Bradenton one of America’s friendliest towns
Bradenton is one of the friendliest towns in the country, according to Rand McNally voters.
Bradenton took third place in the “friendliest” category for small towns during the poll last year. The winners were announced recently. Kewanee, IL, was first followed by Macon, GA.
Bradenton made the third place not just for showing “The Friendly City” proudly proclaimed on the imposing water tower that soars above the landscape, but also for its charming southern hospitality that is flavored by the laid-back attitude of the neighboring gulf islands.
Bradenton also received votes in the categories of Most Beautiful, Most Fun, Most Patriotic, Best Food and Best for Geocaching.
Here is their full essay:
Located just south of Tampa and St. Petersburg on Florida’s Gulf Coast, Bradenton has been known as “The Friendly City” for generations. In fact, the outgoing and approachable nature that inspired the nickname long ago is still alive and well today.
When vacationers hit America’s highways with their travel trailers beginning in the 1920, they often found that towns along the way did not embrace those they called “tin can tourists.” But in Bradenton, they found a community where the welcome was as warm as the weather. Here, they could gather each winter for fun and relaxation comforted by the fact that local residents genuinely appreciated their presence.
As drivers approach the city, they see “The Friendly City” proudly proclaimed on the imposing water tower that soars above the landscape. But the claim is no idle boast. Bradenton is characterized by charming southern hospitality that is flavored by the laid-back attitude of the neighboring gulf islands. Today, more than 2.8 million visitors enjoy the area’s warmth and friendliness each year.
In addition to the locations that still welcome travel trailers, there is a broad array of distinctive inns, historic downtown properties, and nationally known hotel brands. Many offer views of the Manatee River, which flows beside downtown Bradenton and invites visitors to spend memorable days kayaking, canoeing and fishing on the scenic waters.
Vacationers and residents alike celebrate abundant good times together. There are Pittsburgh Pirates spring training games at beautiful McKechnie Field. One of America’s newest riverside parks offers outdoor concerts, beach volleyball, a skate park and more. South Florida Museum boasts a planetarium and Snooty™, the world’s oldest living manatee. The historic downtown – alive with great restaurants and taverns – hosts a weekly farmers’ market and regular community festivals.
Friendliness even colors the city’s approach to arts and culture. Named the #2 small city for arts in America by AmericanStyle Magazine, Bradenton is home to the Village of the Arts, an eclectic community of artists living and working together in a downtown neighborhood. Here, visitors can immerse themselves in a world of creativity, tour working studios, and even chat about inspiration and technique with an artist over a glass of sweet tea. Bradenton is also home to a potpourri of thriving galleries, art centers, theater troupes and a full calendar of musical performances, including the Bradenton Blues Festival.
The friendly approach to life transcends fun times though. Mayor Wayne Poston reports that much business in Bradenton is still accomplished with a simple handshake. In addition, the community comes together to enthusiastically serve those in need. Residents built more than 100 homes for Habitat for Humanity, and volunteer at local food banks. The city is also home to Southeastern Guide Dogs, an organization that brings new hope to the visually impaired.
Bradenton, Florida has been “The Friendly City” for generations. Residents are still offering a warm welcome to visitors today.
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Bradenton, Florida 34205
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