2023’s Best Cities for Paranormal Activity

An alien dressed as a human sits at a table alone inside a diner while eating a burger and fries.

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:

Infographic showing the Best Cities for Paranormal Activity, a ranking based on paranormal sightings, Bigfoot sightings, haunted sites, and more
Note: For presentation purposes, not all ties may be displayed for some metrics above.

Top 5 close up

Check out the slideshow below for highlights on each of our top five cities.

The Griffith Observatory stands atop a hill overlooking the Los Angeles skyline.
No. 1: Los Angeles | Overall score: 59.21

Sightings: 4
Haunted Locations: 1
Lifestyle: 1
Community: 1

Local tips: Ghosts seem to haunt the City of Angels with a dramatic flair at performance venues The Comedy Store and Pantages Theatre. Book a night at the historic Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel for potential encounters with the star-studded spirits of Marilyn Monroe and Montgomery Clift.

Photo credit: Roberto Nickson | Pexels | Pexels License
Morning light reflects across New York City’s skyline.
No. 2: New York | Overall score: 48.00

Sightings: 12
Haunted Locations: 3
Lifestyle: 2
Community: 17

Local tips: The House of Death has an unlucky reputation, according to a series of tenants like Samuel Clemens (aka Mark Twain), whose spirit supposedly still lingers in the halls. Ghosts also have been reported to mess with guests at The Bowery Hotel.

Photo credit: Roberto Vivancos | Pexels | Pexels License
Two people bike along the river across from the Chicago skyline.
No. 3: Chicago | Overall score: 44.25

Sightings: 11
Haunted Locations: 10
Lifestyle: 3
Community: 4

Local tips: Lincoln Park Zoo was built on top of a cemetery, and people have been recording ghost sightings there for more than 150 years. Operating since 1893, the Congress Plaza Hotel is considered the most haunted building in the Prairie State. Several ghosts are rumored to haunt the hotel, including the spirit of Al Capone.

Photo credit: Chait Goli | Pexels | Pexels License
Boats float while docked at the marina at sunset, with the San Diego skyline glittering in the background.
No. 4: San Diego | Overall score: 42.83

Sightings: 1
Haunted Locations: 21
Lifestyle: 19
Community: 28

Local tips: Book your own paranormal investigation at the Whaley House, the self-proclaimed “America’s Most Haunted House.” A short drive from Downtown San Diego, a ghost reportedly haunts the beachside Hotel del Coronado. Learn more about the phantoms haunting Downtown San Diego at the Ghosts of the Gaslamp weekly walking tour.

Photo Credit: Lucas Fonseca | Pexels | Pexels License
People walk through a busy street lined with bars and restaurants as the sun sets in New Orleans.
No. 5: New Orleans | Overall score: 39.56

Sightings: 95
Haunted Locations: 2
Lifestyle: 50
Community: 7

Local tips: Crescent City is full of creepy sites. Used as a hospital during the Civil War, Hotel Provincial allegedly houses a few ghostly guests. Spirits spotted at the Old Absinthe House include infamous pirate Jean Lafitte, Andrew Jackson, and Louisiana Voodoo queen, Marie Laveau. Visit sites iconic to “The Vampire Chronicles” author on the Unofficial Anne Rice Tour.

Photo credit: mana5280 | Unsplash | Unsplash License

Key insights

The gist

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.

Standout stats

  • 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.

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

Horrorable mentions

From the Michigan dogman to wendigos in Minnesota to the glawackus in Connecticut, the U.S. is full of legendary creatures and cryptids. Discover more interesting paranormal hubs below.

  • 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.
  • 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.

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.

Media resources

Main Photo Credit: iStock

Sav Maive

Sav Maive is a writer and director based in San Antonio. Sav is a graduate from the University of Virginia and is a loving cat and plant mom.