WalletHub placed St. Paul at the top of the list for best places to go for Thanksgiving this year, and our knee-jerk reaction is to agree.
Our capital city has a lot going for it in a homey sort of way. The Washington Post recently extolled it as the “quieter… more relaxed, wholesome and family friendly” of the Twin Cities. Plus it's the birthplace of F. Scott Fitzgerald, which gives it that sense of un-gilded heartland nostalgia that pairs so well with turkey and potatoes. Hell, the world of the Peanuts comic strip was loosely based on the city, adding another layer of authenticity to your annual viewing of A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving.
(Did we mention we’re increasingly overrun with shockingly brazen wild turkeys?)
But that's not why WalletHub chose to honor St. Paul with the no. 1 spot on a list of the nation’s 100 largest cities. Their rankings are based on a number of metrics, from affordability to safety to the city’s relative proclivity to “give thanks.” St. Paul scored high for our Thanksgiving traditions (no. 6), our safety and accessibility (no. 7), and our thanksgivability (no. 6 again).
But we also did weirdly well in the last category: weather (no. 11). Bring Me the News pointed this out with some justifiably raised eyebrows. Our average high on November 28 is 32 degrees. And these days—as we’re sure you’re aware—we are nowhere near average.
The methodology explains how this could be. The weather metric is based on the city’s average Thanksgiving temperature vs. its average temperature year-round, and on the forecasted precipitation. St. Paul’s weather on November 28 looks really good—when you consider that everything after that point is going to be much, much worse.
St. Paul’s star ranking is getting a lukewarm reaction on local Twitter channels, from skepticism to outright disbelief. Some commenters brought up the recent rash of gun violence in the city and suggested visitors bring their “bulletproof vests.”
If the rankings tell us anything, it could be that every place you choose to gather for special occasions come with their charms… and their drawbacks. It’s worth noting that sunny Stockton, California ranked dead last on the list, and Detroit, Cleveland, and Anchorage were all in the bottom 10.
But gratitude and togetherness are not things we save for optimal conditions. They are wells we draw from when, once again, things are falling short of perfection. Still we hope, and still we persist.
For what it’s worth, Minneapolis came in at no. 14, so there’s always that.