17 Cities in the U.S. That Are So Bad You Won’t Want to Visit

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By Jonathan Trent

While the United States is home to many beautiful cities full of culture, diversity, and great people, like any other country, it has its places to avoid. Here are 17 cities in the U.S. that are so bad you won’t be planning a trip there any time soon.

St. Louis, Missouri

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St. Louis in Missouri is dogged by poverty and racial segregation, which has led to high levels of crime and the city being regarded as the most dangerous in the USA. The city’s violent crime rate has reached a fever pitch in recent years, with BBC Science Focus claiming the number as 2082.29 violent crimes per 100,000 people.

Detroit, Michigan

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As with many cities across the world, Detroit has been the victim of deindustrialization, as its once booming automotive industry began to collapse between the ‘50s and ‘80s. This resulted in mass unemployment, increasing poverty, and a rise in the area’s crime rate.

Baltimore, Maryland

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Another city with an absurdly high crime rate is Baltimore, Maryland. Gang-ridden neighborhoods exist across the whole city, where poverty is rife and violent crimes are common. In fact, Baltimore’s crime rate is alarmingly higher than the national average, with U.S. News reporting almost 500 crimes per 100,000 people.

Memphis, Tennessee

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Police funding in the city of Memphis, Tennessee, has been cut in recent years, which has led to a spike in crimes in the city, most notably homicides, with almost 400 being reported in 2023. Once a cultural hub known for being the home of blues music, Memphis is rapidly descending into chaos.

Gary, Indiana

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The city of Gary, Indiana, has largely become known for its industrial output, most notably being the home of the largest steel mill in North America. While this industrialization has generated employment in the area, it has also led to Gary leading the U.S. for the amount of toxic air pollution per square mile, as stated by The Guardian.

Kansas City, Missouri

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The ever-rising crime rate and rising poverty levels in Kansas City would make Dorothy glad that she got out when she did. The levels of crime have become so damaging to the city’s reputation that the police department is implementing city-wide strategies to ensure they don’t lose their tourist economy.

Milwaukee, Wisconsin

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Once known for its excellent beer and cheese industries, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, has unfortunately become famed for its rising violent crime rate, which has led to the city’s population decline. The area is beginning to show signs of promise once again, with new building developments hoping to breathe new life into the city.

Cleveland, Ohio

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Cleveland, Ohio, has a lot going for it, from being situated on the banks of Lake Erie to playing host to one of the best hospitals in the US. However, it mainly relies on traditional industry for the majority of its income, which has contributed to rising poverty levels in recent years.

Stockton, California

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Understated and far from famous, Stockton has fallen victim to its location in the same state as cities such as Los Angeles and San Francisco, which tend to sweep up most of California’s external income. This contributed to the city’s bankruptcy in 2012, leaving many of its areas destitute.

Dallas, Texas

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For a spell during and in the two years after the pandemic era, Dallas, Texas, was facing a rather bizarre problem: It smelled awful. Residents were becoming increasingly unhappy with the wafting odors of rotting animals caused by a now-closed biofuel plant in the area.

Phoenix, Arizona

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If you find yourself in Phoenix, Arizona, in the summer, there is every chance you will have to ration out your water supply. The local water board has been known to fail in meeting water demands for the city’s ever-growing population.

Sacramento, California

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The city of Sacramento’s nickname, ‘City of Trees,’ was first coined in 1855, but unfortunately, the city has lost its green, ecological reputation in the years since. According to CBS News, Sacramento is the US’ second dirtiest city, behind Baltimore, Maryland.

New Orleans, Louisiana 

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While New Orleans is packed with interesting buildings and a distinctly unique French and Spanish-informed culture, its appeal has begun to decline in recent years. The city has a huge littering problem, which detracts from the beauty of its architecture.

Jacksonville, Florida

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Jacksonville, Florida, is known for having too many cars for its roads to handle, often resulting in gridlocked streets and transportation issues. Of all the areas that the state of Florida has to offer, Jacksonville is probably worth skipping.

Provo, Utah

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With a sprawling urban area flanked by gorgeous mountains and countryside, Provo in Utah seems to have everything going for it. The major issue is that there is nothing to do there, as the city lacks enough attractions to encourage people to visit.

San Francisco, California

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San Francisco is one of the USA’s most popular tourist destinations, with its picturesque surroundings and landmarks such as the Golden Gate Bridge. However, the area is experiencing a rapidly growing homelessness crisis, which is putting many tourists off from ever returning. 

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

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The crime rate in Philadelphia seems to be reaching the point of notoriety where it is deterring outsiders from visiting the area once known as the ‘City of Brotherly Love’. Philly is also regarded as one of the top 10 rudest cities in the country, harming its reputation further.