It’s not always easy being a tourist. Sometimes you might catch an impatient glare when you stop to pull out your map or experience a noticeable lack of eye contact from those around you. So, where can you explore and feel like one of the locals at the same time?
In honor of World Kindness Day on November 11, we’ve highlighted 10 American cities known for their hospitality and friendly inhabitants, where you can rely on a welcoming smile and a point in the right direction… Even if you can’t make it to one of these places this November, you can count on the people in these cities to go above and beyond to make you feel comfortable during your next visit.
Not only is Albuquerque a great vacation choice for social travelers, it’s also ideal for those seeking relaxation thanks to the city’s quiet, friendly and laidback vibe. At the heart of Albuquerque and its community is Old Town, a historic neighborhood featuring cobblestone streets, adobe walls and attractions influenced by a blend of Native American and Spanish cultures. Stroll through the Plaza or bask in the sunshine from a park bench in this part of town.
Adventure seekers will find ample opportunities for hiking, biking and golfing in the surrounding desert. Choose from restaurants, such as the High Noon Restaurant & Saloon and the Backstreet Grill, which serve authentic New Mexican cuisine. Visit Albuquerque for its breathtaking landscape and flavorful foods, but stay for the friendly locals.
It could be the mouthwatering barbecue, the lively music or the pleasant year-round weather that makes Austin residents friendlier than most. Whatever the reason, you’ll feel at ease when you visit this Texas hot spot. Get to know the locals over a beer at one of the city’s many music venues – it is the “Live Music Capital of the World”, after all.
Soak up some of Austin’s history by touring the LBJ Presidential Library or stroll past the impressive Texas State Capitol. Micklethwait Craft Meats is worth the wait in line for its savory barbecue, and you just might make some new friends while you wait. With its unofficial slogan, “Keep Austin Weird,” it’s not surprising that visitors of all walks of life feel comfortable when vacationing here.
The scenic Lake Champlain shoreline and eclectic city-center aren’t the only things that travelers love about visiting Burlington. Its neighborly residents create a welcoming environment and maintain a small-town feel, even as the city continues to be one of the fastest growing areas in Vermont.
Rent a bicycle and ride along the scenic Burlington Bike Path, taking in Vermont’s fresh air as you see the beautiful waterfront. Fuel up with a delicious farm-to-table meal from Hen of the Wood or Farmhouse Tap & Grill. The fresh, locally-grown ingredients used by most restaurants contribute to the health of Burlington’s residents, and likely their overall happiness, too. Take a trip to Burlington for its hip restaurants, funky art galleries and natural beauty, and enjoy the company of locals.
Charleston exemplifies why the South is known for its hospitality. Locals offer a warm “hello” on the street here, and all you need to do is ask if you’re in need of some friendly advice or a restaurant recommendation. Charleston also has less congestion than many major cities and a noticeable lack of skyscrapers adds to the inviting and laid-back atmosphere.
Discover a bit of the city’s history by admiring the antebellum mansions and historic buildings that line the streets. Or get a taste of the area’s beauty by exploring the Magnolia Plantation & Gardens where paths wind beneath a canopy of blooming trees in season. No matter how long you’re in town, leave time to befriend the locals and get some suggestions of things to do in Charleston.
This dream destination is what Hawaiians call home, giving natives little reason to be chilly towards tourists. Immerse yourself in the local culture and take a hula dancing lesson, learn how to string your own lei or sway to the strum of a ukulele. Many people in Honolulu are eager to share their traditions and customs with out-of-towners, so take them up on their offers!
Those looking for a dose of nature will be astounded by the array of fish that can be seen while snorkeling at Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve. On land, hike Diamond Head State Monument for picture-perfect views of downtown Honolulu. Cool off with a shaved ice from Waiola Shave Ice, or simply “hang loose” on the beach among locals.
With more space to spread out than packed cities like New York City and Boston, Kansas City residents are happy to make room for the arrival of visitors. In fact, the city welcomes them with open arms. Locals also win over the hearts of travelers with their delectable barbecue dishes, including savory burnt ends, tender ribs and pulled pork sandwiches.
Popular restaurants include Q39 and Gates Bar-B-Q, which features a “Hi, May I Help You?” sign – just another testament to the friendliness of Kansas City. Another reason Kansas City is so tourist-friendly? Vacation rentals are as affordable as it gets and roomier than most. Stay here and you’ll see why the Midwest is regarded as one of the friendliest parts of the country.
Nashville has worked its way into the hearts of many; it’s as welcoming as it is entertaining and the festive mood here lasts year-round. The vibrant downtown offers a steady thrum of excitement and merriment, with locals and visitors alike enjoying live music, dining at award-winning restaurants and visiting amazing attractions.
Acme Feed & Seed and Pinewood Social are two popular spots to relax and soak up the affable atmosphere. In addition to its helpful “Nashvillians,” the city is also tourist-friendly because it is easy to navigate and the perfect size to explore in just one trip.
New Orleans, known for its cuisine, music and festivals, has an inspiring city motto: “Laissez les bons temps rouler!” (“Let the good times roll!”). This inviting and exuberant attitude immediately puts tourists at ease the moment they arrive. During the day, go antique shopping on Royal Street or stroll through the Garden District to see some of New Orleans’ most historic homes. Savor Cajun cuisine at the Cochon Butcher before indulging in mouthwatering beignets at Café du Monde.
Once the sun goes down, make your way to the French Quarter’s Bourbon Street to experience its famed, perpetual party scene. Order a drink at the Old Absinthe House, where famous patrons have included Mark Twain, Franklin Roosevelt and Frank Sinatra, or catch a live jazz performance at Maison Bourbon. You can also experience New Orleans by simply asking the locals where to go and they’ll be happy to help!
Take a vacation to Park City and you’ll experience the perfect blend of urban life and outdoor adventure without having to leave the city limits. There’s something fun for every traveler, regardless of age or interest. Historic Main Street boasts an abundance of shopping options and a plethora of palate-pleasing places for dining and drinking; a trolley will take you up and down this lively street for free.
Guardsman Pass Scenic Backway is a great way for visitors to see the majestic landscape surrounding Park City, while the Park City Museum offers highlights of the area’s history without the need to hop in the car. As for the locals, their enthusiasm for their city is contagious and great hospitality is the norm.
It’s hard not to have a good time in Savannah. With its buzzing cultural scene, rich history and five-star dining, it’s more than just the city’s friendly people that will make an impression. Stroll along the beautiful walkways that connect iconic Savannah landmarks, like Forsyth Park and River Street, or explore the Historic District on foot. Even getting lost is fun in Savannah and will likely lead to the discovery of a picturesque square and the perfect photo-op or a hidden gem restaurant.
Other highlights include braving a ghost tour or going to the city’s haunting Bonaventure Cemetery, which features intricate obelisks and ivy-covered graves. After seeing the spookier side of Savannah, comfort yourself with a mint julep on the veranda of your vacation rental.