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Rochester is named the #2 friendliest city in the U.S.

Downtown Rochester skyline.
Max Schulte
Downtown Rochester skyline.

Rochester has been spotlighted as the second friendliest city in the United States by Condé Nast's Readers' Choice Awards. This recognition is a nod to what the article points to as the city's warm and welcoming community.

Don Jeffries, president and CEO of Visit Rochester, the official tourism promotion agency for Monroe County, emphasizes the city's appeal to visitors.

“When we have visitors come to the visitor center, Visit Rochester, or the Iceplex—where the hockey teams all play—or anything: the Lilac Festival, the Jazz Festival, all the things we're involved in ... people all the time from out of town say, ‘I can't believe how friendly people are,'" Jeffries said.

Beyond its appeal to tourists, Rochester is also attracting new residents. Jeffries said the newcomers are among the city's biggest champions.

"It's great to hear them say, ‘I moved here a couple of years ago, and I really love Rochester," he said.

The article points to the fact that Rochester is renowned for its rich historical sites and has a lively food scene.

Jeffries said a resurgence in local tourism is making a significant economic impact on the city.

“We have tracking approximately 2 million visitors," he said. "Tourism is a billion-dollar industry in Monroe County alone and is responsible for over 17,000 jobs. It's big business."

The city to gain the title of the number-one friendliest city in the U.S. is Greenville, South Carolina. When asked if he has any messages to the residents there, Jeffries said, “Just look forward to being number two next year."

Jasmin Singer is the host of WXXI’s Weekend Edition and Environmental Connections, as well as a guest host for Morning Edition, All Things Considered, and Connections.