People enjoy the evening at ocean drive
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Most Fun Cities in America

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People enjoy the evening at ocean drive
Meinzahn/istockphoto

Let’s Have a Little Fun

We all deserve to have a little fun, especially as spring gets closer and the promise of warmer weather is just around the corner. But where exactly are the best places to visit for a good time? WalletHub conducted a study to evaluate fun in each state, comparing them across three main dimensions: entertainment and recreation, parties and nightlife, and cost. The dimensions break down even more into 65 different metrics and are graded on a 100-point scale. Here's a look at the top 25 cities and what makes each one such a fun place to visit.


Related: This Is the Unhappiest State in America

The riverwalk, San Antonio park walkway scenic canal tour boat
dszc/istockphoto

25. San Antonio

San Antonio has a unique Spanish, historical vibe and a truly extensive restaurant scene offering everything from Tex-Mex to barbecue. Unlike most fun cities, San Antonio is actually quite an affordable place to visit, making it all the more enjoyable.


Related: Fun Day Trips for Families in Every State

Charleston, South Carolina
SeanPavonePhoto/istockphoto

24. Charleston, South Carolina

With a diverse art and style scene, Southern charm, and historical appeal, Charleston is truly a unique, fun city to visit. The city has quite the bar and restaurant scene and ranks high for entertainment and recreation. 


Related: 19 Free or Cheap Things to Do in Charleston

People dine in the Walnut street restaurant district in downtown Philadelphia USA
benedek/istockphoto

23. Philadelphia

Philly cheesesteaks and “The Fresh Prince of Bel Air” theme song might be some of the things that pop into your mind when you think about Philadelphia. The city is one of the most fun in America mostly due to a high ranking for parties and nightlife.


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Salt lake City Downtown
4kodiak/istockphoto
Walk of fame - Hollywood Boulevard in Los Angeles
ViewApart/istockphoto

21. Los Angeles

Los Angeles is a complex city. Due to its size, some areas will have you feeling like you’re in an entirely different place, and also because of its size, the city has a lot to offer in terms of fun things to do. L.A. scores high for both entertainment and recreation, and parties and nightlife. 


Looking for hidden gems while you're in L.A.? Be sure to check out "100 Things to Do in L.A. Before You Die" and "Secret Los Angeles" by Danny Jensen, Cheapism's managing editor.

Downtown St. Louis Beyond the Arch
Art Wager/istockphoto

20. St. Louis

The Gateway Arch in St. Louis is the world’s tallest arch at 623 feet and visitors can visit the top of the arch or the underground visitor center, making the city a fun place for tourists to visit. The city’s high ranking is mostly due to a higher score for parties and nightlife.

Houston, Texas, USA
Sean Pavone/istockphoto

19. Houston

Offering an abundance of museums and plenty of renowned restaurants, Houston is one of the most fun cities in America. With a high score for parties and nightlife, Houston also has one of the highest numbers of dance clubs per capita. The city is also family friendly, with plenty of playground parks.


Related: Houston Mansions You Can Book as Vacation Rentals

Pennsylvania Avenue and United States Capitol, Washington, D.C. USA
miralex/istockphoto

18. Washington, D.C.

Washington, D.C. is not just the White House and other government monuments and buildings. The nation's capital is one of the most fun in the country with high scores for both entertainment and recreation and parties and nightlife.


Related: 24 Free or Cheap Things to Do in Washington, D.C.

Cincinnati, Ohio, USA Skyline
Sean Pavone/istockphoto

17. Cincinnati

Eclectic Cincinnati offers a variety of parks, historical sites, museums, and restaurants. It ranks as one of the most fun cities mainly due to entertainment and recreation. 

Aerial view of people at the beach with the pier with during blue day, Pacific Beach, San Diego
Thomas De Wever/istockphoto

16. San Diego

California’s second-largest city is also considered one of the most fun cities in the nation. San Diego has beautiful weather all year long and offers plenty of outdoor activities like rock climbing, swimming, and the world famous San Diego Zoo. The city comes in at fourth place for entertainment and recreation and also scores high for parties and nightlife.


Related: The 20 Best Beaches on the West Coast

Las Olas Boulevard
Torresigner/istockphoto

15. Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Water sports, parks, and beaches in Fort Lauderdale offer plenty of fun, but aside from entertainment and recreation, the city also ranks high for parties and nightlife. Fort Lauderdale also has the most accessible bars in the country and has the highest number of fitness centers per capita.

Seattle skyline and Mt Rainier on a clear day
espiegle/istockphoto

14. Seattle

The Space Needle, Pike Place Market, and the Seattle Waterfront are just some of the attractions in Seattle. The city ranks high for both entertainment and recreation and parties and nightlife.

Portland Oregon first Thursday Street Art.
DaveAlan/istockphoto

13. Portland, Oregon

The biggest city in Oregon, Portland is one of the most fun states in the country, mostly due to its high ranking for parties and nightlife, but also thanks to a good score for entertainment and recreation. The city also has a wide array of restaurants, making it a magnet for foodies.


