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Best Cities 2010: Top 50+ Cities

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Best Cities 2010: Top 50+ Cities

This year’s best ranked American cities based on health, safety, education, economy and recreation. Plus, find out which cities ranked the worst!

How We Chose Our Cities

We conducted a nationwide survey of women from Parenting’s MomConnection research panel to pinpoint their top criteria in choosing a place to raise their families. Their choices were (in order of priority): quality of schools; affordability and availability of quality housing; low crime rates; job availability and growth; number of registered sex offenders; recreational opportunities; quality/quantity of pediatricians/family physicians; commute time and distance; proximity to a good children’s hospital; quality/quantity of childcare facilities and preschools; and air quality.

Next, we compiled a list of the top 100 cities by population, according to the U.S. Census. We removed towns that were so close to other large cities that they would have similar data. We also added in smaller cities that are widely known. Then we crunched more than 5,000 bits of info in 52 categories to devise rankings for Economy, Safety, Health, Education, and Recreation. Finally, we averaged those findings, giving the most weight to Education, Economy, and Safety, to determine the “Overall Score.”

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Plus:
10 Best in Education
10 Best in Safety
10 Best in Education
See all 101 Cities

City: Arlington

State: Virginia

Best Cities Overall Rank: 1

About Arlington: Arlington has numerous museums and art galleries, and plenty of historical memorials, including the Arlington National Cemetery, the Lincoln Memorial and a World War II Memorial.

County: Arlington

Population: 209,000

Official website for city visitors’ bureau: Visitor’s bureau website 

Read more about Arlington

Plus:
10 Best in Education
10 Best in Safety
10 Best in Education
See all 101 Cities

City: Austin 

State: Texas

Best Cities Overall Rank: 2

About Austin: Austin is known as the Live Music Capital of the World, hosting almost 200 venues and is the home to even more musicians. While enjoying the tunes, try some Texas BBQ or window shop at one of the many shopping areas. 

County: Travis

Population: 758,000

Official website for city visitors’ bureau: Visitor’s bureau website

Read more about Austin

Plus:
10 Best in Education
10 Best in Safety
10 Best in Education
See all 101 Cities

City: Madison

State: Wisconsin

Best Cities Overall Rank: 3

About Madison: Citizens of Madison enjoy short commutes and a low unemployment rate, as well as nearby lakes, recreational trails and few violent crimes.

County: Dane

Population: 230,000

Official website for city visitors’ bureau/city: Visitor’s bureau website

Read more about Madison

Plus:
10 Best in Education
10 Best in Safety
10 Best in Education
See all 101 Cities

City: Ann Arbor

State: Michigan

Best Cities Overall Rank: 4

About Ann Arbor: Ann Arbor was named Forbes Best College Sports Town and the third Best Midwest Food Town in 2009 by Midwest Living. The city hosts numerous musicians, shows and festivals and is home to the University of Michigan.

County: Washtenaw

Population: 114,000

Official website for city visitors’ bureau: Visitor’s bureau website

Read more about Ann Arbor

Plus:
10 Best in Education
10 Best in Safety
10 Best in Education
See all 101 Cities

City: Lexington

State: Kentucky

Best Cities Overall Rank: 5

About Lexington: Known as the Horse Capital of the World, Lexington offers plenty of stable tours and activities, as well as arts, dining and great music venues for bluegrass, country, and more.

County: Fayette

Population: 282,000

Official website for city visitors’ bureau/city: Visitor’s bureau website 

Read more about Lexington

Plus:
10 Best in Education
10 Best in Safety
10 Best in Education
See all 101 Cities

City: Portland

State: Oregon

Best Cities Overall Rank: 6

About Portland: This green city is home to the International Rose Test Garden, one of the largest rose test gardens in the country, as well as the Portland Japanese Garden.

County: Multnomah

Population: 557,000

Official website for city visitors’ bureau/city: Visitor’s bureau website

Read more about Portland

Plus:
10 Best in Education
10 Best in Safety
10 Best in Education
See all 101 Cities

City: Spokane

State: Washington

Best Cities Overall Rank: 7

About Spokane: Spokane has 4,100 acres of parkland that includes the Spokane River Centennial Trail, a 67-mile long path used for all sorts of outdoor activities.

County: Spokane

Population: 202,000

Official website for city visitors’ bureau/city: Visitor’s bureau website

Read more about Spokane

Plus:
10 Best in Education
10 Best in Safety
10 Best in Education
See all 101 Cities

City: Scottsdale

State: Arizona

Best Cities Overall Rank: 8

About Scottsdale: Hike up Camelback Mountain or stroll through the McDowell Sonoran Preserve – the city offers 14,000 acres of parkland to enjoy.

