The 10 Most Relaxing Cities in the U.S. Where You Can Truly Unwind, New Data Shows
If you want to experience city life but still feel relaxed, check out these 10 tranquil cities.
City life isn't for everyone—it's usually characterized by the hustle and bustle many of us dread. But there are some spots where you can feel more at ease, whether you're looking for a new place to explore or seeking a fun (but relaxing) vacation. Travelbag, an air and travel services provider, just published data outlining the "most tranquil" cities in the U.S. Researchers compared popular destinations against metrics like population density, air quality, number of walking trails, noise and light pollution levels, and overall happiness scores to determine the most relaxing cities, and some of them may really surprise you. Read on to find out which cities you can truly unwind in, according to Travelbag's data.
Number 10 on this list is Chi-Town. While it's not for the faint of heart in the winter, Travelbag's data shows that Chicago has roughly 90 walking trails you can enjoy in warmer weather. In addition, it has a not-too-shabby air quality rating of 56.6 out of 100.
Interestingly enough, according to Go City, Chicago's official motto is urbs in horto, which is Latin for "city in a garden." The phrase was adopted in the 1830s in light of the city's many public parks, which total nearly 600, or 9 percent of its total area. Why not book your trip this summer and unwind with a good book in Chicago Botanic Garden or Lincoln Park?
Boston, Massachusetts, is also on Travelbag's list of the most tranquil, coming in a number nine. Compared with the rest of the bunch, it has a relatively low average number of tourists (1.74 million annually) and a higher air quality rating of 74.5.
It's got the fewest number of walking trails, with just 31, but that's also a plus: You won't feel the need to explore them all, and you can instead browse the shops in Harvard Square or one of Beantown's many museums.
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Another city that's known for its liveliness is Miami, Florida, but interestingly, it's also among the more tranquil cities, according to Travelbag's data. Miami has its fair share of tourists, welcoming 8.12 million visitors each year, but it also has impressive air quality, coming in at 70.3 out of 100.
Visitors to this city can stroll on 48 walking trails or just enjoy the year-round tropical weather. There's no shortage of beaches to choose from either, and you can check out Bal Harbour or North Shore if you're looking for beaches on the quieter side.
For some people, the sound of rain is one of the most comforting—who doesn't feel more relaxed when watching the rain fall from inside a cozy café? It's probably not too surprising then that the Rainy City is on this tranquil list.
According to Travelbag, Seattle's relaxing atmosphere can also be attributed to its superior air quality (76.1 out of 100) and limited noise and light pollution (53.3 out of 100).
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According to Travelbag's data, Houston is right in the middle when it comes to tranquility. It's another city on this list known for its milder climate, meaning you can explore this Texas hub comfortably no matter when you plan your visit.
Houston boasts the third-highest number of walking trails, coming in at 87 total, as well as lower noise and light pollution, which was rated as 55.9 out of 100.
Potentially the most shocking addition to the list is Sin City itself, Las Vegas. But believe it or not, there's data to back up its place as the fifth-most tranquil city.
"Las Vegas is known for its glitz and glamour, so it may come as a surprise that it's also the fourth most tranquil city in the U.S.," researchers wrote. "But don't be fooled by the bright city lights: there's plenty of peace and quiet to be found in Vegas, if you know where to look."
Las Vegas has the most walking trails out of all 10 cities, with 184 in total—and you absolutely shouldn't miss the trails through Red Rock Canyon.
"You can take a break from the bright lights and fast pace of the city and explore the serene desert landscape outside the city or unwind with a yoga class at one of the city's many wellness centers," the study authors wrote.
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This Texas city boasts under 1 million tourists annually, per Travelbag data, making it a great destination if you like to avoid crowds.
"Dallas, Texas is a great destination for those looking to unwind and take in some southern charm," the study reads. "Visitors can take advantage of the many walking trails available (52), such as the Katy Trail, which runs through beautiful green spaces. The city also offers many excellent museums to explore, including the Dallas Museum of Art and the Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza."
A trip to Hawaii sounds tranquil no matter where you go, but if you prefer to vacation in a city, Honolulu strikes the perfect balance. It's right in the middle in terms of noise and light pollution, at 50 out of 100, but its air quality is second best, at 75 out of 100.
"There's no shortage of magical experiences to be had in Honolulu," the study reads. "Snorkeling with tropical fish is an incredible way to experience the underwater world, while dolphin watching is guaranteed to soothe the soul."
If you like to enjoy a peaceful hike, you can also explore Honolulu's 95 walking trails, which include one to the famous Manoa Falls.
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Atlanta is one of the more surprising cities on this list, and you may be shocked that it placed so high. However, Travelbag's data says there's a reason for that: It boasts a respectable 61 walking trails and is actually on the lower end of noise and light pollution, coming in at 41.9 out of 100.
"Despite being a bustling city, runner-up Atlanta still manages to provide a serene and rejuvenating atmosphere," the study reads. "Check out the Botanical Garden, Georgia Aquarium, and multiple museums and cultural centers such as the National Center for Civil and Human Rights and the High Museum of Art."
If you really want to indulge and relax, take "the ultimate blissful break" and schedule an appointment at one of Atlanta's premier spas such as the Four Seasons Hotel Spa or Iwi Fresh Garden Day Spa, per Travelbag's recommendation.
At the top of this list—the most tranquil U.S. city of them all—is Alaska's capital, Juneau.
Its tourist average is so low it wasn't even included in Travelbag's data, and it's got a perfect score in terms of air quality: 100 out of 100. Noise and light pollution were the lowest of the 10 as well—and the competition wasn't even close. Juneau's levels came in at 16.7, with Atlanta having the next lowest (41.9).
"This charming city offers plenty of solitude and natural beauty to rejuvenate your spirit," the Travelbag study reads, with travel specialists adding that Juneau is an ideal spot for "nature and wildlife enthusiasts."
"You'll be mesmerized by the glaciers in Juneau that surround the city," the researchers wrote. "Get up close by taking a canoe tour around Mendenhall Lake, or go on one of the 60 walking trails available."
If you want to catch a glimpse of wildlife, you're in for a treat: Juneau is a great spot for whale-watching.