Related: Bucket List Destinations for Foodies

People enjoy the farmers market at Union Station Denver
Page Light Studios/istockphoto

12. Denver

If you’re looking for a city that offers a wide range of things to do for fun, Denver should be on your radar. The city has three sports stadiums, art and history museums, rivers for whitewater rafting, a downtown amusement park, a performing arts complex, and an aquarium. It’s no wonder Denver ranks high for entertainment and recreation, not to mention the city features an array of nightclubs.

People on the Riverwalk in downtown Tampa FL
csfotoimages/istockphoto

11. Tampa, Florida

Coastal Tampa not only offers beaches and warm weather, it has a prominent live music scene and a variety of restaurants and breweries. Ranking high for entertainment and recreation, Tampa also has some of the highest festival numbers per capita.

Night New York, reflective city lights
M A X I M/istockphoto

10. New York

Start spreading the news: New York is the 10th most fun city in the nation. Ranking high for both entertainment and recreation and parties and nightlife, the City That Never Sleeps has tons of trendy restaurants, busy night clubs, and Broadway. NYC isn’t just fun for adults, though. It also has some of the highest numbers of park playgrounds per capita.


Related: 40 Free or Cheap Things to Do in New York City

Honolulu Hawaii from Above
Art Wager/istockphoto

9. Honolulu

There is definitely no place in the country like Hawaii. Each island will have you feeling like you stepped into another world. The city holds the No. 1 spot for recreation and entertainment and also has some of the highest numbers for festivals and acres of parkland per capita.


Related: The Best of Hawaii on a Budget

Sunrise at Cloud Gate
lhongfoto/istockphoto

8. Chicago

Located on the shores of Lake Michigan, Chicago is a unique city with a vibrant arts scene and interesting architecture. It is one of the highest ranking cities for recreation and entertainment and has some of the highest numbers for restaurants and park playgrounds per capita.

Perfect Golden Hour Cityscape view high above Austin Texas Skyline
RoschetzkyIstockPhoto/istockphoto

7. Austin, Texas

Austin has plenty of parks, hiking and bike trails, and river access. If your way of having fun includes a sunny day outside, Austin has plenty to offer. But if you’re more interested in an exciting nightlife scene, Austin will suit you even better since the city ranks high for parties and nightlife.


Related: Family-Friendly Texas Spring Break Vacation Rentals to Book Now

Nightclubs in San Francisco
tifonimages/istockphoto

6. San Francisco

With some of the highest numbers for restaurants, festivals, and dance clubs per capita, San Francisco comes in as the sixth most fun city in the nation, scoring especially high for parties and nightlife and entertainment and recreation.

French Quarter nightlife.
peeterv/istockphoto

5. New Orleans

While it might be famous for Mardi Gras celebrations, the Big Easy has plenty to offer all year round, especially in terms of parties and nightlife. The city also has some of the highest numbers of festivals per capita. 


Related: Best Free and Cheap Things to Do in New Orleans

Skyscrapers and palm trees in Miami Bayfront park
Gabriele Maltinti/istockphoto

4. Miami

Miami is one of those cities that has it all. From white sand beaches and rich Latin American culture to nightclubs and high-end shopping, the city really does have so much to offer and is a popular vacation spot. While it’s not exactly a cheap place to visit, Miami does rank extremely high for parties and nightlife and entertainment and recreation.


Related: The Restaurant With the Best View in Every State

Atlanta, Georgia Skyline
SeanPavonePhoto/istockphoto

3. Atlanta

The nightlife scene in Atlanta is always lively. There are tons of unique dance clubs, trendy restaurants that are open late, and there’s even an aquarium that’s open at night complete with under-the-sea themed cocktails.

Orlando night scene
rabbit75_ist/istockphoto

2. Orlando, Florida

If theme parks are your idea of a fun time, there’s no better city to travel to than Orlando. With Disney World and Universal Studios just miles apart, there are plenty of opportunities to throw your hands up on a roller coaster, take your picture with your favorite movie character, and indulge in some seriously unique treats. Not only does Orlando offer family fun, the city also ranks second for both parties and nightlife and is notorious for having dozens of dance clubs. 


Related: 26 Ways to Do Disney on a Budget

Panoramic view of Las Vegas Strip at night in Nevada
RandyAndy101/istockphoto

1. Las Vegas

Viva Las Vegas! It’s no surprise that Vegas ranks as the most fun city in the country. It holds the No. 1 spot for parties and nightlife and is the third-highest ranking for entertainment and recreation. The city is riddled with hundreds of casinos, restaurants, shows, stores, hotels, and nightclubs (both indoor and outdoor). There are also plenty of festivals and events taking place all the time in Vegas, not to mention residencies for big name entertainers at luxurious venues.


Related: Must-See Vegas Attractions That Aren't on the Strip