Here in the U.S., we make it a point to try to be bigger and better than everyone else. We’re all about parties, thrills, adrenalyn, and a larger-than-life attitude. No one would really call this country boring.
Well, actually, maybe a few people would. Who? Anyone living in one of the Movoto Real Estate Blog’s 10 Most Boring Cities. According to our findings—a mix of statistical analysis based on cold, hard data we call Saturday Night Science—that dubious lineup is topped off (or is that bottomed out?) by Lubbock, TX. Here’s how the whole snorefest looks:
How did these cities get there? Where do other places rank? All your questions and more will be answered in the next section, and, if charts don’t bore you too much, you can see the 50 most yawn-inspiring places ranked at the end of this post.
How We Created This Ranking
First, we made a list of the 100 most populated places in the U.S. There are a lot of boring little places, of course, but we’re looking just at the heavy hitters here.
We then collected data from the U.S. Census (2010) business listings in categories we picked to measure excitement (or lack thereof). We weren’t able to get all the data on a few places, such as Paradise, NV, so spots like that got off lucky and didn’t make our list. The criteria we used were:
- Nightlife per capita (bars, clubs, comedy, etc.)
- Live music venues per capita
- Active life options per capita (parks, outdoor activities, etc.)
- Arts and Entertainment per capita (movie theaters, festivals, galleries, theaters, etc.)
- Fast Food restaurants per capita (the fewer the better)
- Percentage of restaurants that are not fast food (the higher the better)
- Percentage of young residents ages 18 to 34 (the higher the better)
- Population density (the higher the better)
After that, we ranked each place from one to 100, with 100 being the most boring a place could get. Then, we averaged each place’s rankings into one Big Deal Score, with the highest number being the most boring. Unfortunately, that place was Lubbock.
Now, before you get all up in arms about this ranking, let’s reassure you of something: We’re not saying any of these places are bad. We’re not saying the people who live there aren’t great folks, and we’re not saying that no one should move there. This is meant to be a bit of light-hearted fun, so try to keep a smile on your face and not take any of this personally. Sound good?
Now, if we haven’t bored you to death yet, let’s look at some places which might just do that.
1. Lubbock, TX
The name of our No. 1 city even sounds like the place is lounging around doing nothing, and that really isn’t far off. This spot had very low population density, and a slightly older population, despite the fact that it’s home to Texas Tech University.
Lubbock isn’t exactly full of culture either, as the arts per capita ranked 73rd and the music venues per capita ranked 83rd. Where Lubbock really took a nosedive was in the dining department, so much so that it ranked dead last in the non-fast food restaurant category (fast food is borrrring).
The one thing this city didn’t totally fail at was nightlife, where it ranked a pretty middle-of-the-pack 58th. We guess if you’re an older college student who isn’t into art, who’s living on fast food and cheap drinks, Lubbock might be for you.
2. North Las Vegas
Okay, we’ve got to ask: What’s going on here? This city has Las Vegas in the name, shouldn’t it be full of thrills, sin, fun, and crazy? As it turns out, no, this place is absolutely none of that. Mostly, it’s just kind of a place where people live, and they’re not exactly the party type.
Only about 10 percent of the population was between the ages of 18 and 34, and the nightlife ranked 86th, so if you’re in your twenties and looking to party, this should not be a destination on your list. There were not many non-fast food restaurants, compared to cities of similar sizes, and there’s not much in the way of active life either.
On the bright side, residents have a ton of excitement right next door. So, while they may not be able to have a whole lot of fun in their hometown, they can forage for excitement in Sin City pretty easily.
3. Chesapeake, VA
At No. 3 we have a very pretty city, Chesapeake. It’s got a diverse population and even a thriving economy. However, it is also has a fat-lot of nothing to do.
To start, there was a distinct lack of nightlife and music venues. There were equally few arts amenities, and only a fair amount of active life options on top of that. So this wasn’t exactly an exciting spot, unless you’re really into swamps, birdwatching, or napping.
Did we mention that this place is home to a large portion of the Great Dismal Swamp? Yes, it’s really called that, and yes, we do think that’s fitting.
