Ghosts, aliens, and cryptids — oh my! Where in the U.S. are you most likely to stumble upon a supernatural experience?
To mark Twilight Zone Day on May 11, Lawn Love ranked 2023’s Best Cities for Paranormal Activity.
We compared the 200 biggest U.S. cities based on four categories. We looked at paranormal sightings, Bigfoot sightings, haunted sites, and paranormal conventions and events, among 14 total otherworldly metrics.
See how supernatural your city is in our ranking below. To learn how we ranked the cities, see our methodology.
In this article
City rankings + infographic
See how each city fared in our ranking:
Top 5 close up
Check out the slideshow below for highlights on each of our top five cities.
Many of America’s oldest and biggest cities — such as Los Angeles (No. 1), New Orleans (No. 5), Philadelphia (No. 6), and San Antonio (No. 7) — land at the top of our ranking. These cities impress with plenty of paranormal energy built on centuries of ghost stories and urban lore.
Younger cities and suburban regions have a less haunted history and sparse paranormal activity. Honolulu (No. 198) and Sioux Falls, South Dakota (No. 199), land alongside West Valley City, Utah, in last place.
- Hollywood haunts: Our top city, Los Angeles, boasts an 11-point lead ahead of New York (No. 2). LA possesses the highest number of haunted sites and the most paranormal conventions and events. The City of Angels is spellbound as the No. 2 best city for witches and No. 4 for vampires. California is also the most ideal state for spotting UFOs.
- Mythical Mid-Atlantic: Assemble your own Ghostbusters crew in New York (No. 2), which offers 328 cemeteries — the most in our ranking — and the second-highest number of haunted sites to explore. Phantoms have plenty of potential in Philadelphia (No. 6), thanks to the second-best cemetery access. However, Philly falls behind at No. 119 in ghost sightings.
- Lone Star specters: Thirteen Texas cities float to the top half of our ranking, with San Antonio (No. 7) claiming the third-largest number of haunted sites, followed closely by Houston (No. 11) and El Paso (No. 24) tied at No. 5. El Paso also spooks residents with the most ghost sightings, followed by Austin (No. 13), as well as Laredo (No. 44) and Corpus Christi (No. 83) tied for third place.
- Sasquatch stomping grounds: Legend has it that Bigfoot roams around the Pacific Northwest, so it’s fitting that Tacoma, Washington (No. 56), claims the highest number of Bigfoot sightings, followed by Seattle (No. 18), Bellevue, Washington (No. 153), and Portland, Oregon (No. 19). There are even conservation laws in some regions of the Evergreen State protecting Sasquatch from potential poachers.
- Paranormal pursuits: Phantoms won’t find peace in Las Vegas (No. 10), which is home to the most paranormal societies and investigative organizations, followed by Indianapolis (No. 9). However, supernatural events seem to occur most often in spooky San Diego (No. 4), which reports the most paranormal sightings. Dallas (No. 8) follows with the second-highest number, while Chicago (No. 3), Philadelphia (No. 6), and Cleveland (No. 30) tie for third place.
- The Big Eerie: Whether you’re interested in witches, vampires, or ghosts, New Orleans (No. 5) is full of supernatural spirits. NOLA offers the highest number of haunted hotels and ghost tours and is among the top 20 cities for witches and vampires.
- Ghastly Georgia: Hospitality in the Hostess City of the South isn’t exclusively for humans. Savannah, Georgia (No. 15), has the second-largest number of haunted hotels and ghost tours. Savannah also hosts paranormal conventions: the Savannah Horror Fest and Southeast Hollows Haunt Convention. As does Atlanta (No. 20): the Oddities & Curiosities Expo and Days of the Dead Convention.
Behind the ranking
First, we determined the factors (metrics) that are most relevant to rank the Best Cities for Paranormal Activity. We then assigned a weight to each factor based on its importance and grouped those factors into four categories: Sightings, Haunted Locations, Lifestyle, and Community. The categories, factors, and their weights are listed in the table below.
For each of the 200 biggest U.S. cities, we then gathered data on each factor from the sources listed below the table.
Finally, we calculated scores (out of 100 points) for each city to determine its rank in each factor, each category, and overall. A city’s Overall Score is the average of its scores across all factors and categories. The highest Overall Score ranked “Best” (No. 1) and the lowest “Worst” (No. 200). Note: The “Worst” among individual factors may not be No. 200 due to ties.
Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization, Cardschat, Data.world, Find a Grave, GhostsOfAmerica.com, North American Wood Ape Conservancy, Other Lawn Love Studies, The Paranormal, Paranormal Activity Network Investigation Center, ParanormalSocieties.com, The Scare Factor, The Shadowlands, TravelMyth, and TripAdvisor
- California is full of curious sites, such as Willow Creek, the so-called Bigfoot Capital of the World. Learn more about the Pacific Coast Bigfoot at the Bigfoot Discovery Museum in Felton, or search for it yourself in the Redwoods. Find oddities and interactive exhibits for paranormal activity lovers and horror fans at the Mystic Museum in Burbank.
- The Jersey Devil has allegedly been lurking in the Pinelands of New Jersey for over 250 years. Known to locals as the Leeds Devil, this kangaroo-like cryptid is claimed to be the only state demon in the U.S. Learn more at the Paranormal Museum and bookstore in Asbury Park.
- Mothman was first spotted flying around West Virginia in 1966. Today, visitors can take a selfie with the Mothman statue, explore the Mothman Museum, and attend the annual Mothman Festival in Point Pleasant. Mountain State tourists can discover more odd artifacts in the Archive of the Afterlife, aka “The National Museum of the Paranormal,” in Cameron.
- Stop by the Cryptozoology & Paranormal Museum before going for a hike to look for Sasquatch yourself in Littleton, North Carolina.
- Tales of the mysterious, dragon-esque snallygaster go back to the 1730s in Maryland. Today, this monster is celebrated at the Middletown Snallygaster Festival and at a brew-centered festival in Washington — a fitting celebration, as this cryptid allegedly died in a vat of moonshine.
- Florida has its own spin on the Bigfoot legend, known in the Sunshine State as the skunk ape. Plan a cryptid-themed camping trip at the Official Skunkape Headquarters in Ochopee.
- Ohio is home to the Loveland Frogman, an elusive, 4-foot-tall humanoid frog. This creature is celebrated at the annual Frogman Festival.
- Looking for other abnormal adventures? Check out Expedition: Bigfoot! in Blue Ridge, Georgia, or The Sasquatch Outpost in Bailey, Colorado.
Does it look like Bigfoot trampled all over your yard? Hire a local Lawn Love pro to add fresh spirit to your lawn and landscape.
Main Photo Credit: iStock