The 15 Worst U.S. Cities to Visit

Mitch
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Every city has its charm, but some are just a touch… ahem, ‘personality-rich.’ Not every locale is going to be New York City or San Francisco. Here are 15 U.S. cities that may not make your must-visit list—unless you’re into that sort of thing. 

Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Michael Barera via Wikimedia Commons

Where to start? Milwaukee has an alarmingly high crime rate, with a staggering 1,597 violent crimes per 100,000 residents reported in 2020. With an average of 52 inches of snowfall each year and temperatures that plunge deep into the negatives, it’s not exactly a winter wonderland. And let’s not forget the lackluster dining scene. It’s mostly beer and cheese, folks.

Detroit, Michigan

Michael Barera via Wikimedia Commons

According to the FBI’s 2018 crime statistics, Detroit has the highest per-capita rate of violent crime of any major U.S. city. Additionally, the city’s economic decline, marked by the 2013 bankruptcy filing – the largest by a municipality in U.S history – and a staggering poverty rate of 33.4% (U.S. Census Bureau, 2019), doesn’t exactly make it an appealing getaway destination.

Little Rock, Arkansas

Daniel Schwen via Wikimedia Commons

Well, the crime rate there is 152% higher than the national average, making it a less-than-ideal tourist destination, to say the least. With a 1 in 15 chance of becoming a victim of a crime, you could potentially find more thrill than you bargained for.

New Orleans-Metairie

Infrogmation of New Orleans via Wikimedia Commons

Don’t let the jazz tunes and beignets fool you. According to data from the FBI, this area has one of the highest crime rates, with a staggering 4,942 incidents per 100,000 residents. Add to that an average hotel rate that will make your wallet weep and an infrastructure that’s crumbling faster than a piece of King Cake in your mouth.

Baton Rouge, Louisiana

theMinsk via Wikimedia Commons

According to the FBI’s 2018 Crime Report, it ranked as the 49th most dangerous city in America. And let’s not even get started on the traffic. Data from INRIX 2018 Global Traffic Scorecard placed Baton Rouge as the 13th most congested city in the U.S.

Kansas City, Missouri

Michael Barera via Wikimedia Commons

In 2019, Kansas City ranked in the top five for the highest crime rates in the country, according to the FBI’s Crime Data Explorer. According to a survey by Travel and Leisure, the city ranks low for “attractive people” and “high-end shopping.”

Kalamazoo-Portage

rossograph via Wikimedia Commons

You might think, “But it’s home to the Air Zoo, a must-see aviation museum!” Sure, but it ranks 165th out of 182 cities in terms of “fun,” according to WalletHub. Plus, the city’s restaurant scene is far from diverse or unique, and the nightlife? More like night… quiet.

Gainesville

Rbrko via Wikimedia Commons

Oh, Gainesville… A city where the alligators outnumber the residents. According to the U.S Bureau of Statistics, Gainesville has a higher crime rate than 96% of the state’s cities and towns of all sizes. Couple that with the sweltering heat and humidity that could make a cactus sweat, and you’ve got yourself a location that’s not exactly vacation material.

Cleveland, Ohio

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Clevelandguy at en.wikipedia via Wikimedia Commons

While this city has its charms (The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, anyone?), according to the FBI’s annual report, Cleveland residents have a 1 in 66 chance of being a victim of a violent crime. Cleveland also has a reputation for less-than-stellar weather. The city is often blanketed by lake-effect snow in winter, making it one of the chilliest in the country.

Birmingham, Alabama

acnatta/Andre Natta profile via Wikimedia Commons

The folks in Birmingham are as warm and welcoming as their Southern reputation implies. However, according to 2019 FBI crime data, Birmingham holds an unenviable fourth place in the country for violent crime rates! And according to the American Lung Association, Birmingham’s air quality grades as the 14th worst in the nation.

St. Louis, Missouri

Daniel Schwen via Wikimedia Commons

Ranked as the most dangerous city in the U.S in 2019, with a soaring violent crime rate of 1,800 per 100,000 residents, this city might give you a truly unforgettable experience – and not in a good way. If you do decide to risk it, remember to indulge in their infamous gooey butter cake – it could indeed be the sweetest part of your visit.

Rockford

M. Readey via Wikimedia Commons

Home to a couple of endearing attractions like the Anderson Japanese Gardens, it does have its redeeming qualities. However, according to the FBI’s 2019 data, Rockford had a violent crime rate of 1,386 per 100,000 residents, which is over three times the US average. Let’s not forget the dilapidated infrastructure and a struggling economy.

Shreveport, Louisiana

Roman Eugeniusz via Wikimedia Commons

While it may boast a handful of decent attractions, the city ranks among the top 10 most dangerous U.S. cities, according to FBI crime data. Aside from safety concerns, Shreveport’s lackluster nightlife and dining scene leave much to be desired for the adventurous traveler.

Baltimore, Maryland

User:Steelplug via Wikimedia Commons

You might be lured by the charming Inner Harbor, but don’t let that distract you from the city’s alarming crime rate. According to the FBI, Baltimore had the highest murder rate among the nation’s 50 largest cities in 2019. You’ll also face economic disparity and a very prominent rat problem that even warranted a documentary.

Bakersfield

nickchapman via Wikimedia Commons

Now, we’re not saying it’s all bad – after all, they’ve got some killer Basque food, and the country music scene is not to be sniffed at. But unfortunately, according to the American Lung Association, it’s got the worst air pollution in the country. Add a crime rate above the national average, and you might want to rethink your vacation plans.

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  • Mitch

    A computer science enthusiast with a keen interest in technology and games, Mitchelle (Mitch) contributes a cutting-edge perspective to the Frenz Hub writing team, integrating her academic knowledge with her personal passions

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