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Wilfrid

My Best U.S. Cities

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Sitting here with Dorothy Parker gin before dinner and thinking about this year’s travel, I started ranking destinations in my mind, so why not share?

 

There are surely great non-urban vacation destinations, but this is based on cities I’ve visited for work, over the last two or three years.

 

I realized, it’s not just the inherent qualities that matter, but how often I go, and how much of a schlep it is. If Chicago was as far away as Vegas, and I went six times a year, I would probably rank it lower, for example.

 

Best: New Orleans. Magic kingdom, and in the States would be my first choice to live after New York.

 

Very good: San Francisco. Austin. Always happy to go to these places. I’ve spent a lot of time in both, more in SF, but they don’t disappoint. Nashville is between very good and good; I’ve been a lot.

 

Good: Chicago, Atlanta, Miami, Denver. Happy times at all these places.

 

Okay: Boston. It’s fine, I’ve been a lot. It’s not far.

 

Interesting: Fort Worth. Salt Lake City. Not sure I’d want to visit frequently, but certainly glad to have seen their very different but curious cultures.

 

Not so much: Dallas (so dull). The whole Orlando/Disneyworld deal. Fort Lauderdale.

 

On its own: Las Vegas. Can’t categorize it. It’s my most frequent destination, it has some great things, it has many annoyances.

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To be clear, I am omitting a lot of places, like Savannah and Kansas City and Memphis, I just haven’t visited recently.

 

I am hoping to get to St Louis this year. Never been.

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Let me know if you do. There are some places I want you to try. Bulrush for one.

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The real Ted Drewes.

 

DC isn't (now) bad for a food/booze scene, better in certain eras than others. Loved our pied-a-terre when we had one there.

 

Chicago - our recent visit made us wonder if we shouldn't go more often.

 

San Francisco.  Fond memories, but every time we go it seems to be more fucked up than the previous time.

 

Burlington - just really like it here. California in the 70s, but without the smugness or smogness. 

 

Portland, ME - another nice New England city. Good food.

 

Nashville's nice.

 

Haven't been to Vegas in a decade.

 

Boston - if we have another need to be there (visiting friends, a concert, etc.) it's nice enough.

 

Seattle - also been too long.

 

Is Montreal in the States?

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San Francisco downtown is in a terrible state, true.

 

Seattle I liked but must be 10 years since I’ve been. Most trips to DC have been day trips to galleries: don’t get much of a feel for the city.

 

I forgot Philadelphia. Actually go there quite often, and usually have a good time. Last trip I was on keto, and painfully aware it’s a city of sandwiches.

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I certainly forgot Philadelphia and Providence, and I liked the Italian grocery shopping in Federal Hill, as well as a couple of restaurants.

 

Gotta ask @mitchells...Madison?  I mean, Milwaukee was sorta okay, but Madison?

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St. Louis is great.  (I was born there.)  The Soulard district is their hipster Williamsburg area.  Beautiful old houses and very eclectic.  My cousin owns a pizzeria there.  (Pizza Head.)

 

New Orleans is my favorite city in the U.S, although I haven't spent much time there.  Boulder probably number 2, but also, I've only been for a few short trips.

 

I don't know much about Boston anymore, other than It's beautiful in the spring and summer.  Driving down Memorial Drive on a sunny Saturday morning is a short, but lovely trip.  And the history can't be beat.

 

I don't get LA, but haven't seen much outside of West Hollywood and downtown.

 

I suggest avoiding Evansville, IN.  

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I've only visited LA twice, years ago and very briefly.

 

Boston is not quite as much fun in winter, and specifically in a snowstorm on the same day as a Patriot's victory parade.

 

I wouldn't mind exploring Milwaukee for a couple of days. Bars it must have. Never really thought of Madison.

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There are definitely still some great bars in Milwaukee. Almost all of them outside of downtown in the neighborhoods. For example, great bar that has the oldest sanctioned bowling alley is still open and has handset pins (Holler House) and the bar is great. It has been a long time since I've been to any of them.

 

Madison is small and compact and has decent food and a pretty spectacular farmers' market around the square on Saturdays (go very early if you actually want to shop as opposed to wander in a crowd). Nice university campus to walk around.

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I saw Holler House. I am looking at those old bars lists. Whenever the Fort Atkinson trip is rescheduled I’ll try to stay over a night and do some of them.

 

My Wisconsin people speak highly of Madison as a place to live, but that’s different of course.

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I've only visited LA twice, years ago and very briefly.

 

Boston is not quite as much fun in winter, and specifically in a snowstorm on the same day as a Patriot's victory parade.

 

I wouldn't mind exploring Milwaukee for a couple of days. Bars it must have. Never really thought of Madison.

Los Angeles is in the course of a very slow rolling evolution.  Theoretically, there is a plan to encourage reliance on public transportation by tearing down small older buildings and replacing with higher, denser residential over retail along public transportation routes.  At the same time developers keep building further out so that folks can realize the dream of 4 bedrooms and a yard which results in more freeway traffic.

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