Anchorage Beats Out Austin As “America’s Most Adventurous City”

Men’s Health magazine named Anchorage America’s most adventurous city in a recent poll. (FRANK K./WIKIMEDIA)

From its spectacular setting on Cook Inlet, the abundance of wildlife within the city limits and close proximity to high-adrenaline activities, Anchorage gets the honor of being named America’s No. 1 “Most Adventurous City” in a ranking determined by Men’s Health magazine.  You can see the full descriptions for the Top 10 at the above link (the 100 that were ranked from best to worst are below). Anchorage beat out a top five of Austin, Texas, Madison, Wis., Minneapolis and San Diego, so that’s quite a distinguished list Alaska’s largest city bested in the competition.

Here’s the release from Men’s Health (h/t to Jourdann Lubliner, the magazine’s associate director of public relations, for the info):

With resident bears, almost a million acres of parkland and a very high ratio of recreational businesses to total businesses, Anchorage, Alaska, debuted No.1 on the list. Austin, Texas. ranked No.2, with 227 miles of trails and 20,714 acres of green space across 300 different parks. Madison, Wis. took the No.3 spot -its residents’ overall activity levels rank high and the city touts the 3,359-acre Lake Monoma, surrounded by pristine biking and running trails.

To determine the rankings, Men’s Health studied the following criteria:

  • Percentage of people participating in various sports in the past 12 months (GfK MRI), such as archery, backpacking, canoeing/kayaking, horseback riding, snorkeling and more
  • Percentage of people meeting activity guidelines (CDC)
  • Percentage of people who engage in vigorous activity five or more days a week (CDC)
  • Ratio of parkland to city size (The Trust for Public Land)
  • Recreational business counts percentage (U.S. Census Bureau)
  • Recreational household expenditure percentage  (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)
  • Recreational Consumer Price Index (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)


This city is truly wild, with resident bears and almost a million acres of parkland. In fact, a whopping 84 percent of Anchorage is parkland. In addition to the sprawling wilderness, Anchorage scored 99 out of 100 in our Metrogrades assessment of residents participating in outdoor sports and activities. The city also had a very high ratio of recreational businesses to total business within the city. People here can hike, fish, kayak, and mountain bike in their backyard.

Get to know your own environment better by booking a specialized guide, suggests James Minton of Visit Anchorage. You’ll enjoy any area a bit more if you hike with a historian, photographer, or biologist, he says. They may tell you to kayak through a sea of icebergs to get to Spencer Glacier, where you’ll attach crampons to your shoes and hike around the area. Or, head to Chugach State Park, one of the largest in the US, where you’ll find popular trailheads for hiking, biking, and ATVing.

America’s Most to Least Adventurous Cities:

1.     Anchorage, AK
2.     Austin, TX
3.     Madison, WI
4.     Minneapolis, MN
5.     San Diego, CA
6.     Raleigh, NC
7.     Virginia Beach, VA
8.     Boston, MA
9.     Seattle, WA
10.  Fargo, ND
11.  Portland, OR
12.  Burlington, VT
13.  Chesapeake, VA
14.  Sioux Falls, SD
15.  Denver, CO
16.  Phoenix, AZ
17.  Lincoln, NE
18.  Jersey City, NJ
19.  Aurora, CO
20.  Fort Worth, TX
21.  Bakersfield, CA
22.  St. Paul, MN
23.  Salt Lake City, UT
24.  Colorado Springs, CO
25.  Columbus, OH
26.  San Jose, CA
27.  Lexington, KY
28.  Omaha, NE
29.  Washington, DC
30.  Manchester, NH
31.  Providence, RI
32.  Riverside, CA
33.  Charlotte, NC
34.  Dallas, TX
35.  Plano, TX
36.  Albuquerque, NM
37.  San Antonio, TX
38.  Houston, TX
39.  San Francisco, CA
40.  El Paso, TX
41.  Nashville, TN
42.  Boise City, ID
43.  Billings, MT
44.  Anaheim, CA
45.  Des Moines, IA
46.  Laredo, TX
47.  Reno, NV
48.  Los Angeles, CA
49.  Durham, NC
50.  Lubbock, TX
51.  Kansas City, MO
52.  Oakland, CA
53.  Chicago, IL
54.  New York, NY
55.  Corpus Christi, TX
56.  Tampa, FL
57.  Wichita, KS
58.  Atlanta, GA
59.  Cincinnati, OH
60.  Jacksonville, FL
61.  Cheyenne, WY
62.  Oklahoma City, OK
63.  Orlando, FL
64.  Sacramento, CA
65.  Indianapolis, IN
66.  Fort Wayne, IN
67.  Little Rock, AR
68.  Bridgeport, CT
69.  Tucson, AZ
70.  New Orleans, LA
71.  Las Vegas, NV
72.  Portland, ME
73.  Norfolk, VA
74.  Louisville, KY
75.  Honolulu, HI
76.  Milwaukee, WI
77.  St. Petersburg, FL
78.  Columbia, SC
79.  Fresno, CA
80.  Richmond, VA
81.  Greensboro, NC
82.  Tulsa, OK
83.  Toledo, OH
84.  Stockton, CA
85.  St. Louis, MO
86.  Philadelphia, PA
87.  Pittsburgh, PA
88.  Charleston, WV
89.  Winston-Salem, NC
90.  Baltimore, MD
91.  Baton Rouge, LA
92.  Buffalo, NY
93.  Newark, NJ
94.  Miami, FL
95.  Cleveland, OH
96.  Wilmington, DE
97.  Memphis, TN
98.  Detroit, MI
99.  Jackson, MS

100. Birmingham, AL