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10 Happy Things To Do in 10 ‘Unhappy’ Cities

May 20, 2015 | By

If you happen to live in one of the 10 cities that a recent study deemed the unhappiest in the country, don’t feel blue: There are plenty of things to do and see in your city to be happy about.

Economists from Harvard and the University of British Columbia in Vancouver used data from Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System surveys conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, finding that cities with diminishing populations, uneven wage growth, and a history of unhappiness tended to be among the unhappiest in the country.

So why live there? The economists determined that the unhappier you are, the more compensated you are — either in terms of higher wages or lower rents. “Humans are quite understandably willing to sacrifice both happiness and life satisfaction if the price is right,” the authors write.

But come on, it can’t be all that bad!

The Home Story explored areas of the 10 cities ranked least happy to reveal the must-see spots certain to put a smile on your face.

10. Philadelphia

Forbidden Drive

Fairmount Park, one of the country’s largest urban park systems, is home to many beautiful hidden attractions. Forbidden Drive, where no vehicles are permitted, leads visitors to hidden staircases like this one!

9. Buffalo

Buffalo and Erie Botanical Gardens

There is something about natural plant beauty that only botanical gardens like this one can capture! More than 3,000 different plants are grown inside and outside of the historic conservatory, which was built in 1900.

8. Las Vegas

Clark County Wetlands Park

When you think of the desert oasis known as Vegas, you may think of the brightly lit Strip that made it famous. But did you know a wetlands can be found just outside the city? The 210-acre nature preserve features more than 200 species of birds, along with turtles, beaver, and coyote.

7. St. Louis

Anheuser-Busch Brewery

One of the world’s most famous beer brands was founded in St. Louis, and the brewer of Budweiser offers free tours of its historic brewhouse, built in 1891.

After visiting with the Budweiser Cyldesdales and learning about the various steps in the brewing process, those of age get to sample AB products in the tasting room.


Indianapolis Motor Speedway

Home of NASCAR’S Brickyard 400 and the Indianapolis 500, America’s first speedway is never a dull place to visit.


Philip A. Hart Plaza

What makes a city so special? When it offers you a touch of art, nature, and the city all in one. The Hart Plaza, dotted with sculptures and fountains, is a popular destination that forms part of the Detroit International Riverfront.


The Domes

Each of the three domes at the Mitchell Park Horticultural Conservatory celebrates a different type of plant and atmosphere. This “living landmark,” which lights up Milwaukee’s skyline at night, showcases the diversity of plants on earth during the day.

3. Louisville 

Churchill Downs

The racetrack has been home to the famous Kentucky Derby since 1875. Tour the barn area the week before the Derby in late April to try to pick the winning horse, or take a free walking tour during other parts of the year.

2. Pittsburgh

Point State Park

Located at the tip of the “Golden Triangle,” the park forms the point where the Allegheny and Monongahela come together to form the Ohio River. Home to one of the countries largest fountains, the spot offers an urban getaway in downtown Pittsburgh.

1. New York, NY

GreenAcre Park

NYC is well known for the sounds that are impossible to drown out. Whether it be cabs honking or the sirens echoing through windows, there’s a reason it’s considered the city that never sleeps. GreenAcre Park is perhaps the only place in the entire city where you can drown the noise out, thanks to a powerful waterfall. It’s a place where you can forget the fast-paced environment — and enjoy a moment of happiness!




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