DC “officially” the nation’s “coolest and fittest city”

Photo by PoPville flickr user yostinator

Ed. Note: I also think it’s no stretch to say we are the most beautiful, the best lovers, the kindest, the most well read, the best at crossword puzzles and other word games, the most sensible and/or daring depending on the situation and the most compassionate people on the planet!

From the Mayor’s office:

“Mayor Vincent C. Gray hailed news that two different organizations had recently published indices ranking the District the nation’s coolest and fittest city.

Forbes magazine today released its 2014 “America’s Coolest Cities” list with the District beating out contenders such as Seattle, Austin and San Francisco for the top honors. The American College of Sports Medicine also recently released its 7th annual American Fitness Index® (AFI) report, which named the District the nation’s fittest city ahead of such recreation-rich cities as Denver; San Francisco; and Portland, Ore.

“Once again, the District of Columbia has been independently ranked the best city in the country in two new major quality-of-life categories, and I continue to be incredibly proud of our amazing city,” said Mayor Gray. “We will add these honors to the ever-growing list of accolades the District has won in recent years in categories ranging from cultural amenities to environmental sustainability to economic growth. The nation’s capital is truly the best place in America to live – and we now have ample independent assessments in a variety of areas to prove it.”

The Forbes rankings took into account such factors as arts and cultural amenities, recreational and sports resources, ethnic and cultural diversity, dining options, population growth, and the portion of the population between the ages of 20 and 34. The AFI rankings took into account indicators of personal health as well as indicators of environmental and community health and sustainability.”

89 Comment

  • I can believe that we are a cool city…. but fit? LOL!

    • justinbc

      Why is this funny? Have you seen the amount of people out running on any given day? The number of gyms, crossfits, etc that keep popping up? The never ending stream of kickballers, frisbees, softball, etc out on the mall? Add to that bikers galore and a huge number of farmers markets and it’s a city that definitely encourages a fit lifestyle.

      • Thankfully we have enough fit people jogging around to counter-balance the Fat Cats!

      • I am pretty sure the kickballers are drinking more calories then they are losing by “playing,” so not sure they should count, but the general point is still true. You don’t see too many fat people around either (relatively speaking), but that may have something to do with the city being so young and still having those good metabolisms…

      • I’m not sure you understand the goal behind kickball. It’s definitely not fitness….

      • I’m thinking this was suppose to be sarcastic?

    • I mean, compared to LA, where everyone’s roided up and surgically enhanced, no. Compared to most other American cities, yeah, we are.

    • Unless you mean “fit” in the British usage (sorry DC, we’re healthy but not particularly pretty), then hell yeah, DC is fit. I’ve never met so many people who run marathons or do triathlons. I’m from Miami, where everyone is image obsessed, and there are nowhere near as many people actually involved/interested in fitness (unless it’s about talking about their new quick fix diet/workout). People actually go to the gym and spend 30 mins strolling on the treadmill, usually with a face full of makeup. That’s half of my walk to work! Not only are people here really physically active (like almost to an obsessive degree), but unlike a ton of other cities, you can get by without a car which means more walking/biking.

    • I do a double-take whenever I see an obese person in DC (outside of the offices and touristy areas). It’s really a rare sight. Of course, city life isn’t easy for people who are obese to begin with.

      • I really hope you’re being hyperbolic, because double-taking at someone who is overweight is iincredibly rude.

      • Once you take away the “offices and the touristy areas” what’s left? I’m guessing that busses and the Metro can be subsumed under “offices and touristy areas”, as can many restaurants, shops and attractions. So you’re left with what? Places where fit people go to exercise and houses of worship? Obesity also correlates with income, so I’m guessing that once you cross out anything that can be considered “offices and touristy areas” you’re hanging out in a relatively narrow social circle.
        I’m not clear what your last statement means. Should you come back to this thread, I’d appreciate a bit more info re: your comment.

        • A huge portion of the city contains very few offices or tourist attractions.

          • That’s my point. So if Anonymous 10:37 only sees obese people in offices and tourist areas s/he either doesn’t get out much, or only goes to areas with relatively young, relatively healthy, relatively affluent people. If she went to the areas where the rest of us live and play, she would see a wider spectrum of people – including some who are obese.

  • Washington, DC is the kindest, bravest, warmest, most wonderful city I’ve ever known in my life.

  • “Ed. Note: I also think it’s no stretch to say we are the most beautiful, the best lovers, the kindest, the most well read, the most sensible and/or daring depending on the situation and the most compassionate people on the planet!”

