2019’s Most Fun Cities in America

Posted by: Adam McCann

Everyone likes to have fun. But we all prefer our personal brand of a good time. Some people like trying new restaurants, traveling, going to bars and clubs or playing outdoor sports. Others enjoy riding roller coasters, going to the movies, or playing video games. But having fun can be expensive – the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the average American spends nearly $3,000 on entertainment per year.

With such different preferences, what, then, makes a fun city? At WalletHub, we define such a place as one that packs a little bit of everything for everyone — except maybe people seeking the most extreme of thrills. In a city with enough variety, you won’t have to compromise with your friends, your family or even yourself about the next fun activity to do alone or together.

To help Americans find the cities with the greatest number and variety of fun yet cost-effective options, WalletHub compared more than 180 U.S. cities based on 66 key metrics. They range from fitness centers per capita to movie costs to average open hours of breweries. Read on for the winners, money-saving advice from experts and a full description of how we ranked the cities.

  1. Main Findings
  2. Ask the Experts
  3. Methodology

Main Findings

Embed on your website<iframe src="//d2e70e9yced57e.cloudfront.net/wallethub/embed/23455/geochart-fun.html" width="556" height="347" frameBorder="0" scrolling="no"></iframe> <div style="width:556px;font-size:12px;color:#888;">Source: <a href="https://ift.tt/2MHWve9>  

Most Fun Cities in America

Overall Rank (1 = Most Fun)

