Illinois recently ranked 5th in the nation for most fun state. Here’s why

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Illinois’ offerings for restaurants, performing arts theaters and nightlife helped propel the state to its fifth-place ranking in WalletHub’s 2022 Most Fun States in America.

The June 13 findings compared 26 metrics across all 50 states and the District of Columbia, and Illinois had a total score of 55.33.

Source: WalletHub

The Land of Lincoln ranked in fifth place for number of restaurants per capita, beneath four states tied for first (California, Florida, New York and Texas).

While Illinois did well in some recreation categories, it came in dead last for access to national parks.

The metric was based on the number and gross area of national parks per capita, WalletHub says. Illinois has two sites that are affiliated with or managed by the National Park Service, garnering 27,744 yearly visitors.

There are five total sites listed under Illinois on the park service’s website and none of them are parks. There are three national historic trails, the Trail of Tears, Mormon Pioneer and Lewis & Clark, and two national monuments, the Lincoln Home and Pullman.

The home of Abraham Lincoln is located in Springfield. The Greek Revival house the family lived in for 17 years still sits in the city today, with its homestead a popular place for tourists to visit when they come to the state’s capital.
The home of Abraham Lincoln is located in Springfield. The Greek Revival house the family lived in for 17 years still sits in the city today, with its homestead a popular place for tourists to visit when they come to the state’s capital.

Illinois placed 10th for movie theaters, 9th for golf courses and country clubs, 24th for amusement parks, fourth for performing arts theaters, eighth for fitness centers per capita and 12th for variety of arts, entertainment and recreation establishments.

Metrics included in WalletHub’s article considered entertainment quality in terms of density of facilities, along with personal spending on recreation and government expenditures on parks.

The nightlife section examined average prices for alcohol, access to bars, music festivals per capita and nightlife options. WalletHub determined nightlife accessibility by the number of bars per capita and bars per square mile.

Missouri ranked 16th in the nation in WalletHub’s list, with a 16th-place ranking in nightlife and 18th place for entertainment and recreation.

Missouri’s top 20 performance was likely bolstered by St. Louis, which was named the 20th most fun U.S. city in the more than 180 locales WalletHub considered.

The city’s nightlife and parties were given an 18th-place title, and entertainment and recreation weren’t far behind in 25th. The Most Fun Cities in the U.S. also compared costs and public facilities in its placement.