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Strategy The most exciting place to live in every state — and the most boring hometown you can have

Looking for nightlife? How about breweries, art dealers, and museums? Here's where you can find the most interesting — and most boring — city in every state.

  • Published:
The best and worst cities in America, backed up with data. Pictured: Charleston, South Carolina. play

The best and worst cities in America, backed up with data. Pictured: Charleston, South Carolina.


Debates about "best" and "worst" cities elicit strong feelings. It's a tricky issue because such debates are largely subjective.

So Business Insider attempted to use data to definitively prove which are the most exciting and most boring cities in every state across America.

To do that, we took counts of the number of establishments for 66 different types of businesses — like breweries, art dealers, and museums — that can make a city more "interesting." We sourced data from the Census Bureau's 2015 County Business Patterns program and picked the metro areas with the highest and lowest count of these businesses for our interesting and boring cities.

For example, the New York City metro area has 62 breweries, 762 art dealers, and 305 museums, based on federal data. That ended up being the "most exciting" city in New York. Elmira, the "most boring" city in New York, has two breweries, zero art dealers, and four museums. Of course, this means that bigger cities tended to rank better as "exciting" cities, but that is a trend for most lists of this nature.

The list below breaks out cities by each of the 381 Metropolitan Statistical Areas recognized by the federal government. You will see that some of the metro areas span more than one state (e.g. New York City includes Jersey City and Newark, New Jersey). We have made it clear in the slides below which metro areas span more than one state.

And two states — Rhode Island and Vermont — are not included in the list because they don't have at least two metro areas as defined by the federal government.

Read below to see the most exciting and most boring city in every state in America.


Birmingham, Alabama. play

Birmingham, Alabama.

(Sean Pavone/Shutterstock)

Most Exciting

Birmingham, Hoover, Alabama

Population: 1,144,857

Most Boring

Gadsden, Alabama

Population: 102,873


Anchorage, Alaska. play

Anchorage, Alaska.

(Shutterstock / akphotoc)

Most Exciting

Anchorage, Alaska

Population: 399,432

Most Boring

Fairbanks, Alaska

Population: 99,639


Phoenix, Arizona. play

Phoenix, Arizona.


Most Exciting

Phoenix, Mesa, Scottsdale, Arizona

Population: 4,567,857

Most Boring

Sierra Vista-Douglas, Arizona

Population: 126,395


Little Rock, Arkansas. play

Little Rock, Arkansas.

(Katherine Welles/Shutterstock)

Most Exciting

Little Rock, North Little Rock, Conway, Arkansas

Population: 731,542

Most Boring

Pine Bluff, Arkansas

Population: 93,904


Los Angeles, California. play

Los Angeles, California.


Most Exciting

Los Angeles, Long Beach, Anaheim, California

Population: 13,268,828

Most Boring

Hanford, Corcoran, California

Population: 150,331


Denver, Colorado. play

Denver, Colorado.

(Arina P Habich/Shutterstock)

Most Exciting

Denver, Aurora, Lakewood, Colorado

Population: 2,808,816

Most Boring

Pueblo, Colorado

Population: 163,117


Hartford, Connecticut. play

Hartford, Connecticut.


Most Exciting

Hartford, West Hartford, East Hartford, Connecticut

Population: 1,209,953

Most Boring

Norwich, New London, Connecticut

Population: 270,639


Wilmington, Delaware. play

Wilmington, Delaware.


Most Exciting

Wilmington, Delaware / Philadelphia, Pennsylvania / Camden, New Jersey

Population: 6,062,303

Most Boring

Dover, Delaware

Population: 173,533


Miami, Florida. play

Miami, Florida.

(Richard Cavalleri/Shutterstock)

Most Exciting

Miami, Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach, FL

Population: 6,001,717

Most Boring

The Villages, Florida

Population: 118,882


Atlanta, Georgia play

Atlanta, Georgia

(Sean Pavone/Shutterstock)

Most Exciting

Atlanta, Sandy Springs, Roswell, Georgia

Population: 5,699,050

Most Boring

Hinesville, Georgia

Population: 80,328


Lahaina, Hawaii. play

Lahaina, Hawaii.

(iStock / ejs9)

Most Exciting

Kahului, Wailuku, Lahaina, Hawaii

Population: 164,357

Most Boring

Honolulu, Hawaii

Population: 993,166


Boise City, Idaho. play

Boise City, Idaho.

