Cover Aspen, Colorado, makes the top-20 list of friendliest places in the United States (photo: Jonathan Ross/Getty Images)

Looking for a soft landing when travel picks up again post-lockdown? Consider a long haul flight Stateside to one of these cities and towns, named the friendliest in the country

It's official! Believe it or not, New York City is one of the friendliest cities in the United States—that is, if the data is to be believed. Over the past two years, Expedia, one of the biggest travel bookings sites on the web, has been combing and indexing thousands upon thousands of traveller reviews: from attractions to hotels to restaurants, transportation, experiences, and hospitality services. Its data scientists have culled the geo locations that feature the highest number of mentions of words including but not limited to "friendly," "friendliest," and "amiable," along with other phrases and positive word associations. 

Today, Expedia unveiled its findings: the 20 friendliest cities in the United States. Some, like New York City, might seem like surprise entries—with a longtime reputation for being gritty and cutthroat, many first-time visitors might be surprised at just how easy-going and willing to help most New Yorkers are (OK, I might be biased because I grew up there, but really, it's true). While other smaller towns, like the idyllic Whitefish, Montana, and coastal Ogunquit, Maine, are clear-cut shoo-ins. 

Related: Signs the Travel Lockdown Is Affecting Your Mental Health

Here's what's what:

  1. Whitefish, Montana
  2. Sister Bay, Wisconsin
  3. Manitou Springs, Colorado
  4. Easton, Maryland
  5. Lihue, Hawaii
  6. Sierra Vista, Arizona
  7. Kennebunkport, Maine
  8. Chincoteague, Virginia
  9. Ogunquit, Maine
  10. Provincetown, Massachusetts
  11. Carolina Beach, North Carolina
  12. Kahului, Hawaii
  13. Alamogordo, New Mexico
  14. Manhattan, New York
  15. Kapa'a, Hawaii
  16. Bar Harbor, Maine
  17. Grants Pass, Oregon
  18. Deadwood, South Dakota
  19. Hilo, Hawaii
  20. Aspen, Colorado

A few years ago, after more than a decade working in fashion, jetting back and forth across the Atlantic between New York, London, Milan, and Paris, I decided to dedicate a little more than a year to exploring the United States. I promise, firsthand, that there's nothing quite like an all-American small-town welcome: anywhere from Deadwood, South Dakota, where you'll feel like you've stepped back in time into the Old West; to the slick wealth of Aspen, one of my all-time favorite mountain towns in the world (with some of the best shopping, to boot). And it's more than just these 20 cities and towns—there are hundred, thousands more friendly fun places to visit in the US.

With everything that's happened in the world over the past year and a half, sometimes, being in lockdown, the world can seem stranger and people can become more polarized than ever before. Travelling to unexpected places and meeting other people, experiencing each others' cultures, is one of the best ways to build bridges and foster understanding, friendship, and tolerance all over the world. I can't wait until we can do that again.

How many of America's friendliest cities and towns have you traveled to? Check out another North American destination, Baha Mar, and how the Chow Tai Fook-owned luxury resort is keeping guests safe during the Covid-19 pandemic.

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