See How Boston, Providence and Portland Fared in Travel + Leisure’s Survey of America’s Favorite Cities

Posted by erik devaney

The popular New York-based travel magazine, Travel + Leisure, recently released the results of its 2011 survey of America’s Favorite Cities.

Developed by Travel + Leisure editors, the survey appeared on from May 16, 2011, to August 15, 2011. Respondents were asked to rate their choice of 35 cities in a selection of categories, which included People, Type of Trip, Nightlife, Culture, Shopping, Food/Drink/Restaurants, Quality of Life/Visitor Experience, and Best Times to Visit.

Of the 35 US cities included in the survey, three are in New England: Boston, Massachusetts; Providence, Rhode Island; and Portland, Maine.

Here’s a look at some of the areas where these cities shined as well as some of the areas where they faltered.



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Non-resident respondents to Travel + Leisure’s survey ranked Boston’s people as the second most sports-crazed and the third most intelligent in the country. In the Culture category, the Hub ranked #3 for classical music (thank you Boston Pops and Boston Symphony Orchestra!) and #5 for historical sites and monuments.

However, tourists were not sufficiently blinded by all of the Red Sox caps and Harvard degrees to miss some of the city’s flaws. In the Food/Drink/Restaurant category, Boston’s barbecue was ranked 34th out of 35, while Boston’s drivers were ranked 32nd. Not surprisingly, not many people are interested in visiting Boston when the snow starts falling, as the Hub ranked 32nd in the Best Times to Visit: winter category.

Bottom line: Bostonians are smart, sport-crazed,  horrific drivers and — apparently — grilling-impaired.



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According to visitors, Providence is one of the best cities in New England — and in the country — for grabbing a burger or a slice of pizza. In the Food/Drink/Restaurant category, non-resident survey respondents ranked Providence’s burgers #1 and its pizza #2. Other positives for Providence include being the third best city for visiting in the fall and the third best for visiting in summer. Providence also ranked third in the Culture: Theater/performance art category.

As is the case in Boston, visitors clearly can’t get past the poor driving abilities of Providence residents: the city ranked 27th out of 35 in the driving category. Other downsides to Providence include being a bad place to visit during Spring Break (#25) and not having lots of hotel options (#24).

Bottom line: Providence has great food, bad drivers and is a great destination for fall/summer (assuming you can get a hotel room).



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Just when you were beginning to think that all  New England cities were filled with horrible drivers, along comes Portland. According to the survey, Portland’s residents are the #1 drivers in the country. Portland also claimed the #1-spot in several other categories, including Best Times to Visit: summer,  Best Times to Visit: 4th of July, Type of Trip: base for day trips and Quality of Life and Visitor Experience: safety.

The only major downsides to Portland? Its residents lack diversity (#32), its Spring Break scene is lacking (#31) and it doesn’t offer many luxury stores for those interested in shopping (#31).

Bottom line: Portland is safe (both on the roads and in general) and is a great summer vacation destination, but it lacks some of the cultural flair that bigger cities offer.


What do you think of these survey results, New England Post community? Leave a comment below!

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Posted by erik devaney on Nov 9 2011. Filed under Featured - For home page featured article, Lifestyle. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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