City & State or ZIP Tonight, this weekend, May 5th...
City & State or ZIP
City & State or ZIP Tonight, this weekend, May 5th...
City & State or ZIP

Atlanta among Forbes’ Top 10 fun cities, but it’s no New York

Apparently we’re not the most fun city in the United States, nor are we among the top five cities. According to a one new ranking, Atlanta isn’t even the best spot in the southeast to have a good time. But! We are on the list released this month by, that data-happy purveyor of random rankings. Atlanta falls sixth on its list of America’s Most Entertaining Cities.

Atlanta has previously appeared on Forbes’ lists of great places to retire, not-so-great places for working moms and affordable places to live. It recently lost the title of best city for singles, apparently because we all lived happily ever after, or maybe because our rankings for nightlife and culture were kinda lousy.

Indeed, I believe I’m spoon-feeding the list-making beast just by mentioning this set of rankings. Open wide!

Our, um, competition:

1. New York
2. Chicago
3. Los Angeles
4. Miami (tie)
4. Washington, D.C. (tie)
6. Atlanta
7. Boston (tie)
7. Philadelphia
9. San Francisco
10. Dallas

Just how fun is Atlanta?

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In the story, Forbes said it calculated the rankings using metropolitan statistical areas and stats from AOL City Guides for bars, restaurants, nightclubs, live theater venues, museums and sporting venues, then added in sports teams and previous Best Cities for the Outdoors rankings. These aren’t per capita rankings, so it favors more populous cities, but also points out that, hey: New York is big, there’s a lot going on and you get to pick from all of it, not just your statistical allotment of sports bars and community theaters.

So what do you think — do Forbes’ numbers provide an accurate comparison of fun to be had in Atlanta, versus other cities? Do you pay attention to lists like these when deciding where to live or travel? Mostly, do you feel like there’s enough fun stuff going on here for you to stay busy and happy here in Atlanta? Share you thoughts in the comments!

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49 comments Add your comment

Michelle H. Lea

June 5th, 2010
1:49 am

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[...] with any of the lists Atlanta shows up on, data rarely equals reality. This list mentions single gals who are searching, but [...]


September 11th, 2009
5:46 pm

In this economy and these days, it’s not so much about where you live as it is about making the best of what you have and making the most of it. Every city is unique and gifted with different qualities and attractions that are unique to them and define who they are. For example, ATL is extremely blessed to have Stone Mountain and have a close proximity to the Flordia beaches. Environment, people, attractions, climate, etc. all play a role in defining a region, as well as the fact that every city or region has certain types of people that are attracted to that particular area.

At the end of the day, it’s what you make of it. I’ve been to every city listed above Atlanta on the list, and you can have just as much fun in Atlanta (if not more fun) as you can in any city on the list. It’s not called Hotlanta for nothing. NO, it’s not utopia, but no place is. And yes, crime and traffic are issues, just as they are in any city on that list, and any major city. However, our music scene is second to none, and many movies are starting to be made here. It is becoming the “Hollywood of the South.”

Just for the record the official word is…..ATL still is and will always be “the place to be.”


September 10th, 2009
4:49 pm

BPJ AND Former Resident of ATL – Well said! Thank you both!!

Former Resident of ATL

September 10th, 2009
3:34 pm

BBJ well said
BPJ = New head of the Board of Tourism

Former Resident of ATL

September 10th, 2009
3:29 pm

Not Going To Use My Usual Name -Honestly, I don’t think you can talk about anything in Atlanta in any depth without talking about race, and that would include entertainment. Neighborhoods are still largely segregated, churches are *extremely* segregated, and even many entertainments are (voluntarily) segregated.

This is not unique to Atlanta race permeates even light weight fun discussions in other cities too. Some jerk messes up a fun / cool debate with a classless comment. Just like a few knuckleheads take areas that used to be fun and ruin it with their poor behavior (Underground, Buckhead, now Atlantic Station). The loud obnoxious guy at the bar, rude teenagers are allowed to ruin the good time for the majority. Anyway I think the heading is misleading, or the comments have veered of the subject matter. Is the city supposed to be fun or is it supposed to be a great place to live. New Orleans / Vegas are fun but necessarily places most want to live. A truly fun city probably has international appeal (NYC, Miami, Vegas) and has appeal across the racial and socioeconomic spectrum (Vegas).


September 10th, 2009
3:07 pm

Fun in Atlanta includes Horizon Theatre, Actors’ Express, Theatrical Outfit, the (Tony-winning) Alliance, 7 Stages, TWO Shakespeare companies (Atlanta Shakes Downtown and Ga. Shakes in Buckhead), PushPush, Synchronicity, True Colors, Theatre in the Square, and Dad’s Garage! Unlike the other cities on the list, we even have a French-language theatre, Theatre du Reve.

Check out the High (not just the high-profile exhibits), the Carlos, the Atlanta Contemporary Art Center, Spelman Museum, MOCAGA, Oglethorpe Museum, MODA……….and galleries such as Marcia Wood, Solomon Projects, Sandler Hudson, Saltworks, Kiang, Jackson (for photo), Lumiere (also photo), and Barbara Archer.

Check out the superb symphony, and the best-on-the-planet ASO Chorus.
Listen to jazz at Churchill Grounds and blues at Blind Willie’s. Eat at any of the 100 best restaurants around town. Stroll through Piedmont Park in the spring, or hike the Chattahoochie Nat’l Rec. area in fall. Visit the world’s largest aquarium, and one of the nation’s best zoos.

And if you’re frightened by fellow citizens because they’re black, please move to Alabama.

phillip watson

September 10th, 2009
1:11 pm

Shirley Franklin single- handedly took the Hot out of Hotlanta. Abbreviated bars hours diluted our night life and made the city less attractive to conventioneers (25% off this year). For a city that is usually begging for money (discounting, of course, those federal grants that went unspent), those convention dollars are sorely missed. And what about the tens of millions of dollars lost from throwing all major events out of Piedmont Park. It takes YEARS to build attendance at any sort of annual festival. At least we have a fantastic airport so that those of us who enjoy “fun cities” can fly to them.

D. Sechard

September 10th, 2009
12:20 pm

It’s flattering for Atlanta to be ranked No. 6, but let’s face it, rankings like this are useless. Forbes aggregated the attractions in metro areas, and that type of methodology doesn’t really capture the essence of a city. Atlanta is very fragmented – you have to drive wide distances to have fun (ie go to a restaurant in Midtown, drive to Buckhead for shopping, then back to Little Five Points or the Highlands for nightlife). Unlike true cities, like Chicago and San Francisco, there’s no density in Atlanta. There are just small pockets of activity. For instance, go to Midtown and walk a block from Peachtree Street and it thins out so fast that you’re already out of the city!