RYAN BAKKEN: Rankings don't do Grand Forks justice
Despite the high demand for tours of Ralph Engelstad Arena . . . Despite the bumper-to-bumper congestion at the Lions Club's Christmas in the Park lights show . . . Despite the stampede for juicy tomatoes at the Town Square's farmers market . . ....
Despite the high demand for tours of Ralph Engelstad Arena . . .
Despite the bumper-to-bumper congestion at the Lions Club's Christmas in the Park lights show . . .
Despite the stampede for juicy tomatoes at the Town Square's farmers market . . .
Despite the Menards parking lot overflowing with Canadian license plates . . .
Despite those examples and everything else that attracts people here, Grand Forks was not deemed worthy of Travel + Leisure magazine's survey of America's Favorite Cities.
The annual survey of readers rates 35 cities for travel-friendly features such as restaurants, hotels and airports and such essentials as cleanliness and pizza. It also rates them for looks, apparently another tourist draw.
Residents of Charleston, S.C., were rated the most attractive, followed in order by San Diego, Savannah, Ga., Miami, Salt Lake City and Honolulu. You can see that places with warm weather and beaches rated high, compared with colder climes such as Anchorage and Philadelphia that were near the bottom of the list.
Minneapolis/St. Paul, surprisingly, was 16th, which placed it (just barely) in the top half. Sixteenth is darned good, considering that residents are dressed in layers and scarves for five months of the year, so it's difficult to show off assets.
So where would Grand Forks residents rank compared with the Twin Cities for attractiveness, you might ask? I'd say it would be close. We have a university, so many residents are in their peak years of attractiveness, at least by the usual societal measurements. (Also, anecdotally, it appears we have a robust crop of very attractive 59-year-old males.)
Read further for my astute analysis of how Grand Forks would compare with the Twin Cities in other categories:
n Athletic/active: The Twin Cities ranked ninth, easily the highest-rated of the cold-weather cities. If the ranking was based solely on the universities' hockey teams, it would be no contest. But there's more to it than hockey. So, even though we're catching up in the active department because of the Greenway, the Twin Cities gets the nod.
n Diversity: We have Norwegians and Germans, meaning we have lutefisk and sauerkraut. Even our foods smell the same. The Twin Cities ranked 30th for diversity; we'd be even lower.
n Friendliness: Charleston was ranked No. 1, probably because it's easy to be friendly when you know you're attractive. The Twin Cities was seventh, maintaining the Minnesota Nice reputation. We're nicer.
n Stylish: If bomber hats are still in style, we crush the Twin Cities' No. 25 ranking. If not, we lose.
n Intelligence: Minneapolis/St. Paul was ranked third, just one spot ahead of Washington, D.C. I'm not sure how smart the Twin Cities is, but I know we're more than one notch smarter than Washington.
Reach Bakken at (701) 780-1125; (800) 477-6572, ext. 125; or send e-mail to email@example.com .