Mpls./St. Paul: Most Playful Metro in U.S.

The Twin Cities have been ranked as the most playful metro area in the United States, largely due to the health and happiness of residents-most of whom were found to be socially and emotionally satisfied with their lives.

Most local residents have remained socially and emotionally satisfied with their lives despite the challenging economic times-a finding that contributed to a new ranking naming the Twin Cities as the most playful metro area in the United States.

The “America's Most Playful Cities” rankings were based on a study that was conducted by Sperling's BestPlaces-an independent research firm based in Portland, Oregon-and were sponsored by Dove Chocolate.

The 50-largest metro areas by population were analyzed in several categories, including recreation (zoos and aquariums, museums, parks, and coastline), playful activities (cycling, crafts, walking, and self improvement), health and happiness (social and emotional satisfaction, and exercise regimens), and not-so-relaxing facts of life (commuting, traffic, and weather).

The study also considered results from an annual survey that was conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). That survey asked residents for feedback about social and emotional support, exercise and other physical activities, and satisfaction with life.

The Minneapolis-St. Paul area ranked first in the health and happiness category and ranked second in the playful activities category. In addition, residents in the area are more socially and emotionally satisfied with their lives than anywhere else in the United States, according to the CDC.

The Twin Cities are also among the top 10 metro areas in the recreation category, according to the study, which found that residents especially like cycling, tennis and racquetball, and running and jogging.

In terms of the negative aspects of living in the Twin Cities, the study concluded that there were a lack of swimming pools and walkable schools, and that there are an abundance of cloudy days and cold temperatures.

Overall, the Twin Cities' score of 154.4 ranked it first, followed by San Diego (147.5) and Denver (145.6). Memphis, Detroit, and Louisville were at the bottom of the list.