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Seattle cityscape

Revealed: Seattle Named the Most Fun Place to Visit in America

We want to help Americans find the cities with the highest number of fun, yet cost-effective, activities. So, to save you all the work, we’ve compared the top 60 populated U.S. cities, then cross-referenced these cities with quality of life, cost of living, and weather metrics to give us a top 20 leaderboard. 

From there, we analyzed these top 20 cities and compared the following:

  • Scale and quality of local attractions 
  • The number of events to attend in the city 
  • The cost of an overnight stay
  • The number of bars and pubs to choose from. 

Each of these metrics were weighted relative to their population and size.

 

What we found...

Fun-loving Americans can forget New York, San Francisco, or Los Angeles. We revealed that the most fun city in America to visit is actually Seattle!

The United States has its fair share of cities to visit, and choosing which one can sometimes be a challenge, especially when you’re looking for a fun-filled trip. 

This got everyone at Cycling Frog thinking; which U.S. city is actually the most fun to visit? Fun is subjective, of course, but what we all need right now is a solid combo of novelty, fun, convenience, affordability, and spontaneity. 

We researched Tripadvisor, Eventbrite, and Airbnb to collate our findings, and then weighted and ranked the data to reveal a leaderboard. Believe it or not, Seattle in the state of Washington, tops our leaderboard as the most fun place to live or visit in America if you want to enjoy a good quality of life, reasonable cost of living, pleasant weather, highly rated local attractions, and more.

Washington DC ranked in second place, whilst San Francisco followed in third position.

Here’s some more information on our top three cities to visit if you are seeking fun and excitement.

 

Seattle tops our leaderboard

Known as the Emerald City, Seattle is a flourishing city surrounded by majestic nature. Seattle has access to mountains, the ocean, a rainforest, desert, city, farmland, islands, and even a volcano. So, no matter what you’re into, you’ll never be bored!

Within the city, there is an abundance of things to do - according to our research, there are 870 four- and five-star rated attractions to visit (that’s a lot!). Seattle offers a variety of attractions you won’t find anywhere else, including the Space Needle, Pike Place Market, and the Fremont Troll. 

 

Photo of a White Ferris Wheel across the Seattle City landscape

 

Seattle is also home to more than 100 annual festivals, and one of our favorites is Hempfest - a 2-day event which takes place in August 2022. 

Finally, it’s also worth mentioning that Seattle brought the world Microsoft, Starbucks, Amazon, Costco, Boeing, Expedia, and most importantly, Cycling Frog. After all, what would you do without our quality artisan extracts—am I right?

 

Washington came second

Did you know that the city of Washington DC was purposefully built to be the nation’s capital? Whilst best known for politics, Washington DC is full of excellent places to visit and see, and a lot of fun! 

An average nightly stay here on Airbnb is $171, so very affordable compared to other cities, unlike San Diego, where a one-night stay costs $335.

It’s super easy to explore, either via the Metro or hiring a bike. There are so many important museums to visit here, such as the Smithsonian, the American Art Museum and The National Museum of African American History and Culture. 

 

Birdseye view of Washington DC

 

If these attractions don’t do it for you, check out the many local shops, funky marketplaces and people-watching hot spots. Watch as nighttime gives way to multi-course dinners and drinks from local breweries. 

It’s also worth noting that weed is completely legal here! With a variety of dispensaries to choose from, let your hair down, relax and enjoy the ride. Washington promises an adventure to remember!

 

San Francisco makes up the top three

San Francisco ranked third in the leaderboard and performed well across all our metrics. One thing that stands out for us is that San Francisco has some of the best weather in the world! The temperatures are always pretty comfortable, with hot and mild temperatures throughout the year. 

The city is also well-known for its diversity, in food, drink, and culture. It’s a vibrant hub and home to people of all backgrounds and cultures, which influences its art, food, attractions, and nightlife. 

 

San Francisco skyline during sun set

 

As far as attractions and excursions go, San Francisco boasts 1,493 four- and five-star attractions on Tripadvisor. Some of the most popular and well-known attractions include its antique cable cars, the Golden Gate Bridge, Fisherman’s Wharf and Pier 39, wine country, Alcatraz, Muir Woods’ 1000-year-old redwood forest, and so much more!

