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Best and Worst Cities You've Visited? (1 Viewer)

luckyscars

WF Veterans
Reminiscing a lot about travel lately, since we can't do much of it. Was wondering what some of the best and worst cities you have been to are and why?

Let's say, from a visitor's perspective, based mainly on the city itself and its culture rather than immutable characteristics like weather, geographical location, and the country it is located in.

Personal Top Five:

- Berlin, Germany -- Most creative city I have ever been. A surprise around every corner and very nice people.
- London, England -- Favorite global city. Lots to like and dislike (could probably put it in the bottom five as well for various reasons) but on the whole it's fantastic and certainly heaps more diverse than Paris and New York.
- Albuquerque, New Mexico -- I don't really know why, I just always liked it. Big enough to feel like a real city, small enough to feel quiet and seems to lack a lot of the faults of major cities in the US. Exceptional Mexican food.
- Kathmandu, Nepal -- I couldn't live there but to visit it's incredible and probably the most unique place I ever went.
- New Orleans, Lousiana -- One of the more unique places in the US and by far the most interesting culturally.

Honorable mention: Edinburgh, Scotland. Lovely place!

Personal Bottom Five:

- Vienna: Incredibly disappointing. Basically nothing there of interest. Only place I've genuinely loathed.
- Amsterdam: Full of dog crap and assholes pissing in canals.
- Paris: Full of assholes and terrible food. Also pretty expensive, grubby, ridiculous traffic and just chaotic-in-a-bad-way. Shame, because...well, it's Paris.
- Dubai: Soulless place that seems designed for the worst kind of western expat. Mostly just overpriced malls. You know it's bad when you spend 60% of the trip sweating your butt off in hookah bars.
- Nashville: Overrun with yuppies, absurdly expensive for friggin' Tennessee, and just not worth bothering with anymore. Twenty years ago it was fine.
 

Tiamat

Patron
I haven't been fortunate enough to be nearly as well-traveled as you. But I did set up shop in Oslo for a few years, so I'll give that my number one even though I don't have many other major international cities to compare it to. Apart from the nostalgia factor, there's a lot interesting architecture, really good food (mainly bread and cheese, omg Norwegian frokost...), the people are nice but will leave you the crap alone (important for introverts like me), and it's a short jaunt out of the city to the middle of nowhere for hiking and beautiful scenery.

Worst city: Toronto. Noisy, smelly, and is basically Canada's Detroit. Fuck that place.
 

MikeDwight

Senior Member
Only thing a homebody can relate to is Nashville and all I saw was artificial like mansions for country's stars on the outskirts, the grand ole opry where they went once, crazy guitar people, old brick buildings, as long as you can play a country guitar in the country music capitol?
 

Taylor

Staff member
Global Moderator
Ok, I'll follow suit and give top and bottom five:

Personal Top Five:

Agra - Was there in the eighties before it became touristy. The Taj Mahal is breathtaking. As soon as my feet hit the warm marble I went into a sort of daze. I cannot even think of a word strong enough to describe the craftsmanship. The surrounding town was quiet and magical. We sat in a courtyard sipping chai while monkeys swung in the vines above us. The people were extremely generous and gracious.

Paris - Sorry! I was there for a year to study art and design. Practically lived in the museums and still after one year, I had not seen it all. Our flat was in a building that was full of foreign writers and artists. We used to take turns in the building making the Friday nite ratatouille, because we couldn't afford to eat in restaurants. Everyone would show up with a vegetable and a bottle of wine. Yeah, the Parisiens could be a little cold, but they warm up eventually, as long as you don't butcher their language.

New York City (Specifically Manhattan) - Used to travel there twice a year for business. Spent a lot of time in the garment district. You had to weave your way around racks of clothes being pushed down Eight avenue. Excitement galore! The most diverse place I have ever experienced, even in the early eighties. Every kind of accent, dress, style, profession, and varying income levels all smooshed together on one little island. And the best restaurants and delis, bar none. I could go on and on...

Tucson - They call it the Lush Desert, and that describes it perfectly. It is surrounded by mountains that change colour all day long, against the most colourful skys. The flora looks like sculptures. Sooo many varieties of cacti, and deciduous trees, mostly in soft greens and butters against a sort of orangy red rock on the ground. That's too geographical I know, but that's why so many artists live there. It's a university town as well, so you meet a lot of intellectuals. Everyone I met was down to earth and warm. It’s on the Mexican border, so there are lots of beautiful Spanish speaking people adding to the culture.

