America’s snobbiest cities

November 20, 2014, 12:00 PM UTC
Ian Dagnall Commercial Collection—Alamy

This post is in partnership with Travel + Leisure. The article below was originally published at

By Katrina Brown Hunt, Travel + Leisure

Who says New Yorkers are snobs?

Not Travis Levius, a Big Apple photographer who has found that another city along the Northeast Corridor has more attitude.

“In D.C., it’s all about what you do,” he says. “You can be among New York City’s elite if you’re an artist, but in D.C., that might get you, at best, a look of ‘bless your little heart.’”

Snobbery may indeed be in the eye—or ear—of the beholder. In the America’s Favorite Places survey, Travel + Leisure readers rated New Yorkers to be the snobbiest, with D.C. at No. 4 (perhaps they’d accuse Levius of harboring a hometown bias). It’s just one of the categories, including wine bars, museums, and cleanliness, in which voters evaluated 38 major metropolitan areas.

Among the survey’s snobbiest cities, some residents—like the hipsters in Boston or Portland, OR—perhaps just came off as intellectually, well, confident. Other cities take their specialties so seriously that it borders on pretension. In Seattle, your choice of coffee speaks volumes, while in San Francisco, someone might look down his nose if you don’t toss your Pellegrino bottle in the right bin.

Certainly, in many top-scoring cities, the snobby label is only skin deep—if that. Phoenix-Scottsdale spa owner Heidi Lamar laughs at her hometown’s nickname of Snottsdale, and knows that even the most ostentatious locals must drop their guard at some point. “Last week I had a Maserati, a Ferrari and a Bentley in my spa parking lot, right next to the VWs, Hondas, and Fords,” she says. “But inside the spa, you couldn’t tell which guests were which.”

Find out which other cities make a snobby impression on visitors—and make your opinions heard by voting in the America’s Favorite Places survey.

1. New York City

Is it really snobby if you’re on top of your game and you know it? New York won handily in a lot of survey categories that may feel elitist to some: art scene, theater, and luxury shopping. Plus, it ranks as the least affordable city in the survey. Money can't always buy access, though: The Standard Hotel’s Top of the Standard bar in the Meatpacking District is off-limits to non-guest-list types by 11 p.m. on most nights. And most New Yorkers would also say that some of the greatest features are its affordable luxuries like classic deli sandwiches and don’t-you-dare-use-a-fork pizza.

2. Miami

These Floridians won the survey yet again for being good-looking, and ranked near the top for their velvet-rope-transcending style. To find them in their natural habitat, go to cocktail bars and nightclubs such as Miami Beach’s LIV or Story, which has 60 VIP tables. (If it’s celebrities you’re after, try to snag a reservation at the Browns Hotel’s steakhouse.) To experience another kind of insider’s Miami—the world of its own in Little Havana—go to the Cuba Ocho Art & Research Center, an art gallery that also offers live music, mojitos, and cigars.

3. Los Angeles

In Hollywood, there are those who walk the red carpet, and those who try to get close to it. To feel like you're a little nearer, spend an afternoon on West Hollywood’s Robertson Avenue, where upscale department stores like Kitson and Intermix offer excellent chances to rub shoulders with celebs, who, indeed, shop just like us. Grab a bite at star-magnet The Ivy or at Gjelina over on ever-trendy Abbot Kinney Boulevard.  L.A. also has an everyman sense of fun: the city ranked in the top 10 for its retro-cool diners, burgers, and bakeries (although one in Echo Park is named Donut Snob).

See the rest of the list over at

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