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Chicago among top 10 cities for snob appeal

Published: Tuesday, Dec. 10, 2013 11:32 a.m. CST

By Paul Tooher

Feel a little smug when you tell people you’re from Chicagoland? Turns out you’re not alone. The most recent edition of Travel+Leisure magazine ranks the Chicago metropolitan area as the seventh snobbiest city in America.

“One reason that the urbane Windy City made the highfalutin top 10 is its renowned theater scene, although it’s hard to call the sketch work at Second City, or the improv at iO Chicago Theater, snooty,” according to the magazine. “A favorite among serious architecture buffs, Chicago did win the survey for one great (culinary) equalizer: Pizza.”

Finishing ahead of Chicago was San Francisco, as the snobbiest city in the nation, followed by New York, Boston, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Santa Fe, N.M., and Seattle. Rounding out the top 10 were the Renaissance City, Washington and Charleston, S.C.

What did it take to make the list?

The magazine’s editors factored in some “traditional staples of snobbery” including a reputation for aloof and smart residents, along with high-end shopping and highbrow cultural offerings like classical music and theater.
The editors also considered 21st-century definitions of elitism, such as tech-savvy, artisanal coffeehouses and a conspicuous eco-consciousness – the “kind of city where you get a dirty look for throwing your coffee cup in the wrong bin.”

San Francisco and New York City might seem like obvious picks. But Providence?

According to the magazine, residents of the city founded by Roger Williams “seem to embrace a café-culture attitude: after all, the city ranks No. 3 for cafés … and No. 4 for cutting-edge performance art.”

“Even its No. 1-ranked burgers exhibit a little healthy pretension: The sliders at beloved Harry’s Bar & Burger are 100 percent Hereford beef, and you can wash them down with a local beer (served, quirkily, in a 68-ounce boot),” the magazine reports.

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