County: Maricopa

Population: 235,000

Official website for city visitors’ bureau/city:  Visitor’s bureau website

Read more about Scottsdale

Plus:
10 Best in Education
10 Best in Safety
10 Best in Education
See all 101 Cities

City: Omaha 

State: Nebraska

Best Cities Overall Rank: 9

About Omaha: Omaha ranks high across the board with seven Blue Ribbon schools, a short commute, low unemployment and 9,560 acres of parkland.

County: Douglas

Population: 439,000

Official website for city visitors’ bureau/city:  Visitor’s bureau website

Read more about Omaha

City: Raleigh

State: North Carolina

Best Cities Overall Rank: 10

About Raleigh: Know as the “City of Oaks,” Raleigh is home to five Blue Ribbon schools, a thriving real estate market, and The North Carolina Symphony.

County: Wake

Population: 392,000

Official website for city visitors’ bureau/city: Visitor’s bureau website

Read more about Raleigh

Plus:
10 Best in Education
10 Best in Safety
10 Best in Education
See all 101 Cities

City: Sioux Falls

State: South Dakota

Best Cities Overall Rank: 11

About Sioux Falls: This former cow town has some of the nation’s best parklands, with over 2,913 acres of dedicated land.

County: Minnehaha

Population: 154,997

Official website for city visitors’ bureau/city:  Visitor’s bureau website 

Read more about Sioux Falls

Plus:
10 Best in Education
10 Best in Safety
10 Best in Education
See all 101 Cities

City: Lincoln 

State: Nebraska 

Best Cities Overall Rank: 12

About Lincoln: Lincoln’s Elephant Hall has the largest collection of elephant skeletons in the world. The biggest mammoth fossils were discovered here!

County: Lancaster

Population: 251,624

Official website for city visitors’ bureau/city: Visitor’s bureau website 

Read more about Lincoln

Plus:
10 Best in Education
10 Best in Safety
10 Best in Education
See all 101 Cities

City: St. Paul 

State: Minnesota

Best Cities Overall Rank: 13

About St. Paul: St. Paul is home to the Science Museum of Minnesota and professional ice hockey team The Minnesota Wild.

County: Ramsey

Population: 279,590

Official website for city visitors’ bureau/city: Visitor’s bureau website

Read more about St. Paul

Plus:
10 Best in Education
10 Best in Safety
10 Best in Education
See all 101 Cities

City: Virginia Beach 

State: Virginia

Best Cities Overall Rank: 14

About Virginia Beach: First Landing State Park, near the first place where members of the Virginia Company landed, is in Virginia Beach.

County: Virginia Beach City

Population: 433,746

Official website for city visitors’ bureau/city: Visitor’s bureau website 

Read more about Virginia Beach

City: Des Moines

State: Iowa

Best Cities Overall Rank: 15

About Des Moines: Originally called Fort Raccoon, Des Moines has a Downtown Farmer’s Market that features more than 200 vendors from all around Iowa.

County: Polk

Population: 197,052

Official website for city visitors’ bureau/city: Visitor’s bureau website

Read more about Des Moines

City: Billings

State: Montana

Best Cities Overall Rank: 16

About Billings: Thousands of visitors stop by this city on their way to Yellowstone National Park, Glacier National Park, Grand Teton National Park, and the Little Bighorn National Monument.

County: Yellowstone

Population: 103, 994

Official website for city visitors’ bureau/city: Visitor’s bureau website

Read more about Billings

City: Boise

State: Idaho

Best Cities Overall Rank: 17

About Boise: Boise boasts 4,218.54 acres of parkland, including The Greenbelt, a 25-mile riverfront pathway. It is also home to St. Luke’s Children’s Hospital.

County: Ada

Population: 205,314

Official website for city visitors’ bureau/city: Visitor’s bureau website  

Read more about Boise

City: Minneapolis

State: Minnesota

Best Cities Overall Rank: 18

About Minneapolis: Minneapolis is nicknamed “City of Lakes” for the 22 lakes that exist within the city limits.

County: Hennepin

Population: 382,605

Official website for city visitors’ bureau/city: Visitor’s bureau website 

Read more about Minneapolis

City: Augusta

State: Georgia

Best Cities Overall Rank: 20

About Augusta: Nicknamed Garden City, Augusta is home to the Masters Golf Tournament, and is also the birthplace of the Godfather of Soul, James Brown.

