Well, my crazy year of traveling is complete and I wanted to rank the top ten places I’ve been in 2011:
10. Dallas, Texas – This place has promise, but you really need to have a car to get around. I think I like Texans, they speak in opinions but most often are correct.
9. Houston, Texas – I really only remember two things about this place, an enormous Gallery Mall that had an ice rink inside and a strange bar called Big Woodrow’s. Big Woodrow’s was one of my favorite experiences all year, crawfish was sold by the pound, they put a ziploc bag of ice inside our pitcher of beer to keep it cool, and we also sampled quite a bit of alligator there too, that was a good spot.
8. Miami, Florida – This place is growing on me, I figured out why I don’t like it that much, it’s sexy without substance.
7. Charlotte, North Carolina – I could live here, it’s a small town, a college town, a wealthy town, a rural town, and it’s not overly southern.
6. Orlando, Florida – There’s only one reason Orlando made the list….airboat ride. If I grew up in Florida, I would captain airboats and charter fishing boats, I know it.
5. Atlanta, Georgia – There’s always something to do here and Buckhead is a great place to be if you’re not paying. One of those places that is smart enough to incorporate all of its flavors and Atlanta has a lot of them.
4. Chicago, Illinois – I went to Chicago 3 times this year and still haven’t had the “Chicago is the greatest city” experience, but it is pretty good.. I need a local to show me the ropes sometime. I did take in a Cubs day game which was on my bucket list, but I’ll be honest, watching the Phillies play at Citizens Bank Park is a better experience. The foot long hot dog at Wrigley Park is absolutely the best hot dog I’ve ever had in my life, can’t imagine anything better.
3. Denver, Colorado – I went to Denver 3 times this year too and I like it more every time. I love the first steps out of the airport and inhaling that air, it is pure. Jac and I had a good trip to Beaver Creek deep in the mountains, was terrified by a homeless person on Colfax Avenue, tasted their local brews, ate a gin berry, was nearly hit by their electric bus on the 16th street mall, and have walked all the way across the city. It must be the air, the city makes me feel great.
2. San Diego, California – Beautiful weather, beautiful people, beautiful town. Best of everything and nothing else. While Miami tries to impress, San Diego impresses without trying. It is casually superior, just can’t help but being perfect.
1. San Francisco, California – You can sit down in a Starbucks and see 100 people walk by your window and not one will be remotely similar. Same goes for the streets, restaurants, bars, shops, and landmarks. Golden Gate Bridge, Haight Ashbury, North Shore, Fisherman’s Wharf, Alcatraz, Chinatown, and the list could go on forever, it is a strange and wonderful place.
I still love my Florida Keys and New Orleans, but San Fransisco has earned it’s way into the top 3.