Top 5 Cities for the Kid at Heart

The hustle and bustle of daily life can take the curiosity out of any city. But, what if every day were like Disney World – full of child-like wonder and whimsy? It’s possible to be amused without paying the full price of admission. Find a fantastical fountain of youth at one of these five best places to live for the kid at heart.

5. Orlando, Florida

Orlando is an obvious choice for the Peter Pan in all of us. It’s the Disney destination, but it’s also home to three other major theme parks: Universal Studios, Islands of Adventure, and SeaWorld. Islands of Adventure alone features imagination-melding regions such as Marvel Super Hero Island and The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Orlando also claims the awe-inspiring Legoland Florida and the Ripley's Believe It or Not! Odditorium.

4. Albuquerque, New Mexico

Albuquerque is known for its amazing annual festivals and excitement-packed events, including the world famous Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta. The colorful sky-parade features balloon rides for those who want to get in on the action. Year-round, residents can visit Cliff’s Amusement Park for rollercoasters, water rides, and more.

Albuquerque is also great for hiking and touring. It offers many state parks and recreational areas that are sure to intrigue the rogue explorer.

3. Santa Monica, California

Every kid (at heart) loves the beach. Santa Monica features plenty of the Pacific Ocean, plus the celebrated Santa Monica Pier. The pier is packed with loads of thrilling things to do. The Trapeze School lets you soar, while the Playland Arcade keeps you firmly planted in front of your favorite game.

Don’t forget Pacific Park. This mini theme park sits atop the pier, allowing riders to enjoy a seaside view from the sky via a fantastic Ferris wheel or raging rollercoaster.

2. Ocean City, Maryland

Ocean City is an unexpected pit stop turned place-of-your-dreams. Ocean City features tons of – you guessed it – ocean, but it’s lined with a boardwalk, and the excitement doesn’t end with arcades and rides.

Ocean City includes a just-offshore island filled with wild horses. Assateague Island awakens the wonder of natural beauty and inspires imagination. Local legend has it that the horses were shipwreck survivors. Live there long enough and you just may believe it.

1. Austin, Texas

Austin is all about the wonderful and weird. Trigger child-like surprise by visiting one of the many natural and man-made marvels. The infamous Cathedral of Junk is like a drunken daydream full of odds and ends arranged artfully for your viewing pleasure.

Residents can also run daily through giant sprinklers in one (or all) of three locations. Death-defying zip lines let you fly, and the Peter Pan golf course lets you try to. Explore some of nature’s finest caverns or swing from a rope into a swimming hole. Austin is sure to capture all the nostalgia of childhood in a single day.

Other cities for kids at heart include Asheville, North Carolina; Saint Augustine, Florida; Las Vegas, Nevada; and Portland, Oregon. What are your favorite far-fetched and exciting cities? Share your picks in the comments below.

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