City

Total Score

‘Entertainment & Recreation’ Rank

‘Nightlife & Parties’ Rank

‘Costs’ Rank

1Las Vegas, NV72.395171
2Orlando, FL64.302317
3New York, NY57.6212182
4Miami, FL56.4194125
5Chicago, IL55.2276144
6Atlanta, GA53.95145100
7San Francisco, CA53.8548177
8Portland, OR52.37137117
9San Diego, CA51.38317142
10Los Angeles, CA50.78812159
11Austin, TX50.23171169
12New Orleans, LA50.22189131
13Honolulu, HI49.92618158
14Denver, CO48.821613114
15Washington, DC47.921110174
16Tampa, FL47.70122170
17Seattle, WA47.541014175
18St. Louis, MO46.45271623
19Houston, TX45.27341538
20Philadelphia, PA44.612219101
21Cincinnati, OH44.02193241
22Salt Lake City, UT42.69252849
23San Antonio, TX42.0237259
24Fort Lauderdale, FL41.651531133
25Tucson, AZ41.5426473
26Dallas, TX41.42362352
27Minneapolis, MN40.75233694
28Pittsburgh, PA40.18243884
29Nashville, TN40.01382488
30Scottsdale, AZ39.77304034
31Portland, ME39.68452696
32Sacramento, CA39.642822157
33Reno, NV39.53403068
34Omaha, NE39.45413913
35Raleigh, NC39.44692722
36Indianapolis, IN39.39633510
37Charleston, SC39.35217656
38Boston, MA39.022020179
39Columbus, OH38.9649425
40Jacksonville, FL38.95354915
41Milwaukee, WI38.77444411
42Knoxville, TN38.02435419
43Richmond, VA37.45544363
44Cleveland, OH36.96464839
45Rochester, NY36.91335391
46St. Petersburg, FL36.81297072
47Oklahoma City, OK36.7980512
48Phoenix, AZ36.6453678
49Charlotte, NC36.29594187
49Louisville, KY36.29575833
51Tempe, AZ36.26557237
52Henderson, NV35.92734612
53Kansas City, MO35.90833450
54Fort Worth, TX35.86813380
55Buffalo, NY35.78525278
56Birmingham, AL35.66795035
57Columbia, SC35.30517177
58Baton Rouge, LA35.26666644
59Boise, ID34.98648226
60Virginia Beach, VA34.87398483
61Mobile, AL34.851303747
62Grand Rapids, MI34.71826918
63Albuquerque, NM34.703110389
64Colorado Springs, CO34.60478846
65Lincoln, NE34.50686573
66Memphis, TN34.35108557
67Detroit, MI34.01846031
68Baltimore, MD33.725056120
69Madison, WI33.644268121
70Chattanooga, TN33.416763110
71Tulsa, OK33.27708064
72El Paso, TX33.08771026
73Oakland, CA32.856529172
74Springfield, MO32.501258520
75Gulfport, MS32.431577328
76Arlington, TX32.278745124
77Durham, NC32.161057540
78Long Beach, CA31.935659155
79Huntington Beach, CA31.817161140
80Tallahassee, FL31.751098190
81Wichita, KS31.651328321
82Plano, TX31.647474112
83Huntsville, AL31.461366282
84Chandler, AZ31.28949727
85Irvine, CA31.183294171
86Mesa, AZ31.091031344
87Providence, RI31.077664136
88Rapid City, SD31.06999254
89Glendale, AZ30.97969125
90Anaheim, CA30.827257156
91Greensboro, NC30.809011216
92Sioux Falls, SD30.731318776
93Chesapeake, VA30.669315353
94St. Paul, MN30.3658122105
95Billings, MT30.321029086
96Bakersfield, CA30.241159645
97Norfolk, VA30.1861115126
98Spokane, WA30.098812067
99Lexington-Fayette, KY30.05989861
100Akron, OH29.9812110762
101Amarillo, TX29.851561741
102Cape Coral, FL29.807511851
103Des Moines, IA29.541459543
104Corpus Christi, TX29.298513860
105Missoula, MT29.2210479128
106Garden Grove, CA29.197877162
107Fort Smith, AR29.1316514324
108Gilbert, AZ29.0715112714
109San Jose, CA29.056286164
110Overland Park, KS28.8614412485
111Toledo, OH28.749714930
112Fort Wayne, IN28.5312814232
113Fayetteville, NC28.5114212159
114Las Cruces, NM28.4414617336
115Winston-Salem, NC28.43110117102
116Tacoma, WA28.14114100113
117Little Rock, AR28.1315312648
118Jersey City, NJ27.819293150
119Lubbock, TX27.6511314057
120Shreveport, LA27.5516811475
121Columbia, MD27.42134123123
122Modesto, CA27.36149108119
123Newport News, VA27.27159109103
124Aurora, CO27.25129110111
125Riverside, CA27.16100101139
126Huntington, WV27.1115017079
127North Las Vegas, NV26.97119106106
128San Bernardino, CA26.8613578153
129Burlington, VT26.77101111145
130Anchorage, AK26.7548172169
131Hialeah, FL26.75112119138
132Montgomery, AL26.5717915042
133Garland, TX26.55126146109
134Manchester, NH26.50155105130
135Wilmington, DE26.4710799154
136Newark, NJ26.45106133137
137Stockton, CA26.4491152129
138Cedar Rapids, IA26.3917313174
139Glendale, CA26.3986116168
140Fargo, ND26.3614114899
141Casper, WY26.2213917966
142Augusta, GA26.2217113597
143Port St. Lucie, FL26.0914715665
144Fresno, CA25.9612014481
145Irving, TX25.94143162104
146West Valley City, UT25.94124160107
147Pembroke Pines, FL25.7895155141
148Oceanside, CA25.73117145127
149Salem, OR25.6916389134
150Jackson, MS25.6217816192
151Vancouver, WA25.55122141122
152Santa Clarita, CA25.36111129160
153Grand Prairie, TX24.74162166115
154Peoria, AZ24.6616114798
155Columbus, GA24.6317617193
156Cheyenne, WY24.6018017558
157Charleston, WV24.54167163108
158Santa Ana, CA24.40127125146
159Ontario, CA24.34138136132
160Warwick, RI24.26137113161
161Worcester, MA24.06175104148
162Bismarck, ND24.0117217695
163Nashua, NH23.53174132135
164Dover, DE23.31166167143
165Laredo, TX23.2715818029
166Rancho Cucamonga, CA23.09123151147
167Moreno Valley, CA22.97148128166
168Juneau, AK22.9460169180
169Fontana, CA22.82140159151
170Fremont, CA22.6289154176
171Chula Vista, CA22.60154130163
172Nampa, ID22.48181157116
173Lewiston, ME22.27169181118
174Aurora, IL21.81152168152
175New Haven, CT21.65160137170
176South Burlington, VT21.59116178149
177Brownsville, TX20.5518218255
178Bridgeport, CT19.93177165165
179Santa Rosa, CA19.59118139181
180Yonkers, NY19.20133158178
181Oxnard, CA19.20170164167
182Pearl City, HI19.09164177173

