10 Best Cities for Amusement Park Lovers to Visit

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The summertime is a season for celebration; kids rejoice over breaks from school, the weather becomes warmer and the days grow longer. And what better way to spend a warm weekend than exploring a city or relaxing in a park? How about a combination of the two? Visiting an amusement park is one of the most popular summertime activities in America. Redfin looked into the country’s most compatible and enjoyable cities for amusement park lovers to visit, looking at factors such as:

  • Walk Score of an amusement park’s city
  • Average customer ratings of amusement park
  • Median home sale-prices in the amusement park’s city
  • Affordability of amusement parks/cost of a day-pass
  • Number of amusement parks per state and metropolitan area

What was our highest ranking city? Redfin found Anaheim, California to offer the best mixture of all five factors, making it the best city in the country to visit for amusement park lovers.

Here are the top 10 best cities in America for amusement park lovers:

1. Anaheim, California

Parks Per Metro: 10

A Park of Notoriety: Disneyland Park

Walk Score: 54

Median Home Sale Price: $550,000

Home to Disneyland Park and Disneyland California Adventure, Anaheim, California comes as no surprise at the top of Redfin’s list. Anaheim is a hub for entertainment, close to major cities like Los Angeles and San Diego; the location is fairly walkable and known for its sunshine, making it a great spot to spend some time exploring outside.

“Anaheim is home to Disneyland, the happiest place on earth; there are tons of hip restaurants and shopping around the resort and all of Anaheim,” said Anaheim Redfin agent Vickie Melin. “The convention center,  two sports stadiums, new urban living lofts or charming historic homes, and a beautiful train station make for easy commuting to all the fun things to do in this city.”

2. Orlando, Florida

Parks Per Metro: 9

A Park of Notoriety: Universal Studios Orlando

Walk Score: 42

Median Home Sale Price: $219,375

Orlando, Florida is another beloved vacation spot, and this one takes precedent on the East Coast. Close to the water, the beach and lots of sun, Orlando is the headquarters for many successful businesses as well as amusement parks. The most popular parks belong to the Walt Disney Company and include: Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Disney’s Epcot, Disney’s Magic Kingdom and Disney’s Hollywood Studios. A multiple-day pass can be bought for any combination of visits to the parks, making it a fun, unique experience every time!

Orlando Redfin agent Juan Castro recommends the area for vacations with high regard. “You can walk, drive or shuttle your way through all the mild and the wild Orlando has to offer; it’s easy to stay busy, sun-kissed and happy on just about any budget here,” said Castro.

3. Sonoma, California

Parks Per Metro: 8

A Park of Notoriety: Sonoma Train Town Railroad

Walk Score: 91

Median Home Sale Price: $640,000

California is a popular location all around for summer travels, and the city of Sonoma is no exception. Sonoma carries one of the highest Walk Scores in the country with a ranking of 91, making it one of the most easily accessible cities in America. This is great for travel, finding entertainment close to hotels and checking out the Sonoma Train Town Railroad, located just one mile from the center of town!

4. Oakland, California

Parks Per Metro: 8

A Park of Notoriety: Oakland Zoo

Walk Score: 72

Median Home Sale Price: $671,000

“Oakland California is what you get when you add 261 days of sunshine a year, to perfect hiking and biking spots like Lake Merritt, to historic entertainment venues like Paramount Theater and the Fox Theater, to newer venues like Yoshi’s and Plank in Jack London Square,” said Oakland Redfin agent Tom Hendershot. “Add to that convenient transportation, just 15 minutes from downtown San Francisco and 10 minutes to downtown Berkeley, as well as a convenient location to three international airports.”

Oakland, California is the largest city in Alameda County with over 400,000 year-round occupants. A popular area of California for many reasons, Oakland is home to many attractions and parks including Children’s Fairyland, the Oakland Zoo and Mosswood Park just to name a few.

“What this all equals is a perfect vacationing spot if you’re planning on visiting the Bay Area,” Hendershot said. “Try the best sandwich on the West Coast at Bakesale Betty’s or local favorites from Brown Sugar Cafe and Everett and Jones; there are a myriad of authentic, local cuisines that have sprung up all across town. Oakland has a great downtown, beautiful hills, sailing and tons of entertainment.”

