What U.S. city is the most fun? Um, it’s not Los Angeles — not even close

The Las Vegas Strip and its views are recognized worldwide. WalletHub ranks Vegas as the most fun destination in the country.
The Las Vegas Strip and its views are recognized worldwide. WalletHub ranks Vegas as the most fun destination in the country.
(Sam Morris / Las Vegas News Bureau)

What is the best city in America to have a good time? Hint: It’s not L.A., Chicago or even New York.

It’s Las Vegas.

Los Angeles, meanwhile, came in at 13, Chicago at 6 and New York at 3.

A study from WalletHub puts the Mojave Desert oasis at the top of its 2018 rankings of “Most Fun Cities in America.” The report reveals what many Southlanders, who make up about a quarter of visitors to Vegas, already know: Vegas is not the inexpensive getaway it once was.


For their findings, researchers crunched numbers in a variety of categories from the nation’s 150 largest cities. With a total score of 70.4 out of a possible 100, Vegas finished well ahead of Orlando, Fla., its closest competitor, which scored 61.3.

Las Vegas ranks No. 1 in the U.S. for most casinos per capita, including this gaming floor at Aria.
(MGM Resorts)

Several of Vegas’ No. 1 rankings are no surprise. They include the per capita number of casinos, dance clubs, lounges, music venues and shopping centers.

Clubbing is ultra-popular everywhere, but in Las Vegas, revelers often have multiple choices within a single resort.


But in the “average price of a party ticket” category, Las Vegas ranks 133, a reflection of its often-steep costs.

A bartender prepares a drink at Rosina at Palazzo. With its 24-hour bars, Las Vegas ranks first in several categories that deal with the availability of alcoholic beverages.
(Sam Morris / Las Vegas News Bureau)

Given the almost constant availability of alcohol, Vegas also finished first in the “legality of public drinking” and “time of last call” categories.

It ranked fourth in restaurants per capita, but it’s 34th in the diversity of its eateries. It ranks 66th in meal prices.


The study found that Vegas has the most ice cream shops per capita of any U.S. city. Not surprising, perhaps, when you consider that its temps often top 100.

When it comes to room costs, Vegas ranks 88th in the average price for a three-star hotel.

Visitors who leave bars, clubs and restaurants behind will also find an abundance of good places to get in a good walk. Vegas sits atop the “hiking trails” rankings.

Hikers are dwarfed by an old tunnel along Historic Railroad Trail east of Las Vegas. The trail replaced a railroad line built to supply workers during the construction of Hoover Dam.
(Sam Morris / Las Vegas News Bureau)

Besides the workout people get walking along the Strip, other destinations include the Historic Railroad Trail near Boulder City and Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area west of the city.

After Vegas and Orlando, the rest of the list:

3. New York

4. Atlanta


5. Miami

6. Chicago

7. Portland, Ore.

8. San Francisco


9. New Orleans

10. San Diego

11. Denver

12. Honolulu


13. Los Angeles

14. Austin, Texas

15. Washington

16. Seattle


17. Philadelphia

18. Houston

19. St. Louis

20. Tampa, Fla.