Everyone’s a snob about something. Wine, video games, books, clothing, food…you probably have your own particular thing you’re snobby about. Still, there are some places where people are just a little more stuck up than others, and you might be surprised where those are.
Here at the Movoto Real Estate Blog, we’re kind of snobs about our top 10 lists, and this seemed like a perfect opportunity to indulge our passion. We put on our boat shoes, canceled our reservations at Chez Fancy, and used our new state-of-the-art totally chic computers to make a list of the most persnickety places.
After some math and research, we came up with this refined and high-society list of the snobbiest mid-sized cities in America:
Shocked to see California leading the way? We weren’t either. If you’re curious where your hometown ranked, you can see a list of the 50 snobbiest midsized cities at the bottom of this article. But how does one define snobbery on a nationwide scale? It’s not difficult, darling, if one has the right background.
How We Created This Ranking
To start, we had to determine what sorts of things snobs would like, and then looked at those factors for 100 mid-sized cities. Those snobby statistics were:
- Median home price (the higher the better)
- Median household income (the higher the better)
- Percent of population with a college degree (the higher the better)
- Private schools per capita (the more the better)
- Performing arts per capita (the more the better)
- Art galleries per capita (the more the better)
- Fast food restaurants per capita (the fewer the better)
- Country clubs per capita (the more the better)
We gathered this data from the 2010 U.S. Census and business listings. We then ranked each city in each category from one to 100, with one being the best. From there, we averaged each place’s scores into one Big Deal Score, with lower scores being better. The locations with the lowest Big Deal Scores became our top 10 smug and snooty cities.
1. Pasadena, CA
By a landslide, Pasadena was our snobbiest place to call home. This city had a ton of performing arts venues, art galleries, nearby country clubs, and private schools for the more selective sort to choose from. It also had the fifth highest median home price, so you bet your next château will have the garden tub and breakfast nook you always dreamed of.
We should also mention that this rosy little town is home of the Tournament of Roses Parade and Rose Bowl, where only the best teams and best floats get to strut their stuff. However, snobs in search of something more cultural and less touristy might rather take in a show from the Pasadena Symphony Orchestra at the Ambassador Auditorium. We hear anyone who’s anyone will be there.
2. Thousand Oaks, CA
Keeping the Southern California theme going, Thousand Oaks offers la crème de la crème in the way of refined eating on our list. This place had the lowest number of fast food restaurants per capita in our top 10, plus some very decadent high-class eateries to choose from. I mean, you simply cannot get more decadent than lobster mashed potatoes at Mastro’s Steakhouse.
That wasn’t the only snobby stat that Thousand Oaks had, however. This city held third place in both median home price and household income. High society definitely thrives here, as there are plenty of private schools, performing arts, and country clubs to go around. Anyone up for a game of tennis or golf after high tea?
3. Alexandria, VA
There’s a bit of a stereotype in Virginia that the northern part of the state is kind of snobby, and for this city that generalization is pretty true. For starters, this city had the third highest number of college grads, at over 60 percent, so the brightest and best like to call this area home.The locals definitely have a more cultured and artistic eye, which is why they were second place for art galleries per capita.
Maybe you’re looking to make sure that little Joey is raised right in the Mother of States. That’s not a problem here either, as Alexandria had the sixth most private schools per capita. If you’re worried about paying for that school, never fear, this place had the seventh highest household income as well. Nothing but the best for these fancy folks.
4. Naperville, IL
If this place seems like a bit of an odd man out on our list, don’t be fooled. Naperville had the second highest household income, and over 66 percent of locals had a college degree, so these are some world-wise and wealthy people. Plus, they’re able to congregate together in their seventh place country clubs, probably to sample wine and discuss recent stock market trends.
This city may not have the highest ranking in refined restaurants, but it does have a somewhat refined palate. If you don’t believe me, you can try the cuisine at Morton’s The Steakhouse and you’ll know for sure you’re in a place all about class. Just be sure to bring a well packed wallet, these savory steaks do not come cheap. Who ever said the best things in life are free? It definitely wasn’t Naperville.
