- Nashville, Tennessee: Known for its music scene and incredible food, Nashville is consistently ranked as one of the friendliest cities in the US.
- San Diego, California: With its perfect climate and welcoming locals, San Diego is not only one of America’s friendliest cities but also one of the most dog-friendly.
- Honolulu, Hawaii: Honolulu embraces the Aloha Spirit and indigenous Hawaiian culture, creating a sense of community and friendliness that makes it one of the friendliest cities in the US.
The friendliest cities in the United States are determined by an array of factors stretching far beyond just the propensity for flashing a smile. In the nation’s friendliest cities, outwardly kind actions such as complimenting strangers, holding doors, and happily giving directions are notably common in daily interactions. Sources also rely on data based on crime rates, residents’ number of charitable donations, volunteering statistics, and more when determining the friendliest cities in the country. Points are awarded based on how welcoming cities are towards Fido (overall pet-friendliness), towards children, and towards strangers as well.
Research, surveys, and studies have been conducted in the quest to discover the friendliest cities in America (as well as the friendliest cities in the world). Based on a compilation of recent sources, here are 10 cities that are consistently mentioned as some of the friendliest in the United States.
Ranked 8th friendliest city by Preply
The charming southern city of Nashville, Tennessee, is renowned for honky-tonks, hot chicken, and happy faces. Nashville has always been a popular destination thanks to its world-famous music scene, but the city has tons more to offer besides country music (although iconic locations like the Country Music Hall of Fame are not to be missed). To top it off, it is known to be one of the friendliest cities in the US.
Revelers can party the night away in the buzz of the Broadway strip and spend days enjoying amazing art, culture, and history. Be sure to indulge in the city’s incredible eats since Nashville is now considered one of the top foodie cities in the US. It is also a family-friendly destination with plenty of activities for underage visitors too.
- Popular Attractions: Grand Ole Opry, Country Music Hall of Fame, The Bluebird Café, Ryman Auditorium, The Parthenon
- Best Time To Visit: Peak season is April – October. December is also a popular time to visit Nashville
- How To Get Around: Nashville is a very walkable city, but it also has an excellent (and low-cost) public transit system of buses and trains called WeGo
- Why Is Nashville Friendly: Southern charm, small-town feel with lots of locally-owned businesses, likeliness of residents to help and compliment strangers
San Diego, California
Ranked 6th friendliest city in the US by Preply
Balboa Park located in Old Town San Diego, South California, USA
Nicknamed ‘America’s Finest City,’ San Diego is also one of America’s friendliest cities. Additionally, surveys show that San Diego is among the most dog-friendly cities in the US, too; Fido is welcome just about everywhere, from the beaches to the bars.
San Diego’s perfect climate helps to facilitate a healthy, active lifestyle, which undoubtedly influences the friendliness of the locals. There are stunning beaches and rugged canyons, creating ample outdoor recreation activities, from surfing and watersports to hiking, mountain biking, golf, and more. There is also a thriving food scene in San Diego, lively nightlife, diverse culture, and a slew of annual festivals and events.
- Popular Attractions/Top Sights: Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve, La Jolla Cove, Balboa Park, Sunset Cliffs, USS Midway Museum, Old Town
- Best Time To Visit: Year-round, but expect heavy crowds in the summer months
- How To Get Around: Trolley or bus with the Metropolitan Transit System, Amtrak, electric scooters and bikes
- Why Is San Diego Friendly: Excellent weather year-round, a high quality of life for residents, a strong sense of community
Ranked 4th friendliest city in the US by Conde Nast Traveler
High-rises along Waikiki Beach in Honolulu, Hawaii
Honolulu has a particularly palpable sense of community and prides itself on embracing indigenous Hawaiian culture. The traditional Hawaiian way of life, particularly the law of ‘aloha spirit’ that is based on the coordination of heart and mind, influences the warmth and care that Hawaiians exhibit towards others without any obligation in return. It is no surprise why Honolulu is consistently mentioned as one of the friendliest cities in the United States.
While visitors have long flocked to Honolulu for its beautiful beaches, deep surfing history, and breathtaking natural surroundings, its dining scene is quickly climbing the ranks, as well as its array of art galleries and museums. Honolulu also boasts excellent shopping, hiking, and endless outdoor recreation activities (especially water sports).
- Popular Attractions: Waikiki Beach, Pearl Harbor National Monument, Polynesian Cultural Center, Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve, Manoa Falls, Iolani Palace, Diamond Head, Aloha Tower
- Best Time To Visit: Year-round, but March – September is the dry season
- How To Get Around: Renting a car is the most popular way to explore, but there is also TheBus that runs all around Oahu.
- Why is Honolulu Friendly: The inner beauty and Aloha Spirit of locals, idyllic surroundings, and climate
Charlotte, North Carolina
Ranked 2nd friendliest city in the US by Preply
Downtown Charlotte, North Carolina
Charlotte has emerged as one of the best places to live in the United States, and that is due in part to its friendliness rankings. It is known to be a city of polite, nice people who are always willing to make friends. Despite the big-city skyline, it retains a small-town feel with proud, well-mannered locals.
