America's Most and Least Attractive People
When travelers from Seattle come to the desert, Heidi Lamar often thinks one thing: these people look fabulous.
“Our aestheticians are always amazed at how great their skin is,” says the owner of Spa Lamar in Scottsdale, AZ. Thanks partially to the fact that the skin-damaging sun stays behind Seattle’s clouds much of the year, folks from the Pacific Northwest, she says, “have a natural, youthful glow that makes both men and women beautiful.”
Perhaps it’s why Seattle natives made the top 10 for good-looking locals, according to Travel + Leisure readers. The annual America’s Favorite Cities survey asks readers to evaluate 35 major metropolitan areas on features like museums, street food, and the friendliness of residents. The survey allows for repeat voting, and some cities turned out the vote more than others.
This year’s results reveal some bold choices in the category for attractive locals. Sun-kissed southern Californians, for instance, got shut out of the top 10, replaced by northern-city locals who often embrace a more hipster aesthetic. The nightclub-ready lookers of Miami and the Big Apple, meanwhile, got pushed aside for the more casual, corn-fed types from the Midwest.
Of course, sex appeal is more than just skin deep. Sonita Lontoh, a tech exec from Silicon Valley, says that she finds that people from cities such as Portland, OR, and Chicago have an earthy magnetism. “They have an inner confidence that shines. You won’t see Barbie-like, Baywatch babes in these cities, but people who are comfortable in their own skins.”
Most Attractive No. 1 San Francisco
They’ve got culture, cutting-edge cuisine, and a bit of that you-are-what-you-eat glow. In this year’s survey, these erudite northern Californians jumped 10 positions to grab the trophy for good looks. They not only impressed with their stylish appeal, but even made readers swoon: the city also ranked near the top as a romantic Valentine’s Day destination.
Most Attractive No. 2 Providence, RI
Here’s proof that the nerd factor can translate into sex appeal. The locals in this college and arts town—which readers loved for both its fine dining and pizza—also scored well this year for being sophisticated. You can get a glimpse of some attractive locals at Providence’s highly ranked coffee bars like New Harvest Coffee Roasters downtown.
Most Attractive No. 3 Nashville
Even in its post-rhinestone era, the Tennessee city attracts plenty of star-worthy lookers, who pack a one-two punch thanks to their charming accents. The city has also become increasingly known for its diverse dining scene, ranking highly for both locavore farmers’ markets and down-home ethnic cuisine.
Most Attractive No. 4 Portland, ME
Now this is a makeover: these mellow New Englanders made major strides with T+L readers, coming in fourth place for their rugged good looks (up 13 spots from last year). Readers felt most passionate about visiting the city during fall, summer, and the 4th of July.
Most Attractive No. 5 Savannah, GA
These Georgia peaches are regulars in the attractive top 10, but they also impress readers with their sense of fun. The city ranks well again for its happy hours and landed in the top 10 as a good place to ring in the New Year. Gentlemen, take note: Savannah also scored highly as a great girlfriends’ getaway.
Most Attractive No. 6 Chicago
Readers’ hearts fluttered at the sight of the City of Big Shoulders this year. Good places to mingle with these midwesterners include the city’s microbreweries—such as Goose Island, in Lincoln Park and Wrigleyville—and renowned museums. Chicagoans apparently even look fetching when waving their giant foam fingers: the city also ranked in the top 10 for its passionate sports fans.
Most Attractive No. 7 Kansas City, MO
The folks in this Missouri city deserve plenty of credit for attracting the attention of readers this year. After all, they face many figure-undermining temptations: Kansas City always ranks highly for its barbecue, and this year also made the top 10 for its hamburgers and desserts like the mountainous meringue pies at Upper Crust in Westport.
Most Attractive No. 8 Portland, OR
This Oregon hub shows that you don’t have to be a conformist to be eye-catching: the hipster capital scored at the top of the survey for colorful people-watching (a good spot is Powell’s downtown flagship bookstore). Locals also have an attractive confidence, ranking in the top five for being both easygoing and proud of their hometown.