County: Richmond

Population: 194,149

Official website for city visitors’ bureau/city: Visitor’s bureau website

Read more about Augusta

City: El Paso 

State: Texas

Best Cities Overall Rank: 21

About El Paso: Those who work in schools, government offices, health care, or retail are in luck: some of the largest employers in El Paso look for workers in these areas.

County: El Paso

Population: 613,190

Official website for city visitors’ bureau/city: Visitor’s bureau website

Read more about El Paso

City: Dallas 

State: Texas

Best Cities Overall Rank: 22

About Dallas: Sports lovers are in luck: Dallas has all of the four major sports in the United States (Rangers, Cowboys, Stars, Mavericks) and great places to take the whole family for a game.

County: Dallas

Population: 1,279,910

Official website for city visitors’ bureau/city: Visitor’s bureau website

Read more about Dallas

City: Topeka 

State: Kansas

Best Cities Overall Rank: 23

About Topeka: Topeka is the home of the Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site.

County: Shawnee

Population: 123,446

Official website for city visitors’ bureau/city: Visitor’s bureau website

Read more about Topeka

City: Little Rock 

State: Arkansas 

Best Cities Overall Rank: 24

About Little Rock: Little Rock is not only the geographical center of Arkansas, but also the hub of business, the arts, government, and healthcare in the state.

County: Pulaski

Population: 189,515

Official website for city visitors’ bureau/city: Visitor’s bureau website 

Read more about Little Rock

City: San Diego

State: California

Best Cities Overall Rank: 25

About San Diego: Families will enjoy this city’s world-class attractions, including the San Diego Zoo, Wild Animal Park, Sea World San Diego, LEGOLAND, and more.

County: San Diego

Population: 1,279,329

Official website for city visitors’ bureau/city: Visitor’s bureau website

Read more about San Diego

City: Honolulu

State: Hawaii

Best Cities Overall Rank: 26

About Honolulu: Honolulu is a center for Hawaiian music and theatre, where residents lead active lifestyles, and obesity rates are below the national average.

County: Honolulu

Population: 374,676

Official website for city visitors’ bureau/city: Visitor’s bureau website

Read more about Honolulu

City: Durham

State: North Carolina

Best Cities Overall Rank: 27

About Durham: Family-friendly Durham is a great place to keep your kids entertained with jazz festivals, blues festivals, symphony concerts, and art exhibitions.

County: Durham

Population: 223,284

Official website for city visitors’ bureau/city: Visitor’s bureau website

Read more about Durham

City: Seattle

State: Washington

Best Cities Overall Rank: 28

About Seattle: Ranked as the most literate city by Central Conn. State University, Seattle is known as a hotbed for start-up businesses, especially in green building and clean technology.

County: King

Population: 598,541

Official website for city visitors’ bureau/city: Visitor’s bureau website

Read more about Seattle

City: New York

State: New York

Best Cities Overall Rank: 29

About New York: As the nerve center of the nation; New York City is the leader in manufacturing, trade, theatre, and book publishing.

County: New York

Population: 8,363,710

Official website for city visitors’ bureau/city: Visitor’s bureau website

Read more about New York

City: Boston

State: Massachusetts

Best Cities Overall Rank: 30

About Boston: Home to the country’s first public school, Boston is a center of education, from the Boston Public Library to the many historical buildings.

County: Suffolk

Population: 609,023

Official website for city visitors’ bureau/city: Visitor’s bureau website

Read more about Boston

City: Albuquerque

State: New Mexico

Best Cities Overall Rank: 31

About Albuquerque: With deep Hispanic roots, Albuquerque is perfect for young families with high rankings in education and recreation,

County: Bernalillo

Population: 521,999

Official website for city visitors’ bureau/city: Visitor’s bureau website

Read more about Albuquerque

City: Fort Wayne

State: Indiana

Best Cities Overall Rank: 32

About Fort Wayne: Fort Wayne appeals to families because of its affordability, high education system and low crime rates.

County: Allen

Population: 251,591

Official website for city visitors’ bureau/city: Visitor’s bureau website

Read more about Fort Wayne

City: San Antonio

State: Texas

Best Cities Overall Rank: 33

About San Antonio: San Antonio is the home of Texan Tejano culture and a place that enjoys a steady and healthy economy.

County: Bexar

Population: 135,1305

Official website for city visitors’ bureau/city: Visitor’s bureau website

Read more about San Antonio

City: Aurora

State: Colorado

Best Cities Overall Rank: 34

About Aurora: The 3rd largest city in Colorado, Aurora scores well in the health, safety and recreation areas.

