San Diego third best recreation city

But among worst in cost of movies

Decobikes. San Diego ranks first in bike rental facilities per capita.
  • Decobikes. San Diego ranks first in bike rental facilities per capita.

San Diego is the third best recreation city among the top 100, according to a study by WalletHub, which regularly reports on cities and metro areas.

San Diego came out first in bike rental facilities per capita and 9th in parkland as a percentage of city area. It was also 20th in park playground per capita, 16th in music venues per capita, 31st in percent of population with walkable park access, and 27th in parks per capita.

However, San Diego was tied for 95th for highest movie costs. The other city at 95 was Chula Vista, which overall came in 89th out of the 100 cities.

Share / Tools

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google+
  • AddThis
  • Email

More from SDReader


San Diego is not ideal for movie theaters. NYC, Chicago and most other cities pack 'em in on extremely hot or cold days. Theaters there don't compete with Mission Bay Park, Balboa Park, beaches, mountains and Mexico for customers.

I was in Balboa Park today. Got a senior 'explorer pass' for $99. That lets me in all the museums and the lovely Japanese Garden for a year. Can't think of any reason I'd go to a dark smelly movie theater when San Diego sunshine is calling.

swell: Absolutely. And that's one reason the Chargers, generally, did poorly at the box office. in their decades in San Diego. There is too much else to do in San Diego County. And you can do much of it for free, such as going to the beach.

The Chargers moved to L.A., which has a similar climate, but a far larger population. Still, they are only drawing around 25,000 a game, I understand. (Don't take that number as gospel.) There is too much else to do in L.A., too. Best, Don Bauder

Oh please, climate, geography and outdoor attractions have not suddenly changed in San Diego, to cause us now to have so few and such expensive movie houses. Something else is afoot. Even as recently as ten years ago San Diego had many more movie theater choices than we do today. We should ask Scott Marks. I'm betting it's related to technological change.

monaghan: Let's hope Scott checks in with his take on this. Meanwhile, I think, we have to go with the perfect climate. If the theaters are filled this weekend, that will suggest the people are taking refuge from the heat. Best, Don Bauder

We also have the internet (Netflix, Amazon, YouTube etc) providing occasionally excellent entertainment in the comfort of home. Not exclusive to San Diego, but surely a problem for theater owners.

I read an article yesterday that indicated 100% of the box office take goes to the movie producers. The theater owner lives off the income from snacks. Is this true? Tough way to profit!

I don't know what "article" you read [you gave no source], but no, that is not true.

dwbat: Then what percentage of the take goes to the theater owner? Best, Don Bauder

It's complicated, and it varies. Google it, if you must know.

dwbat: I am more interested in macroeconomics. Best, Don Bauder

I don't know it that's true but if it is,then that's horrible!

swell: Certainly, entertainment such as Netflix at home is a competitor for movie theaters. But do theater owners make no money on movies and only on snacks, etc.? I don't know the answer to that, but the huge theater complexes sure have a lot of ways to take your money -- popcorn, Coke, vending machines, etc. Best, Don Bauder

A slightly underhanded theater manager might offer snacks treated with laxatives, and install pay toilets. Slightly?!?!? Sorry, that suggestion stinks.

Don't laugh. When "Lawrence of Arabia" opened, exhibitors dialed down the AC and added extra salt to the popcorn. Soft drink sales rose by something like 35%.

swell: SLIGHTLY underhanded? You belong on Wall Street for even thinking of that. Best, Don Bauder

Back in the day . . . . . . . I had a huge 24" TV with limited programming now I have a 54" TV where I can watch any movie I want to for as many times as I want to and I go to my snack bar (kitchen) without missing any part of the movie. I can also go to the restroom without having to share it with anyone. I have not gone to a movie theater in years. I don't miss the "talkers" or the run amok children or having to sit behind some lug with a head the size of Pluto and has ears the size of a sailing ship.

