, it has to have character; something that is unique to that city that one won’t find anywhere else. Second, the positive perception of other residents must also be felt strongly by its inhabitants. Third, the successes of the region in sports, politics, entertainment and more often make the residents of the city feel partially responsible – and therefore, proud.
We here at MyLife were curious which cities were most passionate of all, so we pondered how to best measure a city’s pride – and the answer we came up with was by asking the opinions of others. We hear pride, we sense pride, and we experience pride in our day to day – so who better to ask than the others around us?
Here’s How We Ranked Them
To measure pride, we conducted a Google Consumer Survey asking 4,000 internet respondents from around the country this question: “which city’s citizens are most passionate about where they live, excluding your own city?”. The goal of this question was to remove internal bias and lift the best cities to the top.
That one inquiry garnered diverse responses, and these are the 10 cities with the most votes:
1. New York City
This comes as no surprise. The city with the most people, most sports teams and most pizza shops per square inch also has no shortage of residents who believe it to be the greatest city in the country. Perhaps it’s the diversity that vaulted New York City to the top. That’s not just in reference to those of all different races, creeds or ancestry, but in the people you meet. Whether it is the street performer at the subway station or Derek Jeter, there is a plethora of personality here.
The rivalry never ceases between these two. Sure their streets make no sense, paddle boats are everywhere and the letter “r” doesn’t exist; but that’s part of the allure. Boston may be New York’s little brother in terms of population, but they back down from nobody. It’s the working man’s town, a blue collar mecca of small businesses and college students. It has the oldest restaurant in the country, and there is likely no city more beautiful in the fall.
It may be raining 300 days out of the year, but there’s more to Seattle than the necessity for an umbrella. Fish are a flying spectacle, the city is incredibly close to beautiful nature spots and seafood doesn’t get much fresher than when it’s pulled out of the northern Pacific Ocean. And, despite the reputation it earned in the early 90s, the music scene is actually quite eclectic. Ask them about basketball, and you will get an even more passionate response than the one Richard Sherman gave Erin Andrews.
The Windy City gets so cold in the winter that it is a common occurrence for Lake Michigan to freeze over solid enough to walk on, and they yell at you if you let ketchup within 10 feet of a hot dog, but that’s the purist in the fine citizens of Chicago. Tourists learn how to be a local in less than 48 hours; they have rules, and they aren’t afraid to let you know them. You never get on the red line by yourself after dark, don’t drive in the city unless you really know what you’re doing and whatever else you may do, never, ever call the second tallest building in the U.S. anything but the Sears Tower. Also, you will never find more friendly faces anywhere than those at the Millennium Park fountains. Seriously, what are those about?
5. San Francisco
“The coldest winter I ever spent was the summer in San Francisco.” This oft-used and accurate quote describes why you see people wearing pea coats in the middle of June at a Giants baseball game. But everyone leaves their heart here, and it’s clear why. The Ghirardelli chocolate factory, the hundreds of seals on Pier 39 and even the World Famous Bushman, whose sole purpose in life is to scare the living daylights out of you, are all part of the charm of this city. Where else can you feel like you’re on a slalom course in your car than driving down Lombard Street?
6. New Orleans
It may as well be Halloween every night here. The amount of street performers, grown adults in costume and functioning gaslamps give the streets here a spooky appearance, but it’s what’s inside that counts. Many historians have verified that it is the birthplace of jazz, and those who have been there will tell you that the most entertaining thing is not the po’boys or the bars; rather, it is the spectacle of people-watching. New Orleans may be a mystery wrapped in Mardi Gras beads, but that is its appeal. You write your own adventure in this town.
The pledge to keep Austin weird has been carried out with flying colors by its citizens. It’s easy when Sixth Street is blocked off to car traffic on weekend nights and is handed over to the only slightly inebriated crowd. Where as the word, “weird” can have bad connotations to some, here it’s a term of endearment. Citizens line up hours before the doors open at Franklin’s, yoga is practiced on nearly every street corner and there is graffiti on practically every wall. But how can we resist? All of the bars have live music, while not having a cover charge, and Whole Foods’ flagship grocery store offers wine tastings. Austin is more than sampling good wine or a pint of craft beer, though. They are obsessed with the natural beauty of the land, and care deeply about the upkeep of the parks, lakes and crystal clear rivers that are in abundance in the state capitol.
Many cities in the Midwest try to lay claim to wacky weather, but Denver is the true champion of unpredictability. There is Chinook wind here, and it can cause you to go from shorts and t-shirts to heavy winter clothing and back again in a matter of just a few hours. These winds are most prevalent in areas that reside just below mountains. But other than needing to be prepared for all four seasons in one day, the Mile High city contains stunning scenery, one of the USA’s top outdoor music venues, and there is not a Raider fan in sight. Plus, let’s not forget about Casa Bonita.
9. Los Angeles
The smog can be suffocating, and Anthony Kiedis has a not-so-pleasant story about what happens “Under the Bridge” downtown, but hey, at least you don’t have to shovel smog. There are many stereotypes about Los Angeles, and as most of the locals will tell you, a lot of them are misguided or untrue. The air is pretty clean, and there are hundreds of miles of bike trails, hiking and scenic driving, such as the Pacific Coast Highway, within close proximity. Above all, it’s a city that rewards effort; it will not bring fun to you, but go exploring and you will find it. One of these days they are going to get a football team back in their town, making it even better than it already is. Also, we all need to take a moment to appreciate one of the greatest inventions known to mankind: the car pool lane.
There are a few cities in the U.S. where being a weather man would be incredibly easy. Dallas is one of those places. Between the months of June and September, the forecast is likely to be between 90 and 105 degrees for a high. But the mild winters are what make the nonstop sweltering heat of summer worth it here. Other than being able to wear shorts in December, the city has a master’s in getting the most fun out of anything you do. From biking on the Katy Trail, to TopGolf, to building an airplane hangar and calling it a football stadium, they stay true to the phrase, “everything’s bigger in Texas.” Though they know how to keep it charmingly simple as well; there’s no better place to re-live your childhood while enjoying an adult beverage than Barcadia.
The Voice of the People
These cities garnered the most votes because the residents of their communities shrine brightly when representing their towns – so much so that they leave a lasting memory in the eyes of voters. Which city seems to have the most pride to you?
Originally published on MyLife.