The Bright Coast

Progressive Thoughts from San Diego Alums on Law, Politics, and Culture

San Diego: America’s Finest City (But Not For Antique Shopping!)

Posted by demkid on January 21, 2011

Between July 1st and September 15th of last year, visitors to Travel and Leisure Magazine’s website rated their choice of 35 American cities in a selection of subject categories.  The recently-released results can be seen in America’s Favorite Cities 2010.  It’s really entertaining to browse all of the cities and categories, and the site even gives visitors the option of putting two cities head-to-head against each other, to see which one is superior in more individual categories.  For instance, San Diego loses to San Francisco 6 categories to 4, but beats Seattle by the same margin and trounces Los Angeles 8-2 (not very surprising!).  The rankings are also separated according to how visitors view a particular city versus how residents of that city view their home.

Looking more closely at the numbers, it’s easy to see why San Diego’s “Finest City” declaration is well-justified.  According to both visitors and residents, San Diego is the 2nd-best city to visit year round (behind Honolulu and San Juan, respectively).  The city also gets high marks for its people.  Visitors and residents put San Diegans in the top 3 for both athleticism/activity and attractiveness.  Quality of life and visitor experience rankings are also high.  Visitors give San Diego top-10 rankings for weather (#1), public parks and outdoor access (#5), cleanliness (#7), people-watching (#8), and skyline/views (#8).  It’s interesting that residents give lower scores for all five categories, but this is pretty much the case for any of the categories: residents appreciate their own city less than visitors to that city.

San Diego isn’t perfect.  It gets its lowest marks for culture (a category that includes classical music, historical sites, museums, and theaters), and its food and dining scores are mediocre.  The overall lowest-ranked subcategory in the survey falls under shopping: visitors rank the city 27th for antique stores.  So, if you’re looking for a nice 19th-century mahogany desk, you might want to search elsewhere.  Can I recommend Charleston?  One thing that visitors seemed to completely miss in the survey was their specific ranking for microbrew beer in San Diego.  They ranked it 18th(!), while residents ranked it 7th, the largest divergence of any category in the entire survey, and the only category where residents ranked something higher than visitors.  I guess enjoying craft beer isn’t on the top of the to-do list for the average San Diego visitor.

I do have to say that Charleston has moved to the top of my list of places to visit.  In addition to having the best antique stores, the city ranks first for attractive people, friendly people, and noteworthy neighborhoods, and it’s near the top of the list for barbecue.  Sounds like my kind of place!  (Minus the antique shopping, of course.)


One Response to “San Diego: America’s Finest City (But Not For Antique Shopping!)”

  1. arizona desert animals

    San Diego: America’s Finest City (But Not For Antique Shopping!) « The Bright Coast

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