Charlotte has a lot to offer visitors of all ages and interests, and many of them are free! It is a hub of arts and entertainment, with some of the region’s best music and events venues. Incorporated back in 1768, history buffs will have plenty to enjoy, too. Charlotte is another new culinary hot spot, with copious high-quality and diverse dining options. It is also known for its booming craft beer scene, and the dozens of breweries are a great place to socialize and meet people. In a city passionate about its sports, head to a Charlotte Panthers game and tailgate with the enthusiastic locals.
- Popular Attractions/Things To Do: NASCAR Hall of Fame, Discovery Place Science Museum, Freedom Park, Carowinds amusement park, professional sporting events
- Best Time To Visit: Spring and Fall
- How To Get Around: LYNX light rail system and CATS bus network
- Why Is Charlotte Friendly: Polite residents, friendly actions/communication towards strangers
Charleston, South Carolina
Ranked 2nd friendliest city by Conde Nast Traveler
A horse-drawn carriage along Rainbow Row – a colorful street in Charleston, South Carolina, America
When thinking about the term ‘southern hospitality,’ Charleston, South Carolina, is likely among the first destinations to spring to mind. The prevalence of ‘yes sir and yes ma’am’ and the willingness of strangers to snap a vacation photo or give directions are just a few common examples of the overt friendliness that is common in this charming city.
While Charleston’s incredible history and well-preserved architecture are some of the main draws, the city is surrounded by beautiful beaches, the streets are lined with seemingly endless boutique shopping and art galleries, and the culinary scene is world-class. If that’s not enough, Charleston is home to an array of live music venues and festivals, its own Fashion Week, and even a beloved baseball team owned by Bill Murray,
- Popular Attractions & Things To Do: Fort Sumter, Rainbow Row, exploring the area’s beaches, King Street shopping, indulging in amazing drinking & dining, horse-drawn carriage history tour
- Best Time To Visit: Spring and fall to avoid the oppressive summer heat
- How To Get Around: Stay downtown and take advantage of the city’s walkability, or hop on a bicycle taxi. A car or ride-share is necessary to get to Charleston’s beaches, though
- Why is Charleston Friendly: Willingness of residents to converse with others, well-mannered, old-fashioned chivalry
Charleston is also famous for its oysters. Visit during the ‘r’ months (specifically October – March) to sample the local delicacy and enjoy the lively atmosphere of an oyster roast.
San Antonio, Texas
Ranked 2nd friendliest city in the US by Preply
San Antonio, Texas
The laid-back San Antonio locals are named as some of the friendliest in the United States year after year. They are known for their willingness to help others, both within their own community and with visiting tourists, and they love to make friends on a night out. As an added bonus to the friendly vibes, San Antonio is also one of the most affordable places to travel to in the US. Visitors will notice that it is considerably cheaper than other Texas cities like Dallas and Austin.
There are tons of things to see and do in San Antonio, from UNESCO World Heritage-listed Spanish missions to botanical gardens, amusement parks, art museums, and much more. Purchase a San Antonio Explorer Pass to access a range of admissions for a single discounted cost.
- Popular Attractions: The Alamo, San Antonio Zoo, San Antonio River Walk, Japanese Tea Garden, Natural Bridge Caverns
- Best Time To Visit: Winter is one of the best times to visit, both to avoid the stifling summer heat and to see the blooming bluebonnets around the colonial missions
- How To Get Around: Car, bus, GO RIO river shuttles, bike-share
- Why Is San Antonio Friendly: Helpfulness of locals, big-hearted and welcoming community
Ranked as the top friendliest city in the US by Preply
Austin, Texas skyline over the Colorado River at dawn
Another perennial contender for the title of the friendliest city in the United States over the last few years is Austin, Texas. That’s not its only honor, though – Austin also tops the charts as one of the best cities to live in the US and even as the best taco city in the US – yum!
Aside from classic Texas hospitality, Austin is also experiencing a population surge. The constant influx of newcomers creates an exceptionally friendly social environment since so many people are settling in and looking to make new friends. Brimming with bars, festivals, live music, art events, parks, outdoor recreation, and much more, there are plenty of places and opportunities to meet people!
- Popular Attractions: Rainey Street, Texas State Capitol, McKinney Falls, Museum of the Weird, Lady Bird Lake
- Best Time To Visit: March-May, September-November
- How To Get Around: Bus, MetroRail, ride-hail (all part of Capital Metro system)
- Why Is Austin Friendly: Inclusionary community, overtly friendly residents open to making friends
Ranked as the top friendliest city in the US by Conde Nast Traveler
Historic Building in Savannah, Georgia
Another historic East Coast city that is oozing with Southern Charm, Savannah is known for its sense of Southern hospitality that immediately makes visitors feel welcome. In fact, Savannah has even taken top honors as the friendliest city in the United States on occasion, landing in the number one position in multiple publications.
As soon as one steps foot in this picturesque, slow-paced city, it will be immediately apparent why the locals are so happy. There is incredible dining (especially traditional southern comfort food) at affordable prices, gorgeous green spaces and public parks dotting downtown, sprawling historic plantations, and eclectic boutique shopping. Savannah, Georgia, is one of the best cities in the United States, and it should be added to the bucket list!
- Popular Attractions: Forsyth Park, Savannah Historic District & City Market, River Street
- Best Time To Visit: Anytime except summer (due to the heat)
- How To Get Around: walking, biking, or pedicab (bike taxi) are best for getting around Savannah
- Why Is Savannah Friendly: Traditional southern hospitality, slow-paced lifestyle