    +500 for the Prince.

  • this makes me sad

  • Coolness and fitness will always be in the eye of the beholder.

    That being said, the jokes on Twitter about the Forbes list were annoying because they’re the same jokes that people have made about DC for the past 5 or 10 years. Perhaps those same individuals should actually visit DC (or tour the city beyond The Mall) and see what we have to offer. We are far from perfect, but we’re still a great city and I’m happy to call it home.

  • What better demographic to ask about “coolness” then the 70 year old, rich, male,white readers of Forbes!

  • Say whatever you want, but I am glad to call D.C. my home and hope it stays that way for years to come!

  • jim_ed

    I have no idea what this means (if anything), but there’s been a distinct correlation on how much bragging friends are doing on facebook about this article and how far out into the suburbs they live. I don’t think a single friend who lives within the District has even shared the article, but friends that live in Leesburg? They are PUMPED about it.

    • brookland_rez

      That’s odd. I don’t have any friends in VA but my co-workers that live out there especially as far out as Leesburg rarely have anything positive to say about DC. Maybe it’s just the people I work with.

    • Leesburg may be a stretch, but the article does not say DC as a city, it cites DC Metro Area, which certainly includes Arlington, Alexandra, Fairfax County, Silver Spring, Takoma Park, Bethesda, etc., so I’m surprised Mayor Gray hogged the entire stage.

      • Well yes, but the District gives these hinterlands purpose

      • Given that Bethesda/Rockville is listed as a separate “city” later on the list, I am not sure it is intended to include too much of the suburbs.

        • Yeaaaaaaaah, I took more issue to Bethesda being on the list than DC. If you look at the criteria they used, DC makes sense. Yes, it’s hard to compare us to larger cities like New York, but we’re on the upswing and definitely have a lot of things that makes pretty friggin cool.

        • WTF They put Bethesda in the “more affordable” up-and coming list???

    • I shared it, and I live in the District! It is part of my unending campaign to get my friends from CA/NY to move to DC so we can relive our youth together!!!!!!!

    • The one DC resident FB friend of mine to post the Forbes article followed it with a snarky remark (as did a couple others including myself). I mean any list of “cool” cities that has Riverside, CA in the top 10 deserves to be ridiculed.

      It is a fit city though, no denying that!

      • Yeah, I grew up in Corona, CA, right next to Riverside. I was surprised as hell to see we made this list.

  • This makes me feel even less in shape and in desperate need of a run. One day…

  • Formerly Broken Jaw

    I’m fairly certain that I bring the coolness factor down a few notches, sorry!

  • Yeah, DC is definitely fit. It’s impossible to walk down the sidewalk on weekend afternoons in most neighborhoods without dodging hordes of joggers. Cool? I dunno. I like living here for the city’s beauty, greenness, mild weather (relative to other northern east coast cities) and its walkability. If I cared about nightlife, I think I would prefer to be elsewhere. But why so much bashing? I’ve lived all over the country, and ended up in DC because I liked it here best. This city has a ton to recommend it, for all the flaws.

  • hahahahaha, i’m well above that age group, but you have to be willfully denying that that age group is a dynamically creative age group and get out more than us older folk.

    makes perfect sense to me why that helps make a city cooler.

  • “the best lovers”! LOL! right on!

    I agree with the comments above that you wouldn’t right off hand think of DC as the “fittest” city, but that’s because DC isn’t as image obsessed as LA, etc. Fit, but not flaunting it. And doesn’t that just make you even more cool? 🙂 We’re more about intellect over here which is why I love PoP’s crossword remark!

  • Fittest? Certainly if the number of women walking around in Lululemon is any indication.

    • +1. This city is full of truly gorgeous women and I hate how people don’t acknowledge that. Unlike LA they’re intelligent , which is super attractive. And unlike NY they’re independent and have opinions. (There’s smart pretty girls in NY too but sad fact is lots of money-grubbing up there.) Miami is for plastic surgeons. DC ladies are all around the best and it should be acknowledged.

      • that is a pretty blanketed and short sighted statement. there are gorgeous women everywhere, there are intelligent women everywhere. there are opinionated women everywhere. furthermore, there are plenty of men and women in DC who date and marry for money and/or power.

  • Coming from Forbes, I think that “cool” refers to the fact that DC is the “coolest” place to wear khakis.
    Seriously, if Forbes is your arbiter of “cool” then you’re already a lost cause.
    I love DC because it is a very liveable city with a great quality of life. However, it definitely is not “cool.” SF, NYC, Austin, LA, and Seattle are all “cooler”, IMHO.

