The good news: A new study says St. Louis is Missouri's most exciting city.
The bad news: If Rolla, Warrensburg and Fulton are St. Louis' big competition, then St. Louis is nowhere near as exciting as we thought.
The real estate site Movoto ranked 77 Missouri cities with populations larger than 10,000 according to how exciting they are, naturally putting St. Louis at the top of the list. Movoto assigned each city's score based on seven criteria: nightlife (bars, clubs, etc.), live-music venues, active life options (parks, outdoor theaters), arts and entertainment, fast food (the less the better), non-fast-food restaurants (the more the better) and the percentage of residents ages 18 to 34 (the higher the better.)
Only Branson outranks St. Louis when it comes to nightlife venues, music venues and arts and entertainment. (What else do you expect from the Midwest's answer to Las Vegas?) But Branson's small population and abundance of fast-food spots kept it at the No. 5 spot.
The surprising winner in Movoto's ranking was Rolla, which beat Columbia, Kansas City and even Clayton for the No. 2 spot on the most-exciting list. Thanks to the Missouri University of Science and Technology, 43 percent of Rolla's residents are younger than 35, making it the fifth youngest city in Missouri. Rolla also has fewer fast-food restaurants per capita than any other city in the top ten except Clayton.
While it's probably true that Rolla tends to be a young town without the inundation of fast food, we have to wonder if anyone would describe it as "exciting" after, oh, say, going there. As a self-described Rolla native said about the study, "The town is dead besides the university. Except the drug dealers. How could it beat out KC and Columbia?"
Rolla does have its own version of Stonehenge. Is that exciting?
Clayton, St. Louis County's capital, came in at No. 8 thanks to its restaurants. As Movoto writer Natalie Grigson says, "Just a few examples of said restaurants include Niche, Almond's, BARcelona Tapas, Crushed Red, the Libertine...okay, we could go on like this for a while. The point is, Clayton has a variety of delicious original fare."
The study has a few issues (besides thinking Rolla is in any way exciting). It credits Warrensburg, not Kansas City, with having the Starlight Theatre. And there aren't really any big vineyards in Rolla, although there are just a few towns away.
Here is the final ranking: 1. St. Louis 2. Rolla 3. Columbia 4. Kansas City 5. Branson 6. Fulton 7. Jefferson City 8. Clayton 9. Warrensburg 10. Springfield