There's no way of getting around this: there's a divide in the United States of America and it's been there for a long time, and it'll continue to be there - you guessed it - for a long time. Alas, while many folks across the country tend to disagree with one another it feels like there's something they can all agree on, and that is they're pretty proud to be who they are.
While they may be proud, though, even they have to admit there are some locations in both the North and the South that outsiders probably wouldn't even dream of setting foot in. Some of the reasons behind that are quite light-hearted but the same tale doesn't apply to all of them, which is why we're airing on the side of caution with the following disclaimer.
We know that some of the places we're about to list don't qualify as being in the North or South depending on your point of view, but in order to widen the field, we took our framed map of the United States and split it right down the middle. We understand that'll cause some complaints (from those in the West and the East), but we've done this more so on a geographical basis.
It's the best way of dividing up and conquering this big, crazy country that many of you readers call home, because there are just so many factors to consider. Some of these locations are much more 'traditionally' Southern than others, which is something that'll become evident as we make our way through the piece.
25 NORTH: St.Louis, Missouri - A Long Way To Go
When the Rams left town a few years ago it honestly felt like they took the last portion of sanity that the city of St. Louis had left. With dwindling satisfaction figures as well as some pretty dodgy surrounding areas, it feels like the Midwest city is just kind of ‘there’ right now.
When people are picking out cities to visit on a trip to the States, a lot of folks gloss over St. Louis and it’s not hard to see or understand why. It’s the kind of place that brings you down a bit, mainly because it doesn’t quite reach the same heights as many of its neighbours in terms of establishing that ‘wow’ factor.
24 SOUTH: State of Alabama - An Uncertain Vibe In The Air
It doesn’t take a genius to figure out why television characters like T-Bag were billed as being from the ‘great’ state of Alabama. It’s the kind of place whereby the locals are just a little bit off in terms of their well-held beliefs, and while everyone has the right to believe what they want, they’re certainly a little bit too ‘on the nose’ with it.
You can extend that theory to their beloved Crimson Tide, as they have the kind of fandom that makes you wonder why people get so emotionally invested in sport in the first place.
Oh, and it’s also ranked extremely low on recent studies regarding states with the worst quality of life.
23 NORTH: Detroit, Michigan - On The Decline
In the last few decades the city of Detroit has gone through a major decline, and it doesn’t seem like that’s going to change any time soon. The Michigan pillar’s population has dropped significantly from more than 1.8 million to just under 700,000, and that’s no coincidence.
The poverty numbers have risen, too, and it’s just not the kind of place you’d want to find yourselves stranded in if you had nowhere else to turn. Sure, you wouldn’t want to find yourself stranded in most places, but Detroit would definitely be located somewhere close to the top of the list.
22 SOUTH: Albuquerque, New Mexico - Anyone There?
Ever watched Breaking Bad? Yup. There’s a reason they based the show in Albuquerque.
While you may have gotten the impression that it’s quite a quirky place full of good times and tequila, you couldn’t be any further from the truth. In addition to having more dangerous animals on average than three-quarters of the country, it’s an incredibly flat city that struggles from constant and drastic alterations in weather from day to day.
It’s not a ‘happy’ place and we’re going to go out on a limb here and suggest they aren’t big fans of people going there purely because of a TV show they saw once.
21 NORTH: Baltimore, Maryland - Think 'The Wire'
We don’t want to stick too much to the world of television, but we have to ask: have you ever seen The Wire? If you have, then you’ll probably understand where we’re coming from with this one. In the majority of high profile rankings regarding crime and poverty, Baltimore continues to rank quite lowly with a fairly poor median household income.
While people who are just passing through probably won’t care about that, what they will care about is how easy it is to drift into the rough areas of the city.
It’s not a total calamity, but it’s not a place you’ll have a splendid time in either.
20 SOUTH: Hammond, Louisiana - A Rough State
Hammond, Louisiana is one of those cities that is probably pretty unknown to those outside of the loop, and we can understand that. Alas, you may have heard it pop up from time to time on the news, courtesy of it being in quite close proximity to both New Orleans and Baton Rouge.
If you’re looking for a place to stay outside of NOLA if you happen to be travelling across the South, then please, don’t stay here. The crime rates have been sky high for many, many years now and while the population seems to be gradually rising, that isn’t a good enough indication of progress in our book.
19 NORTH: Minnesota - Cold As Ice
The average temperature across Minnesota in the month of January is around -10 degrees Celsius, and no, that’s not an exaggeration. Even if the summer most cities rarely break into the upper 20s and while that may be okay and suitable for some, it won’t be if you aren’t used to those kinds of temperatures.
Minnesota has pleasant locals but even they can’t protect you from the pain that stems from being in such cold weather for so long. Most of us will know what it’s like to be cold and actually feel cold, but this is on a whole other level.
