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Study: Tampa is fourth-best city in the country for recreation

Published Jul. 7, 2015

TAMPA — Head to the nearest park, test your mettle on Falcon's Fury at Busch Gardens, or just soak up some rays.

In the seemingly endless stream of lists ranking America's metros, here's one we can actually sit back and enjoy.

Tampa is the fourth-best city in the country for recreation, according to personal finance site WalletHub.

WalletHub said it picked July to release its latest analysis because this is National Park and Recreation Month, and America's biggest cities invested more than $6.4 billion on park and recreation in 2014.

It compared the 100 largest metros across 27 metrics, including parkland acreage, the number of attractions and average movie cost. Everything from museums and food festivals to concerts and playgrounds was included in the mix.

Tops was Cincinnati; at the back of the pack at No. 100 was Jersey City, N.J.

In securing fourth place overall, Tampa was buoyed by its rank for entertainment and recreational facilities (9th) and climate (13th); which offset its slightly lower status in costs (28th) and quality of parks (45th).

As a result, Tampa even wound up with bragging rights over Interstate 4 rival Orlando, that theme park global mecca.

Orlando, the only other Florida city to crack the top 10, ranked sixth-best.

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