(Charles Knowles/Flickr)

Most Exciting

Boise City, Idaho

Population: 675,777

Most Boring

Lewiston, Idaho

Population: 62,235


Chicago, Illinois. play

Chicago, Illinois.

(Wikimedia Commons)

Most Exciting

Chicago, Naperville, Elgin, Illinois

Population: 9,532,569

Most Boring

Danville, Illinois

Population: 78,990


Indianapolis, Indiana. play

Indianapolis, Indiana.


Most Exciting

Indianapolis, Carmel, Anderson, Indiana

Population: 1,986,542

Most Boring

Columbus, Indiana

Population: 81,011


Des Moines, Iowa. play

Des Moines, Iowa.


Most Exciting

Des Moines, West Des Moines, Iowa

Population: 622,580

Most Boring

Ames, Iowa

Population: 96,346


Wichita, Kansas. play

Wichita, Kansas.

(City of Wichita-Government/Facebook)

Most Exciting

Wichita, Kansas

Population: 643,016

Most Boring

Manhattan, Kansas

Population: 98,506


Louisville, Kentucky. play

Louisville, Kentucky.

(Flickr/Jeff Turner)

Most Exciting

Louisville, Kentucky

Population: 1,277,583

Most Boring

Owensboro, Kentucky

Population: 117,539


New Orleans, Louisiana. play

New Orleans, Louisiana.

(Jorg Hackemann/Shutterstock)

Most Exciting

New Orleans, Metairie, Louisiana

Population: 1,262,071

Most Boring

Hammond, Louisiana

Population: 128,756


Portland, Maine. play

Portland, Maine.

(Jeff Gunn/Flickr)

Most Exciting

Portland, South Portland, Maine

Population: 526,795

Most Boring

Lewiston, Auburn, Maine

Population: 107,245


Baltimore, Maryland. play

Baltimore, Maryland.

(Taber Andrew Bain/flickr)

Most Exciting

Baltimore, Columbia, Towson, Maryland

Population: 2,793,837

Most Boring

California, Lexington Park, Maryland

Population: 111,628


Boston, Massachusetts. play

Boston, Massachusetts.

(Courtesy of TripAdvisor)

Most Exciting

Boston, Cambridge, Massachusetts/Newton, New Hampshire

Population: 4,766,755

Most Boring

Pittsfield, Massachusetts

Population: 127,671


Detroit, Michigan. play

Detroit, Michigan.

(Andrey Bayda/shutterstock)

Most Exciting

Detroit, Warren, Dearborn, Michigan

Population: 4,297,538

Most Boring

Midland, Michigan

Population: 83,618


Minneapolis, Minnesota. play

Minneapolis, Minnesota.

(Shutterstock/Rudy Balasko)

Most Exciting

Minneapolis, St. Paul, Minnesota / Bloomington, Wisconsin

Population: 3,518,252

Most Boring

Mankato, North Mankato, Minnesota

Population: 99,178


Jackson, Mississippi. play

Jackson, Mississippi.

(Sean Pavone/Shutterstock)

Most Exciting

Jackson, Mississippi

Population: 578,666

Most Boring

Hattiesburg, Mississippi

Population: 148,716


St. Louis, Missouri. play

St. Louis, Missouri.

(J Byard/Shutterstock)

Most Exciting

St. Louis, Missouri

Population: 2,808,330

Most Boring

Cape Girardeau, Missouri

Population: 97,514


Billings, Montana. play

Billings, Montana.

(David Harmantas/Shutterstock)

Most Exciting

Billings, Montana

Population: 168,164

Most Boring

Great Falls, Montana

Population: 82,118


Omaha, Nebraska. play

Omaha, Nebraska.

(Flickr / Mr. Nixter)

Most Exciting

Omaha, Nebraska / Council Bluffs, Iowa

Population: 914,268

Most Boring

Grand Island, Nebraska

Population: 84,773


Las Vegas, Nevada. play

Las Vegas, Nevada.


Most Exciting

Las Vegas, Henderson, Paradise, Nevada

Population: 2,109,289

Most Boring

Carson City, Nevada

Population: 54,405

New Hampshire

Newton, New Hampshire. play

Newton, New Hampshire.

(Flickr Creative Commons / AndrewGould)

Most Exciting

Newton, New Hampshire / Boston, Cambridge, Massachusetts

Population: 4,766,755

Most Boring

Manchester, Nashua, New Hampshire

Population: 406,015

New Jersey

Ocean City, New Jersey. play

Ocean City, New Jersey.

