Here’s where I rate all the major cities I went to


Part of my motivation for taking this trip was to find a new place to live. I wanted to get out of Pittsburgh for a while, so while I was visiting the major metropolitan areas, in the back of my head I was judging them.

I was only in some of these cities for a day or two, so it’s entirely possible that I’m wrong about some of the ratings. I could’ve completely misread the traffic in Minneapolis or the weather in New Orleans. So if I wasn’t kind to your city, don’t take it personally!

I rated the cities on a 1-10 scale based on seven criteria that were most important to me:

Weather. For me, a high score in weather required a city that has all four seasons, including some snow in the winter, but not too extreme hot or cold.
Hi score: Albuquerque, Portland (8)
Low score: Las Vegas (3)


Traffic. Traffic jams = bad!
High score: Albuquerque, Portland, Pittsburgh (8)
Low score: Los Angeles (1)

Diversity. A city full of white Americans is not fun.
High score: New York City (10)
Low score: Portland, Salt Lake City (2)

Public transportation. I’m a huge fan of public transit. Some cities do a better job than others with their bus and train services.
High score: New York City (10)
Low score: Los Angeles (3)


Progressive attitude. I need a place that is fairly liberal.
High score: Seattle, Portland (10)
Low score: Salt Lake City (5)

My peeps. This category scores cities based on whether they have eclectic neighborhoods that I’d want to live in.
High score: New York City (10)
Low score: Las Vegas (2)

The concert scene. It’s important to me to be in a city that gets the good concerts. That’s one reason I left Pittsburgh, because the good indie shows always skip town.
High score: Los Angeles, New York City (10)
Low score: Las Vegas (4)

Here’s the full breakdown of city ratings according to my unscientific assessment:
8.4 New York City
8.3 Seattle
7.6 Portland
7.3 San Diego
7.3 Vancouver
7.1 Chicago
7.0 Albuquerque
7.0 San Francisco
7.0 Philadelphia
6.9 Boston
6.7 Austin
6.6 Pittsburgh
6.4 Detroit
6.3 Los Angeles
6.3 New Orleans
6.1 Memphis
6.0 Minneapolis
6.0 Atlanta
5.9 Charlotte
5.6 Omaha
5.3 Salt Lake City
4.1 Las Vegas


No surprise that New York City ranks at the top of the list, because that’s always been my favorite city. I’m glad to see Chicago and Seattle near the top as well, since those were my top two choices of places to move to.

In some cases the numbers are deceiving. For example, I enjoyed Minneapolis, but it got hurt by poor scores for diversity and traffic. Los Angeles also got crippled by awful scores for traffic and public transportation. Had it not been for those two categories, L.A. would’ve challenged NYC for the top rating.

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