County: Arapaho

Population: 319,057

Official website for city visitors’ bureau/city: Visitor’s bureau website

Read more about Aurora

City: Mobile

State: Alabama

Best Cities Overall Rank: 35

About Mobile: The city of Mobile is named from the Native American Mobilian tribe that once resided in the area, scoring points for its high safety.

County: Mobile

Population: 191,022

Official website for city visitors’ bureau/city: Visitor’s bureau website

Read more about Mobile

City: Charlotte

State: North Carolina

Best Cities Overall Rank: 36

About Charlotte: Known as the Tar Heel State, Charlotte is home to one of the best education programs in the country, including 8 Blue Ribbon schools.

County: Mecklenburg

Population: 687,456

Official website for city visitors’ bureau/city: Visitor’s bureau website

Read more about Charlotte

City: Oklahoma City

State: Oklahoma

Best Cities Overall Rank: 37

About Oklahoma City: Where the wind comes sweepin’ down the plains, Oklahoma City is a great place to live if you’re looking for a good jobs a short commute and a low unemployment rate.

County: Oklahoma

Population: 551,789

Official website for city visitors’ bureau/city: Visitor’s bureau website

Read more about Oklahoma City

City: Tulsa

State: Oklahoma

Best Cities Overall Rank: 38

About Tulsa: Birthplace to country singer Garth Brooks, Tulsa is another great place to work with a short commute and a steady home value.

County: Tulsa

Population: 385,635

Official website for city visitors’ bureau/city: Visitor’s bureau website

Read more about Tulsa

City: Denver

State: Colorado

Best Cities Overall Rank: 39

About Denver: Denver, the Mile High City, is one of only two cities in America with eight professional sports teams.

County: Denver

Population: 598,707

Official website for city visitors’ bureau/city: Visitor’s bureau website

Read more about Denver

City: Newark 

State: New Jersey

Best Cities Overall Rank: 40

About Newark: Newark is the largest city in New Jersey and is home to a great education system — with a high school graduation rate of over 94 percent.

County: Essex

Population: 278,980

Official website for city visitors’ bureau/city: Visitor’s Bureau Website

Read more about Newark

City: Providence

State: Rhode Island

Best Cities Overall Rank: 41

About Providence: Home to many National Historic Landmarks, Providence is a great place to live if health is a high priority on your list.

County: Providence

Population: 171,557

Official website for city visitors’ bureau/city: Visitor’s bureau website

Read more about Providence

City: Louisville

State: Kentucky

Best Cities Overall Rank: 42

About Louisville: Home to the Kentucky Durby, Louisville also boasts the largest Victorian neighborhood in America.

County: Jefferson

Population: 557,224

Official website for city visitors’ bureau/city: Visitor’s bureau website

Read more about Louisville

City: Richmond

State:
Virginia

Best Cities Overall Rank: 43

About Richmond: From Nascar to the Edgar Allan Poe Museum and the Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden — Richmond has something for everyone.

County: Richmond

Population: 202,002

Official website for city visitors’ bureau/city: Visitor’s bureau website

Read more about Richmond

City: Phoenix 

State:

Arizona

Best Cities Overall Rank: 44

About Phoenix: Phoenix, located in the heart of the Sonoran Desert, boasts 40,454 acres of parkland, and is home to the largest, privately owned nonprofit zoo in the country.

County: Maricopa

Population: 1,567,924

Official website for city visitors’ bureau/city: Visitor’s bureau city 

Read more about Phoenix

City: Chesapeake

State:
Virginia

Best Cities Overall Rank: 45

About Chesapeake: Home to the Dismal Swamp Canal trail, Chesapeake is an outdoor lover’s paradise, with lots of walking, running, horseback riding, and boating.

County: Chesapeake

Population: 220,111

Official website for city visitors’ bureau/city: Visitor’s bureau website

Read more about Chesapeake

City: Wichita

State:
Kansas

Best Cities Overall Rank: 46

About Wichita: Wichita has 125 miles of bicycle trails and routes, 17 golf courses, and 107 parks.

County: Sedgwick

Population:
366,046

Official website for city visitors’ bureau/city: Visitor’s bureau website 

Read more about Wichita

City: Houston

State:
Texas

Best Cities Overall Rank: 47

About Houston: Houstonians eat out more than residents of any other city and enjoy more than 500 cultural, visual, and performing arts organizations.

