Travel + Leisure readers have spoken and our nation’s capital is not one of the top ten dirtiest cities in America. In the publication’s annual America’s Favorite Cities survey, participants gauged “dirty” in a variety of ways: litter, air pollution, even the taste of local tap water and the publication found New Orleans, Philadelphia, Memphis, New York City, and our neighbor to the north Baltimore, wanting for cleanliness. That’s not to say that DC didn’t appear on the more comprehensive list; in fact, it was ranked 15th on the list.
The America’s Dirtiest Cities list is only one of the many compiled from reader’s responses about 35 U.S. urban destinations. The publication breaks down responses by those according to visitors and those according to residents. DC ranked well in the historical sites/monuments (duh!), museums/galleries (duh again!), business hotels, public transportation/pedestrian friendliness, etc. We didn’t do so well when it comes to all-in-one retreats, affordable hotels and relaxing retreats.
What I find most insightful and funny about the survey’s results is where visitor and resident opinions align. For instance, both groups give DC high marks when it comes to culture, but pan the city on local food specialities (coffee, barbecue, micro brews, etc.) and new year’s eve celebrations. Things get funny when it comes to ranking DC inhabitants; while we get high marks for intelligence and diversity, both groups ranked us below 25 when it comes to stylishness, friendliness and attractiveness.