25 Friendliest Cities in America

Finding America's friendliest cities with data

Between warm welcomes and a helping hand when you’re lost in a new city, there’s nothing better than seeing a friendly face in a beautiful place. Based on data pulled from millions of verified Expedia user reviews throughout 2015, we found the friendliest cities in America to visit. These top-rated places for hotel service call out amiable, helpful staff, a welcoming stay, and much more that reflect the values and attitudes of the cities themselves.

Our list of hosts with the most covers the map from coastal cities to mountainside small towns and everything in between. Find out if your hometown made the cut and add some of these hospitable havens to your must-visit list.

We all need more Aloha in our lives. Along the south coast of Maui, the island greeting is in rich supply, as are kindhearted locals, ready to share their ancient culture and point you toward golden beaches. Practice your pronunciation of “mahalo,” because you’ll have many thanks for the dancers, instructors, and artists at Te Au Moana, a traditional luau experience where you’ll feel like the guest of honor.

Located in the San Diego Bay, Coronado is as easygoing as it gets. Stay at the historic Hotel Del Coronado, where the friendly staff hosted several U.S. presidents and celebrities, including Oprah Winfrey, as well as a British monarch for good measure. By day, browse the city’s literary landmark Bay Books for stationary to send “Wish you were here” notes to friends and family. When the sun starts to set, dine at Bluewater Grill where you’ll enjoy a custom seafood menu and an exquisite view.

Known as the Gateway to Zion National Park, this desert charmer has everything you’d hope to find in a small town. Plus, it’s right at the base of a gorgeous mountain range. Bring the kids for a family-friendly excursion filled with hiking, bird-watching and canyon-wading. Bumbleberry Inn will put a smile on your face with a fresh slice of berry pie in the restaurant and a wild west show at the in-house theater.

This white-sand island hideaway boasts zero stop lights and miles and miles of coastline that make the Sunshine State proud. With laidback beach town vibes and signature Southern hospitality, Sanibel will quickly top your list of the friendliest U.S. cities, and after tapas at Traditions on the Beach—Sanibel’s oldest restaurant—you’ll swear it’s also one of the most delicious cities, too.

Located just 11 miles south of Nashville, Brentwood is waiting with open arms and plenty “Hey, y’alls.” Join a community event or concert at Eddy Arnold Amphitheater in Crockett Park, and dip into Southern comfort food at the elegant Mere Bulles restaurant. Sunday brunch feels like a fanciful family affair.

Whether you want to parasail over Pensacola Bay or Jet Ski with dolphins, the friendly folks at Bonifay Water Sports have you covered. Wind down from a day of adventures at the local landmark, Paradise Bar & Grill. The brightly colored exterior just hints at the energy and comradery that takes over the dance floor when live music starts filling the waterfront.

As the namesake for one of the most joyous dance steps in history, it should be no surprise that Charleston is downright amicable and enchanting. Wander through rows of colorful carrots, homemade preserves, and fine art at the weekly Charleston Farmers Market. It’s the perfect opportunity to get to know the community and eat some delicious treats. Wash them down with good conversation and a golden ale at Cooper River Brewing Company. Bottoms up!

Across the Charles River from Boston, Cambridge is all about the cool college town vibes. Join a community event, like Oktoberfest, in Harvard Square where lighthearted shenanigans ensue. If cheese, wine, and deep conversation are more your scene, peruse an exhibit opening at the Cambridge Art Association and stop in for dinner at nearby Harvest, where New England classics compose a contemporary menu.

They have a saying in the Old Dominion State: Virginia is for lovers. The easygoing Heritage Farm Museum workshops and local wine and food festivals in Sterling have us convinced that Virginia is also for friends—new and old, tried and true. If you want to feel like family, pass around the shisha and falafel at Pharaoh Hookah Lounge and keep the conversation bubbling.

Curving around seriously stunning slopes, Vail is an exquisite ski destination where decadent resort amenities meet rugged landscapes. You won’t be the only one sliding down these slopes or meditating in Betty Ford Alpine Gardens among the morning glory—travelers and locals alike are ever eager to share tall tales from their adventures in the Rocky Mountains. Chat about the pristine powder over lamb chops and polenta at Larkspur, or stop in for a tasting flight of American pale ales at Vail Brewing Co.

In Alabama, laidback beach vibes blend with distinctly Southern manners, so don’t be surprised when you hear “Have a good day, folks” when you ask directions to the nearest beach. Don’t spend all day on the sand, though, because a bird’s eye view awaits at Gulf Adventure Center at Gulf State Park, where there’s a mile-long zipline course with your name on it. Noshing on a po’boy from the local icon Shrimp Basket after sailing out toward the horizon will help you wind down from the adrenaline rush for sure.