County:
Harris

Population: 224,2193

Official website for city visitors’ bureau/city: Visitor’s bureau website

Read more about Houston

City: Corpus Christi

State: Texas

Best Cities Overall Rank: 48

About Corpus Christi: With over 133 miles of Gulf Coast beaches, Corpus Christi is a great place for the warm-blooded to reside.

County: Nueces

Population: 286,462

Official website for city visitors’ bureau/city: Visitor’s bureau website 

Read more about Corpus Christi

City: Pittsburgh

State: Pennsylvania

Best Cities Overall Rank: 49

About Pittsburgh: Home to the first Ferris wheel and Heinz Ketchup, Pittsburgh is also known for its excellent health and education programs.

County: Allegheny

Population: 310,037

Official website for city visitors’ bureau/city: Visitor’s bureau website 

Read more about Pittsburgh

City: Hartford

State: Connecticut

Best Cities Overall Rank: 50

About Hartford: Home to the oldest public art museum and the oldest continuously published newspaper, Hartford continues to be a beacon for education-minded families.

County: Hartford

Population: 124,062

Official website for city visitors’ bureau/city: Visitor’s bureau website

Read more about Hartford

City: Anchorage

State: Alaska

Best Cities Overall Rank: 51

About Anchorage: With more than 120 miles of paved bike and multi-use trails, and 90 miles of non-paved hiking trails, Anchorage is ideal for outdoorsy types.

County: Anchorage

Population: 279,243

Official website for city visitors’ bureau/city: Visitor’s bureau website 

Read more about Anchorage

City: Tucson 

State: Arizona

Best Cities Overall Rank: 52

About Tucson: Tucson averages 350 sunny days per year and is bordered on all sides by natural areas, including Coronado National Forest, Catalina State Park, Ironwood Forest National Monument, and Saguaro National Park.

County: Pima

Population: 541,811

Official website for city visitors’ bureau/city: Visitor’s bureau website 

Read more about Tucson

City: Fort Worth

State: Texas

Best Cities Overall Rank: 53

About Fort Worth: Fort Worth is rich in Southwest history, with daily cattle drives and weekend rodeos at the Fort Worth Stockyards. It also boasts 10,923 acres of parkland.

County: Tarrant

Population: 703,073

Official website for city visitors’ bureau/city: Visitor’s bureau website

Read more about Fort Worth

City: San Francisco

State: California

Best Cities Overall Rank: 54

About San Francisco: San Francisco has many unique attributes and is known for its Victorian architecture, diverse citizenry, iconic cable cars, hilly landscape, and its intense fog.

County: San Francisco

Population: 808,976

Official website for city visitors’ bureau/city: Visitor’s bureau website

Read more about San Francisco

City: Indianapolis

State: Indiana

Best Cities Overall Rank: 55

About Indianapolis: Indianapolis is a city that values education, with 19 Blue Ribbon schools and 27 NAYEC Accredited preschools.

County: Marion

Population: 798,382

Official website for city visitors’ bureau/city: Visitor’s bureau website

Read more about Indianapolis

City: Montgomery

State: Alabama

Best Cities Overall Rank: 56

About Montgomery: Montgomery is rich in Civil Rights history ¿ it’s home to the Civil Rights Memorial and the Dexter Avenue King Memorial Church, where Martin Luther King, Jr. once preached.

County: Montgomery

Population: 202,696

Official website for city visitors’ bureau/city: Visitor’s bureau website

Read more about Montgomery

City: Winston-Salem

State: North Carolina

Best Cities Overall Rank: 57

About Winston-Salem: Winston-Salem is home to three universities and one college: Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem State University, the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, and Salem College (for women).  

County: Forsyth

Population: 217,600

Official website for city visitors’ bureau/city: Visitor’s bureau website

Read more about Winston-Salem

City: Salt Lake City 

State: Utah

Best Cities Overall Rank: 58

About Salt Lake City: It’s easy to get pretty much anywhere from Salt Lake City, with the airport just 10 minutes from downtown and ample public transportation.

County: Salt Lake

Population: 181,698

Official website for city visitors’ bureau/city: Visitor’s bureau website

Read more about Salt Lake City

City: Greensboro

State: North Carolina

Best Cities Overall Rank: 59

About Greensboro: Greensboro is home to more than 20 public golf courses and the prestigious Wyndham Championship golf tournament.

County: Guilford

Population: 250,642

Official website for city visitors’ bureau/city: Visitor’s bureau website

Read more about Greensboro

City: Arlington

State: Texas

Best Cities Overall Rank: 60

About Arlington: Arlington is home to the 1,300 acre, family-friendly River Legacy Park, where you’ll find picnic areas, paved hike/bike trails, a meditation area, river overlooks, playground, and a canoe launch.

