Alright, maybe it's mean-spirited to call Condé Nast's Traveler magazine "dumb," but for the second year it has published a readers' survey ranking Oakland as the No. 2 "unfriendliest" city in the U.S. And, as it was in 2013, readers still hate Newark, New Jersey more, ranking it No. 1.
So what's the criteria for this survey? Apparently their "unfriendliest" score (Oakland gets a 40.6) is based on whether a city gives visitors "a relatively cold shoulder,” according to the magazine's website and as reported by the Chronicle.
The magazine's doesn't do much to explain its readers' reasoning:
“Oakland has a bad rap,” one commenter acknowledges, and another admits that it’s still “rough around the edges,” but “ask a local first” and you’ll avoid the less hospitable parts of town. A surprising number of people observed a rising food scene with “so much raw talent in little kitchens everywhere.” Also popular: Fox Theater, which welcomes everyone “from Thievery Corporation to Erasure.” Last year's ranking: no. 2 (unfriendliest).
Meanwhile, Oakland is training its hospitality and customer service workers to help make the city a tourist destination, as we previously noted, and crime is significantly down this year, as the East Bay Express reports.
A director at Visit Oakland, the city's tourism bureau, tells the Express that they've been meeting with local news outlets to try to set the record straight. "It's an exciting time to be in Oakland," Kim Bardakian said. "Historically, there's been lots of attention on crime in Oakland and it's hard to get rid of those stereotypes."
Visit Oakland might also want to reach out to Traveler magazine and ask them why the hate?