Is there a lot of âfunâ in Fontana? Many residents say yes, but a new national report says: Not really.
WalletHub, a personal finance website, put together a list of the âMost Fun Cities in America,â and Fontana ranked near the very bottom, alongside some other Inland Empire communities.
WalletHub compared 182 cities â including the 150 most populated U.S. cities, plus at least two of the most populated cities in each state â across three key dimensions: 1) Entertainment and Recreation, 2) Nightlife and Parties and 3) Costs.
Fontana was rated No. 177, meaning it was supposedly one of the least âfunâ large cities in the nation, ahead of only Moreno Valley (No. 178), Ontario (179), Oxnard (180), Brownsville, TX (181), and Pearl City, HI (182). Rancho Cucamonga was a little bit ahead of Fontana at No. 173.
Not surprisingly, Las Vegas, NV was No. 1, followed by other major entertainment hot spots such as Orlando, FL, Atlanta, GA, Miami, FL, New Orleans, LA, and San Francisco.
The list was designed to help Americans find the cities with the âgreatest number and variety of fun yet cost-effective options,â based on 65 key metrics that range from fitness centers per capita to movie costs to average open hours of breweries, WalletHub said in a news release.
Fontana was described as one of the cities with the fewest restaurants per capita (No. 178). This is an apparent reference to the relatively small number of sit-down restaurants (a situation which many residents have complained about for years), as opposed to fast-food eateries, which have never been in short supply.
Jill Gonzalez, an analyst with WalletHub, said that some of the main reasons for Fontanaâs poor rating were âthe small number of attractions, restaurants, fitness centers, movie theaters and performing arts theaters, the lack of diversity in restaurants and the lack of shopping centers. Other areas where Fontana ranked low include bar accessibility and the number of arts and crafts supplies establishments per capita.â
Still, defenders of Fontana would point to the presence of the cityâs modern performing arts venue (Center Stage Theater) and its numerous city-operated community centers, which offer âfunâ activities for residents of all ages on a regular basis. The city also has numerous sports facilities, including the new Central City Park.
And of course, Fontana is home to Auto Club Speedway, which hosts NASCAR auto races and also has been the site of some huge concerts in recent years (prior to the COVID-19 pandemic). However, the WalletHub study only took into consideration venues which were within the city limits, and the speedway is located in the unincorporated San Bernardino County area.
One rather surprising aspect of the WalletHub study was its determination that Fontanaâs âcostsâ â including average food price and movie cost â were quite high. Fontana was ranked No. 164 in the Costs category, indicating that its entertainment costs were higher than even in a city such as Los Angeles (which was No. 159). However, a regular movie ticket at the Regency Fontana 8 is $8.50, which would seem to be a great bargain compared to most theaters in L.A.
Nevertheless, Gonzalez provided this explanation:
âCosts only made up 20 percent of the overall score, and Fontana ranked particularly low for bowling costs: $24.56, compared to $21.33 in Los Angeles. We also found that the price for a three star hotel room in Fontana was $148, much higher than in Los Angeles where it was $92 for the time period we researched, which was late November.”
Fontana was also No. 181 in the Entertainment and Recreation category and No. 163 in the Nightlife and Parties category.
Overall in the WalletHub report, San Diego was Southern Californiaâs highest-rated âfunâ city at No. 16 and L.A. was No. 21.
Other Southern California cities were Anaheim (No. 89), Bakersfield (94), Long Beach (97), Irvine (100), Garden Grove (105), Huntington Beach (106), Riverside (135), and San Bernardino (146).
To view the entire report, visit: