Women’s Health and Yelp Reveal the Top 20 Social Cities of 2014

Yelp’s got a whole lot of data, and we’re not afraid to use it. Our data, packed into more than 61 million reviews, tells us so much – from Yelpy Insights, like great spots for 20-somethings or vegetarians, to identifying consumer trends over time.

Recently, Yelp partnered with Women’s Health magazine to analyze our data and uncover the top 20 “social cities” in America, to be revealed in their October issue. Everyone knows New York and Los Angeles are hotbeds of cultural action, but what about the up-and-coming cities who are deserving of some attention? This list gives kudos to the top five cities in four distinct categories: active lifestyle, food, culture, and nightlife.


To narrow down the field of contenders, we first determined the types of businesses that would signal a “social city” for each category, like gyms, parks, and hiking trails for the active lifestyle category, and museums, music venues, and theaters for the culture category. Next, we sifted through Yelp’s reviews and business data to surface the cities with a large proportion of highly rated new businesses in each category to reveal the spots that are on the rise right now. We then weeded out the major metros we’re all familiar with to let the smaller cities shine. Based on that list, Women’s Health led extensive editorial research including interviews with Yelp Community Managers, local business owners, city experts and candid citizens to finalize the top 20.

Whew! A few months of research flew by fast. Check out the 2014 top 20 Social Cities below. Read more about each city, along with local business recommendations, at and in the October issue of Women’s Health magazine, on stands now. Make sure to take the accompanying online quizzes based on data from our partnership to pinpoint the ideal city to live in, your ideal foodie vacation, and more.


2014 Women’s Health and Yelp Social Cities


1. Scottsdale, AZ

2. Jersey City, NJ

3. Ann Arbor, MI

4. Portland, OR 

5. Charlotte, NC



1. Memphis, TN

2. Cleveland, OH

3. Pittsburgh, PA

4. Providence, RI

5. Seattle, WA



1. Des Moines, IA

2. Rochester, NY

3. Oklahoma City, OK 

4. Albuquerque, NM

5. Birmingham, AL 



1. Austin, TX

2. Denver, CO

3. Raleigh, NC

4. Orlando, FL

5. San Diego, CA