In my earlier travel days, I always thought Paris was the rudest city in the world. Much has changed, after DeGaulle, and formation of the European Union. But closer to home, it turns out the rudest city, having replaced New York City, is now Miami. I can believe Los Angeles is at number four, having been at the top three times. Personally, I find college towns to be the most friendly, places like Cambridge, Eugene, Davis, Boulder, and Columbia.
What really makes a city into a rude place? In the old days, not speaking French in Paris was cardinal sin. I think we were, and are much more tolerant of foreign language speakers. But the little things add up. Contact with people, whether service personnel, clerks, or transportation personnel really tell the story. Even the New York City cab and bus drivers seem more tolerant than their counterparts overseas. And Uber drivers seem better than most cabbies!
Miami is a multi-cultural mecca, with lots of transplanted New Yorkers. They rate high on the snob scale, along other factors. Other cities that made the list: Chicago, Baltimore, Anchorage, Los Angeles of course, Detroit, San Diego, Colorado Springs, Portland, Washington, DC, Boston, Salt Lake City, Atlanta, Phoenix/Scottsdale, Dallas, San Francisco, Santa Fe, New York City, Philadelphia, Seattle, and Orlando. Obviously, I do not agree with this list!
So, what draws us to the conclusion that a city is rude? First, most of our contact is with service employees, such as airport staff, hotel front desk clerks, waiters, bartenders, and cab/Uber drivers. That’s hardly a fair way to judge a city. Second, the ability to find a random conversation, on the street, in a bar or restaurant, or at an entertainment venue might serve as a better barometer.
You may wonder how I judge a city. First, yes, the wait staff at a good restaurant. Second, the concierge at my hotel. And third, sales people in small businesses. I would add a fourth, Uber drivers.
The “ace in the hole” in all of these evaluations is your own approach to travel and personal interactions. Usually, I am fairly open minded about meeting new people and talking to them. Others prefer to keep to themselves. And I understand why single women travelers may be somewhat reluctant to engage in too many conversations with men. So, yes, your attitude is a big part of this equation.
Of all the cities listed above, I have no problem placing Miami on the top of the rude list. South Beach is filled with a bunch of pretentious people, in the middle on an overpriced area. But Seattle, Scottsdale, Santa Fe, and San Diego cannot possibly be on this list. If nothing else their “tourist” vibe alone is too cool to be considered rude! I love those cities, and usually visit them at least once a year!
One thing I try to do when encountering tourists: I try to see if I can help them find what they are looking for. Mostly this occurs here at home, but when I am familiar with a place, like Hawaii, Seattle, San Diego, Denver, Chicago, or Washington DC, I try to help. At least once per trip, along with feeding a homeless person. Those are my only two “rules” of travel.