America's snobbiest cities
San Francisco earned the distinction of Snob City No. 1. (Photo: iStock)
When you browse Santa Fe’s galleries, a love of art isn’t necessarily enough.
Ysmay Walsh makes a point to dress up when she gallery-hops along the city’s Canyon Road. “I feel like I have to step up my game a bit, because I wanted to be taken seriously at the galleries,” says the founder of residential guide MetroSeeker.com. “Without a certain appearance or air about yourself, gallery owners barely acknowledge you when you walk in.”
That attitude helps explain how the otherwise diverse and quiet Santa Fe made the top 10 snobbiest cities, according to Travel + Leisure readers.
To determine which city has the biggest nose in the air, we factored in some traditional staples of snobbery: a reputation for aloof and smarty-pants residents, along with high-end shopping and highbrow cultural offerings like classical music and theater.
But we also considered 21st-century definitions of elitism: tech-savviness, artisanal coffeehouses, and a conspicuous eco-consciousness (say, the kind of city where you get a dirty look for throwing your coffee cup in the wrong bin).
No. 1 San Francisco
San Francisco has cultivated its reputation as a serious foodie city, and readers gave it high marks for both fine dining and ethnic cuisine, even if they did also experience some sticker shock. To shop at hip boutiques, browse galleries, and dine among the cognoscenti, check out the Hayes Valley neighborhood and its Absinthe Brasserie & Bar. Any snobbiness didn’t stop San Francisco from being acknowledged for its welcoming attitude: the city also ranked first in the survey for being gay-friendly.
No. 2 New York City
(Photo: Kelly Bazely)
The fast-paced manners of New Yorkers may put off some visitors, but there’s no denying that the Big Apple has ample reasons to be proud: it ranked at the top of the survey for its theater and art scene and for dressing to the nines. Manhattan’s Meatpacking District, with its exclusive clubs and stiletto-heeled crowd, is one see-and-be-seen area, as is Williamsburg.
That said, many New Yorkers’ definition of cool has more of a laid-back, off-the-grid feel: an example is Brooklyn’s Greenwood Park, a beer garden with 60 brews on tap and a bocce league.