You may expect to be treated like royalty in this Southern California city that has its own castle, but in Cambria you’ll feel more like a long-lost friend. While you decide between a day at Moonstone Beach and a tour of Hearst Castle, grab a seat and a sandwich at Old Stone Station, where the staff will always point you in the direction of a great glass of wine to go with your meal.

If telling big fish stories in an old saloon is your idea of community, then take a trip to Fernandina and sidle up to the bar at The Palace Saloon, established in 1903. Of course, you need to get out on the water if you plan to boast about your adventures. Paddle yourself out toward sea with the folks from Amelia Island Kayak Excursions, or bring your swimsuit and flippers.

When you visit Minneapolis, expect kind strangers to offer you directions as soon as you pull out a map and serve up a plate of tater tot hotdish at the first mention of feeling hungry. In true Midwestern spirit, the Mini Apple is full of flavor and sweet to boot! Stop in for belly laughs at Acme Comedy Co.—a showcase of local and national talent that will have you in stitches.

You don’t have to be a pirate to feel at home in Treasure Island. As one of the barrier islands off the west coast of St. Petersburg, Treasure Island has small-town magic with big-city amenities. Charter a boat or parasail over Boca Ciega Bay before coming in for a landing at Caddy’s on the Beach, where you’ll be welcomed with a seafood basket and a cold beverage, with perfect views of the waves.

No list of the friendliest towns in America is complete without Ohio, and Dublin is tops. If you love the Emerald Isle, but want to keep your travel plans close to home, venture just 17 miles north of downtown Columbus to community festivals filled with feisty fiddle music, Irish comfort foods, and lots of merrymaking. Add a splash of the Mediterranean to this already international experience at Green Olive Company, where the knowledgeable staff will walk you through a tasting of fine oils and vinegars.

We don’t know which makes a nicer welcome, a firm Floridian handshake or a delicious key lime pie. OK, maybe pie is the obvious answer, but as you may have already guessed, Floridians are experts at being neighborly, and the quiet beaches of Key West make the welcome even warmer. Wander through the palm tree-flanked Audubon House & Tropical Gardens—built in 1840—to really soak up the hospitality.

You might be surprised to see this city of fast-talkers and even faster walkers on a list of the friendliest cities in the U.S., but don’t be! Bostonians know they live in the Hub of the Universe and they’re always on the lookout for opportunities to share their fair city. When they tell you to try a savory slice at Pizzeria Regina in North End, take their word for it. This pie-slinging paradise has been serving up awesome eats and lots of personality since 1926.

If sipping a cappuccino and chatting with baristas in a quirky coffee shop is your idea of the perfect afternoon, then put Seattle at the top of your vacation list. You’ll have plenty of options for satisfying your coffee craving all over the Emerald City—from Herkimer Coffee in Phinney Ridge to Hillman City’s Tin Umbrella Coffee. With the energy of a thousand travelers, you’ll be ready to explore Seattle Art Fair, a July favorite.

Ah, the Big Easy. Come as you are to New Orleans and feel right at home. Jackson Square is always buzzing with energy as local street artists sketch to the soundtrack of live jazz musicians. Drop a few dollars in an open saxophone case on your way to slurping back fresh oysters. Dining on Creole cuisine at Arnaud’s Restaurant will remind you of family dinner, only elevated.

Along Maine’s enchanting coast, visiting the small island town of Bar Harbor is like stepping into a postcard. Fly over Acadia National Park and the islands with a chartered helicopter ride from Scenic Flights of Acadia. Meanwhile closer to sea level, chef-owner of Nostrano, Frank Pendola, is whipping up Italian garden-to-table dishes. If you want to learn more about organic gardening, Frank’s your guy.

Before you say, “Stop right there. Arizona is too hot,” read on. Located in Northern Arizona’s picturesque backcountry, Prescott is a thriving historic city with spectacular scenery to spare. Take a guided tour of the nearby Grand Canyon with family-run Rubicon tours, or wander down Montezuma Street—known affectionately as Whiskey Row—the main thoroughfare for independent restaurants and old-timey saloons.

Washington, D.C. is the national capital, so it’s everyone’s city, really. You just need to find your niche. That’s made all the easier with renowned museums for all interests, and festivals galore. Bond with fellow foodies at the Taste of DC, gather with likeminded word nerds for the National Book Festival, both in the fall, or wander through the vendor tents at Dupont Circle FRESHFARM Market in D.C.’s vintage LGBTQ neighborhood.

You may have plans to spend a lot of your trip to Laguna Beach out on the water, and with good reason—the coastline is scrumptious. When you’re ready to catch your breath after charging waves, recharge with caffeine and conversation at one of the beach town’s indie coffee shops. Sit on the patio at Laguna Coffee Company and pass the A section of the morning paper to the neighboring table.

From neighborly locals to concierges who know every nook and cranny of their beloved town, America is brimming with people who want to share the best experience you can have in their city limits.

What would you add to the list of the most friendly cities?