When you browse Santa Fe's galleries, a love of art isn't necessarily enough.
Ysmay Walsh makes a point to dress up when she gallery-hops along the city's Canyon Road. "I feel like I have to step up my game a bit, because I wanted to be taken seriously at the galleries," says the founder of residential guide MetroSeeker.com. "Without a certain appearance or air about yourself, gallery owners barely acknowledge you when you walk in."
That attitude helps explain how the otherwise diverse and quiet Santa Fe made the top 20 snobbiest cities, according to Travel + Leisure readers. In the annual America's Favorite Cities survey, we asked readers to rank 35 major metropolitan areas for features such as trendy food trucks or good-looking locals.
To determine which city has the biggest nose in the air, we factored in some traditional staples of snobbery: a reputation for aloof and smarty-pants residents, along with high-end shopping and highbrow cultural offerings like classical music and theater.
But we also considered 21st-century definitions of elitism: tech-savviness, artisanal coffeehouses, and a conspicuous eco-consciousness (say, the kind of city where you get a dirty look for throwing your coffee cup in the wrong bin).
The "winners" included cities with distinctive cultures, such as Seattle, with its concentration of espresso-drinking software engineers, and Charleston, SC, where a quaint southern tradition blends with a modern foodie scene. --Katrina Brown Hunt
See the full list of America's Snobbiest Cities It’s not just hot air: one reason that the urbane Windy City made the highfalutin top 10 is its renowned theater scene, although it’s hard to call the sketch work at Second City, or the improv at iO Chicago Theater, snooty. A favorite among serious architecture buffs, Chicago did win the survey for one great (culinary) equalizer: pizza. Take our 2013 America’s Favorite City Survey! Photo: iStock
See the full list of America's Snobbiest Cities In this city of coffee connoisseurs and tech-savvy early adopters, it can be easy to feel hopelessly out of step. To relive the city’s pre-Internet tech scene, check out the Museum of Flight (home of the original Air Force One) or Everett’s Flying Heritage Collection, launched by Microsoft alum Paul Allen. And you don’t have to be schooled in contemporary art to appreciate the city’s Olympic Sculpture Park and its view of Puget Sound. Take our 2013 America’s Favorite City Survey! Photo: iStock
See the full list of America's Snobbiest Cities Georgia O’Keeffe’s old stomping ground certainly ranks as an A-list art town with readers: it won the survey for being a cultural getaway and scored highly for its museums. Beyond the galleries and boutiques of Canyon Road, the New Mexicans also came across as being pretty affable—but it may depend on your topic of conversation: the city ranked near the bottom for its sports bars. Take our 2013 America’s Favorite City Survey! Photo: iStock
See the full list of America's Snobbiest Cities Perhaps readers felt intimidated by these bookish, indie-music-loving, craft-beer-drinking hipsters, who also ranked highly for being exceptionally tidy. If these Minnesotans feel self-satisfied, is it any wonder? They also scored well for being fit and outdoorsy; you can join them at the Chain of Lakes, where, depending on the season, folks are hiking, paddling, or even ice-surfing. Take our 2013 America’s Favorite City Survey! Photo: iStock
See the full list of America's Snobbiest Cities In this college town steeped in history, visitors may detect a certain air of superiority: after all, the locals rank near the top for their Ivy League–worthy brains and for supporting old-school culture, such as the symphony. On Harvard Square, you can tap into that brainpower by browsing high-concept bookstores—from Grolier Poetry Bookshop to Schoenhof’s Foreign Books. But there is one realm where Bostonians falter: their driving, which ranked near the bottom of the survey. Take our 2013 America’s Favorite City Survey! Photo: iStock
See the full list of America's Snobbiest Cities The fast-paced manners of New Yorkers may put off some visitors, but there’s no denying that the Big Apple has ample reasons to be proud: it ranked at the top of the survey for its theater and art scene and for dressing to the nines. Manhattan's Meatpacking District, with its exclusive clubs and stiletto-heeled crowd, is one see-and-be-seen area, as is Williamsburg. That said, many New Yorkers’ definition of cool has more of a laid-back, off-the-grid feel: an example is Brooklyn’s Greenwood Park, a beer garden with 60 brews on tap and a bocce league. Take our 2013 America’s Favorite City Survey! Photo: Kelly Bazely
See the full list of America's Snobbiest Cities San Francisco has cultivated its reputation as a serious foodie city, and readers gave it high marks for both fine dining and ethnic cuisine, even if they did also experience some sticker shock. To shop at hip boutiques, browse galleries, and dine among the cognoscenti, check out the Hayes Valley neighborhood and its Absinthe Brasserie & Bar. Any snobbiness didn’t stop San Francisco from being acknowledged for its welcoming attitude: the city also ranked first in the survey for being gay-friendly. Take our 2013 America’s Favorite City Survey! Photo: iStock
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