Most fun cities in America
People crunch any variety of metrics when settling on a city to visit or live in. Some of these factors have to do with the cost of living or staying, or how easy it is to go around by foot or public transit. Other considerations might be in the architecture, culture, and history of a place. But for many people, there’s one prevailing question: Is it any fun?
Not every city offers the same degree of fun or even the same type of fun, of course, so how do you figure out where to cut loose? To find out, and because “fun” can be an elusive variable, Stacker referred to WalletHub data which applies science in its methodology.
The site 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 dimensions: entertainment and recreation, nightlife and parties, and cost. Next, the cities were evaluated according to 65 key metrics, which ranged from fitness centers per capita to movie costs to average open hours of breweries. Cities with something for everyone received the highest rankings, which didn’t take into account the more extreme versions of fun like adventure sports. WalletHub then determined each city's weighted average across all metrics to assign
Whether you're seeking adventure, culture, a great meal, a great show, or a wild night of drinking and dancing, a trip to one of these cities that made the top 50 is sure to delight. Keep reading to find out if your favorite metropolis made it into our gallery of the most fun cities in the United States.
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#49. Charlotte, North Carolina (tie)
- Total WalletHub score: 36.29
- Entertainment and recreation rank: #59
- Nightlife and parties rank: #41
- Costs rank: #87
While WalletHub’s data didn’t dwell on adventure sports, part of what makes Charlotte so fun is Carowinds, a 407-acre amusement park that’s so big some of it actually resides in Fort Mill, South Carolina. If roller coasters aren’t your thing, the U.S. National Whitewater Center or NASCAR Hall of Fame should do the trick.
#49. Louisville, Kentucky (tie)
- Total WalletHub score: 36.29
- Entertainment and recreation rank: #57
- Nightlife and parties rank: #58
- Costs rank: #33
Kentucky's most populated city is a bourbon-lover's dream. The delectable spirit is ubiquitous in these parts, permeating virtually every aspect of the local culture. Louisville is also home to the world-famous Kentucky Derby horse race.
#48. Phoenix, Arizona
- Total WalletHub score: 36.64
- Entertainment and recreation rank: #53
- Nightlife and parties rank: #67
- Costs rank: #8
Phoenix is bursting at the seams with adventure and possibility. Just beyond the city borders are an endless array of parks, springs, mountains, and rock formations. Embark on a hot-air balloon ride by day, then partake in a party bike pub crawl at night.
#47. Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
- Total WalletHub score: 36.79
- Entertainment and recreation rank: #80
- Nightlife and parties rank: #51
- Costs rank: #2
Oklahoma's capital is known for its high quality of living and tremendous value. While the city has come a long way since its cowboy days, it still proudly offers the occasional slab of Old West flavor. Come nightfall, head over to the Bricktown District for hours of drinking, eating, and dancing.
#46. St. Petersburg, Florida
- Total WalletHub score: 36.81
- Entertainment and recreation rank: #29
- Nightlife and parties rank: #70
- Costs rank: #72
While no trip to St. Petersburg is complete without a visit to the Dali Museum, what really makes this city stand out is its endless supply of water-based activities. Choose an adventure by water skiing, jet skiing, motorboating, snorkeling, parasailing, and so much more. The city is also a terrific destination for whale- and dolphin-watchers.
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#45. Rochester, New York
- Total WalletHub score: 36.91
- Entertainment and recreation rank: #33
- Nightlife and parties rank: #53
- Costs rank: #91
Rochester is filled with fun things to do, from breweries and pub crawls to museums and art galleries. Some of the most popular attractions include the Strong Museum and the Eastman Theatre.
#44. Cleveland, Ohio
- Total WalletHub score: 36.96
- Entertainment and recreation rank: #46
- Nightlife and parties rank: #48
- Costs rank: #39
Home to four professional sports teams, Cleveland is the affordable city that just won't quit. The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame is a sure bet for a fun afternoon, as is the Cleveland Museum of Art. If there's one landmark not to be missed, it's the house from “A Christmas Story.”
#43. Richmond, Virginia
- Total WalletHub score: 37.45
- Entertainment and recreation rank: #54
- Nightlife and parties rank: #43
- Costs rank: #63
History buffs will find plenty to enjoy in Virginia's capital, where landmarks from both the American Revolution and the Civil War have been well-preserved. You'll also find a variety of museums, art galleries, parks, restaurants, and bars. Kings Dominion Amusement Park is just 20 miles away.
#42. Knoxville, Tennessee
- Total WalletHub score: 38.02
- Entertainment and recreation rank: #43
- Nightlife and parties rank: #54
- Costs rank: #19
Near the Smoky Mountains in the Great Appalachian Valley, Knoxville offers history, nature, food, and culture. You can find glorious 360-degree views of the local surroundings, free of charge from the observation deck of the famous Sunsphere. Every April, the city hosts the Dogwood Arts Festival, which draws 40,000 to 50,000 visitors over the course of a three-day weekend.
#41. Milwaukee, Wisconsin
- Total WalletHub score: 38.77
- Entertainment and recreation rank: #44
- Nightlife and parties rank: #44
- Costs rank: #11
Milwaukee is so synonymous with beer that its major league baseball team is the Brewers. Visitors and locals can expect a good time for this reason and many others, and when there's no room left for beer, cheese, or any of Wisconsin's other countless delicacies, the city offers a range of world-class museums and landmarks.
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