 

Ask the Experts

Fun doesn’t have to mean expensive. For money-saving ideas and advice to city leaders on attracting fun lovers to their cities, we asked a panel of experts to share their thoughts on the following key questions:

  1. What tips do you have for having fun while on a budget?
  2. What should people be looking for when choosing a fun and affordable city?
  3. Should cities allow drinking in public — either during certain times or in specially designated “entertainment districts” — to make their cities more fun?
  4. What can local authorities do to make their city a more fun destination to visit?
< >

Methodology

In order to determine the most fun cities in the U.S., WalletHub compared 182 cities — including the 150 most populated U.S. cities, plus at least two of the most populated cities in each state — across three key dimensions: 1) Entertainment & Recreation, 2) Nightlife & Parties and 3) Costs.

We evaluated those dimensions using 66 relevant metrics, which are listed below with their corresponding weights. Each metric was graded on a 100-point scale, with a score of 100 representing the greatest number and variety of fun and cost-effective activities. For metrics marked with an asterisk (*), the square root of the population was used to calculate the population size in order to avoid overcompensating for minor differences across cities.

Finally, we determined each city’s weighted average across all metrics to calculate its overall score and used the resulting scores to rank-order our sample. Our sample considers only the city proper in each case and excludes the surrounding metro area.

Entertainment & Recreation - Total Points: 40
  • Number of Attractions: Double Weight (~1.95 Points)
  • “TripAdvisor Travelers’ Choice Awards Top 25 Destinations” Ranking: Full Weight (~0.98 Points)
  • Coffee & Tea Shops per Capita*: Full Weight (~0.98 Points)
  • Restaurants per Capita*: Full Weight (~0.98 Points)
  • Diversity of Restaurants: Full Weight (~0.98 Points)
  • Ice-Cream & Frozen-Yogurt Shops per Capita*: Full Weight (~0.98 Points)
  • Bowling Alleys per Capita*: Full Weight (~0.98 Points)
  • Baseball & Softball Diamonds per Capita*: Full Weight (~0.98 Points)
  • Basketball Hoops per Capita*: Full Weight (~0.98 Points)
  • Tennis Courts per Capita*: Full Weight (~0.98 Points)
  • Public Golf Courses per Capita*: Full Weight (~0.98 Points)
  • Skiing Facilities per Capita*: Full Weight (~0.98 Points)
  • Public Swimming Pools per Capita*: Full Weight (~0.98 Points)
  • Public Beaches per Capita: Half Weight (~0.49 Points)
  • Presence on TripAdvisor’s “Top 25 Beaches” List: Full Weight (~0.98 Points)
  • Fishing Facilities per Capita*: Full Weight (~0.98 Points)
  • Marinas per Capita*: Full Weight (~0.98 Points)
  • Boat Tours & Water Sports per Capita*: Full Weight (~0.98 Points)
  • Water & Amusement Parks per Capita*: Full Weight (~0.98 Points)
  • Hiking Trails per Capita*: Full Weight (~0.98 Points)
  • Scenic and Sightseeing Establishments per Capita*: Full Weight (~0.98 Points)
  • Spas & Wellness Centers per Capita*: Full Weight (~0.98 Points)
  • Shopping Centers per Capita*: Full Weight (~0.98 Points)
  • Share of Population with Walkable Park Access: Full Weight (~0.98 Points)
  • Share of Designed Parkland Areas: Full Weight (~0.98 Points)
  • Presence on TripAdvisor’s “Top 25 Parks” List: Half Weight (~0.49 Points)
