The definition of fun is different, depending on who you're talking to. For some, fun is lights, loud music, and partying. For others, it's a binge marathon of true crime/serial killer shows on Discovery Plus. For one of my neighbors, it's ordering kids, dogs, and leaves off of his lawn.

For me, the first one was already covered my early 20s, the second one is definitely a hard-pass (because my daughter already has the true crime/serial killer stuff monopolized), and the third one is just too cliché.

That's okay, because personal-finance website WalletHub didn't use the aforementioned criteria to put together their list of "2021's Most Fun States in America." Well, maybe partially, because nightlife is one of their benchmarks, but not TV show bingeing or yelling at your neighbors.

Instead, WalletHub compared the 50 states across two key categories, “Entertainment & Recreation” and “Nightlife.” They awarded points across 26 different metrics, with 100 being the indicator of the most variety and number of fun things available in the state.

Before we take a look at the numbers for our state of Illinois, here are the 4 states that WalletHub determined to be more fun than we are, along with their respective scores:

  • California (60.81): 1st in entertainment and recreation, 5th in nightlife.
  • Florida (58.09): 2nd in entertainment and recreation, 8th in nightlife.
  • Nevada (56.24): 4th in entertainment and recreation, 1st in nightlife.
  • New York (55.61): 3rd in entertainment and recreation, 4th in nightlife.

I'm not a big fan of California, but I'm not a bit surprised to see its number-one ranking in entertainment and recreation. When you can swim and snow-ski on the same day, and you're the show business capitol of the world, chances are you'll do well in these sorts of studies.

As for Illinois' ranking at number five, our overall score of 53.71 is just under two points less than New York. We're ranked #5 in entertainment and recreation, and ranked #3 for nightlife:

Fun in Illinois (1=Most Fun; 25=Avg.):

  • 5th – Restaurants per Capita
  • 13th – Movie Theaters per Capita
  • 9th – Golf Courses & Country Clubs per Capita
  • 16th – Amusement Parks per Capita
  • 4th – Performing-Arts Theaters per Capita
  • 8th – Fitness Centers per Capita
  • 14th – Variety of Arts, Entertainment & Recreation Establishments

The least fun state in the U.S. (going by WalletHub's rankings) is West Virginia. They rank 49th in entertainment and recreation, and 49th in nightlife.

LOOK: Here are the 50 best beach towns in America

Every beach town has its share of pluses and minuses, which got us thinking about what makes a beach town the best one to live in. To find out, Stacker consulted data from WalletHub, released June 17, 2020, that compares U.S. beach towns. Ratings are based on six categories: affordability, weather, safety, economy, education and health, and quality of life. The cities ranged in population from 10,000 to 150,000, but they had to have at least one local beach listed on TripAdvisor. Read the full methodology here. From those rankings, we selected the top 50. Readers who live in California and Florida will be unsurprised to learn that many of towns featured here are in one of those two states.

Keep reading to see if your favorite beach town made the cut.

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