18 SOUTH: Tulsa, Oklahoma - Brash And In Your Face
Chandler Bing wasn’t exactly thrilled about the prospect of moving to Tulsa in Friends, and trust us, it’s not just because he wanted to stay in New York.
Brady Arts District, Downtown, Uptown, Southern Hills, North Tulsa, South Tulsa, West Tulsa. That’s a list of what is considered to be some of the worst neighborhoods in the city and, call us crazy, but doesn’t that cover pretty much all of it?
There appears to be a looming gang culture that many folks wouldn’t initially link to a state like Oklahoma, but it’s definitely there. It’s not exactly a hotspot for tourists so if you find yourself stuck there for a night or two, you’re better off keeping yourself to yourself.
17 NORTH: Hunting Park, Philadelphia - They Fight For What’s ‘Right’
From the top to the very bottom in cities like Philadelphia, you’re somewhat bound to be met with some bad folks, but Hunting Park tends to be located towards the top of that list. It’s the kind of neighbourhood in which you just would not want to walk around at night on your own, so if you see a cheap Airbnb there, you’ll probably understand why a little bit more now.
Philly is a city of fighters that want to test themselves and while we can admire that, sometimes they don’t have all too many boundaries. It’s a pretty sickening culture when you think about it, but in truth, it all depends on how much you allow it to creep into your mind.
16 SOUTH: San Antonio, Texas - Far Too Big And Bold
First off, San Antonio represents just how unbelievably big the state of Texas is and if that doesn’t scare you just a little bit, then we take our hats off to you.
With 1.5 million residents it’s not even the biggest city in the state by population, which tells you a lot. Alas, it doesn’t tell you the full story, which is that issues faced by the police have hit an all-time high in recent years with many of the figures pointing towards domestic incidents.
San Antonio is one of those cities you may consider coming to purely for sports or to visit some friends, but perhaps you should think about meeting at a neutral location instead.
15 NORTH: South Side, Chicago - Stay In The City
Everything you’ve heard is true, basically.
There are two sides to the city of Chicago, and it kind of feels like those sides represent the ‘angel and devil’ stereotype that we’ve all had beaten into our skulls. Sure, you may think that’s an exaggeration, but there’s a clear limit between where the fun-loving and buzzing city ends and the suburbs begin.
Some believe this area has some kind of cultural significance and while we can entirely appreciate wanting to look on the bright side of things, there’s only so many times you can use ‘art’ and ‘indie’ as excuses.
14 SOUTH: Sonoran Desert - There's Hot, Then There's This Place
Ah, the Sonoran Desert.
The fact that this place also covers parts of Mexico should immediately serve as a red flag to everyone out there who struggles with the weather.
It’s so bad, in fact, that during the winter months (yes, we said winter) the temperatures in the Coachella Valley can range from 70 degrees Fahrenheit to 90 degrees Fahrenheit. As you can imagine things continue to get a little bit silly from that point on, and it’s just a little bit intimidating when you think about it.
If you ever get stranded here, then you’d best hope that you’ve got some sun cream and gallons of water at hand.
13 NORTH: Portland, Oregon - Tough Exterior & Interior
Without exaggerating too much, we wouldn’t hesitate to say that Portland is one of the most stubborn cities in the world. In terms of an explanation, what we’re essentially saying is they’re so unbelievably proud of where they come from – to a fault.
Everyone else is an outsider in the eyes of many locals, and while there are exceptions to the rule, it certainly feels like a place that allows arrogance to override the desire for higher tourism numbers.
There’s a big ‘bravado’ culture on display in Oregon as a whole, but Portland definitely lives and breathes that ideology from dawn until dusk.
12 SOUTH: Stockton, California - Wrong Neighborhood, Guys
Have you ever heard of Nate & Nick Diaz? If you have, then you’ll already be fully aware of the logic behind this entry.
Officially speaking, Stockton is considered to be one of the worst places to live in the United States. Statistically speaking, it is also one of the most dangerous cities to be found throughout the country.
If we’re speaking to you from a human to human point of view, though, it’s just not very nice. We understand that there’s this burning desire within Cali locals to be deemed the biggest and baddest state, but have they ever thought about the consequences of that?
11 NORTH: Milwaukee, Wisconsin - Tough Conditions
The average high temperatures in January in the city of Milwaukee is -1 degree Celsius, and we just don’t really know how to get our heads around that.
We understand that there are 11 months of the year to go alongside that, but if that’s what you’re dealing with at the peak, then we don’t even want to think about how folks try to justify living there. Why? Because there’s not even really all that much to see and do in the city, and we’d even stretch that theory out to the entirety of Wisconsin as a state.
We’re open to change, Milwaukee locals, but it’ll take a big effort.
10 SOUTH: Daytona Beach Bars - Locals Only
Daytona Beach is often ranked amongst the worst places to live in Florida, and that’s no small part of our logic here. Sure, it may be a nice place to go and visit for the day or maybe even a long weekend, but what happens when you head into a local bar?
