graffiti

As part of their September issue, which ranked America’s favorite cities, Travel + Leisure magazine also compiled a list of America’s dirtiest cities—with problems ranging from litter to rats to smog.

On the upside, lots of people still love these cities, which tend to be big and bustling, have a vibrant nightlife, and boast a younger population.  Plus, many of these cities are making strides toward cleaning up their act: Boston has installed solar-powered trash compactors on city streets to prevent trash cans from overflowing, and Atlanta has recently passed a ban on smoking in public parks, which should reduce the amount of litter.

Here are the top ten dirtiest cities, in order — with some of their best and worst qualities, as ranked by T+L readers.

  1. New York City — liter, grit and grime / fine theater and luxury shopping
  2. New Orleans — debris and trash pileup / great locals and nightlife
  3. Baltimore — terrible rat problem (gross!) / great classical music
  4. Los Angeles — worst air pollution / best weather
  5. Atlanta — littered with trash and unsafe feelings / great shopping and barbeque
  6. Philadelphia — big litter problem / great walkability
  7. Dallas/Ft. Worth — least amount of green space / most sports crazed
  8. Miami — terrible soil pollution, worst drivers / great style and good looks for residents
  9. Memphis — bad litterbugs / great jitterbugs (with a rocking music scene)
  10. Houston — worst ozone in the country / great shopping and affordable lifestyle

You can check out the full list on the T+L website, and see where your city ranked—for better or worse.

Read more from Lacy on her website, on Twitter and on Facebook.

image by mugley