Atlanta among top 10 best U.S. cities for recreation

WalletHub analysis ranks the city first for number of swimming pools per capita

July is National Park and Recreation Month. Having access to areas where you can walk and play help you maintain a healthy weight, which helps you save money in health care costs.

“Parks and recreation provide key opportunities that help define the quality, health, and vitality of communities and the people that compose them,” Randall S. Rosenberger, associate dean of student success and special projects at Oregon State University’s College of Forestry, told WalletHub. “The return on investment may be significant through improved physical and mental health, general improvements in quality of life, provision of ecosystem services from natural areas, or key natural elements in city design and planning (e.g., trees, greenways, and green spaces), and overall community sustainability.”

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To determine 2022′s best and worst cities for recreation, WalletHub compared the 100 most populated U.S. cities across four key dimensions: entertainment and recreational facilities, costs, quality of parks, and weather. The financial website considered only the city proper in each case and excluded cities in the surrounding metro area.

It then evaluated the four dimensions using 47 relevant metrics, each of which was graded on a 100-point scale, with 100 representing the highest level of recreation friendliness.

When the numbers were tallied, Las Vegas came out on top with a score of 64.23. Vegas was followed by Orlando (61.64), Cincinnati (59.17), Tampa (58.33) and Scottsdale, Arizona (55.48) to round out the top five.

With a score of 55.01, Atlanta finished in the No. 8 spot. The city’s best showing was No. 9 in the entertainment and recreational facilities dimension. In the other three dimensions, the city finished No. 72 for costs, No. 32 for quality of parks and No. 41 for weather.

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Among the relevant metrics, we ranked:

  • 1st – Spending on parks and recreation per capita
  • 1st – Swimming pools per capita
  • 3rd – Tennis courts per capita
  • 11th – Music venues per capita
  • 35th – Bike rental facilities per capita
  • 38th – Percent of population with walkable park access
  • 38th – Park playgrounds per capita

“Neighborhood parks are one of the most beneficial types of recreation a city can offer,” WalletHub’s Adam McCann wrote. (P)arks help people stay fit, saving them as much as $1,500 in healthcare costs per year.”

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