America's 20 Most Fun Cities

Fall is the ideal season to see gorgeous scenery, discover wildlife, or enjoy an Indian summer. Get inspired to take an autumn trip to any of these 50 fantastic places to visit outside the summer high season!
Go because... your kids will love Green Gables, and you'll love the oyster hour.Prince Edward Island is a magical place, an emerald isle of farms and fields, fringed with red clay and pine forests. It requires just that little bit of extra effort to get there—we flew to Halifax, rented a car, and drove an hour and a half to the car ferry from Nova Scotia—that makes a week discovering its bays and beaches all the sweeter. Our house was on a lovely little bay at the eastern end of the island near the small town of Souris, which has the perfect lobster shack, and also near Basin Head beach, a sandy paradise for us and our six-year-old twins because of the shallow sandbars that extend far out, making paddling around an all-day possibility. We also rented bikes along the Confederation Trail, which runs the length of the island; went bay fishing (one of my daughters caught the single mackerel that was biting that day); and toured Green Gables—a real place even if Anne is not! At first my girls were skeptical (they’re not old enough to read the books or ship Anne and Gilbert—yet), but the verdict after touring the gardens and the charming house with its pantry and dairy and wee bedrooms: “I thought this would be boring, but it was fun.” My husband and I ate our weight in oysters, mussels, and lobster. (Interesting fact: PEI provides 55 percent of the oysters eaten in North America and 70 percent of the mussels.) At The Inn at Bay Fortune, we dined on chef Michael Smith’s open-flame, seven-course FireWorks Feast, preceded by “oyster hour.” For 60 minutes it’s all-you-can-eat Colville Bay oysters, so creamy, plump, and delicious. All I can say is, I did my part. —Sunshine Flint
Slide 1 of 21: What's your idea of a good time? WalletHub recently analyzed more than 180 U.S. cities based on 65 key metrics to determine which pack the strongest punch when it comes to offering the most variety of fun and cost-effective entertainment.
Slide 2 of 21: No surprise here. The Entertainment Capital of the World is the most fun city in America. Las Vegas can thank its seemingly endless lineup of festivals and shows, a plethora of mouthwatering restaurants, emerging sports scene, and lively bars and dance clubs for its position.
Slide 3 of 21: Orlando may trail Las Vegas for the top spot, but Central Florida is no doubt a bigger hit with traveling families who are drawn to the destination's stellar theme parks—which are also budget friendly.
Slide 4 of 21: New York has the most restaurants per square root of population of any city WalletHub examined. It also tied for first in terms of most park playgrounds and fitness centers per capita, as well as boasting the nation's most accessible bars.
Slide 5 of 21: Atlanta is among the most wallet-friendly destinations to rank in the top 20 and is also home to one of the country's most impressive roster of dance clubs.
Slide 6 of 21: If your idea of fun is trying new restaurants and working out, Miami is your city. It ranks third for most restaurants per capita and first for most fitness centers per capita.
Slide 7 of 21: The Windy City ties New York City for most park playgrounds per capita and ranks in the top 10 in terms of both entertainment and recreation and nightlife and parties.
Slide 8 of 21: Portland's nightlife and parties rank seventh in the nation and its bars are the third most accessible behind only New York and Las Vegas. The city also boasts an unmatched level of weirdness.
Slide 9 of 21: If you like to dance, the Bay Area is where you ought to be. In addition to possessing the most dance clubs per capita, San Francisco is home to most fitness centers, restaurants and festivals per square root of population.
Slide 10 of 21: The Big Easy knows how to party so it's no shock New Orleans is tied for first in terms of most festivals per capita. It also ranks sixth for nightlife and parties, according to WalletHub's research.
Slide 11 of 21: Only New York and Honolulu rank higher than San Diego when it comes to entertainment and recreation. It also ties San Francisco, New York and Miami for most fitness centers per capita.
Slide 12 of 21: Denver is one of the best value destinations when it comes to the most fun cities, ranking seventh among the top 20 in terms of costs.
Slide 13 of 21: The Hawaiian capital is tied for the most acres of parkland per capita and most festivals per capita, making it the top city for fun outside of the mainland U.S.
Slide 14 of 21: Los Angeles ranks fifth for most fitness centers and dance clubs per capita, so active travelers are all but guaranteed to have a great time in this SoCal hotspot.
Slide 15 of 21: Austin is one of the most consistent destinations across each of the key dimensions, ranking 19th or better in both entertainment and recreation and nightlife and parties, as well as a respectable 54th for costs.
Slide 16 of 21: The nation's capital's expensive price tag is the only reason it doesn't rank higher on the list. It checks in 165th out of 182 cities in terms of costs for fun.
Slide 17 of 21: Similarly to Washington, D.C., Seattle ranks in or just outside of the top 10 for entertainment and recreation as well as nightlife and parties but is better than only 10 other cities when it comes to costs.
Slide 18 of 21: Like most major cities on the East Coast, cost is the biggest obstacle to having a ball in Philadelphia. It ranks middle of the pack in terms of costs, but 15th and 18th in terms of nightlife and parties and entertainment and recreation, respectively.
Slide 19 of 21: Houston ranks consistently well across the board, making it a top destination for travelers seeking fun at an affordable cost. The city's nightlife and parties rank 14th in the country.
Slide 20 of 21: No other city in the top 20 beats St. Louis when it comes to costs for fun. The Gateway to the West ranks 11th in that category and not much worse in the other key areas.
Slide 21 of 21: Tampa is one of the best cities for fall festivals so it's fitting that it sneaks in at No. 20. Only three other cities can say they host as many festivals per capita.

