Growing up in central Florida I never truly felt like I lived in a “city.” I wasn’t in the country, per se, but Kissimmee only now as 65,000 residents and you can bet it was significantly less during my 18 years there. My backyard butted up against a large ranch for goodness’ sake!
To be fair, though, if you count the entire Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford metropolitan statistical area, then the population swells to an impressive 2,134,411. Now if you consider Wikipedia a reliable source that’s the fifth largest area in the southeastern United States and 26th largest in the whole U.S. Nothing to sneeze at it.
So what gives? I clearly grew up and went to college (University of Central Florida) in one of the most populated regions/fastest growing cities in the country and I still never got the city vibe? NO! I know sky scrapers aren’t everything but they do lend some credence to any self proclaimed city. I think Orlando has maybe five. Along those lines, the entire central Florida region is so spread out you never feel like you can just hop on the bus to get to work. Ha! No such thing. In fact a light rail transit system is only now being discussed.
So with that said, when I travel to places like Boston, D.C. or Minneapolis I can’t help but get that groovy feeling of this is what it’s like to enjoy a vibrant cultural scene of arts and entertainment. Here’s a list then of all the major cities I have spent significant time in (with a population of at least 100,000). The numbers in parentheses are the city’s ranking in the USA. And just to set the record straight: I love my hometown statistical area very much and think Kissimmee/Orlando was a wonderful place to grow up and go to school!
Here is a list of the all the major cities I have spent significant time in, with a population of at least 100,000. This is according to Citymayors.com and Wikipedia (after 200). The numbers in parentheses are the city’s ranking in the USA.
New York, NY (1)
Philadelphia, PA (5)
Jacksonville, FL (12)
Memphis, TN (20)
Boston, MA (21)
Washington, DC (24)
Nashville, TN (25)
Milwaukee, WI (30)
Atlanta, GA (40)
Minneapolis, MN (47)
Cleveland, OH (48)
New Orleans, LA (51)
Tampa, FL (53)
St. Louis, MO (58)
Cincinnati, OH (65)
St. Paul, MN (66)
Buffalo, NY (73)
Orlando, FL (77)
St. Petersburg, FL (78)
Tallahassee, FL (125)
Providence, RI (134)
Fort Lauderdale, FL (140)
Hollywood, FL (173)
New Haven, CT (191)
Gainesville, FL (201)
Charleston, SC (208)
Springfield, IL (236)
Clearwater, FL (248)
Rochester, MN (250)
Lowell, MA (256)
FL (9) MN (3) MA (2) NY (2) OH (2) TN (2)
MY PERSONAL FAVORITES:
Based on hospitality, transportation, and a “good times” atmosphere.
I LOVE Boston, Massachusetts…
But there’s still no where quite like New York
But alas, Minneapolis, MN is where I make my home now and can get my fill of MLB!
Then I go to Nashville, TN for the Southern charm…
And Cleveland, OH is so much cooler than you would think!
Washington, DC is full of history
and Tampa, FL is where I performed on my biggest stage.
Maybe I’m sentimental now for home, but screw it. Orlando, FL rocks.
as well as the Skyline Chili in Cincinnati, OH
And finally Clearwater Beach, FL is where you go to just have fun in the sand.
And as an added bonus I have to say that I loved visiting the Quad Cities of Rock Island/ Moline, IL and Davenport/ Bettendorf, IA
New York, NY