County: Tarrant

Population: 374,417

Official website for city visitors’ bureau/city: Visitor’s bureau website

Read more about Arlington

City: Columbus

State: Ohio

Best Cities Overall Rank: 61

About Columbus: Columbus has plenty of educational opportunities with the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, the Center of Science and Industry (COSI) and the Franklin Park Conservatory.

County: Franklin

Population: 754,885

Official website for city visitors’ bureau/city: Visitor’s bureau website 

Read more about Columbus

City: Mesa

State: Arizona

Best Cities Overall Rank: 62

About Mesa: This sunny city has an average temperature of 86 degrees and an annual rainfall of only 10 inches.

County: Maricopa

Population: 463,552

Official website for city visitors’ bureau/city: Visitor’s bureau website 

Read more about Mesa

City: San Jose

State: California

Best Cities Overall Rank: 63

About San Jose: San Jose has six Blue Ribbon schools, 12 NAEYC-Accredited preschools and a graduation rate of 86.1 percent.

County: Santa Clara

Population: 948,279

Official website for city visitors’ bureau/city: Visitor’s bureau website 

Read more about San Jose

City: Tacoma

State: Washington

Best Cities Overall Rank: 64

About Tacoma: Tacoma has 2,721 acres of parkland, which includes Mount Rainier National Park where the elevation ranges from 1,880 feet to 14,411 feet.

County: Pierce

Population: 197,181

Official website for city visitors’ bureau/city: Visitor’s bureau website 

Read more about Tacoma

City: Nashville

State: Tennessee

Best Cities Overall Rank: 65

About Nashville: Nashville is not only filled with musical history, but history ranging from Civil War battles to the 1897 World’s Fair.

County: Davidson

Population: 596,462

Official website for city visitors’ bureau/city: Visitor’s bureau website 

Read more about Nashville

City: Norfolk

State: Virginia

Best Cities Overall Rank: 66

About Norfolk: Norfolk is located where the Chesapeake Bay meets the Atlantic ocean, so plenty of water fun can be found. Enjoy fishing, boating, sailing, cruises, and even crabbing.

County: Norfolk

Population: 234,220

Official website for city visitors’ bureau/city: Visitor’s bureau website 

Read more about Norfolk

City: Anaheim

State: California

Best Cities Overall Rank: 67

About Anaheim: Anaheim is located in Orange County, which boasts 42 miles of coastline and endless opportunities for fun.  Spend a day golfing with an ocean view, visit a theme park or cheer on the Angels baseball team or the Anaheim Ducks hockey team.

County: Orange

Population: 335,288

Official website for city visitors’ bureau/city: Visitor’s bureau website 

Read more about Anaheim

City: Kansas City

State: Missouri

Best Cities Overall Rank: 68

About Kansas City: Kansas City is home to the Country Club Plaza, a 14-square-block outdoor shopping area located in the heart of downtown, designed to resemble romantic Spanish architecture. 

County: Jackson

Population: 451,572

Official website for city visitors’ bureau/city: Visitor’s bureau website 

Read more about Kansas City

City: Baton Rouge 

State: Louisiana

Best Cities Overall Rank: 69

About Baton Rouge: Baton Rouge has a variety of food, including Cajun, Creole, French and Mexican, so your palate will never get bored.

County: East Baton Rouge

Population: 223,689

Official website for city visitors’ bureau/city: Visitor’s bureau website

Read more about Baton Rouge

City: New Orleans

State: Louisiana

Best Cities Overall Rank: 70

About New Orleans: New Orleans’ oldest neighborhood, the French Quarter, has architecture, Bourbon Street sightseeing or fresh seafood at any restaurant.

Population: 311,853

Official website for city visitors’ bureau/city: Visitor’s bureau website

Read more about New Orleans

City: Washington, DC

State: District of Columbia

Best Cities Overall Rank: 71

About Washington:DC was voted the most walkable city in the U.S. in a study by the Brookings Institution in 2007.

Population: 591,833

Official website for city visitors’ bureau/city: Visitor’s bureau website

Read more about Washington, DC

City: Syracuse

State: New York

Best Cities Overall Rank: 72

About Syracuse: Syracuse is home to the longest running State Fair in the nation, dating back to 1841.