(Gary C. Tognoni/Shutterstock)

Most Exciting

Ocean City, New Jersey

Population: 94,843

Most Boring

Vineland, Bridgeton, New Jersey

Population: 155,241

New Mexico

Albuquerque, New Mexico. play

Albuquerque, New Mexico.

(Larry and Linda/Flickr)

Most Exciting

Albuquerque, New Mexico

Population: 905,174

Most Boring

Farmington, New Mexico

Population: 118,701

New York

New York, New York. play

New York, New York.


Most Exciting

New York, New York / Newark, Jersey City, New Jersey

Population: 20,118,063

Most Boring

Elmira, New York

Population: 87,120

North Carolina

Charlotte, North Carolina. play

Charlotte, North Carolina.

(James Willamor)

Most Exciting

Charlotte, Concord, North Carolina / Gastonia, South Carolina

Population: 2,424,643

Most Boring

Goldsboro, North Carolina

Population: 124,319

North Dakota

Fargo, North Dakota. play

Fargo, North Dakota.

(Omar David Sandoval Sida via Wikipedia)

Most Exciting

Fargo, North Dakota

Population: 233,642

Most Boring

Grand Forks, North Dakota

Population: 102,226


Cleveland, Ohio. play

Cleveland, Ohio.


Most Exciting

Cleveland, Elyria, Ohio

Population: 2,059,929

Most Boring

Springfield, Ohio

Population: 135,815


Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. play

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

(Henryk Sadura/Shutterstock)

Most Exciting

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Population: 1,356,965

Most Boring

Lawton, Oklahoma

Population: 130,168


Portland, Oregon. play

Portland, Oregon.

(Josemaria Toscano/Shutterstock)

Most Exciting

Portland, Oregon / Vancouver, Hillsboro, Washington

Population: 2,384,807

Most Boring

Grants Pass, Oregon

Population: 84,742


Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. play

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.


Most Exciting

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania / Camden, New Jersey / Wilmington, Delaware

Population: 6,062,303

Most Boring

Bloomsburg, Berwick, Pennsylvania

Population: 84,944

South Carolina

Charleston, North Charleston. play

Charleston, North Charleston.

(Courtesy of TripAdvisor)

Most Exciting

Charleston, North Charleston, South Carolina

Population: 744,603

Most Boring

Sumter, South Carolina

Population: 107,382

South Dakota

Sioux Falls, South Dakota. play

Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

(Wikimedia Commons)

Most Exciting

Sioux Falls, South Dakota

Population: 251,889

Most Boring

Rapid City, South Dakota

Population: 144,059


Nashville, Tennessee. play

Nashville, Tennessee.

(Flickr / Jim Nix)

Most Exciting

Nashville, Davidson, Murfreesboro, Franklin, Tennessee

Population: 1,828,961

Most Boring

Morristown, Tennessee

Population: 116,702


Dallas, Texas. play

Dallas, Texas.


Most Exciting

Dallas, Fort Worth, Arlington, Texas

Population: 7,089,888

Most Boring

Victoria, Texas

Population: 99,763


18. Salt Lake City, Utah play

18. Salt Lake City, Utah


Most Exciting

Salt Lake City, Utah

Population: 1,167,501

Most Boring

Logan, Utah

Population: 133,093


Virginia Beach, Virginia. play

Virginia Beach, Virginia.

(wikimedia commons)

Most Exciting

Virginia Beach, Norfolk, Newport News, Virginia

Population: 1,723,468

Most Boring

Staunton, Waynesboro, Virginia

Population: 120,463


Seattle, Washington. play

Seattle, Washington.


Most Exciting

Seattle, Tacoma, Bellevue, Washington

Population: 3,727,097

Most Boring

Walla Walla, Washington

Population: 64,087

West Virginia

Charleston, West Virginia. play

Charleston, West Virginia.

(Wiki Commons)

Most Exciting

Charleston, West Virginia

Population: 220,375

Most Boring

Beckley, West Virginia

Population: 122,255


Milwaukee, Wisconsin. play

Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

(Shutterstock/Rudy Balasko)

Most Exciting

Milwaukee, Waukesha, West Allis, Wisconsin

Population: 1,574,349

Most Boring

Fond du Lac, Wisconsin

Population: 101,943


Cheyenne, Wyoming. play

Cheyenne, Wyoming.

(Zack Frank/Shutterstock)

Most Exciting

Cheyenne, Wyoming

Population: 97,183

Most Boring

Casper, Wyoming

Population: 82,191