Why WalletHub ranks Atlanta a top 10 city for recreation

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City’s entertainment and recreational facilities propel it to a high spot in analysis

You can’t get healthy just sitting on the couch all day. That’s why it’s important to stay active.

“Staying active isn’t just good for your health. It’s also good for your wallet,” financial website WalletHub wrote when reporting its 2021 best and worst cities for recreation. “One of the best ways to maintain an active lifestyle is to choose a city that encourages and facilitates recreation. The best cities have a wide range of leisure activities, both indoor and outdoor. Those activities require varying levels of exercise and contribute to a city’s overall well-being and economy.”

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For its ranking, WalletHub compared the 100 most populated U.S. cities across four key dimensions: entertainment and recreational facilities, cost, quality of parks and weather.

It then used 48 relevant metrics to evaluate the four dimensions. Each metric was graded on a 100-point scale, with a score of 100 representing the highest level of recreation friendliness.

When the numbers were crunched, Atlanta came in at No 7, with a score of 55.70. That’s down two spots since 2018 and one since 2019. The city’s ranking in each dimension was:

  • Entertainment and recreational facilities: 9th
  • Costs: 67th
  • Quality of parks: 42nd
  • Weather: 41st

Among the relevant metrics, Atlanta finished:

  • 28th: Spending on parks and recreation per capita
  • 53rd: Parkland as percentage of city area
  • 30th: Bike rental facilities per capita
  • 48th: Percentage of population with walkable park access
  • 14th: Music venues per capita
  • 6th: Tennis courts per capita
  • 47th: Park Playgrounds per capita
  • 15th: Swimming pools per capita
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This year’s best city for recreation was Orlando, Florida, with a score of 62.96. Between Orlando and Atlanta were Las Vegas, San Diego, Cincinnati, Tampa and Honolulu, in that order.

Oakland, California, came in last place, with a score of 36.26.

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