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The 10 most exciting cities in America (?!)

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The most exciting city in America came out on top on four criteria: most diversity, and most museums, theater companies …

Our fun-loving friends at Movoto Real Estate -- who have previously investigated such hard-hitting questions as how much the house from "The Simpsons" is worth and what price the Monopoly game's properties would fetch in real life -- recently set themselves the ambitious task of determining the most exciting cities in America.

Now, I'm not going to lie to you: Their results are going to be controversial, no doubt. New York City isn't in the top five, and Los Angeles isn't on the list at all. And some of the cities that do make the list, including their No. 1, are bound to raise eyebrows.

They describe their methodology in more depth over on Movoto Blog (where a robust conversation is already roiling in the comments), but in broad strokes, they rated the 50 biggest cities on these criteria:

  • Park acreage per person.
  • Percentage of the population age 20 to 34.
  • Bars, movie theaters, museums, theater companies and music venues per square mile.
  • Racial and ethnic diversity: "The smaller a city’s majority race, the higher the score," they write.

They also established two negative indicators: fast food restaurants, and Targets/Walmarts. The fewer of each per square mile, the better. (Click here to see which city won each category.)

So with that preamble, here's Movoto's list of the top 10 most exciting cities in America:

10. Portland, Oregon
The city has a high proportion of movie theaters and music venues.

9. Philadelphia
Museums and diversity were Philly's strengths.

8. Atlanta
A youthful population and lots of bars and music venues balanced out the fact that it has too many fast food joints and not enough park acreage, Movoto said.

7. Milwaukee
Movoto says: "We would have never guessed that Milwaukee would make our list. It turns out that Brew City is simply solid on all of our criteria." Laverne and Shirley would be proud.

6. New York City
Too many fast food restaurants per square mile, or else it'd have ranked higher, Movoto says.

5. Washington, D.C.
Museums and parks give D.C. an edge.

4. Seattle
Hm. Movoto doesn't quite explain itself on this one. Any Seattle residents care to enlighten us? I'd guess with all that gloomy weather, maybe bars are exceptionally plentiful?

3. San Francisco
Its "vibrant art and music scene" elevates San Francisco.

2. Boston
Young people, bars and movie theaters boosted Beantown.

1. Oakland, California
[Yahoo! Homes' editor ducks to avoid readers hurling rotten tomatoes and eggs.]

There you go. Now have at it in the comments -- and remember, Movoto's comment section is open too! Twenty-four hours a day! Feel free to save your sharpest vitriol for them.

Click here or on the photo above to see a slideshow of the cities that won in each category. It contains some surprises too, including several cities that didn't crack the top 10 list here.

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