12 Most Uptight East Coast Cities To Live In

Don’t expect a laid-back life in these East Coast spots.

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Updated June 27, 2024
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Many cities offer easy life, whether you want to spend your days browsing art museums, playing a round of golf, or people-watching at a local cafe.

Then there are cities whose frenetic pace and congestion can leave you anxious every day. And the high cost of living in some places may mean you have to find ways to make extra money just to live there.

FinanceBuzz evaluated 50 cities using lifestyle traits to see which cities on the East Coast might make you uptight.

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How the study was conducted

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The FinanceBuzz team studied cities across the country to see which ones offered the most laid-back lifestyle

The 25 data points included the number of concert and arts venues, comfort food restaurants, spas, golf courses, and plenty of other activities you might enjoy if you like a laid-back lifestyle.

Reversing this data, the study determined which cities might make their residents uptight. Here’s how the East Coast cities fared.

Washington, D.C.

sborisov/Adobe pennsylvania street washington dc

The Beltway, aka Interstate 495, rings the nation’s capital, bringing workers and sightseers from Maryland, Virginia, and the entire East Coast. Consequently, Washington, D.C., is notorious for its traffic issues, which is one reason it scored as an uptight city.

The city scored low marks in the Finance Buzz survey rankings for commute time, traffic, and noise pollution.

Orlando, Florida

Kevin Ruck/Adobe orlando florida skyline during day time

Orlando scored the highest number of points in FinanceBuzz’s review of theme parks, as it is the home of both Walt Disney World and Universal Studios theme parks.

However, it scored low on other metrics, such as the number of workers who work from home and the walkability of the community, dragging the city into uptight territory.

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Boston, Massachusetts

SeanPavonePhoto/Adobe Boston Massachusetts skyline during day time

One major issue with Boston that pushed it into the zone of uptight cities is the area’s cost of living.

Boston scored below the average for cities in the survey because of its high cost of living. It’s not easy to relax when you’re watching every penny.

Richmond, Virginia

Kevin Ruck/Adobe Richmond Virginia USA downtown drone skyline aerial

It can be hard to get out and enjoy Richmond if you don’t have a car, which could make residents more uptight.

The city scored low on metrics like walkability and bikeability, making it less laid back and leisurely than other cities on the list.

Raleigh, North Carolina

Kevin Ruck/Adobe downtown raleigh north carolina skyline

Raleigh doesn’t offer many coffee shops for locals to unwind, giving it a low score for the city.

The city also scored low on walkability and likeability, so expect to drive to a coffee shop if you can find one for a quiet cup.

Hartford, Connecticut

SeanPavonePhoto/Adobe hartford connecticut usa

Hartford’s wellness score dragged its overall score down and made it more uptight on the Finance Buzz survey.

The city earned low marks for metrics like the percentage of residents who work from home, the number of hours residents sleep per night, and internet searches for ideas to reduce stress.

Tampa, Florida

SeanPavonePhoto/Adobe tampa florida usa skyline

Like other cities on the list, Tampa scored low on livability, with marks in walkability and bikeability driving its overall score down.

It may be surprising that the city also got low marks for weather comfort. Dry, comfortable weather for half the year is outweighed by hot, humid conditions the other half of the year and the threat of hurricanes and tropical storms.

Virginia Beach, Virginia

jayyuan/Adobe The King Neptune Statue at Virginia Beach

Virginia Beach has a beach but not much else when it comes to leisure, pushing up its uptight score.

The city ranked low across the board for leisure metrics like the number of coffee shops, spas, or farmers markets for residents to enjoy.

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Miami, Florida

Kuteich/adobe buildings and resorts standing tall at miami beach shore with white sand and crystal blue water at day time

Like Virginia Beach, Miami has a great beach, but that comes at the cost of other livability factors.

Miami earned the lowest score possible for noise pollution and, like Tampa, had issues with weather due to heat, humidity, and hurricanes.

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Gang/Adobe philadelphia skyline with bridge over lake

Mobility is an issue for Philadelphia residents who have to drive to work, which brought down the city’s overall score.

Commuting and traffic earned low marks for Philly, as did a lack of sleep, which could also be making residents uptight.

Jacksonville, Florida

SeanPavonePhoto/Adobe jacksonville, florida, usa city skyline

Walkability and bikeability were two big metrics that sank Jacksonville when it came to whether the city was laid back or uptight.

The city also earned below-average marks in almost all of the Finance Buzz benchmarks for leisure activities, including coffee shops, spas, comfort food, and farmers markets.

New York, New York

TTstudio/Adobe New York City skyline during day

It shouldn’t be a surprise to see the city that never sleeps is also the most uptight on the survey.

Surprisingly, the city scored around the average for the number of hours that residents sleep, but leisure really dragged the city down. It had some of the lowest scores for things like farmers' markets and golf courses that are accessible to residents and visitors.

Bottom line

Dmytro/Adobe crowd on pedestrian crosswalk

While many of these cities offer great career opportunities and a go-go lifestyle, you may have to give up some peace and relaxation to live there. And if you’re considering living here, you’ll need to analyze the cost of living.

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Jenny Cohen

Jenny Cohen is a freelance writer who has covered a bit of everything, from finance to sports to her favorite TV shows. Her work has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and FoxSports.com.