Population: 138,068

Official website for city visitors’ bureau/city: Visitor’s bureau website

Read more about Syracuse

City: Buffalo

State: New York

Best Cities Overall Rank: 73

About Buffalo: Buffalo is the birthplace of windshield wipers, electric streetlights, and, of course, Buffalo wings. 

Population: 270,919

Official website for city visitors’ bureau/city: Visitor’s bureau website

Read more about Buffalo

City: Cleveland

State: Ohio

Best Cities Overall Rank: 74

About Cleveland: Cleveland is home to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (but all the little chicks with the crimson lips already know Cleveland rocks.)

Population: 433,748

Official website for city visitors’ bureau/city: Visitor’s bureau website

Read more about Cleveland

City: Jacksonville

State: Florida

Best Cities Overall Rank: 75

About Jacksonville:Jacksonville still hosts the Tree Hill Nature Center Annual Butterfly Festival, held on the last Saturday in April, featuring the release of over 1,000 butterflies.

Population: 807,815

Official website for city visitors’ bureau/city: Visitor’s bureau website

Read more about Jacksonville

City: Milwaukee

State: Wisconsin

Best Cities Overall Rank: 76

About Milwaukee: Milwaukee is home to a number of impressive arts offerings, including the spectacular Santiago Calatrava-designed Milwaukee Art Museum

Population: 604,477

Official website for city visitors’ bureau/city: Visitors’ bureau website

Read more about Milwaukee

City: Baltimore

State: Maryland

Best Cities Overall Rank: 77

About Baltimore: Clueless about crustaceans? You’ll be up to speed in no time in Baltimore, where crab feasts and the art of cracking them open is serious fun.

Population: 636,919

Official website for city visitors’ bureau/city: Visitor’s bureau website

Read more about Baltimore

City: Los Angeles

State: California

Best Cities Overall Rank: 78

About Los Angeles: Amelia Earhart began her aeronautic career with flying lessons in Los Angeles in 1921.

Population: 3,833,995

Official website for city visitors’ bureau/city: Visitor’s bureau website

Read more about Los Angeles

City: Riverside

State: California

Best Cities Overall Rank: 79

About Riverside: Vitamin C rocks! The first navel orange tree in the U.S. was grown in Riverside, CA.

Population: 295,357

Official website for city visitors’ bureau/city: Visitor’s bureau website

Read more about Riverside

City: Wilmington

State: Deleware

Best Cities Overall Rank: 80

About Wilmington: Wilmington was named by Thomas Penn for his friend Spencer Compton, Earl of Wilmington, who was prime minister in the reign of George II of Great Britain.

Population: 72,592

Official website for city visitors’ bureau/city: Visitor’s bureau website

Read more about Wilmington

City: Tampa

State: Florida

Best Cities Overall Rank: 81

About Tampa: Sun lovers will dig the Tampa area — according to the Guinness Book of World Records this region has the most number of days of sunshine.

Population: 340,882

Official website for city visitors’ bureau/city: Visitor’s bureau website

Read more about Tampa

City: Cincinnati

State: Ohio

Best Cities Overall Rank: 82

About Cincinnati: Famous folks from Cincinnati include Steven Spielberg, Ted Turner, Carmen Electra, and William Howard Taft, the 27th President of the United States.

Population: 333,336

Official website for city visitors’ bureau/city: Visitor’s bureau website

Read more about Cincinatti

City: Long Beach

State: California

Best Cities Overall Rank: 83

About Long Beach: The Port of Long Beach is the second-largest seaport in the United States.

Population: 463,789

Official website for city visitors’ bureau/city: Visitor’s bureau website

Read more about Long Beach

City: Philadelphia

State: Pennsylvania

Best Cities Overall Rank: 84

About Philadelphia: The Philadelphia Museum of Art was made famous by being featured in the popular “Rocky” films, when Sylvester Stallone, as the boxer Rocky, made his famous training runs up the front steps.

Population: 1,447,395

Official website for city visitors’ bureau/city: Visitor’s bureau website

Read more about Philadelphia

City: Bakersfield

State: California

Best Cities Overall Rank: 85

About Bakersfield: Many Bakersfield residents have ancestors who migrated to the area from the Midwest during the Dust Bowl.

Population: 321,078

Official website for city visitors’ bureau/city: Visitor’s bureau website

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City: Atlanta

State: Georgia

Best Cities Overall Rank: 86

About Atlanta: Atlanta is the only city in North America that has been destroyed by fire as an act of war. It’s also home to the Atlanta Ballet, the oldest ballet company in the nation.

