San Francisco grapples with mind-boggling real estate prices, a homelessness crisis and worsening property crime rates. Even so, a certain je ne sais quoi landed the city by the bay at the top of Forbes’ 2017 list of America's Coolest Cities.
Home to an assortment of fine dining establishments, including dozens with Michelin stars, San Francisco also offers public transit, world-class museums, sports teams and plenty of opportunities for outdoor activities, according to Forbes.
According to Bert Sperling, who founded Sperling's Best Places, which partners with Forbes on this list, San Francisco is "crushing it."
He continued: “We’ve heard anecdotally that it is too expensive and people might be looking for other options. But that doesn’t change its desirability. You could make a strong case that this is what people are looking for and desirability makes it less affordable. It would be an anomaly if you found a place that was really really cool but was really really cheap.”
San Francisco, which was credited for its local restaurants, alternative transportation and diversity, is followed by Seattle, famous for recreation, coffee shops and beer breweries, and San Diego, commended for its youth, recreation, and propensity for electric cars.
New Orleans and Portland round out the top five coolest cities.
However, coolness is at best a nebulous concept.
So Forbes explained that it investigated net migration, population aged 25 to 34, diversity and small business growth in the country's 100 largest metropolitan areas. Recreational options, restaurants, eco-friendly methods of transportation, good coffee and social hotspots were some other factors taken into consideration.
The only other Bay Area city that cracked the top 10 places on Forbes' list is San Jose, which came in sixth place.
Here are 20 of the United States' coolest cities:
- San Francisco
- San Diego
- New Orleans
- San Jose
- Los Angeles
- New York
- Washington, D.C.
- Las Vegas