Madrid - We landed there once en-route because it was a flight hub, at the beginning of an RV trip through Spain and onto Portugal. What a surprise at how beautiful the architecture and streets were. Very wide and pristeen sidewalks. Amazing food! Culturally, I didn't spend enough time to say, but I got a really good feeling, and next time I would stay longer.


Personal Bottom Five:

Los Angeles - What can I say...yucky people. Sorry if anyone is from there, but I'm sure it was just the ones I interacted with, mostly in the rag trade. Boob jobs, nose jobs and every other kind of job you can imagine. I actually had someone ask me why I didn't get mine fixed! And money speaks volumes...which just adds to the yuckiness.

Houston - Don't remember much of it, other than a business trip, where when I went to have a little stroll in the evening just outside my four-star hotel, the concierge ran after me to tell me it was not safe for a woman to walk on a major well-lit street at night.

New Delhi - This one could go in my top five and bottom five. Top five, because I absolutely loved the people. So warm and dignified, even in the face of extreme poverty. But sooooo many people and so much poverty. It's hard to take after a while, when you just want to help, but can't make an impact.

Manila - I was there during Marshall law. The worst disparity between rich and poor that I have ever seen. To conduct business there, I had to learn how to pass a bribe properly. The officials were all corrupt. However, I might also put this one on the top five list again because of the people. I have never seen a more industrious place, and the women run the businesses and banking industry. It’s great to see a matriarchal society at work.

Hong Kong - Again, could go on top and bottom. Crazy busy streets and lots of noise and craziness. Fabulous food and loved doing business with the people. But, the sweatshops are a little hard to take.
 
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Taylor

Staff member
Global Moderator
I haven't been fortunate enough to be nearly as well-traveled as you. But I did set up shop in Oslo for a few years, so I'll give that my number one even though I don't have many other major international cities to compare it to. Apart from the nostalgia factor, there's a lot interesting architecture, really good food (mainly bread and cheese, omg Norwegian frokost...), the people are nice but will leave you the crap alone (important for introverts like me), and it's a short jaunt out of the city to the middle of nowhere for hiking and beautiful scenery.

Worst city: Toronto. Noisy, smelly, and is basically Canada's Detroit. Fuck that place.

I went to Oslo once a long time ago. I loved it too! How lucky you were to spend so much time there.

So sorry you had a bad experience in Toronto. Next time you come to Canada, try the West Coast, like Vancouver or Victoria.
 

Tiamat

Patron
So sorry you had a bad experience in Toronto. Next time you come to Canada, try the West Coast, like Vancouver or Victoria.
I've been to Toronto several times and it's always awful haha. I've been to plenty of other places in Canada that are actually quite lovely. So much so that I should probably put Quebec City on my list of best cities, but I would feel obligated to try and remember all the French I've forgotten before going back.

Incidentally, I was supposed to go to Seattle this past Tuesday, and if everything had gone according to plan, I'd be driving up the coast to Vancouver tomorrow. Sadly, current events being what they are, that trip is now postponed indefinitely. Perhaps next year...
 

TheManx

Senior Member
I think a lot of depends on how much time you spend in a city. If you're just visiting, and you're not willing or don't have time to get off the beaten path -- then you just might want to reserve judgement...
 

TheManx

Senior Member
Worst city: Toronto. Noisy, smelly, and is basically Canada's Detroit. Fuck that place.

Well, most of my extended family on one side lives in Toronto or the Toronto area, and I really like it there. Seems pretty clean and safe to me compared to most American cities, and by and large, it seems pretty friendly too. Not too keen on the winter weather or the cost of living, but otherwise, I wouldn't mind living there. Oh well...:)
 

TheManx

Senior Member
Los Angeles - What can I say...yucky people. Sorry if anyone is from there, but I'm sure it was just the ones I interacted with, mostly in the rag trade. Boob jobs, nose jobs and every other kind of job you can imagine. I actually had someone ask me why I didn't get mine fixed! And money speaks volumes...which just adds to the yuckiness.

