The 20 Most Fun Cities in America Ranked

A new year is just around the corner and we all deserve a bit of fun despite the ongoing doom and gloom the pandemic has brought into our lives since 2019.

Personal-finance website WalletHub has ranked America cities on fun using data from the U.S. Census Bureau, the Trust for Public Land, Yelp, and other databases.

It compared more than 180 cities on "Entertainment & Recreation," "Nightlife & Parties" and "Costs." Then 65 metrics such as festivals per capita, restaurants per capita, most accessible bars, lowest beer and movie costs, were used to score them.

Here are the top 20 most fun cities in the country, according to the report:

20. St. Louis, Missouri

14 St Louis
St.Louis, Missouri. Getty Images

St. Louis has respectable scores across the board, including on the "entertainment and recreation," "nightlife and parties," and "cost" categories.

Among the highlights, check out Anheuser-Busch Brewery, Moto Museum, Adventure Valley Zipline, Central Library and the Lumiere Casino.

19. Houston

The second-most fun city in Texas, according to the report, Houston is one of the top five cities with the most dance clubs per capita and most park playgrounds per capita.

Check out the Johnson Space Center, Houston Rodeo, Armadillo Palace, and the Art Car Museum.

Downtown Houston
The skyline of Houston at night seen from the Bank of America Center in Houston, Texas. James Leynse/Corbis/Getty

18. Washington, D.C.

The capital is a fun cit,y but a pricey one. Costs aside, there is plenty to do and see in Washington.

To name a few: the White House, the Lincoln Memorial, the Library of Congress, the U.S. Capitol, the Supreme Court, the Smithsonian Institute, and many other attractions such as Tidal Basin, the Kennedy Center, Cady's Alley, La Cosecha and Union Market.

washington dc shooting
In this photo, the skyline of Washington, DC, including the US Capitol building, Washington Monument, Lincoln Memorial and National Mall, is seen from the air, January 29, 2010. Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

17. Cincinnati, Ohio

Cincinnati scored well in "entertainment and recreational" category and, thanks to the city's many bars, also scored highly on "nightlife & parties."

WalletHub also recognizes Cincinnati's fitness centers (No. 19), festivals (No. 21), restaurants and playgrounds (both No. 22).

A visit to the Queen's City should include when possible the Weston Art Gallery, a walk around the historic Over-the-Rhine neighborhood, Washington Park, Cincinnati Nature Center, the Underground Railroad Freedom Center, and maybe a River Ohio cruise.

AR Cincinnati Ohio
Cincinnati, Ohio skyline at sunset. Lavin Photography/Getty

16. San Diego, California

San Diego went down the fun scale, from No.9 in 2019 to number 16 this year, partly because this popular vacation destination is an expensive place.

That said, the Californian city, scores very high on "entertainment and recreation" and there are plenty of things to do that won't cost you a thing such as enjoying the mild climate, catching some sun on the many beaches or a visit to the famous Balboa Park, home to museums, gardens, and restaurants.

San Diego skyline
Here, the skyline of the San Diego-Coronado metropolitan area can be seen. Daniel Knighton/Getty

15. Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Fort Lauderdale ranks No.1 in most fitness centers per capita and most accessible bars. Nicknamed the Venice of America, it offers miles of white-sand beaches, as well as boating canals, waterfront resorts, restaurants and the International Swimming Hall of Fame.

The nightlife and spring break at Fort Lauderdale are pretty epic for party lovers. It has moved up the ranking significantly since 2019.

Fort Lauderdale Florida spring breakers March 2021
People walking near the beach on March 4 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Joe Raedle/Getty Images

14. Seattle

From the 17th spot in 2019, this fun city, with lots of entertainment, nightlife, food, and culture has moved up the ranking to No.14 in 2021.

Fun aside, the Emerald City is also a nature-filled mecca with incredible rolling mountains, beautiful waterfronts and loads of urban natural spaces.

Seattle, Washington, cityscape, night, April 2020
The Seattle skyline seen at sunset on April 6, 2020 in Washington. Getty Images

13. Portland, Oregon

Porland welcomes you with beautiful waterfronts, stunning views, parks, festivals, art, culture, museums, and galleries.

Worth a visit is the Native American art at the Portland Art Museum. The slogan, "Keep Portland Weird" makes sense considering how unique the city is, and as for fun, it has everything you need and more.

Portland, Cruise, Homeless
The skyline of Portland, Oregon, is pictured. Getty Images

12. Denver, Colorado

The Mile High City has plenty to offer when it comes to fun. It caters to everyone; sports fans, art and culture lovers, foodies, outdoors lovers, the list goes on.

In addition, there is the eternal sunshine and friendly locals.

'Sopranos' Group Allegedly Stole $1M in Items
Above, the Downtown Denver skyline, photographed from the Jacquard Hotel rooftop in Denver, Colorado on November 15, 2018. Raymond Boyd

11. Tampa, Florida

The third most fun city in Florida, according to the party animals at WalletHub, Tampa tops the festivals per capita metric.

Visitors love exploring the Spanish-Cuban neighborhood Ybor City, the Busch Gardens theme park, the Tampa Riverwalk, Seminole Heights and cat lovers, will never miss the chance to pay a visit to the Big Cat Rescue sanctuary.

LA Tampa Florida
The skyline of downtown Tampa, Florida. Sean Pavone/Getty

10. New York City

New York has dropped from No.3 to No. 10 on the fun list.

For families, the city has the most playgrounds per square foot of population.

