Top 15 Ugliest Cities in America That You Should Avoid

As someone who has traveled across America, coast to coast, I saw many beautiful things. However, Bakersfield, California, was a little less than attractive. I’d not researched the area before, and there was gang graffiti on everything. After someone asked Redditors where the ugliest cities they’ve seen in the States were, these are the top-voted towns.

1. Gary, Indiana

Aerial View of Downtown Gary, Indiana and its Steel Mill.
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One traveler shared, “I was hitchhiking from Tennessee to Wisconsin when I was 19, and I got dropped off in Gary, Indiana. I could not catch a ride after two days of trying, so I spent what money I had on a Greyhound to Chicago.

I had to walk through a large portion of the city from where I was to the station, and it was the tensest and most depressing walk I’d ever taken. So yeah, Gary, by a long mile.”

2. Niagara Falls, New York

Niagara Falls
Image Credit: Shutterstock/Abdullah Zafar

Another volunteered, “Niagara Falls, New York. The area over by the Falls. It wasn’t too bad back in the day. But walk twenty minutes, and you were in the middle of terrible-looking housing with trash piled seven feet high.” Several others agreed that the only decent part of Niagara Falls is on the Canadian side.

3. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
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I hate to put it down because I had a good time there, but my answer is Philadelphia,” one explained. “I just found it run down, with bad streets, lots of closed up, empty spaces. I haven’t been to the west coast, so I am sure I would have a different answer if I did.”

4. Los Angeles, California

Los Angeles
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One user noted, “Los Angeles. Everywhere. I’ve never seen a city with so much trash everywhere, all over the roads and highways.” Several others agreed that Los Angelos was anything but what you see in the movies before one clarified, “Skid Row is the worst.”

5. Scottsbluff, Nebraska

Scottsbluff, city in Scotts Bluff County, in the western part of the state of Nebraska, in the Great Plains region of the United States. Scottsbluff was founded in 1899 across the North Platte River
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Coming in at number five on this Reddit list is Scottsbluff, Nebraska. One user clarified that it is riddled with gang life. Several users in the thread, myself included, confessed to never putting gangs and Nebraska in the same thought.

6. Memphis, Tennessee

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Memphis, Tennesee, was listed by many as one of the ugliest cities in the beautiful United States of America. One noted, “Memphis. Even the nice parts aren’t very nice. The rough parts are, well, rough.”

7. New Orleans, Louisiana

New Orleans, Louisiana
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New Orleans, Louisiana, was listed as being an ugly city. Someone clarified, “Besides maybe the French Quarter and the Garden District, New Orleans is a terrible city.

8. Seattle, Washington

Seattle, Washington
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Okay, I’m not even mad that my hometown made this list because what was said about it is accurate, and why I left! They explained, “Seattle, Washington….the only color I saw was a little girl’s red coat. Gray, rainy, and colorless. Seasonal depression rates must be through the roof.”

9. Paducah, Kentucky

Paducah, Kentucky United States - November 24 2022: tall buildings in the historic townscape on a cloudy day
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Someone volunteered, “Paducah, Kentucky. I was there nearly 15 years ago. I can’t say what it’s like now, but I wasn’t a fan—never seen so many kids smoking cigarettes.” Several people agreed with this statement.

10. Detroit, Michigan

Detroit, MI USA - November 07, 2020 : Aerial view of Detroit downtown under evening sunlight.
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Several Americans nominated Detroit, Michigan, as one of the ugliest cities they’ve ever seen, noting the abandoned cars and buildings everywhere.

I’ve also been to Detroit, and it’s the most shocking experience in any U.S. city, including Baltimore. The number of rundown areas covered in mattresses and garbage when I drove through was overwhelming. Also, the first time I ever witnessed tennis shoes hanging all over the telephone wires.

11. El Reno, Oklahoma

EL RENO, OKLAHOMA—SEPTEMBER 2017: A public school bus stops on a red light at the corner of Country Club Road and Sunset Drive in El Reno, Oklahoma.
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Another city that made Reddit’s ugly city list is El Reno, Oklahoma. It resides outside of Oklahoma City. One confessed, “I stayed there while traveling through the region. It was hit by a tornado a few years later, and the place probably looked better afterward.”

12. San Francisco, California

Golden Gate, San Francisco, California, USA.
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One woman shared that her dad warned her not to get her hopes up before visiting San Francisco when she was twelve. However, she admitted they were up before arriving. “The city was so ugly. It’s not colorful. It’s almost grey. It reeked of urine and feces.

Everyone was so rude. The only thing I enjoyed looking at was the Golden State Bridge. It made me sad to see how many homeless people there were and how poorly others treated them. It made me never want to visit another big city.”

13. Clovis, New Mexico

CLOVIS, NEW MEXICO - 10.08.2022 - Side view of BNSF Train Locomotive with vehicle transportation cars in the background and and rail roads in the foreground on a sunny day. Train transportation indust
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Many Americans agreed that Clovis, New Mexico, is a cesspool of unattractive. One explained, ” Flies for days due to dairy farms and constant odor of cow manure.”

14. Douglas, Arizona

The large structure halfway up the hill is the Douglas Mansion, also known as the Little Daisy Hotel. Parts of the open pit mine can be seen in the background
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Several people in the thread argued that Vail, Arizona, was ruined by people moving into cramped homes that destroyed the desert. However, the consensus was that Douglas, Arizona is much uglier. One added, “And I’ve been to third-world countries.”

15. New York City, New York

Times Square ,is a busy tourist intersection of neon art and commerce and is an iconic street of New York City and America
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Um, to be fair, I’ve not been to New York, but this one seems odd. Nonetheless, many Redditors volunteered, “New York City was one of the ugliest cities in America.

One noted, “Specifically Lower Manhattan, near Governor’s Island. I’ve gone to New York several times, but this area felt depressing, much more than the rest, if you can even believe that.” Several others explained there were trash and giant rats everywhere.

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