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[Happenin’ towns]

Forbes to Henderson, North Las Vegas: Whatever

Checking in with two of America’s most boring cities

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A palm tree-dotted sidewalk flanks a peaceful Green Valley Ranch street in Henderson, recently named one of America’s 10 most boring cities by Forbes.
Photo: Beverly Poppe

As if we didn’t have enough bad news going around. Now Forbes, last month, has gone and named North Las Vegas and Henderson two of America’s 10 most boring cities.

The article’s author, Joshua Zumbrun, says the magazine gets a lot of comments about the story on its website. “Some people react really negatively,” he says. “They think the purpose was to make fun of their town; that’s not the case at all.”

It isn’t? Because boredom is such a pejorative. It’s one of those words that makes people think, “Man, it must be awful living there.” But it turns out boredom—with its connotation of dull restaurants and no museums—is maybe the wrong tag. That’s not quite what the magazine meant.

Forbes plowed through thousands of published stories in the national media and checked its findings against the 100 largest cities in the country. The 10 “most boring” cities were simply those that received the least national media attention. “Boring is shorthand for this national media coverage,” Zumbrun says.

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Our Most Boring Cities in the U.S.
1. Provo, Utah
2. Marion, South Carolina
3. Cleveland, Ohio
4. Inkom, Idaho
5. South Bend, Indiana
6. Topeka, Kansas
7. Pittsfield, Massachusetts
8. Havre, Montana
Click here to read more on Weekly's list of the most boring cities in the U.S.

America’s Cities with the Lowest National Media Profiles? Not as sexy.

It helps to set aside the idea that it’s the national media that determines whether a city is boring or interesting. Or is that unfair? Maybe we’re being too hard on the New York magazine. After all, when was the last time any of you went to North Las Vegas to spend the day? (NASCAR fans—your hands are duly noted.) Henderson fares a little better, thanks to The District and Green Valley Ranch and the Paseo Verde Performing Arts Center, but it’s not exactly a destination kind of town.

Will the defenders of these towns step forward?

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Beyond the Weekly
Henderson, North Las Vegas ranked ‘most boring’ (Las Vegas Sun, 1/9/09)
America's Most Boring Cities (Forbes, 12/10/08)

Officials from both cities didn’t return calls, but Clark County Museum administrator and Henderson resident Mark Hall-Patton did. “Henderson is a great town to live in. We have the finest county museum in the nation, I happen to think so. But I better, since I happen to run it.”

As for North Las Vegas ... well, let’s talk about the possibilities. Artist Nicholas Price, to take one example, had worked for 18 months with the city to install a sculpture that would stand in the town’s city hall. Budget woes have now put the project on hold. While Henderson has some cultural infrastructure, North Las Vegas is still a work in progress, “I think North Las Vegas has a lot of potential,” says Grace Price, the artist’s manager. “That’s why we were interested in working with them. It can be a very exciting place to be.”

As for Las Vegas’ ranking ... well, Forbes doesn’t make a habit of releasing the full data of its lists, but Zumbrun assures us that Sin City would have done extremely well.

To read our totally subjective list of the most boring cities in the U.S., click here.

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