21 U.S. Cities That Are So Bad, They’re Not Even Worth the Trip

With almost 20,000 cities in the US, it’s unsurprising that some are better than others. If you’re looking to explore some of America’s finest cities, then you’ll want to make sure you avoid these. From awful weather and tourist honey traps to abysmal crime rates, here’s a look at 21 cities that are so bad they’re not even worth the trip. 

Detroit, Michigan

Aerial view of Detroit downtown under evening sunlight
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Detroit is often portrayed as a terrible place to visit, and for good reason. It isn’t worth the trip. The streets are riddled with homelessness and dilapidated buildings, and this city will make you feel like you’re living through an apocalypse movie. 

Gary, Indiana

Aerial View of Downtown Gary, Indiana
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This city would more appropriately be named ‘Grey’ Indiana, and it’s possibly one of the most depressing cities in the country, let alone the state. Gary gives 50 shades of grey but without any of the pleasure.

Port Arthus, Texas

Port Arthur, Texas
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Thanks to the local oil and gas industries, this city should be the poster child for Climate Change. Possibly one of the ugliest and stinkiest places in the U.S., Port Arthus is best viewed from the comfort of your car (provided the windows remain firmly closed).

San Bernardino, California

Aerial View of the Skyline of San Bernardino, California
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San Bernardino is somewhat of a municipal sewer, and it is worth avoiding. The once-nice neighborhoods are now plagued with illicit businesses and rampant with gang-related crime.

Hollywood, California

Famous landmark Hollywood Sign in Los Angeles, California.
Editorial Credit: Maks Ershov / Shutterstock.com

Don’t be fooled by the perceived glory and glam of Tinsel Town. Hollywood is a run-down mess, epitomized by the rather tired and sad-looking Hollywood sign. This city is in desperate need of renovation.

Amarillo, Texas

Aerial View of Downtown Amarillo, Texas in Summer
Image Credit: Jacob Boomsma / Shutterstock.com

Amarillo can easily be compared to a sauna. The crazy heat, notoriously rude people, and distinctive manure-like stench make this city one to miss. 

Las Vegas, Nevada

panoramic view of the Las Vegas Strip Las Vegas Nevada
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There’s a reason that what happens in Vegas stays there. The city’s infamous allure is better off not seeing the light of day. The notorious Sin City is an overwhelmingly disappointing amalgamation of overpriced, soulless commercialism combined with the lingering smell of desperation and failed dreams. 

Camden, New Jersey

Aerial of Camden New Jersey Sunset
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A dismal sight, Camden’s shabby streets, and lifeless presence sometimes resemble a war zone. The combination of poverty, crime, and urban decay has contributed to its reputation as a troubled city in desperate need of significant revitalization efforts.

Gallup, New Mexico

Aerial View of Gallup, New Mexico
Image Credit: Jacob Boomsma / Shutterstock.com

A visibly challenging place to live, Gallup’s declining economy has left the city sprawling with poverty and homelessness. With a crime rate nearly five times above the national average and desolate streets filled with abandoned businesses, little that would attract anyone to this city.

Mansfield, Ohio

Winter downtown mansfield ohio Mansfield, Ohio
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An old industrial city, Mansfield has yet to experience any sort of gentrification. Since the factory closures in the 1980s, the city has crumbled under unemployment, leading to surges in crime and drug use.

Baltimore, Maryland

USA Skyline on the Inner Harbor in the afternoon
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Baltimore is well known for being pretty rundown. Many people think it’s not worth the trip, thanks to its high crime rates and the visible effects of socioeconomic disparities. Additionally, issues like urban decay, racial tensions, and political corruption have contributed to the city’s negative reputation among some individuals.

St Louis, Missouri

USA downtown skyline from above St. Louis, Missouri
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One of the most disliked cities in the country, it’s apparently worse than Uber Eats delivering your dinner at the wrong house. With racial tensions, urban decay, and socioeconomic disparities, as well as the highest murder rate in the country, St Louis has few redeeming qualities.

Danville, Virginia

Danville. Virginia. USA on a geography map
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If you’ve never heard of this city, we don’t blame you. Once a prosperous place, since the closure of its old tobacco and textile mills, the city has faced challenges. With widespread unemployment and severe poverty, this once-great city is a depressing sight to behold.  

New York City, New York

new york city skyline cityscape with statue of liberty over hudson river
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If you can make it here, you can make it anywhere. That’s because New York makes you realize just how nice other places are. This may be a controversial addition to the list, but despite its iconic status, NYC is overhyped, overcrowded, wildly expensive, and lacks the charm of many other cities.

Miami, Florida

Miami, Florida, USA skyline over Biscayne Bay at dusk.
Image Credit: Sean Pavone / Shutterstock.com

Miami may have a lot to offer in terms of beaches, culture, and restaurants, but it is overcrowded and overdone. This city no longer holds the glamorous allure that it used to, and many visitors find themselves disappointed at the lack of cultural depth, volume of tourists, and insane prices. 

Fresno, California

Aerial view of downtown Fresno, California, USA.
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Another entry from the state of California, Fresno. It is one of the most affordable big cities in the US, and the low prices highlight the fact no one wants to live there. The combination of high crime rates, terrible air quality, pollution, and excessive poverty makes it one of the worst-rated cities out there. Fresno is so bad that their unofficial slogan is, ‘At least it’s not Bakersfield.’ 

Bakersfield, California

Aerial View of Downtown Bakersfield, California Skyline
Image Credit: Jacob Boomsma / Shutterstock.com

Affectionately referred to as the armpit of California, Bakersfield is worse than Fresno, or at least on a similar level. It seems to amalgamate all the smog, gangs, and violence seeping out from L.A. and the rest of California. Bakersfield is best known as the bathroom break stop on a trip up to Vegas.

Flint, Michigan

Aerial View of Downtown Flint, Michigan in Summer
Image Credit: Jacob Boomsma / Shutterstock.com

Flint has one of the highest poverty rates in the country, and it’s not hard to tell. However, it’s better known for being one of the towns impacted by the lead poisoning water crisis back in 2014. If you do find yourself passing through, make sure you bring your own water.

Chicago, Illinois

Chicago skyline aerial drone view from above
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With extreme weather, the windy city is frequently laid siege to by the elements. Unfortunately, the high crime rates and harsh winters often deter people from its impressive architecture and cultural attractions.

San Francisco, California

San Francisco skyline and Bay Bridge at sunset, California
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Despite its scenic beauty, high living costs, a lack of cleanliness, rampant homelessness, and an addiction crisis have cost the City its charm and many visitors.

Los Angeles, California

Beautiful sunset of Los Angeles downtown skyline and palm trees
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Despite the sunny weather, L.A. is infamous for its sky-high taxes and insane living costs. With exorbitant prices, like $17 smoothies, L.A. has become inauthentic and filled with pretentious influencers. Don’t be fooled by the glamorous images; L.A. is rife with inequality, appalling traffic, homelessness, and air pollution. The Golden State City certainly isn’t worth its weight in gold anymore.

Surprised?

Airport, travel and backpack woman with passport
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At the end of the day, opinions about these places are somewhat subjective. While these cities may not appeal to everyone, some of them have attractive qualities. It all depends on what you’re looking for. Wherever your travels take you, prioritize safety and enjoy the journey!

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