4. Irving, TX
So you used to have the Dallas Cowboys. That’s cool and all, but they took off in 2010, and now what have you got in Irving? Not a whole lot, according to the data.
More than a fifth of the population was between the ages of 18 and 34, which gave this place a pretty youthful vibe. That’s depressing because there was next to no nightlife, music venues, interesting restaurants… really there was no sort of upbeat fun here.
We’ll give Irving credit for one thing though: It’s got a major international airport right there for anyone to use. The most interesting thing about Irving might be how easy it is to leave for someplace more fun.
5. Fort Wayne, IN
Right off the bat, we’ll give Fort Wayne its due in a few areas. This place does have a ton of festivals and some really decent minor league sports. So, yeah, good for you guys on that stuff. But once you’re sick of those, there aren’t many alternatives.
The population was decidedly older, there was not much nightlife or fine dining options per capita, and there were very few music venues scattered throughout the city. This city is rather pretty, and if you’re looking for a place to kick back and relax there are worse places to go. But if you want to be wild and crazy and you’re not there during a festival, you’re probably out of luck.
6. Plano, TX
Texas, we need to talk. We know you like to see your cities highlighted on our ranking, but you’re by far the most represented state here, and this is the third spot in our top 10 you’ve nabbed. We’d tell you to curb your enthusiasm, but it looks like you’ve already got a handle on that.
Anyway, Plano might be a pretty pleasant and peaceful place to call home, but peaceful hardly equates to excitement. The nightlife ranked 93rd, and the music venues per capita ranked 97th. The non-fast food restaurants per capita ranked 77th, and the arts ranked 75th. Yes, this is a wealthy community with lots of schools, but a hub of partying and fun it is not.
7. San Bernardino, CA
Those concerned about any bias we might have for California cities, worry no longer. Let’s be blunt: This place isn’t doing too well right now. First it declared bankruptcy, and it’s now been ranked the seventh most boring place in the nation by us. Tough luck, guys—hopefully things will get better for you soon.
Still, we’re not singling this place out unfairly. There was little in the way of active life amenities here, and there wasn’t a ton of nightlife per capita either. There were a few music venues and some amount of young people, probably from the presence of the many colleges and universities in the area, but that’s not much.
8. Stockton, CA
Maybe you’ve heard this joke before: Time flies like an arrow and fruit flies like Stockton. Say it out loud if you’re having trouble getting it. That sort of stigma has really stuck with this city over the years, and now we know that at least the boring part is spot-on.
There were few non-fast food restaurants per capita, and pretty few arts options. There really wasn’t much in the way of nightlife or music when compared to similarly sized cities, so if you’re a night-owl you’ll be sorely disappointed here.
9. Mesa, AZ
Easily the biggest place in our top 10, Mesa should have a ton of stuff happening, right? Wrong.
Besides having a pretty small young population, there was next to no nightlife variety here, and few music venues as well. There were not that many options as far as non-fast food restaurants either, so we hope you like burgers and fries if you want to call this place home. All in all, there was just nothing spectacular going on, and you’d better off heading to nearby Phoenix to party.
10. Laredo, TX
Come on, Texas, we talked about this.
Finishing up our list is Laredo, the fourth Texas location on our list and a decidedly dull city right on the border with Mexico. Mostly, this place’s ranking had to do with a serious lack of culture. This city had the worst arts rank on our entire list and the third worst active life and nightlife rankings.
So, alternatively, why didn’t this rank as even more boring? Shockingly enough, this place had a pretty young population and few boring fast food restaurants. Also, we suppose it doesn’t hurt that Mexico is right next door in case you get hit with a bit of wanderlust.
Are You Yawning Yet?
Even reading the names of some of these places, especially Lubbock, can leave you feeling a little like napping .These may be very pretty, peaceful, and nice spots to call home, and you may absolutely love where you live, but you can’t honestly say they compare to the thrills you’d get in San Francisco, New Orleans, or really any other place in the nation.
Feel free to let us know in the comments if you think your hometown is more dull—just try to keep it interesting, please!
Featured Image Source: Flickr user Incase