So, just to be clear. Instead of going to a theater to watch a movie currently in release, you can instead watch it at home?

danfogel: I guess the key is AlexClarke's statement that he can watch "any movie" he wants to watch as many times as he wants to watch it. Best, Don Bauder

don bauder Perhaps, just perhaps, you could let him answer the question himself instead of trying to provide your opinion of what he means. BTW, if he is watching a movie at home, the chances are great that at some point it was also in release in a theater.

danfogel: I try to answer all posts, even if they are not directed at me. The person to whom the post is directed may answer, too. Best, Don Bauder

To clarify I can watch "any movie" that has been released to be shown on cable. No I can not watch the latest release shown only in theaters. In most cases the movie comes available (free or pay) in a matter of weeks. I don't miss the standing-in-line to over pay to watch a movie "just released"

WOW! Who needs the 60 foot screens in the two big Grossmonts when you have a 54 inch glowing box and a private toilet?

Scott Marks: You are more qualified to answer your question than anybody else. Best, Don

Scott Marks: Most plutocrats do, and you are in that category, I understand. Best, Don Bauder

I heard you had your own free key to an ARCO station in North Park.

AlexClarke: If you love opera (or even simply like it), you can attend the Metropolitan Opera broadcasts on Saturday during the opera season. They are held in movie theaters around the world. They feature backstage interviews with cast members, producers, conductors, and the like. You watch as crews put up sets for the next act. It is thrilling. Best, Don Bauder

You lost me, Don. If San Diego and Chula Vista were tied for 95th, how did Chula Vista also come in at 89th? And if SD is ranked 95 out of 100, wouldn't that put us on the low end of ticket sales? When I moved here in 2000, I was told that the AMC Mission Valley was one of the most profitable theatres in the country. Try as I might, I have never found any evidence of this. Yes, monaghan, we have lost 2 Landmarks (La Jolla Village & the Cove), and the glorious Gaslamp, but we've gained an Angelika, Arclight, Digital Gym, and a pair of Lots. And tickets for the Reading Town Square and Grossmont are $8.50, all day, every day. A giant refillable tub of corn goes for a measly $6.00. Sounds comparatively inexpensive to me. Where'd you find this info? Sources delicti.

Scott Marks: San Diego and Chula Vista were tied for 95th in one category: price of movie tickets. But San Diego was third in total score that included many measures: bike rental facilities per capital, playground park per capita, etc. Chula Vilsta was 89th in overall score. Maybe I didn't make myself clear. Best, Don Bauder

Scott - stop pretending popcorn is a cure for bad movies. Movie theater butter is partially hydrogenated oil, heart unhealthy! Love yourself enough to quit, or I'll love you until you can. 2 buckets?!

Or you could simply request your popcorn sans butter.

danfogel: Butter? Is that butter on their popcorn? Shirleyberan said it was hydrogenated oil. Best, Don Bauder

don bauder They call it butter, but there is no butter in it at all. It is partially hydrogenated soybean oil, a few other chemicals and something called flavacol, which is a yellow powder that gets added during popping to give popcorn the yellow buttery color. Movie popcorn also has a huge amount of calories if you get it with "butter". A large bucket is over 2000 calories, while one sans "butter" is only around 1000. If the trans fats don't get you, the calories will.

danfogel: I have had two quadruple bypass heart surgeries. I can't quit going to theaters because of my love for the Met Opera. That means I will have to quit popcorn. It's just as well. The sound of my teeth crunching popcorn was interfering with the music. Best, Don Bauder

From CornPopper.ca

"Flavacol is a butter-flavored seasoning salt manufactured by Gold Medal of Cincinnati, Ohio, made of extra-fine salt flakes. The original Flavacol contains only four ingredients: salt, yellow #5 and #6, and artificial butter flavor."

dwbat: Sounds delicious -- and really healthy. Best, Don Bauder

shirleyberan: Theaters should hand you a towel to wipe that oil off your face after eating their popcorn. Best, Don Bauder

A wise man once said “your body is not a temple, it's an amusement park. Enjoy the ride.”

danfogel: Whoever said that was NOT one of my cardiologists. Best, Don Bauder

Stay on topic, Shirley. This isn't about a cure for bad movies. My point is the moviegoing experience has actually come down in price over the past few years. And what makes you think I'd top perfectly delicious popcorn with a few shots of Quaker State? Popcorn salt, and only popcorn salt. People who use table salt on popcorn would do violence in their grandmother's neighborhood. PS: The best popcorn in town is found at Target.