Population: 537,958

Official website for city visitors’ bureau/city: Visitor’s bureau website

Read more about Atlanta

City: St. Louis

State: Missouri

Best Cities Overall Rank: 87

About St. Louis: The city has had a hand in building more than 40 breweries.

The first skyscraper was born in this city.

Population: 35,461

Official website for city visitors’ bureau/city: Visitor’s bureau website

Read more about St. Louis

City: Akron

State: Ohio

Best Cities Overall Rank: 88

About Akron: Ice cream cones, hamburgers and caramel corn snacks were invented here.

Population: 20,710

Official website for city visitors’ bureau/city: Visitor’s bureau website

Read more about Akron

City: Toledo

State: Ohio

Best Cities Overall Rank: 89

About Toledo: The Toledo Zoo has a hippoquarium.

Population: 293,201

Official website for city visitors’ bureau/city: Visitor’s bureau website

Read more about Toledo

City: Chicago

State: Illinois

Best Cities Overall Rank: 90

About Chicago: The first Ferris Wheel appeared in Chicago in 1893.  The Lincoln Park Zoo is one of three major free zoos in the country.

Population: 2,853,114

Official website for city visitors’ bureau/city: Visitor’s bureau website

Read more about Chicago

City: Memphis

State: Tennessee

Best Cities Overall Rank: 91

About Memphis: It’s known as the birthplace of rock ¿n roll, and the home of Graceland, Elvis Presley’s mansion, and the famous Sun Studios

Population: 669,651

Official website for city visitors’ bureau/city: Visitor’s bureau website

Read more about Memphis

City: Fort Lauderdale

State: Florida

Best Cities Overall Rank: 92

About Fort Lauderdale: Greater Fort Lauderdale houses the world’s largest discount mall, Sawgrass Mills.  With 40,000 yachts in the harbor, it has been called the yachting capital of the world.

Population: 183,126

Official website for city visitors’ bureau/city: Visitor’s bureau website

Read more about Fort Lauderdale

City: Orlando

State: Florida

Best Cities Overall Rank: 93

About Orlando: The city is home to more than 100 lakes.

Population: 230,519

Official website for city visitors’ bureau/city: Visitor’s bureau website

Read more about Orlando

City: Birmingham

State: Alabama

Best Cities Overall Rank: 94

About Birmingham: Birmingham’s Ruffner Mountain is the second largest urban nature preserve in the country.

Population: 228,798

Official website for city visitors’ bureau/city: Visitor’s bureau website

Read more about Birmingham

City: Grand Rapids

State: Michigan

Best Cities Overall Rank: 95

About Grand Rapids: Grand Rapids was originally known as the “Furniture Capital” of the nation. It is known today as the “Furniture Capital” of office furniture manufacturing.

Population: 193,396

Official website for city visitors’ bureau/city: Visitor’s bureau website

Read more about Grand Rapids

City: Miami

State: Florida

Best Cities Overall Rank: 96

About Miami: Miami Beach is home to one of the largest snow skiing clubs in the United States.

County: Miami-Dade

Population: 413,201

Official website for city visitors’ bureau/city: Visitors’ bureau website

Read more about Miami

City: St. Petersburg

State: Florida

Best Cities Overall Rank: 97

About St. Petersburg: St Petersburg holds a Guinness World Record for the highest number of consecutive days of sunshine — 768 — that began in 1967.

Population: 245,314

Official website for city visitors’ bureau/city: Visitor’s bureau website

Read more about St. Petersburg

City: Fresno

State: California

Best Cities Overall Rank: 98

About Fresno: Fresno is known for its large agricultural production, and is home to some of the largest wineries and the largest dried fruit company in the world.

Population: 476,050

Official website for city visitors’ bureau/city: Visitor’s bureau website

Read more about Fresno

City: Sacramento

State: California

Best Cities Overall Rank: 99

About Sacramento: Sacramento was founded during the Gold Rush, when gold was discovered just outside the city.

Population: 463,794

Official website for city visitors’ bureau/city: Visitor’s bureau website

Read more about Sacramento

City: Las Vegas

State: Nevada

Best Cities Overall Rank: 100

About Las Vegas: The average number of weddings that take place in Las Vegas each day is 315.

Population: 558,383

Official website for city visitors’ bureau/city: Visitor’s bureau website

Read more about Las Vegas

City: Detroit

State: Michigan

Best Cities Overall Rank: 101

About Detroit: The city is home to the world’s only floating post office, which can be found on the Detroit River.

Population: 912,062

Official website for city visitors’ bureau/city: Visitor’s bureau website

Read more about Detroit

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