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Best, Worst U.S. Cities for Recreation

by Holly Riddle

Aug 14, 2019

San Diego skyline © Adeliepenguin | Dreamstime
Though it’s quickly winding down, summer’s not over yet. There’s still time to enjoy the sun, sand and surf at these beautiful U.S. waterfront destinations.


WalletHub recently released a report on the best and worst cities for recreation this year. WalletHub compared 100 of the largest U.S. cities to see which are most recreation-friendly, looking at 48 key indicators. Indicators included costs of popular recreational activities such as going to the movies and bowling; costs of food and beverages like coffee; and number of recreational facilities like tennis courts, parks and live music venues.


According to the study, San Diego, California, is the best U.S. city for recreation in 2019, followed by Las Vegas, Nevada; Orlando, Florida; Honolulu, Hawai’i; and Tampa, Florida. The worst U.S. cities for recreation in 2019 are Jersey City, New Jersey; Irving, Texas; Oakland, California; Fort Wayne, Indiana; and Chula Vista, California.


As far as recreation costs go, Wichita, Kansas, boasts the lowest bowling costs, while Corpus Christi, Texas, boasts the lowest movie ticket costs. These costs are higher in larger cities such as New York City, Atlanta and Los Angeles.


Average food prices are lowest in Laredo, Texas; Greensboro, North Carolina; and Columbus, Ohio. Food prices skyrocket in Sacramento, California; Honolulu; Seattle, Washington; and Boston, Massachusetts.


Honolulu has the most tennis courts per capita, followed by Chicago, Illinois, and Omaha, Nebraska. Las Vegas ties with Austin, Texas; San Francisco, California; Nashville, Tennessee; and New Orleans, Louisiana for most live music venues per capita. Fremont, California; Irvine, California; North Las Vegas, Nevada; Chesapeake, Virginia; and New Orleans all tied for the highest percentage of parkland.


San Francisco spends the most on its park per capita, $279, and San Francisco also has the most bike rental facilities per square root of the population. Additionally, 100 percent of San Francisco’s population lives within walking distance of a park.


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