With the NFL schedule set to be released this month, you may be one of the thousands of fans eager to plan a road trip. Here are the best places to go and the ones to avoid. Rankings are based on beauty, walkability (that’s a word, right?), climate, cuisine, culture and friendliness (I’m looking at you, Philly).
1. New Orleans. Every other American city is your repressed parents. New Orleans is your overweight, fun uncle who has an eyepatch and a fanboat.
2. Seattle. You’ll be fine with SPF 2.
3. Miami. Like a crazy girlfriend. She’s hot and a lot of fun, but you’re always worried about getting burned.
4. San Francisco. Your barista’s name probably is Rain or Island. Or Thorn.
5. Los Angeles. Idea for a sitcom episode: Longtime NFL bachelor city that’s struck out at finding a team suddenly realizes it has landed two at the same time! Can it juggle both? Will they find out about each other? Watch as the hijinks ensue!
6. San Diego. N/A
7. Washington, D.C. Beautiful, clean, culturally rich city. But it’s no Mar-a-lago.
8. Chicago. Where flu season begins.
9. Baltimore. They’ll tell you their favorite regional dish is crab cakes. But it’s really something called scrapple, which the rest of the country pronounces, “crap.”
10. Boston. If you’re so tough, why are all the men wearing jewelry?
11. Pittsburgh. It has a long-running rivalry with Cleveland, which tells you all you need to know about Pittsburgh.
12. Denver: Here’s your five-day forecast:
Tuesday: 99 degrees
Thursday: widespread flooding
Friday: damaging hail
Saturday: looks nice
13. Green Bay. Most difficult decision in a Green Bay resident’s life: When Packers home opener and start of white-tail season fall on the same day. (Alternate: Green Bay grooms get married in camouflage hunting gear. But in their defense, it’s their nicest pair of camouflage hunting gear.)
14. Phoenix. A trip in late fall or winter is like a vacation. A trip any earlier is like visiting the sun.
15. New York. I’ve heard good things.
16. Charlotte: Did you know that prior to the California Gold Rush the United States’ leading producer of gold was Charlotte? I learned that after Googling, “tell me something — anything — interesting about Charlotte.”
17. Philadelphia. In Philadelphia “water” is pronounced “wooder” and “you” is “youse guys.” The local river, the Schuylkill, is pronounced “Krzyzewski”
18. Nashville. In 2013, The New York Times dubbed Nashville a new “it” city but may have accidentally deleted two letters.
19. Cincinnati. No thanks.
20. Indianapolis: You squint your eyes, furrow your brow and want to say you’ve been there but you’re not sure. It has a Steak ‘n Shake, right?
21. Kansas City. The city that ruined your colon.
22. Tampa. The city is famous for its many excellent … (my mom reads this) … libraries.
23. Cleveland. Like restoring an old Buick: You’re making progress but every so often you question whether it’s worth the effort.
24. Minneapolis. Minnesotans have 50 words for ‘snow.’
25. Atlanta. The name of a really good television show and a really mediocre city.
26. Houston. It has four seasons: summer, hot summer, blazin’ hot summer, and don’t touch the steering wheel with your bare hands.
27. Oakland: City motto: You know you’re entering Oakland, right?
28. Jacksonville: The city gave us The Allman Brothers Band. Then ruined it by giving us Limp Bizkit.
29. Dallas. When a Dallas resident needs a blood transfusion they set up an IV bag full of A1 sauce.
30. Buffalo: After being shot at World’s Fair in Buffalo in 1901, President William McKinley’s dying words were, “For the love of Pete, don’t bury me in Buffalo.”
31. Detroit: In San Francisco, $500K will get you a studio apartment. In Detroit, $500K will get you Detroit.
32. Las Vegas. Where a piece of your soul dies every time you visit. Remember: Every time a slot machine rings/an angel gets … shot in the abdomen.