Charmed, I’m Sure
NOLA grabs another national ranking
Travel + Leisure magazine has once again recognized New Orleans and this time it’s for our charm. Ranked second of the 20 Most Charming Cities in America, NOLA beat out other contenders including Nashville, Tennessee, New York City, San Francisco and the Super Bowl-ringless Atlanta.
The annual America’s Favorite Cities survey of Travel + Leisure subscribers was used as the base for the ranking, and the magazine combined criteria concerning architecture, walkable streets, historic presence, bookstores and friendliness to decide upon the charm of a city.
Old neighborhoods that have found new life were important to the ranking as well. With the resurgence of the Warehouse District, the Central Business District and quaint residential neighborhoods like Bywater, New Orleans was sure to come in tops.
“Vibrant neighborhoods, unique locally-owned businesses, the living history felt in our streets and so much more are what draws visitors in to explore. Our authentic spirit would not be prevalent without New Orleanians, the culture bearers of our city who make visitors feel like locals and bring charm to every corner,” said Stephen Perry, president and CEO of the New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau in a press release. “It is an incredible honor to again be recognized as a top city among some of the most popular destinations in the country, and like many others, I am proud of those who contribute to such a dynamic and engaging community.”
Mark Romig, president and CEO of the New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corporation, the city’s official leisure travel promotion agency, is looking toward the future. He said via press release: “As we approach the eve of our 300th birthday as a city, New Orleans continues to be delightful and endearing to visitors from around the world. We are appealing to all audiences, and remain a favorite for visitors of all ages.”
New Orleans’ bars ranked No. 1 in the survey of 38 cities, and it was also ranked high for restaurants like Commander’s Palace that feature the city’s famous Creole cuisine. We ranked near the bottom for “being tidy” showing we can definitely improve on sanitation, but we were also near the top for being “lovably noisy” so those in sanitation should take note that our joyful noise is recognized by tourists as part of our charm.
Walkability is key and was highlighted by the magazine. In an interview with Barri Bronston, author of "Walking New Orleans," the writer shares my view of getting the true feeling of a city by walking its neighborhoods beyond the tourist areas. Bronston said of the Bywater area, “Until I walked its streets, I had no idea how cool it really was. I’m a life-long resident of New Orleans, but I always feel like I’m discovering something new.”
The top 20 cities in order of their charm are:
1. Charleston, South Carolina
2. New Orleans
3. Providence, Rhode Island
4. Minneapolis/St. Paul
5. Washington, D.C.
6. Portland, Oregon
9. Kansas City, Missouri
10. New York City
11. San Francisco
13. Nashville, Tennessee
14. Albuquerque, New Mexico