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About The Author


Susan Axelrod

Susan Axelrod's food writing career began in the kitchen; she owned a restaurant and catering business for 15 years before turning to journalism. By day, she is the social media editor for Portland Press Herald. To relax, she bakes, gardens and hikes with her husband and their two dogs, preferably followed by a cocktail or a Maine beer. Susan can be contacted at 791-6310 or On Twitter: @susansaxelrod

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Posted: December 12, 2013

Pretty in Portland: City ranks fourth on magazine’s ‘most attractive’ list

Written by: Susan Axelrod

Photo from

Hey good looking! They even used the right picture this time: Travel & Leisure’s latest American cities list is “Most and Least Attractive People,” with Portland, Maine at Number 4 (after San Francisco, Providence and Nashville), illustrated by the photo above. We’ve given T&L grief for representing Portland in several previous lists with a photo of Higgins Beach in Scarborough, so this is a big step up.

Not that we’re not grateful for all the attention. In fact, we love being known as America’s Number 1 city for Summer, Safety, Fourth of July and Good Drivers. Here’s a sampling of how Portland stacked up on Travel & Leisure’s lists for 2013. Get all the data HERE.


Top 10 for: Attractive, Good Drivers, Easy Going, Friendly, Intelligent, Charming Local Accent, Offbeat and Proud of Their City

Bottom 10 for: Stylish

Food/Drink Restaurants

Top 10 for: Cafes, Coffee, Farmers’ Markets, Fine Dining Restaurants, Ice Cream, Microbrew Beer, Sandwiches/Delis, Sweets/Desserts


Bottom 10 for: Nightclubs


Top 10 for: Antiques Stores, Cool Souvenirs, Independent Boutiques

Bottom 10 for: Luxury Stores

Quality of Life and Visitor Experience

Top 10 for: Affordability, Cleanliness, Environmental Friendliness,  Peace and Quiet, Public Parks and Outdoor Access, Safety, Wireless Coverage

Bottom 10 for: Range of Hotel Options

Best Times to Visit

Top 10 for: 4th of July, Fall, Summer

Bottom 10 for: New Year’s Eve, Spring Break, Winter

A model city

Travel & Leisure isn’t the only magazine and website to include Portland on livability lists. What does it all mean? Ray Routhier of the Portland Press Herald tried to answer that question.

Portland excels at making the list

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