Photo Credit: Condé Nast Traveler
The wonderful, amazing people over at Condé Nast Traveler are just so, so sweet. Out of the goodness of their hearts, they named San Antonio the third friendliest city in the nation. They actually think that we as a city are generally amiable and hospitable. That was really nice of them. They really shouldn't have.
It's a shame they they are based out of New York City, because we would most certainly invite them in for a glass of sweet tea and some nibbles. At the very least, I know a certain travel magazine that's about to get a cookie bouquet with a sincere and thoughtful thank-you note. And those cookies may or may not be shaped like 10-gallon hats, cowboy boots, the Alamo and the state of Texas with a red frosting heart in the approximate location of Bexar County.
The esteemed honor was the result of the magazine's annual survey. Readers were asked, among other things, to rate the friendliness of American cities, particularly how welcoming they were to visitors. Here a sampling of what respondents had to say about our fair city.
"The beauty and majesty of Big Sky country and the friendliness of the folks who live here makes it a must-do trip." The famed River Walk remains one of its biggest draws, especially “once you discover the Rio Taxi” hop-on, hop-off service and “the quiet upper end.” Culture buffs can’t get enough of the annual Fiesta, a ten-day heritage celebration that’s “a treat for locals and tourists,” while aesthetes flock to the McNay Art Museum for “one of the best collections.” There’s also plenty to eat between “the Guenther House for breakfast” and Lulu's Bakery and Cafe for “the world's best chicken fried steak.” “There’s a little something for everyone” in this Texas city.
Gee, San Antonio sounds pretty darn friendly. Only Savannah, Georgia, and Charleston, South Carolina, were thought to be more affable.
While third place is pretty great, we can do more to ensure we take the top spot next year. Perhaps we can hand out complimentary fans to tourists as they board a river barge, or offer to take photos for families visiting the Alamo. Or better yet, maybe we could start a hospitality program where we invite random out-of-towners to our abuelitas' so they can experience homemade carne guisada. How about we let visitors crack cascarones on our heads when they stop us to ask directions to the Tower of the Americas? At the very least, we should begin the practice of handing out welcome margaritas to arriving passengers at the airport baggage claim. That ought to improve our ranking.
In addition to highlighting the country's friendliest cities, Condé Nast Traveler also called out the 10 most unfriendly ones. The list was dominated by northeastern cities whose mothers never taught them any manners, with Newark, New Jersey, being singled out as the most unwelcoming destination. Sounds like there are a lot of cities that can learn a thing or to from us. Bless their hearts.