The ‘Coolest’ Cities in the United States, and Other Bullshit Travel Rankings

You’ve seen them. There’s a new one, from any magazine or periodical or think tank, practically every day. World’s Best Cities for Expats. World’s Best Cities to Live. World’s Best Cities to Travel to RIGHT NOW.PUT DOWN YOUR GODDAMN CELL PHONE.GO OUTSIDE!

You know. Those.

And basically, they’re all bullshit.

And that’s okay – they’re there to be bullshit, for each publication to put their own two feet into an easy-to-read, crack-to-consume newsfeed of listicles, Top 20s, and rankings with the relevance of a day.

They’re also there to legitimize what you already know or think – that Rome rocks, that you’ve always wanted to spend a year (or fuckin’ five) in Paris, that you know before anyone else that Lagos, Portugal or Riga, Latvia were going to be the next ones, the Rome and Paris before they were Rome and Paris.

(But of course, Rome and Paris have always been Rome and Paris. That’s why they’re ROME and PARIS.)

So I prefer to just read the ones that are honest about how there’s no science in their research – the ones that basically say, Here are the best Coffee Cities in the world. And it’s just my opinion. So if you’re whining about how Melbourne’s not here, shut up and sit down and login to the WiFi, and relax with your cappuccino and a shrimp on the barby.

(And yes, that’s my byline in that coffee article above, which I read and re-purposed from Matador. I’m not saying I don’t consume this crap like everyone else does. I’m just saying, ‘Hey, we all eat from McDonald’s now and again, right?’)

“WHAT MAKES A TOWN “THE COOLEST? In the end, it’s the same as what makes travel the coolest: the people,” writes Matador, once again, in their latest Top 20 – ‘The Coolest Towns in the U.S.’

“And yet there seem to be a few common patterns that attract cool people to certain areas, or perhaps it’s the other way around: people’s creativity and innovation helps lead their towns in a cooler direction.”

They go on to give factors that weighed into their very awesomely biased rankings…

They like smaller towns with their own heart or beat, sort of like the next step up from something sleepy. They like food and arts and crafts, and all that. They like outdoor stuff and stuff people with nice bodies can do – surfing or hiking, etc. They also like cultural diversity, the amount that lets you know, ‘Hey, people moved here and visit here from elsewhere. But it’s still Amurricah, damnit.’

But there’s no math. No pretend algorithms.

Just straight-forward people ranking cities. In the words of Val Kilmer’s Sherpa from Entourage, “I’m a fan, man.”

Because really, if I’m going to travel somewhere, I basically just want to know the few cons, all the positives, and see a couple pretty photos that makes me think, ‘Other humans enjoyed this place. I can, too.’

Here are the 20 Coolest Cities in the United States of Bald Eagles, according to the staff of the Matador Network:

  1. Asheville, North Carolina
  2. Frisco, Colorado
  3. Laguna, California
  4. North Charleston, South Carolina
  5. Sun Valley, Idaho
  6. Missoula, Montana
  7. Freeport, New York
  8. Marfa, Texas
  9. Lawrence, Kansas
  10. Mount Desert Island, Maine
  11. Athens, Ohio
  12. Chattanooga, Tennessee
  13. Silver City, New Mexico
  14. Oneonta, New York
  15. Mercer, Wisconsin
  16. Port Angeles, Washington
  17. Asbury Park, New Jersey
  18. Berea, Kentucky
  19. Cedar Falls, Iowa
  20. Fennville, Michigan

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