Most Attractive No. 9 Seattle
Say what you want about rain, but these Washingtonians know the benefits of staying out of the wrinkle-inducing sun. Voters also liked Seattle’s balance of big-city elegance and exercise-loving earthiness. And whether or not it’s that legendary espresso that quickens your pulse, the city also ranked in the top 10 for romantic getaways.
Most Attractive No. 10 Charleston, SC
The South Carolina city has long been a hit with readers for its Lowcountry fine dining and King Street shopping and antiques. And the well-coiffed locals return to the good-looking top 10 this year, thanks no doubt to their genteel vibes and long-voweled accents. But the city need not feel too pricey: it also ranked at the top for its treasure-trove flea markets.
Least Attractive No. 1 Washington, D.C.
You’re never fully dressed without a smile, D.C. Our nation’s capital slipped four places to take the bottom slot this year, perhaps in part because the locals came off as both unfriendly and not so stylish. But the city still offers some timeless beauties. It came in first place for its museums and sense of history, and scored near the top for classical music.
Least Attractive No. 2 Salt Lake City
Visitors found the locals in this Utah city to be the exact opposite of offbeat, and were instead more impressed by architectural sights like the Salt Lake Temple. Voters also gave the city big points for its hike- and ski-friendly weather. But by nightfall, Salt Lake City came across as an equal-opportunity snooze: it ranked last for both wine bars and sports bars.
Least Attractive No. 3 Las Vegas
No doubt, some of the most eye-catching folk in Las Vegas are not the take-home-to-mother types. But the city more than held its own this year for its appealing happy hours—and, come morning, its life-restoring coffee. It also ranked as a pretty welcoming vacation spot for pets.
Least Attractive No. 4 Anchorage
The Alaska locals can boast that this year they climbed out of the last place ranking for good looks. They also came across as refreshingly unpretentious, ranking last for luxury stores. T+L readers’ favorite time to visit, meanwhile, was the midnight-sun-drenched summer.
Least Attractive No. 5 Memphis, TN
Generous servings of the blues, bars, and barbecue are not known for giving people dazzling smiles, but readers would not have the Tennessee city any other way. Memphis always scores well for its ribs and great street performers. This year the city also made an impression for its coffee and wealth of free attractions.
Least Attractive No. 6 Miami
In past years, readers have been smitten with the flashy lookers filing into the South Beach nightclubs. This year? Not so much. But Miami still ranked at No. 3 for its vibrant live music scene. T+L readers were also fans of the local sports bars, suggesting that for some in these parts, good fashion sense means wearing the right SEC football jersey.
Least Attractive No. 7 Baltimore
Readers may have been distracted by those distinctive Bawlmerese accents, or perhaps they just thought that locals like to watch sports more than play them. But they did give kudos to local residents for being welcoming to the LGBT community and for crowd-pleasing food trucks.
Least Attractive No. 8 Orlando, FL
It can be hard to compete for attention with the ball-gown-clad princesses that stroll this family vacation destination. Indeed, Orlando also scored poorly for actual people-watching. But everyone looks good in a set of mouse ears: the city made the top 20 for cool souvenirs.
Least Attractive No. 9 New York
While some readers may have felt intimidated by the fast-talking locals, they still seem to love New Yorkers after dark. The Big Apple wins the survey for nightclubs this year, and ranks second for its singles scene. Serious sandwich-lovers feel their pulses quicken at the thought of NYC: the city ranked in the top five for its legendary delis.
Least Attractive No. 10 San Juan, P.R.
Once in the survey’s top 10 for looks, the island city slipped this year. But first impressions aren’t everything: San Juan still ranks in the top 10 for its wild weekend potential and scored right near the top for romance. And according to readers, everything feels beautiful here during the highly ranked, balmy winter season.