Friendliest Cities In The USA: Top 5 Most Welcoming Places To Live, According To Experts

Whether you’re moving to a new city for a fresh start or just visiting, a large part of what makes the experience is the people. You will explore new restaurants, discover new landmarks, and make great memories, but the interactions you have with others make a lasting impact. If you’re moving to a new city with children, you will want to settle in a safe neighborhood. The friendliest cities in the USA all have something in common – the hospitality and warmth from the locals make them a great place to live.

Many factors affect where a person decides to move and settle, such as career, family, or living expenses. Research from MIT has actually found that moving to busy urban areas actually helps older adults live longer. Specifically, the study finds adults over 65 who move from a metro area in the 10th percentile (in terms of how much they enhance longevity) to an area in the 90th percentile adds 1.1 years to their lives. Moving to a bustling city can enhance your mental health by providing new social opportunities and easier access to healthcare.

Having relationships with your neighbors is an important part of creating a sense of community. A poll conducted by the Zebra found that 66% of Americans consider their neighbors strangers or only acquaintances. Americans in the Midwest region are most likely to be friends with their neighbors. If you’re the type of person who likes to be friends with your neighbors, living in one of the friendliest cities in the USA might be helpful!

StudyFinds researched which cities have earned this title, collecting the most common recommendations from 10 expert websites. If you think your city can be described as one of the friendliest, let us know where you live in the comments below!

The List: Friendliest Cities in the U.S., Per Travel Pros

1. Honolulu, Hawaii

Oahu is one of the most  popular American beach destinations – but besides the great tourism hospitality, there is a great sense of unity among the natives on the island. Many businesses even offer a “kama’aina” or resident discount. “Whether it’s through hyper-local restaurants or a museum exhibit showcasing Hawaiian history, Honolulu’s sense of community and identity is only becoming stronger with time,” writes Conde Nast Traveler.

The Hawaiians also take great pride in their indigenous culture, showcasing history through local restaurants and museums. The city’s population is also extremely diverse, with residents hailing from all over the world. “Honolulu, Hawaii is back on the list! After making the Most Neighborly Cities list in 2020, Honolulu fell out of the top 25 in 2021. This year it’s back at #20, due in large part to the fact that it’s the ninth happiest city in the U.S.. Honolulu is also home to plenty of nonprofits, and is one of the most inclusive cities in the country,” writes Neighbor.

Honolulu, Hawaii tops the list of Friendliest Cities in the U.S.
Honolulu, Hawaii tops the list of Friendliest Cities in the U.S. — and this aerial view of paradise might explain why. (Photo by Cosmin Serban on Unsplash)

2. Newport, Rhode Island

Newport, Rhode Island is an island city that is home to rich history and beautiful coastlines. “Known for being a popular New England summer vacation spot, Newport tops the list of most welcoming places in the US. Travelers will enjoy the rich history that this island city has to offer between touring the stately Gilded Age mansions, visiting the International Tennis Hall of Fame, and listening to classic tunes at the world-famous Folk Festival,” writes Booking.

The residents in this peaceful town are known to be the most welcoming, winning the top spot Booking’s list in 2021. “The winning place in America—Newport, Rhode Island—is set on Aquidneck Island, with a yacht-filled harbor, an oceanfront Cliff Walk trail, famed Gilded Age mansions and a rich maritime history,”  writes Forbes.

Castle Hill Lighthouse in Newport, Rhode Island
With picturesque views like this one at the Castle Hill Lighthouse, it’s no wonder people in Newport, Rhode Island are considered among the friendliest in the U.S. (Photo by Sid M from Pixabay)

3. New Orleans, Louisiana

New Orleans is famous for its colorful Mardi Gras celebrations, where residents and revelers roam the streets and gather on balconies. “Everyone has a story — and wants to hear yours’ is how one T+L reader described New Orleans’ friendliness. ‘In neighborhoods, all doors are open, or everybody is sitting on the porch,” writes Travel + Leisure.

If you visit New Orleans, you’ll be sure to experience the city’s distinct Creole culture and vibrant history. “Come as you are to New Orleans and feel right at home. Jackson Square is always buzzing with energy as local street artists sketch to the soundtrack of live jazz musicians,” writes Expedia. “Drop a few dollars in an open saxophone case on your way to slurping back fresh oysters.”

Musicians playing on Frenchmen Street in New Orleans
Frenchmen Street in New Orelans is overflowing with amazing musicians, those who have regular standing gigs at the bars up and down the street and even the younger generation musicians who come out to busk during the busy hours of Frenchmen Street. These musicians don’t even let a little rain stop them from performing. (Photo by Morgan Petroski on Unsplash)

4. Chattanooga, Tennessee

Chattanooga is is set along the Tennessee River in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains and perfect for those looking for an “outdoorsy” place to live mixed with Southern hospitality. “Chattanooga is an idyllic southern getaway with a good balance of activities in the city and outside of it, all mixed in with the charm of easygoing and friendly residents,” writes Next Vacay. “With a bustling downtown scene full of good food and good times, and breathtaking escapes into garden trails and mountains, you’re guaranteed to make memories and friends.”

Chattanooga is a great place for hang-gliding, bass fishing, mountain climbing and caving expeditions. “Chattanooga is probably so friendly because everyone is outside enjoying the mountains. All that fresh air from hiking, biking, and kayaking generates a lot of feel-good endorphins,” says My Move.

A couple rides bicycles in front of the Faxon-Thomas Mansion in Chattanooga
A couple rides bicycles in front of the Faxon-Thomas Mansion in Chattanooga, Tennessee. (Photo by Kwame Inoyone on Pexels)

5. Asheville, North Carolina

Grab a beer with a neighbor at one of Asheville’s many craft breweries or partake in watersports along the French Broad River. You’ll be sure to find someone to show you around. “Locals in the charming city of Asheville are good-mannered, eager to help and friendly to both other locals and visitors alike. People will say ‘hi’ just about anywhere: Walmart, the parking lot or even when stopped at a red light,” writes Enjoy Travel

Asheville is known for a vibrant arts scene and historic architecture, including the dome-topped Basilica of Saint Lawrence. “Sometimes described as “eclectic,” Asheville also has a vibrant arts and culture scene which is demonstrated in the lively River Arts District and complemented by festivals like the LaZoom Comedy Tour,” writes MapQuest. “Perhaps most importantly, the locals are friendly and welcoming, earning Asheville a reputation as one of the most friendly cities in America.”

River Arts District of Asheville, North Carolina
“I saw this art from a bridge while crossing the river into downtown Asheville, NC. After I spent some time walking around downtown, I made my way down to the mill district to grab this shot. It became my motto for the rest of my expedition.” — Kyle Glenn on Unsplash

Honorable mentions:

  • Madison, Wisconsin

  • Minneapolis, Minnesota

  • Rochester, New York

  • Charleston, South Carolina


Note: This article was not paid for nor sponsored. StudyFinds is not connected to nor partnered with any of the brands mentioned and receives no compensation for its recommendations. This post may contain affiliate links.