If you're a seasoned traveler, you've probably noticed that every city seems to have its own particular cultural narrative — and that one of the main themes involves how friendly a city seems to outsiders. Some cities are known for their warm hospitality, while others make their mark on the other side of the spectrum with rude behavior towards visitors and residents alike. There's no one factor that makes or breaks a city's friendliness quotient, and experiences tend to be highly subjective — one person may feel very welcome in a certain place while someone else may have the opposite impression. However, some cities have given so many people the opposite impression that they've gained a name for themselves as one of the country's rudest cities.
Keep in mind that the best things in life aren't always on the surface, and you may find a diamond in the rough by digging just a little deeper when visiting any of the following cities.
Little is known about the residents of Atlantic City — no one seems to know anyone who actually lives there, and the city gets its reputation as one of the nation's rudest cities from its visitors. Whether they're jostling others on the boardwalk, snapping at people on the sidewalk, or cutting off other drivers and loudly honking their horns while weaving in and out of traffic at an unsafe pace, the rudeness of Atlantic city tourists is legendary. After all, it's a gambling town, and where you have gambling, you have more losers than winners. Those who've experienced recent losses at the gaming tables usually aren't in the best of moods. Like other well-visited cities where tourists may be grouchy, you may experience a more welcoming vibe the closer you get to the outskirts of town. If all else fails, hit the beach.
As the home of Yale University, maybe it's the snob factor that earns New Haven the title of one of America's most unfriendly cities. It could also be that typical New England style reserve is part of the picture here instead of garden variety rudeness. Whatever the reason, the city has so much iconic architecture and cultural amenities that visitors barely notice the trademark chilly reception they receive from residents. As a small, crowded city, New Haven residents are likely to ruffle some feathers among visitors, though, so take a reprieve and visit nearby the sandy beaches of Lighthouse Point Park for a peaceful birdwatching session, go time traveling at the Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History, or while away an afternoon losing yourself in art at the Yale University of Art.
Maybe it's the iconic wind that's responsible for Chicago's chilly vibes, or maybe it's the high crime rate that has people rushing from place to place without caring if they jostle others and offering rude stares if anyone gets in their way. It could also be that there's just so much to do and see in the city that no one has time to slow down to a more leisurely pace. Chicago's world-class museums, entertainment options, and stellar culinary scene are well worth braving the brusque hustle and bustle of its streets and sidewalks. To be fair to Chicago, it's not exactly a destination for those seeking outdoor experiences because the weather is often terrible, so it's possible that at least part of its legendary quick pace is fueled by nothing more than attempts to get in out of the cold.
Floridians are known for their warmth and hospitality, so they aren't to blame for Orlando's inclusion here. As a family vacation destination and one of the most visited cities in the country, Orlando experiences constant throngs of tourists, most of whom spend a great deal of their time standing in line, walking on hot sidewalks, and dealing with hot, tired, and often hungry children. However, the farther you get from Orlando's famed theme parks, the more civil the public narrative seems to be. If you're visiting the area and get tired of crowds of people snapping at one another, horns honking, and crying children, slip away to the outskirts of town, and you'll be pleasantly surprised at the gracious reception you receive.
Although Motor City has never won any awards for having a welcoming environment, its friendliness quotient has decreased even further thanks to the city's noteworthy decline brought on by changes in the auto industry. Ironically, one of Detroit's defining characteristics is bad drivers who aren't shy about laying on the horn, and the noise during rush hour can create an unsettling vibe. The city's economic issues of the last couple of decades also plays a role in the attitudes of its remaining local population. Detroit isn't all bad, though — it's also known as one of the country's major music meccas, and jazz lovers in particular barely notice the unfriendly locals when attending a performance at the country's oldest club, Baker's Keyboard Lounge. The city also enjoys a stellar reputation for classic Midwestern diner fare such as chili dogs and burgers.
The nation's largest and most iconic city is also its least friendly — in fact, New Yorkers take a certain pride in their characteristic rudeness. Residents and visitors alike agree that NYC just wouldn't be the same without the honking of horns while cab drivers weave in and out of traffic, cutting off other drivers, people rushing along the sidewalks jostling one another, pushing their way to the front of the line every chance they get and generally exhibiting a "me first" attitude in their interactions with others. It's probably because the city experiences such a high degree of population density that individuals feel they have to carve out their personal space and set strong boundaries. However, New Yorkers are remarkable about coming together when the chips are down.
The mythical "Seattle freeze" is no urban legend — but it doesn't mean that residents are overtly cold and rude. Garden-variety antisocial behavior is far from the norm in the Emerald City, and visitors frequently report seeing no trace of the famed freeze whatsoever. It's more of a layered, understated chill that manifests itself in polite social behaviors on the surface, but that surface shields an underlying river of ice when someone tries to get beneath it. For example, those who move to a Seattle neighborhood might get to know their neighbors on a casual basis, but any attempt to extend the association by inviting them to a barbecue or to come over for a glass of wine is met by a thin but quite unmistakable veil of frost. The prevailing theory for the Seattle freeze is that residents' moods mirror the area's characteristic gloomy weather.
The City of Angels has long been known for putting a primary focus on appearances — after all, the city's main industry involves the creation and promotion of fantasy. The country's most physically appealing people often wind up in Los Angeles, and this generates a culture where outward appearances are valued at a higher level than a person's actual inner workings or personality. In a city where everyone seems to be trying to get ahead, residents often have little to no time for those who have no ability to help advance their careers. Southern California offers an abundance of natural beauty as well, so visitors may be better off finding a secluded beach away from the dazzling crowds and enjoying what nature has to offer instead of trying to navigate the bumpy ride of the city's appearance-driven narrative.
Las Vegas doesn't get its reputation for rudeness from its residents — Sin City goes in for the imported variety. Visitors come from all parts of the globe, and many take the mantra "what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas" seriously, especially when it comes to minding their manners. Throngs of rude tourists are commonplace on the Las Vegas Strip, but things get more real moving away from the tourist epicenter. The downtown bars and clubs where the locals hang out have a friendlier ambiance that's refreshing after a sojourn on the Strip. Those who need a reprieve from the city altogether will be glad to know that the heart of the Mohave Desert is less than half an hour's drive from the Sunset Strip. Visitors who are lucky enough to be there during a spring rain will be rewarded by the sight of the desert in full bloom.
The nation's capital is known for many things — and one of them is an almost businesslike variety of rudeness that's both brusque and impersonal. Like other cities, Washington receives a high amount of tourist traffic. The difference between Washington and other rude American cities is the sheer prevalence of security measures in place to help minimize safety risks for the nation's lawmakers. The tourists themselves aren't there for a Las Vegas-style experience and tend to be mild-mannered and well-behaved, but the way they're herded around in large groups simply generates a dispassionate attitude among security guards, transit operators, and others whose work means that they routinely come in contact with crowds of tourists. Other local residents aren't completely off the hook, however. Washington is a city of workers, and many residents are simply too focused on their jobs, even during their sparse time off, to prioritize social niceties.