Here are the Best (and Worst) Cities for Recreation in 2023

Orlando comes in second only to Las Vegas in the latest report. One Florida city is among the 10 worst.
A car that floats on a lake
Quality of parks and recreational opportunities were key metrics in the WalletHub study. Pixabay

Did you know July is National Parks and Recreation Month? (We forgot too, so don’t expect a Hallmark card in the mail.) For those who like the stay active, choosing a city that boasts a wide range of outdoor and indoor leisure activities is key. That’s why WalletHub has just released a report naming 2023’s Best and Worst Cities for Recreation.

To conduct the study, WalletHub compared the 100 largest cities in the United States, comparing 48 key metrics including living costs, the quality of parks, accessibility of entertainment and recreation facilities and the weather. Here are WalletHub’s conclusions:

Best Cities for Recreation

  1. Las Vegas, NV
  2. Orlando, FL
  3. Tampa, FL
  4. Cincinnati, OH
  5. Atlanta, GA
  6. Scottsdale, AZ
  7. San Diego, CA
  8. Honolulu, HI
  9. St. Louis, MO
  10. Chicago, IL

Orlando topped the rankings for entertainment and recreational facilities, edging out Las Vegas. Orlando ranked 54th for basic living costs, 39th for quality of parks and 18th for weather.

RELATED: 10 Best Hotel Restaurants in Orlando

Chula Vista in California – near San Diego – ranked 100th on the list so it gets the dubious distinction of being the worst city for recreation. Chula Vista is followed by Newark (NJ), Durham (NC), Irving (TX), and Oakland (CA). One Florida city – Hialeah – made the Top 10 list of worst cities for recreation.

Other Florida cities on the list and their rankings include St. Petersburg (19), Jacksonville (33), and Miami (54).

Some other revelations from the WalletHut study:

  • San Francisco and Boston have the highest share of the population with walkable park access, 100 percent, which is 3.1 times higher than in Indianapolis, the city with the lowest at 32 percent.
  • New York has the most playgrounds per square root of the population, 0.660085, which is 13 times more than in Hialeah, Florida, the city with the fewest at 0.050668.
  • San Francisco has the highest spending on parks per capita, $515, which is 15.6 times higher than in Jersey City, New Jersey, the city with the lowest at $33.
  • San Francisco has the most bike rental facilities per square root of the population, 0.049433, which is 35 times more than in Kansas City, Missouri, the city with the fewest at 0.001411.

WalletHub is a personal finance company that produces a suite of services and tools including free credit checks.

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