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Where have the nerds taken
over—and created a thriving tech culture for the rest of us to enjoy? Travel
+ Leisure
readers did the calculations.

Walking around San Francisco,
public relations exec Christina Farr regularly sees people on the street she
knows—from Twitter, that is. Just how plugged-in is the city? “Everyone I know
has an idea for a tech start-up,” she observes, “even my mom.”

That pervasive digital
culture sent San Francisco to the top three of America’s Techiest Cities. As
part of the annual America’s Favorite Cities (AFC) survey, Travel + Leisure readers ranked 35 major cities on qualities such as microbrews,
live
music
, and street
food
. Readers also judged how tech-savvy the locals seem, and the reliability of wireless
coverage
; we combined the two sets of results to come up with our list of
the techiest cities.

Scanning the top 20, one sees
a clear correlation between brainy locals—another AFC category—and those cities’
tech communities. The Seattle and San Francisco areas, for instance, support
heavyweights such as Amazon, Microsoft, and Apple. Boston, Providence, and
Austin, meanwhile, enjoy the benefits of academia and an atmosphere that spurs
innovation.

Savoir faire doesn’t always
equate with good phone signals, however. Salt Lake City came in second place
for its wireless
coverage
, but only 20th when it came to tech-savvy. And while
New York City has plenty of brainpower, its spotty signals dragged it down to
No. 17. “Any call I make from inside my office has to be for less than 30
seconds, or it’s a goner,” says Pete Meyers, co-owner of travel site EuroCheapo.com. He found the opposite in Austin: “The sheer mass of cafés, bars, and
even food trucks that offer Wi-Fi made getting a signal a breeze.”

While you wouldn’t plan a
visit just based on speedy downloads or lack of dropped calls, some cities
foster a tech culture that creates its own attractions. According to a Cornell University study, the
glass-cube-fronted Apple Store in midtown is now New York City’s fifth-most-photographed
landmark. In Portland, OR, you can shop
for used gear at an all-tech thrift shop, and in San Diego, a popular app will
help you find the city’s hottest new microbrews.

These pervasive tech
opportunities can become almost all-consuming. “In San Francisco, we are
surrounded by breathtaking natural landscape and architecture, which we rarely
stop to enjoy,” says Farr. “But we regularly capture it on our iPhones.”

America's Techiest Cities

Where have the nerds taken
over—and created a thriving tech culture for the rest of us to enjoy? Travel
+ Leisure
readers did the calculations.

Walking around San Francisco,
public relations exec Christina Farr regularly sees people on the street she
knows—from Twitter, that is. Just how plugged-in is the city? “Everyone I know
has an idea for a tech start-up,” she observes, “even my mom.”

That pervasive digital
culture sent San Francisco to the top three of America’s Techiest Cities. As
part of the annual America’s Favorite Cities (AFC) survey, Travel + Leisure readers ranked 35 major cities on qualities such as microbrews,
live
music
, and street
food
. Readers also judged how tech-savvy the locals seem, and the reliability of wireless
coverage
; we combined the two sets of results to come up with our list of
the techiest cities.

Scanning the top 20, one sees
a clear correlation between brainy locals—another AFC category—and those cities’
tech communities. The Seattle and San Francisco areas, for instance, support
heavyweights such as Amazon, Microsoft, and Apple. Boston, Providence, and
Austin, meanwhile, enjoy the benefits of academia and an atmosphere that spurs
innovation.

Savoir faire doesn’t always
equate with good phone signals, however. Salt Lake City came in second place
for its wireless
coverage
, but only 20th when it came to tech-savvy. And while
New York City has plenty of brainpower, its spotty signals dragged it down to
No. 17. “Any call I make from inside my office has to be for less than 30
seconds, or it’s a goner,” says Pete Meyers, co-owner of travel site EuroCheapo.com. He found the opposite in Austin: “The sheer mass of cafés, bars, and
even food trucks that offer Wi-Fi made getting a signal a breeze.”

While you wouldn’t plan a
visit just based on speedy downloads or lack of dropped calls, some cities
foster a tech culture that creates its own attractions. According to a Cornell University study, the
glass-cube-fronted Apple Store in midtown is now New York City’s fifth-most-photographed
landmark. In Portland, OR, you can shop
for used gear at an all-tech thrift shop, and in San Diego, a popular app will
help you find the city’s hottest new microbrews.

These pervasive tech
opportunities can become almost all-consuming. “In San Francisco, we are
surrounded by breathtaking natural landscape and architecture, which we rarely
stop to enjoy,” says Farr. “But we regularly capture it on our iPhones.”

iStockphoto

America's Techiest Cities

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