A surefire way to make friends while traveling is to head to one of these amiable cities.
There are entire regions of the United States known for being particularly friendly — the South, for example, has become known for its charm and hospitality. And in the nation's literal heartland, there is some intangible, non-threatening, and courteous behavior called Minnesota Nice (or Hoosier Hospitality, depending on where you are).
Here, you can more or less count on a smile from strangers — and at least a dozen offers to personally provide directions (or maybe just escort you to your destination) should you look even remotely lost or bewildered.
Every year in our annual America's Favorite Places survey, we ask Travel + Leisure readers to dish about their hometowns — the place they grew up or have lived in and know better than anywhere else on Earth.
Unlike T+L's World's Best Awards, which encourages readers to weigh in on travel experiences across the globe, the America's Favorite Places survey is a way for locals to share what their hometowns do best. Readers ranked their hometowns and cities across a range of categories, from the quality of the pizza to the demeanor of the locals.
And when it came to general friendliness — not just hospitality toward tourists and neighborly love but also manners, politeness, and warm dispositions — there weren't too many surprises. This year's list was still dominated by cities in the American South and the Midwest, as well as destinations with year-round good weather and natural beauty (we're looking at you, Honolulu).
And yet it was an East Coast city in famously frigid upstate New York that earned the No. 1 spot on this year's list of America's friendliest places. But even there, locals seem to be living up to long-held expectations. Buffalo isn't called the City of Good Neighbors for nothing.
"I've said for years that Buffalo is a Midwestern city dropped on the other side of Lake Erie," one reader explained.
Travelers who love to strike up conversations with locals should head straight to one of these cities, where big smiles and big hearts are easy to come by.