The results are in: after a month of highly charged voting, Boston—America’s first city—has also been chosen as the country’s favorite.
The New England hub, as famous for its modern-day pleasures (Fenway Park, Harvard Square) as for its history (Paul Revere’s ride, the Boston Tea Party), won by a landslide in travelandleisure.com’s America’s Favorite City bracket game, capturing 72 percent of the votes in the final showdown with West Coast semifinalist San Francisco.
Voters in the bracket game—perhaps fueled by Red Sox pride, since voting took place during Major League Baseball’s playoff season—stuffed the virtual ballot box over the past week, leaving Boston’s northern California rival far behind. The two cities had emerged as contenders for the top spot after four weeks of online voting, with more than 150,000 voters weighing in.
Of the final-week voting rush, Boston CVB’s President and CEO, Patrick Moscaritolo, said, “Bostonians are like the comeback kids—we always seem to pull ahead in the final hour.” The city’s most-favorite status makes sense, Moscaritolo said, given all the new projects underway there; in the past year Boston has seen the completion of the Rose Kennedy Greenway, as well as the opening of a new Institute of Contemporary Art and several high-end hotels (including, recently, a Mandarin Oriental).
To reach the finals, Boston had to beat out Atlanta, Miami, Chicago, and New York, while San Francisco went head-to-head with Phoenix, Seattle, San Diego, and, Honolulu.
Boston and San Francisco both scored high in the America’s Favorite Cities survey, which preceded the bracket game. Travel + Leisure teamed up with Headline News and asked travelers to rank 25 top U.S. cities in 45 categories, ranging from food and shopping to people, culture, nightlife, and more. More than 125,000 opinionated travelers voted.
While San Francisco edged out Boston in a few survey categories—notable neighborhoods, destination restaurants, and cheap eats—the two cities ran neck-and-neck for antique shopping and as an attractive cultural getaway. Boston, though, ranked higher for overall culture (#3 to San Francisco’s #5), with high scores in classical music and historic sites proving its strengths.
The results “show that Boston is really hitting its stride as a city,” said Moscaritolo. “Now, if we can just do the same on the baseball field!”