Metro-East Living

Illinois is much more fun than Missouri, new rankings say

Chicago's Navy Pier
Chicago's Navy Pier Pixabay

Illinois is more fun than Missouri by far, and more fun than all but four other states, according to new expert rankings.

Wallethub ranked all 50 states for fun, using criteria such as the cost of going to a movie, accessibility of national parks, the number of movie theaters, golf courses, restaurants, performing arts theaters, fitness centers, skiing, marinas, variety of arts and recreation establishments, and state expenditures on parks of recreation among its measures.

Overall, Illinois ranked fifth and Missouri ranked 14th.

Illinois ranked even higher on the “entertainment and recreation” meter, reaching No. 4; and for nightlife Illinois is the place to be, ranking No. 3. To find a better nightlife than Illinois, you have to go to Nevada at No. 1 — presumably for Las Vegas — or, inexplicably, No. 2-ranked Wisconsin.

Illinois is technically fifth for the most restaurants per capita, though California, Florida, New York and Texas all tied for No. 1. Illinois also ranks No. 3 for performing arts theaters per capita.

The most fun state was California, which oddly did not rank among the top five for best access to national parks despite having nine of them. Illinois ranked 48th out of 50 for access to national parks; other than the Gateway Arch, which is technically a national park, the nearest would be Mammoth Cave in Kentucky.

Illinois might have lost points for lack of a shoreline or major beach, which would be easier for the coastal states. But other measures likely helped Illinois gain, including state fairs and events per capita.

Here's Wallethub's top 10 for most fun states:

  1. California

  2. New York

  3. Nevada

  4. Florida

  5. Illinois

  6. Washington

  7. Texas

  8. Colorado

  9. Pennsylvania

  10. Minnesota

Elizabeth Donald: 618-239-2507, @BNDedonald