Scott Marks: The movies price has come down? Since I seldom go, I can't gainsay your point. I could look it up -- later, please. Best, Don Bauder

Not all theatres have shaved ticket prices, but at Reading Cinemas it's $8.50 for any show, any time. That includes first run blockbusters and there is no additional surcharge for 3D specs or large format presentation. The ticket price for a Saturday night presentation at Arclight is $17.50. One adult ticket at The Lot in La Jolla will net you $21.50. Please don't tell me that it's worth the extra money to avoid coexisting with riff-raff. I've been to plenty of screenings in La Jolla where I had to shush yakking yentas or yell, "Hey! Your phone is on" to those self-inflated machers who can't sit for two hours without checking to see if someone called.

AlexClarke: Or as Dr Seuss would say, Hop on Pop. Best, Don Bauder

Scott Marks: Those who expect La Jolla or Rancho Santa Fe to be more civilized will be disappointed. Best, Don Bauder

Perhaps too pinguid for the extremities.

shirleyberan: I had to look up "pinguid." It is what it should be: "fat, oily." Best, Don Bauder

I was trying to be a little bit funny with Mr Marks but didn't come off that way, so, sorry Mr Sensative. On further thought the reason behind my reaction is that the whole movie-going expectation is like a conditioned response, not so healthy pass-time. (there's oil in some of the counter candy too, by the end of my movie going I packed my own snack and a water bottle) I'm not a good watcher or crowd pleased. Takes a lot to get me out of my controlled environment now.

Mr. Marks?! Thanks for the promotion. ;)

Scott Marks: People could call you Karl Marx. Or deutschemarks. Best, Don Bauder

shirleyberan: You don't have to go to a movie theater to play a game of pinguid-ponguid. Beset, Don Bauder

Easily part time working online from home, Don? I have received $7734K in last four hours by easily online work from home, Komrad. Next assignment: throw safe on Moose and Squirrel. Ever wonder what happen when easily ­c­o­p­y­ ­"­ ­™­ ­"­ ­in­ the ­U­r­l­... Wait... Oh, no... It can't be.. HELP! HELP ME! THEY'RE COMING! YOU'RE NEXT!

Scott Marks: I try to get those ads removed, especially because of my hatred of work-at-home scams. I haven't gotten this one removed, but have been trying. Best, Don Bauder

Honestly, I'm jealous. I never find any spam on The Big Screen. I think the more comments a post gets, the more likely it is to attract bots.

Scott Marks: Commenting on that is above my pay grade and far, far above my expertise on computer/internet-related questions. Best, Don Bauder

Wherever there's a dog beach, I'll be there...

shirleyberan: With a pooper-scooper, hopefully. Best, Don Bauder

OK, we've had our fun now. Let's look at the headline: "third best recreation city"?

Give me a break! We were beaten by Orlando & Las Vegas- two unlivable cities if there ever were such. Through most of the year it is dangerous to go outdoors due to heat and/or humidity in order to 'recreate'. Those places are OK if you limit your activities to air conditioned indoor facilities. They also got higher ranking for 'weather' some how.

swell: Yes, Orlando and Vegas are unlivable cities, but we are talking here about recreation only -- not living. Best, Don Baudeer

Vegas can't be so "unlivable" since Metro Las Vegas is around 2 million. It's very hot in the summer, but so are Phoenix and Palm Springs. Vegas temps in Jan, Feb, March, April, Oct, Nov and Dec are not hot. So it is NOT "dangerous to go outdoors" during those months. It's similar to Palm Springs where most of the year it has great weather. To me, Colorado is "unlivable" due to its horrible winters.

dwbat: In any season, hot or mild, Vegas thrives because of gambling and prostitution. I don't know about Orlando, but I don't give a damn for the whole state of Florida. You may find Colorado unlivable in the winter but marijuana supposedly eases the pain. Best, Don Bauder

Actually, more money is spent on shopping and entertainment than on gambling in Vegas. That's the reality of today's Vegas. I don't know about prostitution there, nor care to know.

dwbat: And how much of the money spent on entertainment is inside a gambling casino? Best, Don Bauder

You still don't seem to understand the significant change in Vegas. Have you even been there in the last 15 years? Billions are spent, but these days more is spent on food/beverage, clubbing and entertainment (yes, inside the casinos, duh!) than on gambling.

dwbat: Your statement sounds like it comes from the Vegas PR machine. The overwhelming amount of money spent on food/beverage and entertainment is inside the casinos.

