What do Raleigh, Denver, Houston, Seattle and Minneapolis have in common? Not weather. Not cultural attitudes. Surprisingly, they share a love of free Wi-Fi – they’re the best cities in America for free WiFi hotspots. In the past years, as connectivity has become more important and the number of WiFi-ready mobile devices has exploded, a number of U.S. cities have scrambled to give their citizens access to free public Wi-Fi networks, although they’ve come with mixed results. Some public Wi-Fi networks have worked poorly, while others failed to keep up with changing technologies and bandwidth needs, becoming obsolete after a few years.

Still several cities continue to unleash new municipal Wi-Fi networks, and the newer plans seem to have better success, usually by attempting to serve a more concentrated area. Some recent announcements include:

  • Amherst. It took six years of work, but Amherst has the largest public Wi-Fi network in Massachusetts.
  • Kansas City. Free Wi-Fi is now available at bus stop locations in Kansas City.
  • New York City. New York City is adding Wi-Fi service at dozens of underground subway stations.
  • San Antonio. City officials are hoping to add Wi-Fi service at areas outdoors in downtown San Antonio in conjunction with Google.

No matter what type of social networking apps citizens want to use away from home, they will be able to find some great Wi-Fi options in places where lots of people congregate. And when those Wi-Fi options are free to use, they’re tough to beat!

The more reliable a public WiFi network, the more stores and other businesses can begin to rely on mobile data and engagement through social media as a core part of their business plan. Cities that invest in good WiFi networks will find both individuals and businesses benefiting from the connectivity, while cities that don’t may find themselves falling behind.

So without further ado, here’s a visual look at cities with the best Wifi coverage:

Felicity Dryer is a journalist based in Los Angeles, California. Originally a health writer, she has begun to branch out into writing about technology, which has been a passion of hers since she was young. In her free time, she enjoys hosting game nights with her friends and spending her warm days on the beach. She looks forward to seeing wireless internet access improve and expand into something universal.