Heh. I really dig L.A. and go there once a year or so for business -- although I probably wouldn't want to live there, mostly because of the cost of living. I mostly hang out with people in the arts and the independent music scene. Never a dull moment. We usually stay with friends in East Hollywood, but I really like Echo Park and Silver Lake. And I love the record stores! Maybe it depends on who you know and where you hang out? :)
 

Taylor

Staff member
Global Moderator
Heh. I really dig L.A. and go there once a year or so for business -- although I probably wouldn't want to live there, mostly because of the cost of living. I mostly hang out with people in the arts and the independent music scene. Never a dull moment. We usually stay with friends in East Hollywood, but I really like Echo Park and Silver Lake. Maybe it depends on who you know and where you hang out? :)

Yeah, no doubt! I would probably enjoy the music industry better. I do love the creative aspects of the city, and the Getty museum is spectacular. Honestly, I don't think it's fair to put a city on your bottom list. (I was trying to conform to the original thread.) Every city has its charm...
 

TheManx

Senior Member
Yeah, no doubt! I would probably enjoy the music industry better. I do love the creative aspects of the city, and the Getty museum is spectacular. Honestly, I don't think it's fair to put a city on your bottom list. (I was trying to conform to the original thread.) Every city has its charm...

Yeah -- I've been quite a few cities around the word, and most of my bad experiences have been due to specific mishaps, bad advice or snafus that could have happened anywhere.

I seriously doubt there are any cities that are predominantly jerks or assholes. I've been to cities where I've been told that's what I could expect, and I've been pleasantly surprised -- New York being one of them. We were initially a little baffled by the subway system on our first vacation there. (I'd been on business, but didn't see much beyond my hotel and my client's office.) I was amazed by how friendly people were when we asked for help -- one lady actually stayed on the train an extra stop to show us where to go next.

So who knows -- maybe it has something to do with the attitude that you bring with you... :)
 

Olly Buckle

Mentor
Patron
I was having a similar conversation a little while ago with a well travelled friend and he said 'Of course there are only about five real cities in the world, places like Paris are very nice, but they are provincial. In the real cities you can hear any language in the world spoken and go out to eat any sort of food there is.' As a Londoner I guess I have to agree with him, places like Seville, for example, are beautiful, but it is all Spanish.
 

Taylor

Staff member
Global Moderator
I was having a similar conversation a little while ago with a well travelled friend and he said 'Of course there are only about five real cities in the world, places like Paris are very nice, but they are provincial. In the real cities you can hear any language in the world spoken and go out to eat any sort of food there is.' As a Londoner I guess I have to agree with him, places like Seville, for example, are beautiful, but it is all Spanish.

Hmmm..."real cities"..."hear any language"...."eat any sort of food".

1) London
2) New York City
3) San Francisco
4) Vancouver
5) Toronto

Others?
 

RhythmOvPain

Senior Member
Best city: Boston

Worst city: Baltimore

It's not even a contest for Baltimore.

They have benches that say "Greatest City In The World" everywhere, but there are heroin addicts sleeping on every one of them.
 
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PiP

Staff member
Co-Owner
Best cities:
Lisbon (Portugal)
Seville (Spain)
Barcalona (Spain)
Lyon (France)
Vancouver

Worst:
Rome (Italy)
 

bdcharles

Wɾ¡ʇ¡∩9
Staff member
Media Manager
Faves: Mexico City, Dallas, Madrid, Dublin, Tel Aviv, New Orleans - they all have a good cosmopolitan buzz about them

Least faves: Atlanta comes to mine. Sorry Atlantans, but it was just very run down and scummy and don't even get me started on the MARTA, where I felt in actual danger. It it helps, the only other city I've felt that was in Paris; a beautiful city in some parts, genuinely horrible and deprived in others. That being said, I didn't go to the barrios of Mexico City.
 

ehbowen

Senior Member
I guess I'm just not picky enough. I've been quite literally around the world, thanks to the U.S. Navy and Merchant Marine, and I've been in every one of the "lower 48" thanks to a year driving tanker trucks for Schneider National. There isn't a single city or town that I've visited that I wouldn't want to go back to if the opportunity presented. Including Baltimore (although perhaps arriving by water and staying in the Inner Harbor helped), Istanbul, Olongapo, Sydney, Los Angeles, Jackson (Michigan), Natchez (Mississippi), Ely (Nevada), Madawaska (Maine), Falmouth (UK)...the list goes on. It's true that some are higher on my list than others, but in every one of them I found/met interesting people and things to do.

Of course, since I call Houston home...perhaps there really is no "down" from there! (Just Kidding!)
 

Bloggsworth

WF Veterans
Never been anywhere that made me unwelcome. I've always found that if you arrive with an open heart it is reciprocated. As for Toronto, lovely place - lots to do, places to go, always been clean when I've been there.
 
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