When you think of an American city, what comes to mind? For some, it’s skyscrapers and iconic landmarks; others picture sprawling suburbs and corn fields. According to the internet, here are the most stereotypical cities in the US.
Note: Some quotes in this piece have been lightly edited for grammar.
1: America’s Most Average
1.4K users upvoted one commenter who said Columbus, Ohio, is the most stereotypical city in the US. “It’s America’s test market for a reason.”
2: That’s the Spirit
While Chicago and NYC embody the spirit of America the most, according to a few commenters, one person thinks the most stereotypical US city looks a little different. “Probably some average place like Richmond, Virginia, or Ft. Collins, Colorado.”
3: Speaking From Experience
One Peoria, Illinois, resident chose to vouch for the city’s average appeal. “Can concur this is the most average group of people ever.” Another commenter chimed in with a fun fact: “Peoria is home to the League of Extra Ordinary Gentlemen.”
4: A Little Bit of Everything
“It’s cosmopolitan but friendly,” says one commenter who thinks Chicago is the poster child for US cities. “The food choices reflect the melting pot that is America. The architecture is staggeringly beautiful and uniquely American as well. I’ve heard it said that while LA and NY belong to the world, Chicago belongs to the USA.”
5: Don’t Know Why
One commenter’s vote for the most stereotypical US city is Kansas City, Missouri. “I can’t explain it, but it just seems to have the city life, the suburban sprawl, and the combined culture that just screams Americana to me.”
6: No Place Like Home
One Kansas City native seconds their city, saying its rich history in barbecue, baseball, and jazz makes it the crossroads of America. “We overshare and say hello to people we don’t know as we pass them on the sidewalk. Say what you want about KC, good or bad. There’s no denying it’s a very American city.”
7: If the Shoe Fits
One commenter thinks that Charlotte, North Carolina, takes the cake for the most American place ever. “Its biggest industry is banking/finance, it’s ethnically diverse but somehow has little culture or identity outside of anything beer-related, the infrastructure and public transit are shoddy at best, and the whole city is essentially a sprawled-out suburb.”
8: What Happens In Vegas
One commenter says they once heard Las Vegas described as “America: The Ride.” Another commenter agrees. “I always felt like Las Vegas was the most ‘American’ city. Just doesn’t feel possible anywhere else, good and bad.”
9: Average at Best
Muncie, Indiana, also known as Middletown, USA, is the most stereotypical city, according to one former resident. “Though more true in the 80s and 90s when I grew up there, it’s been studied as the ‘average American city’ a number of times.”
10: All American Barbecue
A few commenters mentioned another city in Missouri. “I would say St. Louis. It’s the crossroads between East and West, and I feel it has everything that typically generalizes ‘America.’ Especially that BBQ.”
11: Nothing New
“Hear me out,” says one commenter, who speaks on one city’s notably average setting. “If I dropped you off in Oklahoma City (forget the surrounding scenery), it’s going to look like 100 other typical cities in America. There’s absolutely nothing exceptional about it.”
12: Don’t Mess With Texas
One commenter’s answer depends on the definition of American. “If you mean the multigenerational Americans, probably Dallas or Houston. Lots of nationalism and American pride. New York, Chicago, and LA are all melting-pot cities.”
13: Lights, Camera, Action
South Pasadena, California, is one commenter’s pick since it’s always on the big screen. “That’s where the Hollywood studios go when they want to film something in Anytown, USA. So yes, very stereotypical.”
14: Homegrown Hollywood
Some believed this list of stereotypical US cities wouldn’t be complete without the City of Angels. One commenter says, “Hollywood packages its brand of America and exports it worldwide until those products define the stereotypes, and since Hollywood typically works in its own backyard, the stereotype is Los Angeles.”
Apples to Oranges
“American cities being so diverse, ‘stereotypical’ doesn’t have much meaning,” says a commenter who finds it hard to compare US cities to each other. “I think of San Francisco, New York City, Chicago, Austin, and Atlanta as all being very different.”
Coat of Many Colors
Another person agrees that America is a woven fabric with many threads. “It’s hard to say one is more ‘stereotypical’ than the other,” they said. “An old-timey Western town in CA is definitely ‘American’ to me, but so is NYC because it’s literally the ‘Gateway to America’ (Ellis Island).”
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