5. Santa Rosa, CA
If you were wondering when the first wine-snob friendly place would appear on our list, congratulations, you’ve found it. Known as the biggest city in Wine Country, this place is also one of the biggest centers for snobs in the nation. With a high median home price and high household income, locals here are used to living the highlife, likely while sipping a nice Chardonnay or Cabernet Sauvignon.
What you might not know is that Santa Rosa is also a great place for art. With the seventh best performing arts rank and a very high score for its art galleries, creative snobs will easily find something suitable for their entertainment interests. Well, at least they’ll find something they won’t turn their nose up at.
6. Fort Lauderdale, FL
We didn’t forget about all you snobby Floridians out there, and the numbers certainly say that you have your own snooty Mecca to go to. Fort Lauderdale had a high performing arts rank, quite a few nearby country clubs, and the fourth best arts galleries per capita. Not to mention all those chic fashions you lovely people sport out there, you really do look divine.
This place didn’t really score poorly across the board as far as snobby stats went, which seems fitting. After all, no one in Fort Lauderdale could stand for anything being poorly done. Just take a visit to Valentino’s Cucina Italiana and you’ll know exactly what we mean, even if you have the most picky tastes.
7. Glendale, CA
A lot of celebrities call this California city home, and who’s more snobby than a celebrity? All the beautiful people are just dying to live in this upscale city, as demonstrated by its sixth highest median home price. And can you really blame them? Lots of performing arts, few deplorable fast food restaurants, and plenty of art galleries all make this a snob paradise.
Those in the mood for performing art can always take in a show at the Glendale Centre Theatre. Those in the mood for something a little more stationary can head to Trimona Cafe and Art Gallery. Just make sure you take someone who knows their stuff, or the depth and relevance of some of those paintings might go completely over their head.
8. Sunnyvale, CA
If you want a place where the rich can live, love, and play, then Sunnyvale is probably the spot for you. With the highest median home prices on our list and the fourth highest household income, this city showed it knew how to cater to high society as well as the highbrow. This place also had the fifth highest percent of college grads, so these privileged people have had professional teaching on how to be prim and proper (but still manage to be pretty friendly).
The elite socialites here are able to enjoy performing arts at many different venues. There are also many upscale eateries for foodies and wine snobs, so grabbing some sashimi at Sawa Sushi can easily be a regular thing or just something for when you’re trying to show off your chopstick etiquette to a few friends.
9. Fullerton, CA
We did say that California was represented in a big way on this list, and this makes six snobby spots in the Golden State. Snobs who love culture, museums, and creation will adore this mid-sized city, as it had very high marks in performing art, art galleries, and is home to the STAGEStheatre. For guitar purists, this was also the birthplace of Fender Guitars, which are simply the best in the way of instrumental elegance…in the rock and roll world anyway.
If you’re not so much into guitars and and instead prefer fine dining, you can find that here too. Summit House can give your sweet tooth that refined flavor it craves, and allow you some decadence in the way of prime rib or cocktails. It’s got a high price tag, but this city had the eighth highest median home price on our list as well, so we expect snobs here to be at least fairly well off.
10. Eugene, OR
Last up is our only Oregon representative, Eugene. The city had decent scores across the board, with standouts in the way of performing arts and art galleries. This is also a very green place, and people will turn their noses up at you if you dare to put that aluminum can in the garbage.
While this truly lovely locale is certainly ripe for the arts sorts, local snobs should also be ready to test their taste buds. With eateries like Marché, the elite can enjoy ambiance as well as quality, and with places like the Ninkasi Brewing Company even beer snobs can flex their IPA palates.
Only The Best Will Do
Before you go insulting any of these fine locales, remember that we’re all snobs in some way. Besides, who doesn’t love a little red wine, filet mignon, and opera? …Well, we do at least, and we’re pretty sure these top 10 snooty cities would agree. Now if you’ll excuse us, there’s an orchestra performance we really must make an appearance at.