America's Top 20 Healthiest Cities
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No. 20: Baltimore
Baltimore ranks well for its high number of park playgrounds, recreation centers and swimming pools. Another draw is Baltimore’s Inner Harbor, which sees 13 million visitors a year. Among its attractions is Baltimore Beach, a stretch of sand that’s home to seven volleyball courts.
No. 19: Tampa
No. 18: New York, NY
No. 17: Atlanta
No. 16: Los Angeles
Didn’t get an invite to the Oscars? You can still hang out in the City of Angels and take a tour to see the sites including Disneyland, Universal Studios, the Hollywood Bowl and don’t forget to take a stroll along the Santa Monica Pier. Gorgeous weather, the presence of the fitness-obsessed entertainment industry, and a large number of recreation centers per capita, as well as a low number of smokers, the obese and those with asthma, all contribute to LA's No. 16 status.
No. 15: Chicago
No. 14: Raleigh, North Carolina
Raleigh gets high marks for setting aside a high percentage of city land as parkland; 17% of municipal land is devoted to parks compared with the national average of 10.6%. Cycling, boating, camping and hiking are all easy day excursions, with Umstead State Park and the American Tobacco Trail nearby. Plus, get in outdoor art at the North Carolina Museum of Art, where you’ll find this monumental sculpture.
No. 13: Hartford, Connecticut
The capital city has more than 50 public parks and squares that cover more than 27,000 acres. More than a million people annually picnic, jog, attend rallies and socialize at Hartford's restored Bushnell Park (pictured). As the oldest publicly funded park in the US, Hartford’s historic "Central Park" has added new landscaping, benches and a play area in recent years.
No. 12: Austin, Texas
No. 11: Sacramento, California
In the Sacramento area, go kayaking on Lake Natoma, within the Folsom Lake State Recreation Area. Another big attraction is the city’s park system; in 2013, Sacramento tied with San Francisco and Boston for having the third-best park system among the 50 most populous US cities.
No. 10: San Diego
Along with its great weather, "America’s Finest City" is known for its physically fit residents, who go surfing in San Diego at places like South Carlsbad State Beach. For quiet time, locals and visitors alike can enjoy the meditation gardens on the grounds of San Diego’s Self-Realization Fellowship Temple, founded by an Indian spiritual leader in the 1930s.
No. 9: Salt Lake City
It's no surprise to us that Salt Lake City made this list. Utah’s capital city is a short drive from renowned ski resorts like Alta, as well as scenic recreation areas like Wasatch-Cache National Forest.
No. 8: Portland, Oregon
With more than 10,000 acres of public parks, including 300 miles of greenways and bike boulevards, Portland is a great city for anyone seeking outdoor urban adventure. Enjoy a bike ride along the Willamette River, or start exploring the great outdoors on foot with a trip into Forest Park, one of the largest protected wilderness areas inside any US city.
No. 7: Denver
Outdoors lovers especially love the Mile High City. The big outdoor attraction is the Front Range Trail. Just 30 minutes outside the city, the 876-mile trail stretches from Wyoming into New Mexico, with trails ideal for hiking, running, rock climbing and mountain biking. And just 20 miles west of Denver, check out Genesee Park; you may spot American bison.
No. 6: Boston
No. 5: San Jose, California
Often called the "Capital of Silicon Valley," San Jose, as California’s third-largest city, also has some great outdoor attractions. Alum Rock Park, nestled in the eastern foothills of Silicon Valley, is a great place for picnics, hiking, biking and exploring. The park also boasts great scenic trails and 1800s-era natural spring baths.
No. 4: Seattle
Beach volleyball, anyone? In Seattle locals head to Alki Beach Park, a nearly 136-acre park with a half-mile of beachfront. Another favorite for the physically fit is Discovery Park, a 534-acre park on the shores of Puget Sound that includes more than 11 miles of walking and biking trails. The park, the largest in Seattle, is also a great place to view wildlife.
No. 3: San Francisco
The San Francisco Bay Area is known for its fresh, healthy food, with a focus on seasonal ingredients and sustainable agriculture. Dig into organic delights at local restaurants like The Plant, where organic salads and meats grace the menu. And whip up your own menu with items from the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market, which sells more than 1,500 varieties of local produce.
No. 2: Washington, DC
Washington, DC, promotes a healthy lifestyle through its Capital Bikeshare program, with 2,500 bicycles located throughout the city. Another big draw is Eastern Market, a city fixture for more than 135 years, selling local farm-fresh produce. And if you want to get in cardio, a jog around the National Mall is a great option; you’ll cover 5 miles.