The Top 17 Cities in the US You’d Least Want to Live In – Or Would You?

US Cities seem to always have a flipside – for every beloved city, there is always one that seems to get a bad rep. But we don’t think that’s very fair, so for this list, we’ve decided to make a case for 17 cities that really deserve a second chance.

Cleveland, Ohio

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Ah, Cleveland, where the river once caught fire. But don’t let that deter you! The city’s Rock & Roll Hall of Fame strikes a chord with visitors, and there’s the famed “A Christmas Story” house. Hey, it’s not all bad when you have major sports teams to cheer (or cry) for!

Buffalo, New York

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Snow, snow, and… More snow. Buffalo may have brutal winters, but it compensates with mouth-watering buffalo wings and die-hard football fans. A city that sports its weather like a badge of honor and has a festival for almost everything.

Fresno, California

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Amidst California’s glamorous cities, Fresno stands uniquely. Known for its extreme heat and agriculture, it might seem lackluster. But with Yosemite so close and the raisin capital of the world, it’s perfect for those with a dry sense of humor.

Newark, New Jersey

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Often overshadowed by NYC, Newark has its quirks, such as Newark Museum and Branch Brook Park’s cherry blossom trees, which challenge its concrete jungle reputation. It may be a tad gritty, but there’s a charm beneath that urban exterior.

Detroit, Michigan

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Detroit might be Motor City with a rocky past, but its comeback is revving up. Between the Motown Museum beats and the Detroit Institute of Arts, it’s clear this city is more than just cars. Abandoned buildings? More like a hipster’s paradise.

Bakersfield, California

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Not all of California is beaches and movie stars. Enter Bakersfield: the land of oil and country music. It’s the unexpected Nashville of the West, and with unique events like the Basque Festival, Bakersfield shows it’s more than just tumbleweeds.

Gary, Indiana

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Though it has seen better days, Gary’s legacy as a steel city remains unshaken. The birthplace of the King of Pop, Michael Jackson, Gary has rhythms that refuse to fade. It’s industrial, it’s gritty, but its spirit? Unbreakable.

Stockton, California

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Frequently in lists for the wrong reasons, Stockton’s resilience shines. With its beautiful waterfront, a university adding vibrancy, and the annual Asparagus Festival (yes, you read that right), Stockton is California’s underdog city on the rise.

Spokane, Washington

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While it’s not rainy Seattle, Spokane serves up its own blend of cloudy with a chance of… snow? The Lilac City, has a beautiful Riverfront Park and growing arts scene and shows itself to be one of Washington’s underrated gems.

Toledo, Ohio

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Not Spain’s Toledo, but Ohio’s very own. A city of glass and art, with a side of Mud Hens baseball, Toledo might not top tourist lists, but it’s got a quirky, artistic soul that’s truly magnetic.

Birmingham, Alabama

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From its civil rights history to the Vulcan statue guarding the city, Birmingham balances somber lessons with Southern charm. With hearty BBQ and historic theaters, Birmingham shows the South is so much more than its past.

Lubbock, Texas

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Flat as a pancake and home to Buddy Holly, Lubbock is Texas with a musical twist. Its fierce wind might give you an unexpected hairstyle, but the Texas Tech Red Raiders’ spirit ensures it’s never a dull day in this city.

Anchorage, Alaska

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Sure, the sun might play hide and seek for months, but Anchorage is nature’s playground. From Northern Lights to wildlife encounters, it’s perfect for those who find humor in wearing shorts during the one week of summer.

Wichita, Kansas

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Tornadoes aside, Wichita is the true heart of America. With its aviation history and the tangy zip of NuWay crumbly burgers, Wichita flies high in the Midwest, proving there’s no place like home.

Reno, Nevada

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“The Biggest Little City in the World” has more than just casinos. Beyond its neon lights, Reno surprises with events like the Hot Air Balloon Race. That being said, Lady Luck definitely does wink and ask, “Feeling adventurous today?”

Boise, Idaho

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Look, it’s not just potatoes! Boise’s bustling with Basque festivals, tree-lined streets, and a river that meanders right through its heart. It’s the potato capital, but it does have a hipster twist.

Modesto, California

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Birthplace of George Lucas and the backdrop for “American Graffiti,” Modesto rolls with a retro vibe – from car rallies to agriculture, it’s California’s nod to the good old days, proving you can be both groovy and grounded.

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