Look at it this way: Without gambling and prostitution, how many people would go to Vegas to shop, dine, or enjoy entertainment? Best, Don Bauder

don bauder, Don't forget that dwbat lived and presumably worked in Las Vegas at one time.

danfogel: I know he was an editor of a Palm Springs magazine but I know nothing about any time he spent in Sin City. Best, Don Bauder

don bauder, I believe he was associate editor of Palm Springs Life magazine, and as I said, he lived and presumably worked, in Las Vegas.

danfogel: I knew about Palm Springs but not Vegas. He sure sticks up for Sin City. Best, Don Bauder

No "sticking up" for Vegas. It's correcting statements posted here that are inaccurate. It happens regularly in the Reader comments. And how many people call Vegas "Sin City" anymore? I guess those who still have an 8-track player in their car, own a CRT TV and analog alarm clock, and buy DVDs of movies instead of streaming.

dwbat: I still buy DVDs of operas and other musical works. I don't know about streaming. Would you expect me and my wife (82 and 78) to rush into a different technology when we have more than 50 DVDs and thousands of CDs? It's a realistic economic decision. Best, Don Bauder

don bauder See my lengthy reply below.

I am a senior also, but I dumped my DVDs and CDs a long time ago. I like new technology. Streaming music and movies is easy, and is actually cheaper than buying plastic discs for content.

DVDs will state upfront if they've been formatted to fit your screen. The same can't always be said of streaming services or HBO for that matter. Both have been known to present anamorphic films in the wrong aspect ratio to fill the screen from top to bottom. The more I stream, the more I love my DVD collection.

Yes I did live there, but was never employed there.

dwbat: You still haven't answered the main question: 1. If Vegas had no gambling and/or prostitution, would it be a haven for shoppers and diners?

In my own opinion, it would still be a little burg in the desert with whore houses to service the men who worked on Hoover Dam. Best, Don Bauder

Vegas also has some of the best entertainment in the world. The many Cirque du Soleil shows are spectacular. Vegas was originally built on gambling/prostitution, but you're living in the past if you think that's the Vegas of today. Again, when was the last time you visited there? You didn't answer that yet. And why are you so obsessed with talking about Vegas prostitution. It seems to be on your mind a lot.

dwbat: Again, you sound like that Mafia lawyer who was mayor of Vegas and also represented Hedgecock in one of his trials. I think his name was Oscar Goodman. Best, Don Bauder

dwbat: Hmmm. So what did you do in Vegas? And where did you get the money? Best, Don Bauder

I was a freelance writer when I lived in Vegas. And I had a cheap rent.

So actually, you did work in Las Vegas while you lived there.

at least with shopping, they usually end with with something to take home.

Murphyjunk: What they bring home in goods from shopping they lose at the gambling tables. Best, Don Bauder

what they bring home they can't tell their wives and girlfriends

shirleyberan: But if it is a social disease, the spouse will find out soon enough. Best, Don Bauder

don bauder Isn't "social disease" old timer talk for STD??

sexual rabies these days with all the varieties out there

Murphyjunk: When I was a wise-ass college kid, I would tell my mother that if we had free love, there would be no more prostitution. She said that if we had free love, we would have more prostitution, and sexual diseases, too. She was right. Best, Don Bauder

danfogel: It's old-time talk for VD. Best, Don Bauder

don bauder I don't know from personal experience, but it seems to me that one would be less likely to catch something from a liaison in Vegas than from one in say San Diego.

danfogel: I would not be surprised if we could find statistics on that in some obscure medical journal. Best, Don Bauder

probably a gov. ( tax funded) study going on now

Murphyjunk: Do we have any volunteers to join the testing team? Best, Don Bauder

We call them 'Zonies' - Arizonans who come here to beat the summer heat. People from Vegas probably go to Santa Barbara for their summer recreation. I can't recall any San Diegans going to Vegas for better weather. My visits summer or winter were unpleasant. Northern NV is a bit better.

