Best Cities in the U.S. for Fun!

You’ve seen them as many times as I have:  These Internet “lists” that rank the best places in the world to propose marriage, ride a bike, raise kittens, open a small business or drink the best beer in the world. Actually, I made that last one up but am game to see the beer list. Seriously, I’m begging you.

This morning I was sent one of those lists (courtesy of Portfolio.com) that ranked The Top 100 Fun Cities: From shops, to food, to sports, and to culture, these are the hot spots for having a blast.   Being a fan of fun things myself, I was intrigued to finally have a roadmap of where the fun lives! This summer is really shaping up to be a winner, I thought to myself.

And then I read the list, which made me question if my definition of fun is shared by the rest of the country. 

I’ve always approached life with the idea that most things are what you make of them. When traveling for business, I typically find a way to have fun in whichever city I’m visiting. I like live music (you already know of my affinity for beer) and can typically fill that want in most cities across the country.  But from an intuitive standpoint, I wondered what the criteria of making this list actually was. 

Some of the higher ranked cities seemed obvious:  New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco. Yep, been to all three and had fun each time. Makes sense.  But then the wheels fell off. 

Ranked in the top 25 were exceptionally fun cities like Providence, Poughkeepsie and Madison. Now I don’t know about you but I wasn’t aware that the smiles were that contagious in Wisconsin. And frankly, Poughkeepsie sounds like a made up name and cities that aren’t real can’t be all that much fun.

In reality, those cities may indeed be the epicenter of fun and I am merely making fun of their alleged fun ranking. But here’s where this list makes no sense:  Las Vegas is ranked at 26 and Orlando is ranked at 42. 

Really? 

Just so I’m clear, the folks at Portfolio.com are telling me that Pittsburgh, Bridgeport, Milwaukee, and Detroit are more fun than Vegas or Disneyworld? Who did they survey for this? The Mayors of Pittsburgh, Bridgeport, Milwaukee, and Detroit?

Sacramento (the City that I have year-round fun in) made the list at 48.   Not quite as good as Cincinnati or Dallas but better than Toledo and Wichita. As an aside, we are considering that line as our new marketing tag. “Not quite as good as Cincinnati or Dallas but better than Toledo and Wichita!” 

People having fun!I personally rank Sacramento higher than 48. Sacramento and the Gold Country have more than 200 wineries. That’s spells fun right there.  We have visual, performing and some just plain odd works of art in Sacramento, too.  We have miles of running trails, two rivers, a lake with tons of boats and water skiers. We have expensive, moderate-priced and free events in Sacramento. 

There is lots of movie filming in Sacramento, one-of-a-kind history in Old Sacramento and some of the best farm to table restaurants that I’ve ever been to; I’m told by a local restaurant owner that everything that most people eat in this country grows within 100 miles of Sacramento. That sounds fun. Or unique. Whatever. 

These lists are subjective, for sure. To some, Paris may very well be a great place to propose marriage. But chances are, the best place to propose marriage is the place where your significant other said yes.   At least that’s the way it works for me.

Most every city can be a blast (especially Sacramento) if you know what you like.  With that said, I think I’d rank Sacramento as 6th best place for fun in the country. Right behind New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Las Vegas and Orlando.