  • Playgrounds per Capita*: Full Weight (~0.98 Points)
  • Parkland as Share of City Area: Full Weight (~0.98 Points)
  • Acres of Parkland per Capita*: Full Weight (~0.98 Points)
  • Bike-Rental Facilities per Capita*: Full Weight (~0.98 Points)
  • Sports Venues per Capita*: Full Weight (~0.98 Points)
  • Fitness Centers per Capita*: Full Weight (~0.98 Points)
  • Recreational Sports Centers per Capita*: Full Weight (~0.98 Points)
  • Sports Fan-Friendliness: Full Weight (~0.98 Points)Note: This metric is based on WalletHub’s “Best Sports Cities” ranking, which includes football, basketball, baseball, hockey and soccer.
  • Movie Theaters per Capita*: Full Weight (~0.98 Points)
  • Performing-Arts Theaters per Capita*: Full Weight (~0.98 Points)
  • Festivals per Capita*: Full Weight (~0.98 Points)
  • Arcades per Capita*: Full Weight (~0.98 Points)
  • Amusement Parks per Capita*: Full Weight (~0.98 Points)
  • Presence on TripAdvisor’s “Top 25 Amusement Parks” List: Full Weight (~0.98 Points)
  • Ideal Weather: Full Weight (~0.98 Points)Note: This metric is based on WalletHub’s “Cities with the Best & Worst Weather” ranking.
Nightlife & Parties - Total Points: 40
  • Bar Accessibility: Full Weight (~2.86 Points)Note: This grade is a combination of bars per capita* (measures availability) and bars per square mile (measures proximity).
  • Pool Halls per Capita*: Full Weight (~2.86 Points)
  • Lounges per Capita*: Full Weight (~2.86 Points)
  • Beer Gardens per Capita*: Full Weight (~2.86 Points)
  • Legality of Public Drinking: Full Weight (~2.86 Points)
  • Time of Last Call: Full Weight (~2.86 Points)
  • Average Open Hours of Breweries: Full Weight (~2.86 Points)
  • Presence of Music Festivals: Full Weight (~2.86 Points)Note: The cities that have music festivals will receive 1, the others 0.
  • Music Venues per Capita*: Full Weight (~2.86 Points)
  • Dance Clubs per Capita*: Full Weight (~2.86 Points)
  • Dance Party Index: Full Weight (~2.86 Points)
  • Arts & Crafts-Supplies Establishments per Capita*: Full Weight (~2.86 Points)
  • Casinos per Capita*: Full Weight (~2.86 Points)
  • Comedy Clubs per Capita*: Full Weight (~2.86 Points)
Costs - Total Points: 20
  • Average Price of Party Ticket: Full Weight (~1.67 Points)
  • Average Beer Price: Full Weight (~1.67 Points)Note: This metric measures the price of a six-pack of 12-ounce Heineken containers, excluding any deposit.
  • Average Wine Price: Full Weight (~1.67 Points)
  • Average Food Price (Pizza & Burger): Full Weight (~1.67 Points)
  • Prevalence of Affordable Restaurants Rated 4.5+ Stars: Full Weight (~1.67 Points)
  • Restaurant-Meal Costs: Full Weight (~1.67 Points)
  • Movie Costs: Full Weight (~1.67 Points)
  • Bowling Costs: Full Weight (~1.67 Points)
  • Average Fitness-Club Fee: Full Weight (~1.67 Points)
  • Price for Three-Star Hotel Room: Full Weight (~1.67 Points)
  • Cost of Living: Double Weight (~3.33 Points)

 Videos for News Use:

 

Sources: Data used to create this ranking were obtained from the U.S. Census Bureau, The Trust for Public Land, Council for Community and Economic Research, Numbeo, Kayak, Public Courses, TripAdvisor, Yelp, Thumbtack, Eventbrite, TheHuffingtonPost.com, Wikipedia, Music Festival Wizard and WalletHub research.

Image: Gutesa / Shutterstock.com



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