These are the most popular cities in the US

Have you ever wondered what the most popular city in America is? And what features make it stand out from the lot and attract millions of visitors annually? While it’s nearly impossible to pinpoint exactly what makes the ‘best cities’, there are certain ways to measure their success—one being the popularity or the percentage of people who have a positive opinion about them.

According to research conducted by the global public opinion and data company YouGov, some US cities rank far above the others when it comes to popularity for a variety of reasons ranging from cultural opportunities and good aesthetics to work availability, opportunities for recreation, and local transportation systems.

Before we delve deeper into the ten best cities in the United States as presented by YouGov, it is important to note that the answers are general, and not everyone may agree. The data is based on those who have a ‘positive opinion’ of the city.

With that being said, let’s look at the most popular cities in the United States and see what makes them a worthy contestant!

Nashville, Tennessee

Nashville skyline with river and sunset
Image Credit: Shutterstock / jdross75

As the most populous city in the state of Tennessee, Nashville boasts a rich cultural heritage and is known as the Music City famous for The Nashville Sound music subgenre. It is also a thriving hub of commerce, a fun tourist destination, and a heaven on Earth for foodies and music buffs.

Taking the first spot on this list, Nashville came in with a 63% popularity rating. That’s right, 63% of people included in the survey have nothing but positive things to say about the metropolis! In addition, 27% of people have a neutral opinion about Nashville while only 8% dislike the city. The majority of Nashville fans come from Generation X and Baby Boomers. It is also worth mentioning that it is the 7th most famed US city thanks to being known to 98% of the respondents.

Fun Fact: The Nashville Parthenon is the only full-scale replica of the Greek Parthenon in the world.

Las Vegas, Nevada

Las Vegas, Nevada, USA at the Welcome to Las Vegas Sign at dusk.
Image Credit: Shutterstock / Sean Pavone

Nothing screams high-end gambling, shopping, and nightlife better than the Sin City. Las Vegas and its luxury venues have made a name internationally and now attract more than 40 million visitors annually, making the desert metropolis one of the most famous cities in the USA.

Sharing the popularity rating of 63% with Nashville, Las Vegas is most adored by Millennials and Generation X. Interestingly, it wouldn’t even be on this list if it was up to Baby Boomers, who ranked ten other cities higher. In addition, Las Vegas seems to be preferred by men. Male respondents ranked the famed city 2nd in terms of popularity as opposed to the 5th place it earned on the list of most popular cities according to female respondents.

Fun Fact: Las Vegas is the brightest city on Earth when observed from space at night.

New Orleans, Louisiana

New Orleans, Louisiana, USA Downtown Skyline Aerial
Image Credit: Shutterstock / Kevin Ruck

If you’re choosing a new city to settle in and party the nights away you might find refuge on the Gulf Coast where New Orleans has been lying since 1718. The metropolis is home to over three hundred thousand people and is nicknamed the Big Easy thanks to a vibrant music scene, spicy cuisine, and a praise-worthy mix of cultures. New Orleans is also home to massive celebrations of Mardi Gras.

The city ranked third on the popularity list with 62% of respondents having nothing but positive things to say about it. Only 11% of respondents had a negative opinion of New Orleans while another 24% remained neutral. Surprisingly, people from all generations find the ‘City of Yes’ equally entertaining and welcoming, though it is slightly more popular among female respondents.

Fun Fact: The first game of poker was played in New Orleans using a 20-card pack of cards in the early 19th century.

San Francisco, California

San Francisco skyline and Bay Bridge at sunset, California
Image Credit: Shutterstock / IM_photo

Coming in fourth with a 61% popularity rating is California’s San Francisco, famous for its Golden Gate Bridge, Golden Gate Park, and Alcatraz Island. Though the city ranked high on this list, as many as 19% of respondents said they disliked San Francisco while only 17% remained neutral. The city is liked by 69% of millennials included in the survey as opposed to just 49% of Baby Boomers who had a positive opinion of it.

Besides the mainstream landmarks, San Francisco is known for its rich history and diverse culture. It is ideal for those looking to unwind in a mild climate and enjoy plenty of outdoor activities and stunning natural scenery.

Fun Fact: Yerba Buena—‘the good herb’—was the original name of the settlement that became San Francisco.

San Diego, California

Tuna Harbor At California In San Diego United States.
Image Credit: Shutterstock / ByDroneVideos

The list would never look complete without San Diego, a Californian city renowned for its stunning beaches and year-round friendly weather. The home to nearly 1.4 million people is famous for its parks and zoos as well as numerous museums, art galleries, and universities. On top of a well-established education system and plenty of options for recreation, San Diego keeps its residents hooked with its vibrant and laid-back lifestyle.