5. Santa Clara, California

Parks Per Metro: 8

A Park of Notoriety: California’s Great America

Walk Score: 59

Median Home Sale Price: $1,130,000

Santa Clara has proved to be a popular spot for families and young adults to visit during the summer.  Traffic is typically seen from many of the surrounding cities, and states, coming to visit the amusement parks and attractions in the area. Some of the more popular spots for families and kids are California’s Great Adventure, the Children’s Discovery Museum and Boomerang Bay. It’s also a well-known area for shopping and home to a highly rated school district.

6. Tampa, Florida

Parks Per Metro: 3

A Park of Notoriety: Busch Gardens Tampa

Walk Score: 50

Median Home Sale Price: $220,000

Tampa is another beautiful Florida city featured this year, home to Busch Gardens: one of the most popular amusement park companies in the country. Known for its inclusive culture and beautifully maintained parks, Busch Gardens has a Europe-theme park located in Williamsburg, VA and an Africa-theme park in Tampa; both feature food, attractions and shows unique to their highlighted countries and continents, bringing in big smiles and high customer-satisfaction ratings.

7. Carlsbad, California

Parks Per Metro: 4

A Park of Notoriety: Legoland

Walk Score: 31

Median Home Sale Price: $839,000

Carlsbad, CA takes our No. 7 spot on the list for its proximity to the beach, famous amusement parks, and fantastic customer-ratings. The always-memorable Lego Group is known by many for its plastic building bricks, sparking creativity in kids and adults since 1932. Though the Lego brand has since grown astronomically; it now encompasses more than just a product, but an experience. The Lego group supports multiple Lego movies, TV shows and family theme parks for longtime Lego fans to enjoy. With Legoland California located in the heart of Carlsbad, Redfin chose this city as a must-see for amusement park-seekers.

8. San Diego, California

Parks Per Metro: 4

A Park of Notoriety: SeaWorld San Diego

Walk Score: 51

Median Home Sale Price: $555,000

The last California city on the list is sunny San Diego. Home to popular theme park SeaWorld, this amusement park alone sees more than 4 million visitors per year. San Diego serves as a great stop for vacationers and locals alike with BOOMERS! San Diego, Belmont Park and Inflatable World also making appearances in this city. Amusement park lovers will have a blast in this So-Cal city.

9. Gurnee, Illinois

Parks Per Metro: 3

A Park of Notoriety: Six Flags Great America

Walk Score: 23

Median Home Sale Price: $260,000

Another great city on our list is Gurnee, Illinois. This one comes as a bit of a show-stopper as it breaks the trend of popular California and Florida-based parks; however, Gurnee has a lot going for it; many attributes have brought visitors through. Home to Six Flags Great America, one of the most popular amusement park companies in the world; this park alone provides over 100 rides and attractions in exchange for an affordable day-pass expense. Some of the most popular roller coasters include: Batman: The Ride, American Eagle, Whizzer, Goliath and the Raging Bull.

10. Burbank, Illinois

Parks Per Metro: 3

A Park of Notoriety: Haunted Trails

Walk Score: 57

Median Home Sale Price: $195,000

The surprise of the list, Burbank, IL is close in proximity to Six Flags Great America located in Gurnee, IL, one of the largest amusement park companies in the world. However, the median home sale price of a house in Gurnee is $65,000 higher than a house in Burbank. In addition to this appealing factor, Burbank is also home to a highly rated amusement park of its own, the Haunted Trails Family Amusement Park. These were just a few factors taken into consideration when selecting Burbank for our tenth spot on the list.


Data on amusement parks per state was provided by Ultimate Roller Coaster, and the figures are from 2017. Walk Score and median home sale prices as of May 2017 were taken from Redfin.com. The final ranking was determined by ranking 50 amusement parks in the country according to parks per metropolitan area (.03), Walk Score (.01) and Google ratings (.06), then taking the average of all those rankings to rank-order the top 10 best cities for amusement park lovers to visit.

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Currently, I am a senior, multimedia journalism and creative writing double major at Virginia Tech; as one may presume, I love to write. A little about me—I’m a storyteller, an avid coffee drinker and an individual who fully embraces her role as a writer. At the core, my reason for pursuing writing has to do with people. I love what I do. In addition to writing, I foster a passion for film, as well as photography; it’s not uncommon to find me dabbling with video and photo-editing apps in Adobe Creative Cloud—any excuse to work with my Canon is much enjoyed.

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