We’ll tell you what happens: the locals will know straight away that you are not a regular part of their community. 95% of the time it doesn’t even matter if, and when, you make an attempt to converse with them, because they simply won’t budge.
We’re talking from experience here, too.
9 NORTH: Atlantic City, New Jersey - Don't Be Fooled
If you want a good time when it comes to partying the night away, then we can’t recommend Las Vegas enough. Alas, while Vegas is pinpointed as the major hot spot in the West, in the East (the North for the purposes of this piece), Atlantic City takes the crown.
Unfortunately, if you go here, you’ve probably been lured in for all the wrong reasons. The surrounding areas are woeful to make your way around, the facilities aren’t even that great, and it’s a ‘city’ in one hell of a decline.
All we’re saying is look into it – shout out to Eddie Bravo.
8 SOUTH: Louisiana ‘Gator Territory - Don't Get Bitten
There are two instances in which people tend to wander into gator territory down in Louisiana: either they go on an expedition, most of which can go wrong pretty quickly, or they stumble into a situation they can’t handle all by themselves.
Of course, our advice of ‘don’t get bitten’ isn’t exactly groundbreaking in any way, shape or form but you’d be surprised to learn that people legitimately need to be told not to put their hands near the alligators. Why on earth they’ve even been allowed into the United States of America in the first place is mind-boggling.
7 NORTH: Wilmington, Delaware - Proud Of Being The Underdog
Wilmington is the capital for a lot of things, and they’re all pretty bad.
It feels like a lot of their locals thrive on being dubbed a ‘bad’ city or an ‘underdog’ city, especially when they’re located in the kind of state that many people tend to forget about when playing the state game.
These aren’t the type of folks you want to mess with, especially because of how close they are to the city of Philadelphia. Seriously, you can get there in your car in around 35 minutes, and we happen to think that plays a big factor here.
6 SOUTH: Georgetown, South Carolina - Bad Times On The Horizon
Alongside being one of the biggest seaports in South Carolina, which almost always leads to an increase in pretty bummed out workers who are doing a job they don’t want to do, Georgetown is also one of the oldest cities in the state.
You can kind of tell, too, and we’re trying not to mean that in a horrible way but it’s pretty hard. They don’t particularly suffer all too much in comparison to other entries on this list, but they also don’t come across as the kind of folks who would be willing to open their doors to tourists.
Again, we’re happy to be proven wrong.
5 NORTH: Huntington, West Virginia - Newsworthy In A Bad Way
When Louis Theroux has been to your city in order to film a documentary and look into the problems you have, then that should be a pretty clear indication of how bad things are for you.
A quick Google search will be able to inform you of everything that’s wrong with Huntington right now, because in truth, it’s kind of too sad to type out for ourselves. It’s a dangerous environment for a variety of reasons and even if you want to tick off visiting all 50 states or something, we’d still recommend that you look towards an alternative city for that.
4 SOUTH: State of Arkansas - Chip On Their Shoulder
Arkansas ranks pretty low when it comes to median household income, quality of life, and in some areas, education.
The reason outsiders wouldn’t want to come here is kind of two-fold: first off there’s barely anything there so you’ll be bored out of your mind, and second of all, it’s hard to get a good read on the locals. One minute you may think that they’re accepting you as one of your own, and then the next it turns out that very much isn’t the case. It’s all about reading the situation for yourself, really, but in our mind, this is one to avoid.
3 NORTH: Harlem, New York - The Rumours Are True
This is more about airing on the side of caution than anything else, because figures actually suggest that the total number of crime complaints in the last two decades have dropped by more than 75%. While that’s pretty impressive there are still dodgy areas of Harlem, and the locals can kind of tell when you’re there purely for all of the wrong reasons.
New York City is a big and somewhat scary place and you need to know where you’re going and how you’re going to be getting around. Harlem is improving with each and every passing day, but not to the point where you can have your guard down 100% of the time.
2 SOUTH: Texas High School Football Game - Way Too Passionate
The Allen Eagles recently built a brand new 18,000 seater stadium in Texas, which cost nearly $60 million. The Allen Eagles are a high school football team.
In literally any other country in the world, spending that kind of money on something like this would be absolutely crazy. In Texas, however, they love their football, and they aren’t afraid of letting you know about it.
If you happen to try and catch a game, then all we can say is please, please try your best to be as respectful as you possibly can be. These folks give everything to their teams, and we mean everything.
1 NORTH: Montana Horse Riding School - Out Of Your Depth
If you want to try out American football, you don’t go to the New England Patriots’ training ground and demand to replace Tom Brady as a quarterback on your very first day. As such, you also probably shouldn’t try out a Montana horse riding school just for the hell of it.
They’re very passionate about this kind of thing over there, and you really need to think about your audience. If you do in fact go ahead with it, then all we can say is please, please try and take it seriously. If you don’t then they’ll notice, and so will the horses.