Orlando has some of the biggest cockroaches in the nation (there was a national competition between FL & TX). Humidity is unbearable; if you close the closet door overnight, your clothes will be moldy in the morning. Keep the air circulating! Also the population is very similar to that in TX or Lakeside. Every street sign has bullet holes, every truck has a gun rack.

San Diego offers civilized weather, people and facilities including three of the largest and best parks of any city. We could use a bit more culture (opera anyone?), a bit more progressive attitude, but we're OK.

RE: "People from Vegas probably go to Santa Barbara for their summer recreation." Actually, NO they don't, unless they have lots of money. SB hotels are very expensive. RE: "I can't recall any San Diegans going to Vegas for better weather." No, they move there for much cheaper houses/condos/apartments. And the LAST thing San Diego needs is more opera.

dwbat: Wilthout a question, San Diego weather is much better than that in Vegas. Yes, people move to Vegas for cheaper housing, dining, etc.

The highest cost of living metro areas are in coastal California: San Francisco, Silicon Valley, Los Angeles, and San Diego. Best, Don Bauder

swell: One year, a candidate for office in Arizona had a big billboard touting his candidacy in San Diego. Best, Don Bauder

I understand the popularity of Florida. Most of the transplants there are from the northeast and they think oppressive humidity is normal they are escaping the winters.

I know someone who moved to Orlando from San Diego sometime back. She went from living in an old apartment in North Park, to buying a family-size home in Orlando.

dwbat: Without a doubt: San Diego has housing prices that are among the highest in the U.S. Best, Don Bauder

AlexClarke: Yes, it's people from the Northeast who flood to Florida in the winter. Best, Don Bauder

The Old Globe is worthwhile. I fear local amateur theater because of the nails-on-a-chalkboard-screech-singing. Going with my daughter to college productions was recreational. They have a devout audience at SDSU for about anything, but parking can be a nightmare.

shirleyberan: The Old Globe is one of San Diego's blessings. Best, Don Bauder

Along with La Jolla Playhouse, where many productions have gone on to Broadway.

I only want to see alligators in the zoo.

shirleyberan: No alligator-wrestling for you? Shame. Best, Don Bauder

shirleyberan: How about a tag team match -- a lady mud wrestler and her alligator partner against another lady mud wrestler and her alligator partner? I better stop making such suggestions: a Hollywood producer may come up with a reality show along those lines. Best, Don Bauder

I swear great minds think alike. You and me, Mission Valley, in a tent on the grass in front of the old UT building. We can hype it as a mud bath match between the sexes, like Bobby Riggs and Billy Jean King, offers for a reality spin off.

judging by the subject matter, "great" may not be the correct category :)

shirleyberan: You're on. You get the alligators. Best, Don Bauder

Murphyjunk: Do you mean that alligator/mud wrestling would not be great? Best, Don Bauder

Don - Let's bring vaudeville back with our alligator wrestling show!

shirleyberan: Good idea. You go first into the ring with the alligator. Best, Don Bauder

No fear, gotta find the alligator rentals.

shirleyberan: $50 an hour for a trained wrestling alligator? Best, Don Bauder

Trained and they gotta at least wear a speedo, naked alligators are too creepy.

shirleyberan: Sorry, I don't know what a "speedo" is. Best, Don Bauder

It's Speedo (brand name for popular swim suits).

BS. President Don doesn't recall himself on camera asking Russians to find deleted emails. Putin's a new friend, and we're safer now.

shirleyberan: Oh dear. I didn't know I was on-camera. Best, Don Bauder

Log in to comment

Skip Ad

Let’s Be Friends

Subscribe for local event alerts, concerts tickets, promotions and more from the San Diego Reader