Recreation Management Rec Report - The Newsletter for Recreation, Sports & Fitness Facility Managers

Feature Story

July 2015

2015's Best & Worst Cities for Recreation

To celebrate National Park and Recreation Month in July, WalletHub conducted an in-depth analysis, ultimately naming 2015's best and worst cities for recreation.

In 2014, the most popular U.S. cities collectively spent more than $6.4 billion on parks and recreation, the organization said. "And those cities should expect a handsome return on that investment. Neighborhood parks are instrumental to building community cohesion, boosting property values, improving public health and reducing pollution."

Ultimately, the study compared the 100 largest U.S. cities across 27 key metrics, including basic costs, quality of parks, accessibility of entertainment and recreational facilities, as well as climate.

The 10 Best Cities for Recreation in 2015, according to WalletHub are:

  1. Cincinnati, Ohio
  2. Omaha, Neb.
  3. Scottsdale, Ariz.
  4. Tampa, Fla.
  5. Boise City, Idaho
  6. Orlando, Fla.
  7. Minneapolis
  8. St. Louis
  9. Reno, Nev.
  10. Denver

The 10 Worst Cities for Recreation are:

  1. Jersey City, N.J.
  2. Newark, N.J.
  3. Irving, Texas
  4. Laredo, Texas
  5. Hialeah, Fla.
  6. Chula Vista, Calif.
  7. North Las Vegas, Nev.
  8. Fremont, Calif.
  9. Garland, Texas
  10. Anaheim, Calif.

Some other fun findings from the study include:

  • Madison, Wis., has 14 times as many park playgrounds per 100,000 residents as Hialeah, Fla.
  • The percentage of the population with walkable park access is four times higher in San Francisco than in Charlotte, N.C.
  • Washington spends 100 times more on parks per capita than Hialeah, Fla.
  • Seattle has 46 times as many coffee shops per 100,000 residents as Laredo, Texas.
  • The number of bike rental facilities per 100,000 residents is 28 times higher in San Francisco than in Tulsa, Okla.

For the full report and a lot more detail, visit

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