    • justinbc

      Well, their metrics for ranking the cities are very clearly spelled out. What formula would you use?

      • Maybe, but it takes a while for perceptions to catch up with reality.

      • justinbc

        A survey of who? Residents? Outsiders? You would likely get very different results. Opinions are far too subjective, statistics (such as local owned restaurants per capita, number of museums, etc) much less so.

        • Statistics can be MUCH less reliable than opinions depending on methodology and use – and all the more deceptive, since people give them such blind credence.

        • justinbc

          True, but at least with statistics you can evaluate the methodology used. With opinions there’s little to go on other than how someone felt like answering, and to get a good reading even with that you would still have to properly select a statistical sample.

  • justinbc

    You clearly underestimate the earning potential of people in that age bracket.

  • DC is great and deserves the recognition and it’s annoying how so many of the residents hate the city. If you’d rather live in Atlanta or Phoenix or whatever, just GTFO. The negative reaction to the list (that I saw) was largely people conflating Congress with the city itself. Yeah, the political system sucks and Congress is full of dipshits (DC doesn’t get to elect any of them anyways), and the city of DC where we all get to live is awesome.

  • For a city? That’s an age group that pays a ton in taxes and uses very little services. It’s why DC administrations keep trying to court them.

    Retired people are the exact opposite. They’re a fantastic way to break a budget by paying little in taxes, using a lot of services and voting in droves to get services they they don’t pay taxes for. Once people start to get in the 35-50 demo, they start having more kids that need public school and other services.

    In addition, that’s an age group that brings in the next generation of workers to a city and sets the future tone of what the economy will be like. Also, areas that fail to attract younger workers are usually the kinds of areas that begin to lose population, have big budget issues and have shrinking economies. See most of the Midwest for this.

    • seniors get something called MEDICARE — federally funded and no cost to local or state government. Sure, seniors always vote in record numbers, but they also tend to have grown children (if any) and greater amounts of discretionary time and money, especially the ones who can afford DC. The seniors who stay or downsize into DC are every bit the boon to the local economy as younger residents, probably more so since they won’t graduate to parenthood.

  • Quite the contrary, as a 24 yo I have a number of friends who are recent grads (in the past 3 years) who are making at least $50k (some much more). DC has one of the best and most lucrative job markets for young people. We don’t have kids, we don’t drive cars, and we have disposable income to funnel back into the local economy.

    • As a 29 year old: we still don’t have kids or cars but paying back those grad school loans severely limits how much income we funnel back into the local economy.

      • right, but coolness isn’t about money. it’s about how you engage with the city. every event i go to is full on 20 somethings. concerts, festivals, farmers markets, craft shows, art exhibits, plays, everything. we’ve got cool stuff going on and even those strapped for cash can enjoy it. ( even if you can’t afford the cocktails)

    • $50k is barely enough to live on in D.C. – let alone to “funnel” money anywhere.

      • justinbc

        I think people who are actually “barely living” in DC may beg to differ with that sentiment.

      • well, I said “at least”. However, not sure of how you live, but in DC you can certainly live comfortably with a $50k per year salary. plenty of people do it. especially young people with few bills, responsibilities or attachments.

        • When I moved to DC I made 40k per year. It’s definitely doable, and there are a lot of people living in this city making considerable less than 50k

  • I love D.C., but having lots of young people does not make you “cool” when you’re talking about 200,000 class president types. The “growth” part of their methodology is also really stupid (New York doesn’t have as much room to grow as the other cities on the list). Fortunately no one other than Vince Grey takes listicles seriously/

    • 1. it’s percentage growth and
      2. why can’t “class president types” be cool?
      3. what is cool anyway?

  • justinbc

    Those numbers are relatively meaningless without comparing them to other cities.

    • Indeed. Those numbers might not be good, but compared to other cities in the USA, they easily could be. According to the CDC, over 1/3 of Americans are obese, so 22% ain’t so bad relatively speaking. Now if you’re comparing DC to Japan, then yes, it is pretty awful…

      • Exactly, it’s like transit in DC. We may have the second- or third-best transit system in the country, but by global standards? We’re just one crappy little jitney.

  • Coolest city in the nation? Wow. I wonder if it’s cause those Forbes guys noticed me running errands in crocs and jorts and recognized DC’s avant-garde style.

  • The only thing that would make us cooler would be MORE BRUNCH OPTIONS!!!!!!!!!

  • DC’s mom thinks he’s cool, so there.

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