And for clubbers, NYC also scores high when it comes to nightlife and entertainment.

But out of all the cities reviewed, New York is the most expensive. It has it all, but at a cost.

New York Skyline
Image shows the sun setting on the skyline of midtown Manhattan and the Empire State Building. Gary Hershorn/Getty Images

9. Honolulu, Hawaii

Hawaii's capital Honolulu tops the list when it comes to "entertainment and recreation."

It has the most acres of parkland per capita and most festivals per capita.

There is non-stop vibrant nightlife in Waikiki, open-air shopping center of Ala Moana, or the Diamond Head, not to mention the impressive beaches that awe visitors, including: Waikiki, Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve, Magic Island, Lanikai beach and Kahala Beach.

Honolulu, Hawaii
Above, a view of Honolulu, Oahu, Hawaii. Stock image/Getty Images

8. Chicago

Chicago has the most restaurants per capita and most park playgrounds per capita, the Windy City also scores high on entertainment and nightlife.

There is no time to get bored when you have the Chicago museum,the Willis Tower park, Chicago beaches, plenty of local music venues, festivals and events as well as endless possibilities for shopping and dining.

Lincoln Park, Chicago
A large garden scene with plants and a fountain in Lincoln Park Chicago with the city skyline. James Andrews/iStock / Getty Images Plus

7. Austin

Austin was the highest-scoring city in Texas.

The home of SXSW, Austin is no doubt a top destination for live music, boasting more than 250 music venues.

The nightlife is legendary and so is the welcoming, friendly vibe. The city also caters to art lovers and curious minds with top-notch museums such as the Bullock Texas State History Museum and the Blanton Museum of Art.

Texas University Park
Downtown skyline visible over the Colorado River, in Austin, Texas SeanPavonePhoto/Getty Images

6. San Francisco

The top Californian city on the list at No. 6.

The city by the bay took the No. 1 slot for having the most dance clubs per capita and—with Boston—has the highest share of the population with walkable park access.The Golden Gate park, Twin Peaks, Glen Canyon Park, Bernal Hill and many others that make San Francisco a big playground.

The city also scored well for the many festivals on offer and for having some of the most restaurants per capita. The beautiful bay, stunning views, wonderful hikes, interesting museums, lovely architecture, great cuisine, and down to earth vibe make San Francisco a wonderful and fun place to visit.

Golden Gate Bridge
The Golden Gate Bridge, standing on the Golden Gate Strait in San Francisco, California, USA. David Chang/iStock Editorial / Getty Images Plus

5. New Orleans

Famous for its music, New Orleans hosts over 130 festivals and celebrations every year; including the popular Mardi Gras, the Jazz and Heritage Festival, French Quarter Festival, Art for Art's Sake, or Southern Decadence, among others.

The city is an amalgam of cultures that includes Creoles, African Americans, Spanish, Germans, Jews, and many other communities that make New Orleans an interesting, fun and soulful place to visit. When nightime falls, vibrant Bourbon Street is the place to be.

New Orleans skyline
Pictured above is the New Orleans skyline. Getty Images

4. Miami

Miami remains in the fourth position on the fun scale. The "Magic City" has lots of fashionable places to eat and hang out, beautiful beaches, cultural attractions, an international cuisine, and a thriving nightlife that attracts millions of visitors to this a subtropical city every year.

Same as Orlando, Chicago, San Francisco, or Las Vegas, Miami also tops on most restaurants per capita criterion according to WalletHub .

Miami skyline
The City of Miami skyline, where many renters reside in the apartment buildings on September 29, 2021 in Miami, Florida. Joe Raedle/Getty Images

3. Atlanta

Ranked No. 6 in 2019, but this year the "city in a forest" has climbed up the fun scale.

Home to a stunning skyline, this charming southern city offers a thriving food scene and plenty of cultural and fun activities at a reasonable cost.

Visiting the birth home of Martin Luther King Jr. or the Center for Civil and Human Rights, is always a great idea when in Atlanta. Apart from that, there are plenty of parks, trails, shopping districts and always something to do and see.

Atlanta skyline
rodclementphotography/Getty

2. Orlando, Florida

Second in "entertainment and recreation" as well as "nightlife and parties" categories, and has the most restaurants per square foot of the population.

Famous for its theme parks such as Disney World or Universal, Orlando offers plenty of fun things to do in the Florida sunshine at a more affordable price than other major "fun" cities in the country.

The city has hotels that cater to any budget, excellent restaurants and cultural attractions, including the Orlando Science Center, Wekiwa Springs State Park, or Mennello Museum of American Folk Art.

Orlando, Miami and Las Vegas were among those tied for 'Most Restaurants per Capita.'

Orlando, Florida
Orlando, Florida, USA Downtown Drone Skyline Aerial. Kruck20/iStock / Getty Images Plus

1. Las Vegas

The "Entertainment Capital of the World", Las Vegas, took the number one slot for the most fun city in America just like in 2019 (the list was not available in 2020 due to the pandemic).

The city also ranked number one as the most sinful city in the country. As expected, it scored very high on metrics that include most festivals per capita, most restaurants per capita, and most dance clubs per capita and number of attractions.

No surprises there for the city known as "Gambling Capital of the World," the "Marriage Capital of the World," and the "Neon Capital of the World."

Las Vegas strip at night
Stock image: A picture of the Las Vegas strip at night taken from a high vantage point. The view is north along the mid-strip area on December 23, 2015. iStock / Getty Images Plus