Posted on June 15, 2011

Dirty Old Towns: Top Ten America’s Filthiest Cities

Daily Mail (London), June 14, 2011

Cities like New York, Miami, Las Vegas and Los Angeles may be some of the most popular and exciting cities in the U.S., but they also happen to be the dirtiest.

A list of the filthiest cities in America has been compiled by Travel and Leisure magazine.

Most of the places that made the top ten were some of the most popular in all of the country, perhaps something to do with the number of tourists who frequent there or the street parties and events that attract hundreds of thousands of visitors every year.

New Orleans, for example, which was voted the number one dirtiest city in the U.S., is known for its yearly Mardi Gras, the clean up of which is of epic proportions.

That, added with the fact that the effects of Hurricane Katrina can still be seen in some places, sent this city to the top spot.

The top ten was chosen by Travel and Leisure readers who took things such as litter, air pollution and even the taste of local tap water into consideration.

But that did not mean that they were cities they did not like as some of the top ten also ranked high in favouritie cities list.

Atlanta ad executive Patrick Scullin, for example, loves Baltimore–but not because it is particularly pristine.

He told the magazine: ‘Yes, there’s litter, smokers, and graffiti. But that’s just life going on. The air sometimes offends, but a cool breeze off the harbour can ease all worries. It’s a gem of a city.’

Las Vegas and Miami, which took the number seven and eight spots respectively, were ranked high on things like having a great bar scene, live music or great for people watching as well as being thought of as dirty.

Los Angeles, which is famous for its smog and traffic-clogged streets, took the number three spot for the third year in a row.

New York has cleaned up its act a bit. Last year it took the number one spot but has moved down to number five. But it took the top spot on the list of most expensive U.S. cities.


1. New Orleans

2. Philadelphia

3. Los Angeles

4. Memphis

5. New York

6. Baltimore

7. Las Vegas

8. Miami

9. Atlanta

10. Houston