In our modern, always-on society, finding a moment of peace isn’t a luxury—it’s a necessity. Yet, with so many places claiming to offer the perfect escape, it’s hard to know which ones live up to the hype. To help guide you on your quest for tranquility and rest, we gathered data and curated an authoritative list of the most relaxing U.S. cities. Join us as we unveil the destinations where serenity and rejuvenation await.
- Glendale, CA, Garden Grove, CA, and Bellevue, WA, are the most relaxing destinations.
- Houston, TX, New York, NY, and Fort Worth, TX, are the least relaxing destinations.
- Based on Google search trends, Seattle, WA, San Jose, CA, and St. Paul, MN, are the cities most often seeking relaxation activities.
Searching for Serenity
Finding the perfect spot to relax shouldn’t be stressful. That’s why we created this streamlined, data-driven guide to lead you in the right direction. So, how did we do it?
Drawing from Yelp’s API, we sifted through consumer reviews to find the finest spas, parks, yoga studios, and botanical gardens in 100 U.S. cities. To ensure only the best were included, we focused on places that consistently scored between 4-5 stars. Complementing this, we also analyzed Google search volumes in each city to gauge the popularity of calming activities like origami, pottery, and painting.
Below, the map highlights the top cities for relaxation, while the interactive chart provides a more detailed look at how these destinations rank across categories.
California is the star of the show, with five cities in the top 10. However, it’s not just about quantity but quality. The stellar ratings in yoga studios and spas make Glendale, CA, a standout. A northern suburb of Los Angeles, Glendale is closer to the mountains and features a well-known wilderness park filled with walking trails. The city of Garden Grove is also in California, just outside the Disneyland crowds of Anaheim. Its top-rated spas, parks, and yoga studios helped it land in second place.
Coming in third is Bellevue, WA, whose French name means “beautiful view.” The city lies across the lake from Seattle and offers many opportunities for restorative outdoor activities. The complete list of the top 10 most relaxing cities in the U.S. is as follows:
- Glendale, CA
- Garden Grove, CA
- Bellevue, WA
- Alexandria, VA
- Hollywood, FL
- Huntington Beach, CA
- Fort Lauderdale, FL
- Hayward, CA
- Corona, CA
- Lakewood, CO
When it comes to online searches for relaxation activities, residents of Seattle, WA, San Jose, CA, and St. Paul, MN, are notably the most active. This finding suggests a significant interest in stress reduction and well-being in these cities, indicating a prime opportunity for those within the wellness and leisure industries to cater to this demand. But it also assures visitors and potential residents they’ll find a community where the pursuit of relaxation is a shared interest.
If tranquility is your pursuit, some cities might be best avoided. Houston, TX, New York, NY, and Fort Worth, TX, rank at the bottom of our list, marking them as places where finding relaxation could be challenging.
Relaxation Hotspots and Notspots in America
The search for ultimate relaxation brings us to various corners of the U.S., each city boasting unique offerings for rest and renewal. From lush parks and serene botanical gardens to tranquil spas and inviting yoga studios, let’s zone in on these specific metrics to uncover the cities that stand out as exceptional havens of calm—and those that have room for improvement.
Did you know that being around flowers improves mental health? Visiting a lush garden could help reduce stress and anxiety. The hotspots with the highest number of 4+ star rated botanical gardens per capita are Corona, Rancho Cucamonga, Santa Clarita, and Palmdale—all nestled in California—and Bridgeport, CT. In contrast, urban jungles like New York, Chicago, Colorado Springs, Houston, and Los Angeles are “notspots,” with the fewest top-rated botanical experiences among all 100 cities.
Community parks also serve as breaths of fresh air in urban environments, offering green spaces to socialize, exercise, and play. Bellevue, WA, along with Garden Grove and Hayward, CA, stand out as cities rich in well-maintained and accessible parks. Conversely, Bridgeport and larger cities like Houston, Stockton, Los Angeles, and New York fall short in this category.
Spas are the go-to sanctuaries for those who prefer a more pampered path to relaxation, with services like facials and massage therapy offering a direct route to unwind. In this area, Garden Grove and Glendale, CA, along with Hollywood, FL, Alexandria, VA, and Huntington Beach, CA, lead the way with the highest number of top-rated spas per capita. However, spa seekers in Philadelphia, Fort Worth, Houston, Columbus, and New York might find limited choices.
Lastly, for fitness and mindfulness enthusiasts, yoga offers both physical and mental rejuvenation. The cities that stand out as hubs of top-tier yoga studios are: Glendale, Garden Grove, Bellevue, Huntington Beach, and Oakland. Unfortunately, yogis in Stockton, Fort Worth, Houston, Charlotte, and Dallas have fewer stellar options.
As we wrap up our insightful expedition, it’s clear that America’s cities are as diverse in their relaxation offerings as they are in culture and landscape. From the garden-rich corners of Washington to yoga havens in California, every top city presents unique avenues to unwind, rejuvenate, and escape the relentless pace of modern life. Equipped with these insights, may your next retreat—be it a momentary escape or a lifelong relocation—lead you to a destination where tranquility is effortlessly found.
We synthesized data from Yelp’s API to determine the cities with the most highly rated relaxing activities. For each city, we only considered establishments on Yelp with ratings between 4 and 5 stars. Additionally, we collected Google Trend search volume data for city-level creative activities. We then compared cities across the following metrics, weighted as follows:
- Spas (22.5%)
- Parks (22.5%)
- Yoga studios (22.5%)
- Botanical gardens (22.5%)
- Google search volume (10%)
- Included searches for origami, coloring, knitting, gardening, pottery, painting, meditation, kirigami, scrapbooking, calligraphy, yoga, bird watching, Tai Chi, journaling, cross stitching, sewing, embroidery, candle making, soap making, woodworking, photography, beadwork, bonsai, weaving, terrarium making, felting, baking, and cooking
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