A new study commissioned by LawnStarter has revealed this year’s top U.S. cities for springtime outdoor activities. It took the 200 largest metropolises in America and compared them using 17 key metrics—from the number of available outdoor spaces like parks and public gardens, trails and campsites to other factors like walkability and bike-ability, and how much sunshine each spot receives.

It seems that west is the way to go this spring, as nine of the top 10 ‘Best Cities for Spring Outdoor Activities’ emerged from the Western and Pacific states. The West Coast in particular boasts a plethora of public-use trails and various outdoor activities, plus receives plenty of sunshine this season. San Francisco took the top spot in the ranking, earning an impressive walkability score and numerous outdoor attractions, among other key considerations.


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However, one eastern city stood out for its springtime appeal—Washington, D.C. The nation’s capital, as it turns out, is the single most walkable city in America. While it isn’t the sunniest springtime location and its considerable crime rate dinged the District somewhat, it outperformed in other areas, including the number of public gardens and open-air attractions and its high bike-ability score.

And, of course, the District is famous for the breathtaking display of cherry blossoms that typically bloom between the last week of March through the first week of April. For 2021, the National Park Service is predicting D.C.’s peak blooming window to occur between April 2 and 5. Unfortunately, this year (just as last year), the annual National Cherry Blossom Festival has canceled its parade and in-person events with COVID-19 restrictions still in effect Districtwide.

Southern cities didn’t fare so well in the rankings, often losing points due to non-optimal weather conditions and scoring low in terms of “visitor-friendly” characteristics. For example, Jackson, Mississippi, ranked near the bottom of the list based on its walk score and average number of pedestrian fatalities; Little Rock, Arkansas earned one of the worst bike scores of any U.S. city; and Metairie, Louisiana boasts the second-rainiest spring in the whole nation.

These are the top 20 of the ‘2021’s Best Cities for Spring Outdoor Activities’:

A new study commissioned by LawnStarter shows the best U.S. cities for outdoor spring recreation this year. It compared the 200 largest urban areas in the United States based on 17 key criteria, ranging from the amount of open space available, such as parks and plazas, trails and campgrounds, to other factors such as walkability and bikeability, and the amount of sunlight each location receives.

The western part of the country seems to be the place to be this spring, with nine of the top 10 cities for spring outdoor recreation coming from the western and Pacific states. The west coast in particular offers many public footpaths and various outdoor activities, as well as plenty of sunshine at this time of year. San Francisco came out on top, scoring impressively for its easy accessibility and numerous outdoor attractions, among other important aspects.


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One eastern city, however, stood out for its springtime appeal: Washington, D.C. The nation’s capital happens to be the most walkable city in the United States. Although the city is not the sunniest place in the spring and has a slightly higher crime rate than the county, it did better in other areas, including the number of community gardens and outdoor attractions, as well as its high score for bike friendliness.

And of course, the area is famous for its beautiful cherry blossoms, which usually bloom from the last week of March to the first week of April. For 2021, the National Park Service predicts that blooms in Columbia County will be highest between the 2nd and 5th. April will be. Unfortunately, this year’s annual National Cherry Blossom Festival (like last year’s) cancelled its parade and on-site events because COVID-19 restrictions are still in place throughout the region.

Cities in the South did not do well in the rankings. They often lose points due to suboptimal weather conditions and score low on usability characteristics. For example, Jackson, Mississippi, ranked first in pedestrian friendliness and average number of pedestrian fatalities; Little Rock, Arkansas, received one of the worst bicycle scores of any city in the United States; and Metairie, Louisiana, boasted the second worst spring in the country.

These are the top 20 cities for Spring Break in 2021:

Total score City
1 San Francisco, California
2 Portland, Oregon.
3 Honolulu, Hawaii.
4 Mesa, Arizona.
5 Washington, D.C.
6 Tuscon, Arizona.
7 Los Angeles, California
8 Long Beach, California.
9 Huntington Beach, California.
10 Las Vegas, Nevada.
11 Lincoln, Nebraska.
12 Salt Lake City, Utah.
13 New York, New York.
14 Seattle, Washington.
15 Oakland, California
16 Tempe, Arizona.
17 Fort Collins, Colorado.
18 Miami, Florida
19 Riverside, California.
20 Lexington, Kentucky.

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