The metropolis was heavily recommended by 61% of respondents, while 24% remained neutral about it and 12% thought it lacked in many areas. The city is most appreciated by members of Generation X who ranked the city as the second-best settlement in the States. It is also worth mentioning that the place is preferred by men, who ranked it as the #1 city.

Fun Fact: The biggest employer in San Diego is the United States Navy.

Denver, Colorado

Aerial drone photo - Skyline of Denver Colorado at sunset
Image Credit: Shutterstock / Nicholas Courtney

From the warm coast of southern California to the home of the Rocky Mountains in Colorado, we now move to Denver—the city of world-class museums, scenic mountainous landscapes, and an array of historical landmarks. Denver also happens to be a thriving business hub with a collaborative business ecosystem and innovative economy dictating the work ethics of the rest of the nation.

Ranking sixth on the list, the home of over 710,000 comes with a 61% popularity and is disliked by just 8 in 100 people as opposed to 27% of respondents who have a neutral opinion of the place. While as many as 4% of people included in the survey haven’t heard of Denver before, the metropolis is equally liked by respondents of all ages ranging from young adults to retirees.

Fun Fact: Denver is also called the Mile High City because it sits at an elevation of one mile or 5,280 feet above sea level.

New York City, New York

Empire State Building in NYC
Image Credit: ShutterStock / TTstudio

The Big Apple has been continuously ranking on the lists of top US cities to work or settle in. This comes as no surprise considering it is the most visited city in the country thanks to iconic landmarks such as Times Square, the Empire State Building, and the Statue of Liberty. NYC is also a very competitive city and a perfect destination for those seeking to rise higher on their career ladder or secure a six-figure salary.

New York City, along with Dallas, is the most famous city in the States and is recognized by 99% of people while 61 out of 100 respondents had nothing but nice things to say about it. An additional 19% of respondents firmly said they disliked the busy metropolis.

Fun Fact: Around 800 languages are spoken in this diverse metropolis.

Colorado Springs, Colorado

Downtown Colorado Springs with Rocky Mountains and Pike's Peak
Image Credit: Shutterstock / Jacob Boomsma

60% of respondents in the survey would love to call Colorado Springs their home and make the sights of Pikes Peak and Garden of the Gods a permanent fixture in their life. Ample job opportunities, gorgeous mountain views, and plenty of opportunities for outdoor activities are but some of the reasons why only 7% of respondents said they disliked the place.

Colorado Springs appears to be most adored by Millennials, whereas female respondents ranked it as the number one city in the States, heavily countering lower ratings from the male population. The place itself is teeming with life and prospects which is reflected by a steady rise in population.

Fun Fact: Colorado Springs was nicknamed the city of millionaires after gold was found on the western slopes of Pikes Peak.

Miami, Florida

Miami Beach, Florida
Image Credit: Shutterstock / pisaphotography

There is no better city in Florida to live in than Miami—at least that’s what the majority of respondents in the YouGov survey agreed on. While 59% of people voiced a positive opinion of the metropolis, 26% remained neutral about the topic. An additional 13% wouldn’t recommend the city at all. Miami was highest ranked by Millennials, whereas Baby Boomers and Generation X agree there are better options to fill the top 10 US cities to be in.

Though getting a coveted job in Miami may not be too easy, the city comes with top work opportunities across sectors like tourism, aviation, healthcare, and finance. Miami is also a prosperous center of culture, commerce, and arts with places like Little Havana teeming with vibrant music and exotic flavors.

Fun Fact: The only time snow was ever observed in Miami was on January 19, 1977.

Boston, Massachusetts

Boston, Massachusetts, USA historic skyline at dusk.
Image Credit: Shutterstock / Sean Pavone

Boston is a booming destination featuring a mix of modern landmarks and pieces of well-known history. It offers plenty of options for recreational activities with public playgrounds and parks always a short walk away. The city is also one of the leading agents in engineering, law, medicine, and business.

While Boston earned a positive opinion from 59% of the respondents, it was best ranked by Baby Boomers who named it the second-best city overall. The metropolis is disliked by just 9% of respondents, and another 27% have a neutral opinion of it.

Fun Fact: Boston was named after a town in England.

Author: Zan Kokalj


Zan Kokalj is a veteran content writer, copywriter, and author inspired by the impact of ink on paper.

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