10 of the Ugliest Cities in the World According to Travelers

Chris Phelan

Los Angeles

When it comes to good looks, not every city in the world is created equal. While there are plenty of breathtaking cities to visit, there's an equal amount of cities so ugly it will tear a hole into your soul that can never truly be repaired. Recently, savvy travelers met in an online discussion to reveal the cities they advise never to visit, lest you're a fan of downright ugliness.

1. Tijuana, Mexico

TIJUANA, MEXICO - APRIL 26, 2017: Avenida Revolucion (Revolution street), the main touristic artery in Tijuana, with the millennial arch (el arco y reloj monumental) in a perspective at dusk
Image Credit: Shutterstock.

Despite being just a few miles from San Diego, California, Tijuana has nothing in common with its sister city. Due to rising crime, homelessness, and gang violence, Tijuana is a city that doesn't have the money to improve its infrastructure or appearance. It's a shame; Tijuana could be a model city for the rest of the world!

2. Norilsk, Russia

Norilsk, Krasnoyarsk Krai, Russia - October 10 2021: District Oganer
Image Credit: Shutterstock.

It shouldn't be surprising that a heavily-polluted Russian mining town makes our list of ugliest cities in the world. In addition to being ugly, it sounds like it's flat-out dangerous to be there. “There are so many toxic pollutants being produced that the acid rain has made it profitable to start mining the topsoil,” explains one woman. “If I remember correctly, Norilsk's life expectancy is ten years less than the rest of Russia.”

3. Jakarta, Indonesia

Jakarta, Indonesia
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Holding the unenviable title of the most polluted city on Earth, Jakarta is one of the most depressing and ugly cities to live in, let alone visit. Urban blight has overtaken the town, as cracked pavements, abandoned buildings, and chain link fences line the city streets. Jakarta is an absolute eyesore.

4. Birmingham, United Kingdom

Birmingham water canal network - famous Birmingham-Fazeley roundabout. West Midlands, England.
Image Credit: Shutterstock.

Some cities never evolve aesthetically past their industrial roots, and one of the United Kingdom's oldest cities seems to suffer this fate. “It's in the industrial heart of the country, so it's a very historic and important city, but the fact is that a lot of it has remained unchanged from the Industrial Revolution,” advises one man. “It's grim. Everything looks so cold and industrial. There's nothing futuristic, intriguing, or artistic about it.”

5. Roswell, New Mexico

Roswell, New Mexico, USA - August 12 2022: Iconic city vista in summer at sunset
Image Credit: Shutterstock.

A harrowing combination of '80s kitsch and '90s strip malls, there is a severe lack of beauty in Roswell. The city has fully embraced its tourist-trap roots, meaning local officials couldn't care less about making the town look good when the money comes rolling in, no matter what. Couldn't the aliens have visited a prettier city back in the day?

6. Cairo, Egypt

Tourist man with hat riding on camel background pyramid of Egyptian Giza, sunset Cairo, Egypt.
Image Credit: Shutterstock.

Despite being home to breathtaking pyramids, the city of Cairo is run down, neglected, and downright ugly. “I lived there, and while the pyramids are cool, it's an ugly city,” reports one ex-resident. “People have asked where the nice parts are. I always say that there are no nice parts, just less-awful parts.”

7. Ludwigshafen, Germany

Ludwigshafen, Germany - August 2022: Town square called 'Berliner Platz' with public transportation bus and tram station
Image Credit: Shutterstock.

Ludwigshafen is on this list for one reason: the city is self-aware enough to market its ugliness to tourists! Many tour operators in Ludwigshafen conduct “ugly city tours,” focusing on the worst of the downtown areas. From its terrible city planning to abandoned warehouses and unfinished art installations, Ludwigshafen seemingly is proud of its unpleasantness!

8. Kanpur, India

Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh / India - Mar 23 2012: Concept of rural business. Street Fruit Market in the rural area of India.
Image Credit: Shutterstock.

Sometimes all it takes is one definitive review of a city's ugliness to drive the point home for any traveler wanting to visit. Kanpur, India, has left an indelible impression on this traveler. “I drove through it once and couldn't get over how ugly it was,” confessed one woman. That may be the most depressing sentiment of a city I've ever heard!

9. Los Angeles, California

Los Angeles, USA
Image Credit: Shutterstock.

What's even sadder about the state of affairs in Los Angeles is that the city's ugliness surprises most visitors! Many of L.A.'s iconic landmarks are in terrible parts of town. Shockingly, city officials have yet to earmark money for beautification projects for more popular areas of town because most tourists don't return after seeing the squalor Los Angeles offers!

10. Atlantic City, New Jersey

Atlantic City, New Jersey, USA - November 3, 2022: The Mary Vee fishing vessel travels through the Absecon Inlet.
Image Credit: Shutterstock.

Even though Atlantic City has plenty of entertainment, music, and activities, you may as well draw a line down the middle of its main street. Stunning casinos line one side of the street while urban blight reigns on the other. It's a sad state of affairs for New Jersey residents, who surely thought the money brought in from the casinos would lead to some revitalization and beautification of Atlantic City.

Source: Reddit.

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1 thought on “10 of the Ugliest Cities in the World According to Travelers”

  1. Some other (quite) ugly cities I visited: Yerevan (Armenia); Ascuncion (Paraguay); Makassar (Indonesia); The Hague (Netherlands); Khartoum (Sudan).


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