Good Times Await

What’s your idea of a good time? WalletHub recently analyzed more than 180 U.S. cities based on 65 key metrics to determine which pack the strongest punch when it comes to offering the most variety of fun and cost-effective entertainment.

1. Las Vegas, Nevada

No surprise here. The Entertainment Capital of the World is the most fun city in America. Las Vegas can thank its seemingly endless lineup of festivals and shows, a plethora of mouthwatering restaurants, emerging sports scene, and lively bars and dance clubs for its position.

2. Orlando, Florida

Orlando may trail Las Vegas for the top spot, but Central Florida is no doubt a bigger hit with traveling families who are drawn to the destination’s stellar theme parks—which are also budget friendly.

3. New York, New York

New York has the most restaurants per square root of population of any city WalletHub examined. It also tied for first in terms of most park playgrounds and fitness centers per capita, as well as boasting the nation’s most accessible bars.

4. Atlanta, Georgia

Atlanta is among the most wallet-friendly destinations to rank in the top 20 and is also home to one of the country’s most impressive roster of dance clubs.

5. Miami, Florida

If your idea of fun is trying new restaurants and working out, Miami is your city. It ranks third for most restaurants per capita and first for most fitness centers per capita.

6. Chicago, Illinois

The Windy City ties New York City for most park playgrounds per capita and ranks in the top 10 in terms of both entertainment and recreation and nightlife and parties.

7. Portland, Oregon

Portland’s nightlife and parties rank seventh in the nation and its bars are the third most accessible behind only New York and Las Vegas. The city also boasts an unmatched level of weirdness.

8. San Francisco, California

If you like to dance, the Bay Area is where you ought to be. In addition to possessing the most dance clubs per capita, San Francisco is home to most fitness centers, restaurants and festivals per square root of population.

9. New Orleans, Louisiana

The Big Easy knows how to party so it’s no shock New Orleans is tied for first in terms of most festivals per capita. It also ranks sixth for nightlife and parties, according to WalletHub’s research.

10. San Diego, California

Only New York and Honolulu rank higher than San Diego when it comes to entertainment and recreation. It also ties San Francisco, New York and Miami for most fitness centers per capita.

11. Denver, Colorado

Denver is one of the best value destinations when it comes to the most fun cities, ranking seventh among the top 20 in terms of costs.

12. Honolulu, Hawaii

The Hawaiian capital is tied for the most acres of parkland per capita and most festivals per capita, making it the top city for fun outside of the mainland U.S.

13. Los Angeles, California

Los Angeles ranks fifth for most fitness centers and dance clubs per capita, so active travelers are all but guaranteed to have a great time in this SoCal hotspot.

14. Austin, Texas

Austin is one of the most consistent destinations across each of the key dimensions, ranking 19th or better in both entertainment and recreation and nightlife and parties, as well as a respectable 54th for costs.

15. Washington, DC

The nation’s capital’s expensive price tag is the only reason it doesn’t rank higher on the list. It checks in 165th out of 182 cities in terms of costs for fun.

16. Seattle, Washington

Similarly to Washington, D.C., Seattle ranks in or just outside of the top 10 for entertainment and recreation as well as nightlife and parties but is better than only 10 other cities when it comes to costs.

17. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Like most major cities on the East Coast, cost is the biggest obstacle to having a ball in Philadelphia. It ranks middle of the pack in terms of costs, but 15th and 18th in terms of nightlife and parties and entertainment and recreation, respectively.

18. Houston, Texas

Houston ranks consistently well across the board, making it a top destination for travelers seeking fun at an affordable cost. The city’s nightlife and parties rank 14th in the country.

19. St. Louis, Missouri

No other city in the top 20 beats St. Louis when it comes to costs for fun. The Gateway to the West ranks 11th in that category and not much worse in the other key areas.

20. Tampa, Florida

Tampa is one of the best cities for fall festivals so it’s fitting that it sneaks in at No. 20. Only three other cities can say they host as many festivals per capita.

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