If shopping is your idea of fun, the city is known for its great shopping districts. It has the usual big names in its famous Union Square, from outlets to boutiques, to vintage clothes and markets, there is literally something for everyone.

 

Our full research

There are 17 other cities to explore in our leaderboard, all of which are fun in their own right. From Phoenix, Arizona to Austin, Texas, you can see our full research with all the metrics and scores here…

 

Rank

City

State

2022 Pop.

Quality of Life Index

Cost of Living Index

Climate Index

Tripadvisor 4-Star + Attractions

Events on a weekend (19th/20th March 2022)

Tripadvisor no. of bars/pubs

Air BNB av nightly price ($)

Total score

1

Seattle

Washington

787995

190.31

89.33

91.73

870

22

69

189

9.3

2

Washington

District of Columbia

718355

163.75

85.49

81.62

788

82

22

171

9.2

3

San Francisco

California

884108

156.09

94.41

97.26

1493

71

48

195

8.8

4

Charlotte

North Carolina

925290

198.75

68.74

84.05

308

31

28

202

8.7

5

Columbus

Ohio

921605

198.82

68.82

71.29

281

14

32

153

8.6

6

Austin

Texas

1028225

195.94

65.93

82.08

721

31

28

600

8.4

7

Philadelphia

Pennsylvania

1585480

148.73

80.74

77.98

663

152

61

128

8.3

8

San Jose

California

1003120

188.34

74.01

95.53

215

70

15

151

8.1

9

Chicago

Illinois

2671635

155.63

75.61

66.11

1427

47

99

162

7.5

10

San Diego

California

1429653

187.34

77.51

97.08

1138

49

40

335

7.5

11

Denver

Colorado

760049

167.2

75.99

56.28

552

29

47

212

7.5

12

Indianapolis

Indiana

892656

175.47

66.84

69.92

290

11

20

166

7.3

13

Dallas

Texas

1348886

189.04

68.71

81.85

436

43

27

223

7.1

14

Houston

Texas

2325353

175.4

66.06

85.53

596

34

78

189

6.9

15

Jacksonville

Florida

938717

180.67

67.52

87.81

285

14

14

184

6.7

16

San Antonio

Texas

1598964

182.28

62.25

80.58

522

27

31

292

6.4

17

Fort Worth

Texas

958692

166.11

71.32

81.56

265

42

13

175

6.2

18

New York City

New York

8177025

138.14

100

79.66

3135

153

182

162

5.9

19

Los Angeles

California

3985516

142.43

78.91

95.5

1318

106

59

224

4.5

20

Phoenix

Arizona

1759943

158.2

69.6

53.76

397

36

29

450

4.1

 

Methodology

To determine the most fun cities in the U.S. to visit, we compared the top 60 most populated U.S. cities. We then compared three quality of life indexes in these cities including, quality of life, cost of living, and a climate index. 

Quality of Life Index is an estimation of the overall quality of life, which uses an empirical formula that takes into account: 

  • Purchasing power index 
  • Pollution index 
  • House price to income ratio 
  • Cost of living index 
  • Safety index 
  • Health care index 
  • Traffic commute time index
  • Climate index. 

For more information, please visit https://www.numbeo.com/quality-of-life/indices_explained.jsp. 

This presented us with 20 U.S. cities that are highly populated and have the best quality of life, affordable living, and good climate and weather conditions. We then evaluated these cities across a range of lifestyle factors and new data sets. We looked at: 

  • the number of four- and five-star local attractions on Tripadvisor in each city
  • the number of events on Eventbrite to attend on a consistent time frame 
  • the total number of bars and pubs in each city 
  • the average cost of an overnight stay on Airbnb

Finally, we ranked the cities based on these metrics relative to each of their respective populations to create a ranking. This determined each city’s weighted average vs 2022 population figures across attractions, events, and the number of bars to calculate its overall score. We used the end scores to rank-order the sample. 

Remember, life’s short. Enjoy the ride.

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