When people think of Florida, they definitely think of fun. Amusement parks galore, beautiful beaches, and an awesome nightlife are all easy to find in this state, and the world knows it. Okay, so they might also think of retirement homes, but in general, Florida is one of the more exciting states in the nation.
So where are the most exciting places in this ever-exciting state? Ah, now that’s what the Movoto Real Estate Blog team decided to find out. We put on our shades and got ready to enjoy some beaches as we collected exciting data about Florida cities. Our finished list came out as:
1. City of Miami Beach
2. City of Fort Lauderdale
3. City of Miami
4. City of Sarasota
5. City of Orlando
6. City of Coral Gables
7. City of Boca Raton
8. City of Tampa
9. City of Fort Myers
10. City of Hollywood
Some of those cities might surprise you, but you also probably expected some of them too. If you’re curious where other places ranked, you can check out our full list at the bottom of the article. And just in case you’re excited to know how we got our results, you won’t have to look far, because the next section is all about just that.
How We Created This Ranking
In order to get this ranking, we made a list of the most populated place in Florida over 30,000 people. That ended up being 99 places that we were able to get data for. Some places were missing some data and were not ranked, so if you think a place is missing, that could be why.
We then used the 2010 U.S. Census and local business listings to gather relevant criteria in what we deemed exciting. Those criteria 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, because fast food is boring)
- Percentage of restaurants that are not fast food (the higher the better)
- Percentage of young residents ages 18 to 34 (the higher the better)
We then ranked each place in each category from one to 99, with one being the best. After we got those rankings, we averaged each place’s scores into one Big Deal Score, with the lowest score being the most exciting spot.
Let’s examine in a little more depth how each place in our top 10 got to be where it is. Get excited, because we’re about to get detailed.
1. Miami Beach
This race wasn’t even close. Miami Beach had the best nightlife, music venues, and population density on our list. They also had the second best non-fast food restaurants ranking, so foodies, partiers, and music lovers are all sure to be satisfied with what the city has to offer.
There were also decent arts and active life options, and with such awesome places like Miami Beach Cinematheque & Gallery, as well as South Pointe Park, can you really argue with those numbers? If you’re looking for fun of every type imaginable, this should absolutely be your first stop.
2. Fort Lauderdale
If you’re making a second stop, however, it should definitely be Fort Lauderdale. With great scores in non-fast food restaurants, active life options, arts,and nightlife, it’s hard to find a downside to this city. It’s even home to a ton of colleges, like The Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale, to keep that young vibe going strong.
We did mention the awesome restaurants here for a reason. Given that this place is a major tourism spot, and kind of highbrow, you can find just about any type of cuisine under the sun. From Gilbert’s 17th Street Grill to Green Bar & Kitchen, people with all sorts of palates and dietary restrictions can find something to satisfy those cravings.
We bet you were wondering where this spot would place on the list. Ranking just behind Fort Lauderdale, the biggest city on our top 10 showed off some pretty big numbers in some rather cultured areas. Ranking third in arts and fifth in music venues, Miami insures that you’ll be entertained by performers of all sorts, no matter what your tastes may be.
We might also mention that this place had a very high population density, as well as a pretty good nightlife scene. Considering there’s a ton of tourism here, both of those rankings really do kinda make sense. And if you’re in search of unique and delicious food, you can’t go wrong with Sweet Dogs, no matter if you’re a tourist or a local.
This is a lot smaller than some of the heavy hitters on our list, so you might be wondering how it got there. The answer has to do with a few first place finishes, in both active life amenities and arts. If you like to stroll through galleries or take a quick jog in the sunlight, Sarasota can easily accommodate you.
If you’re looking for some more unique local flavor, Sarasota has you covered there too. With events like the new Whisky Obsession Festival, and sights like The Ringling Museum, you can find eclectic and unusual fun around just about every corner.
Are you really going to question why this place is exciting? There’s a reason Orlando is called the theme park Capital of the world, with spots like Universal Studios Florida, and Seaworld calling the city home. That alone should be enough proof that this spot deserved to be in the top 10.
However, just in case you’re not convinced, Orlando also had the numbers to back it up. With the third youngest population, second most arts, and fourth best nightlife, it’s hard to argue that this place is anything but exciting. After all, 50 million visitors a year can’t be wrong.
6. Coral Gables
Though it might be the smallest place in our top 10, Coral Gables still knows how to bring all the big fun. For starters, well over a quarter of the population here was between the ages of 18 and 34, and the arts ranked in the top 10. Did we mention it’s home to The University of Miami? That might have something to do with those rankings.
If you’re not into the young or artsy vibe, however, there’s still the amazing food to enjoy. Coral Gables is home to such amazing eateries as Caffe Vialetto and Swine Southern Table & Bar, which helps garner it our sixth place ranking for non-fast food restaurants.
7. Boca Raton
This place is a pretty thrilling spot to call home. It had the fourth place active life and arts ranking, as well as some decent scores in nightlife and music venues. If you want to be wild and crazy or cultured and refined, Boca Raton is there to help you out.
It also had a very decent score in non-fast food restaurants, where it placed seventh. If you’re in doubt, you can always visit LaSpada’s Original Hoagies or The Cheese Course to find out for yourself. We suspect you won’t be disappointed, especially if you love good mozzarella.
We know it’s been a while since The Lightning took the cup, but Tampa still knows how to bring the fun for the sports way of life. The Tampa Bay Lightning of the NHL and The Buccaneers of the NFL both call this place home as well as a ton of minor league sports teams, so you just have to decide what sort of game you want to cheer for.
If you’re not a sports nut, you can still enjoy the very young population, the many nightlife options, or the wide selection of active life options. There were even a huge number of museums here, if you get your excitement from seeing some masterful paintings and exhibits. The only problem you might have in Tampa is figuring out which awesome thing you want to do that day.
9. Fort Myers
If you want some really solid numbers across the board, Fort Myers is the place for you. This city ranked second in active life options, sixth in nightlife, and eighth in arts, so it’s got a selection of things to pick from. And just in case you’re the music type, this place had a decent score for music venues too, so rock on Fort Myers.
For family fun, you can head to Castle Golf, which has some rather unusual mini golf. If you’re looking for more adult activities, Fat Katz has an amazing selection of beer to sample. It doesn’t matter if you’re young or old, this city has something for you.
Okay, so it doesn’t have all the movie stars and glitz and glam of its California counterpart, but it’s still a pretty exciting place to be. This city had great scores in non-fast food restaurants, with awesome eateries like Los Kausitas Peruvian Restaurant, and decent number in both nightlife and music venues as well. Throw in a dense and lively population, and you’ve got a thrilling city to call your home.
If you’re craving some unforgettable sights, you can’t miss the Hollywood Beach Boardwalk. Sure, it’s not The Hollywood Walk of Fame, but some would argue this is more beautiful and more fun.
Shedding Some Light On The Sunshine State
Florida is pretty exciting wherever you go, given the climate, beaches, and thriving nightlife scene, but these 10 places are a cut above the rest.
From theme parks to delicious food, these spots can offer you anything imaginable in the way of fun. And yes, we know you just want to head to Disney World, but try to stop at some of these places along the way. Believe us, they’re worth it.