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America's Most and Least Attractive People 2010

Miami, Florida

Robert Harding Picture Library Ltd / Alamy

What makes the people of one city so good-looking and the folks elsewhere…well, not so much? Do some cities become magnets for the Greek god and goddess types, or does the mere act of living in a certain area actually have a transformative effect?

Kristina Levya, a real estate agent in San Diego, has seen this “transformative” phenomenon at work. In her SoCal hometown, she says, “people tend to spend a lot of time outdoors being active, so there are loads of healthy, sun-kissed types here.” In the last place she lived, Miami, there were perhaps more social forces at work (not to mention a laissez-faire attitude toward, um, surgical enhancements). “There’s also a big love of fashion,” she says, “a vibe of ‘don't leave home without your stilettos and Gucci bag.’ ”

Whatever the reasons, Travel + Leisure readers agree. In this year’s America’s Favorite Cities survey, voters told us that good weather and great shopping go hand-in-hand with attractiveness. San Diego and Miami, for example, did well in all three categories, ending up among the top five cities to find America’s most attractive people.

America’s Favorite Cities is an annual survey at T+L, where readers rate 35 cities for travel-friendly features such as hotels, restaurants, and airports—as well as essentials like pizza, skylines, cleanliness, and yes, the locals themselves. This year, we’ve expanded the survey to include seven new cities, some of which made a solid showing in the good-looks category, like Savannah, which finished at No. 3. Anchorage, however—perhaps a victim of all those layers of clothing—came in near the bottom, at No. 32.

When we highlighted the top 10 and bottom 10, a few themes emerged. Cities that lend themselves to rigorous activity—whether it’s skiing near Denver (No. 9) or anything under the sun in Honolulu (No. 6)—also tend to produce more comely locals. Cities where one has to bundle up typically fared worse: Portland, ME, joined Anchorage in the bottom five.

Lest anyone think that the readers are just shallow, it’s worth noting that AFC readers also seem to subscribe to the adage of Pretty Is As Pretty Does. New York and Los Angeles—which would seem to attract the lookers, and have all the luxury retail to suit them up well—rank 13th and 14th respectively in the attractiveness category. Perhaps that’s because they also score low in friendliness.

Boston is slightly more affable, according to AFC voters, but ranks even worse in looks, sitting at No. 25. And for whatever reason, weather is only partially to blame. Just ask those who know the city well. “Boston is a sea of North Face fleeces and UGG boots,” says Tony Prado of the Los Angeles public relations firm Lobeline. Paula Franklin, of New York public relations firm Geoffrey Weill, chalks up Beantown’s poor showing to a lack of creativity: “They all seem to have the same haircut.”

Read on to see who captured the No. 1 spots for most and least attractive people in this year’s America’s Favorite Cities survey!

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