10 Of America’s Most Overhyped Cities (And 10 Severely Underrated)

The United States is a large country and there are many destinations within it that are worth visiting. When you take a step back and look at the United States as a whole it can be a little daunting. There are many states and each of those states there are several cities. There is so much culture to take in when visiting the United States and being a tourist means something different in every city. Some cities are more welcoming to tourists while others are just there to take your money. Some cities are overhyped and some are underrated but determining which cities are which can be a hard task.

Perhaps the most tourist flow seen in the United States is on the coasts where major cities like New York City and Los Angelos are located. These can be considered overhyped as many people visit them every year. Meanwhile the more Midwest of the country the more underrated cities you come across. This is because a lot of these cities are just used as avenues to get to the "better" cities. These are considered more underrated cities. Whatever the case there are definitely cities in the United States that you should travel to over other cities.

20 Overhyped - Nashville, Tennessee

via: opry.com

The theme around Nashville, Tennessee is an obvious country theme. Specifically, around country music. Nashville is the home of country music and there isn't any better place to be the home of country music. However, too much of a good thing can be a bad thing. This is where Nashville suffers the most. Having a theme is good when trying to stand out from the rest but when you go too heavy on that theme it can make the city unappealing to a lot of people. There are masses of people who dislike country music who are deterred from visiting Nashville, and even those who do say it is overhyped in the fact that the whole city is focused around country music.

19 Underrated - Bar Harbor, Maine

via: Ecocity Media

Many of the small towns and cities on the coast of Maine are all kind of the same. If you ask the locals who live in Maine they will say that you should visit harbor cities like Portland or Augusta. However, there is a much nicer and smaller town known as Bar Harbor that locals will try and deter you away from. Bar Harbor is a small port town that has many fresh seafood restaurants and touristy stores to visit, but overall it is a fairly underrated town when it comes to other towns and cities in Maine. This is especially true when taking into account what the locals say about Bar Harbor.

18 Overhyped - Phoenix, Arizona

via: Curbed

There are many warm spots in the United States and around the world, however, one of the most unnecessarily warm cities in the world is Phoenix, Arizona. The city itself is a great city to visit as there is a lot to do. Some of these things include hiking through the wilderness of Arizona or there is even a botanical garden according to Trip Advisor. However, Phoenix's peak season is during the summer which is also when the city is at its hottest. If you want to be miserable while walking around the beautiful city of Phoenix than you should probably visit in the summer months.

17 Underrated - Las Vegas, Nevada

via: Las Vegas Blog

It may be surprising to see a city such as Las Vegas in the most underrated category but we have good reasons in believing so. While Las Vegas does see millions of tourists every year and in that sense, it isn't underrated at all. However, in the sense that everyone goes there for the same reason it is underrated. The Las Vegas stereotype is that everyone heads to Vegas to go to the many casinos. However, there are many other things to enjoy in Las Vegas that simply the casinos. For example, there are a lot of great restaurants and attractions that are family friendly that many people simply look over when considering a vacation to Las Vegas.

16 Overhyped - Indianapolis, Indiana

via: georgiastreetindy.com

When people travel to the United States people often look at the big cities on the east and west coasts. These cities include New York City and Los Angeles. This means that big cities in the middle of the country aren't prepared for when they get a lot of tourists. One of these cities is Indianapolis located in Indiana. The last thing on Indianapolis' mind is tourism and this is obvious to anyone who has vacationed to Indianapolis. There isn't a lot to do in the way of attractions when visiting the large city. Luckily there are many places to eat that make up for the lack of attractions.

15 Underrated - Newport, Rhode Island

via: Travel + Leisure

Similar to Bar Harbor in Maine, Newport located in Rhode Island is another underrated port city. Many people decide to travel to large tourist trap cities when planning vacations but it is worth mentioning the smaller towns especially port towns like Newport. Like other coastal cities, Newport has many great restaurants that have fresh seafood which can be hard to find in bigger cities. The main part of the city is located along the coast which gives the city a nice beach town feel to it and that stretches through all of the city.

14 Overhyped - Portland, Oregon

via: Outdoor Project

Portland, Oregon is a city that was once a respectful city that was growing quickly in popularity which is one of the reasons the city is now overhyped in most people's eyes. If you travel to Portland you quickly realize that the city is garnered towards tourists and is now just a giant tourist trap. There isn't much to do in Portland and the people who live there aren't exactly happy that their city has become such a large tourist trap. There are many better less populated cities in Oregon that will make for a much better visit such as Salem, or Medford.

13 Underrated - Washington D.C.

via: Destination 360

Washington D.C. is a great city to visit and surprisingly is considered underrated. This is because in this day and age people would rather go to more popular cities like New York City or Los Angelos. However, there is a lot to enjoy when it comes to the Nation's capital. The tourism in Washington D.C. was down in the past due to the city being fairly dangerous for tourists, but now the city has become safer and safer. It is a great place to take your family and you may even learn a thing or two. Also, the number of great burger joints in Washington is amazing.

12 Overhyped - New York City, New York

via: The Smart Traveler

As we have mentioned already many people would rather travel to one of two places, Los Angelos or New York City. New York City is one of the most popular tourist destinations on the east coast and in the entire United States according to USNews.com. There is a lot to do in New York City and it may be its biggest downfall. When visiting New York City it can be a bit overwhelming to figure out what to do and where to go. Many people claim that they have sensory overload when visiting New York City which is something that happens when there is too much going on which is the case for New York City.

11 Underrated - Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

via: Twitter

There are many cities that have slowly begun to fade out of popularity due to the big industry boom fading out of the country as the technology age is alive and well. Cities like Cleveland and Detroit haven't been able to come out of these old ways and seem to be losing tourists over it. However, a city that has been successful in coming into the new age and attracting tourists is Pittsburgh located in Pennsylvania. The city was once a large contributor to the steel industry and has now transformed itself into a nice tourist hub.

10 Overhyped - Hartford, Connecticut

via: newstimes.com

Hartford located in Connecticut may seem like a strange place to claim to be overhyped but for the state of Connecticut, Hartford definitely is the most overhyped. The city tries too hard to accommodate the tourists that it has while also trying to attract more tourists. The main problem with this is the fact that Hartford doesn't seem to be getting the number of tourists they want. Due to the city being so close to New York City it doesn't seem like Hartford is going to break through to be a huge tourist city no matter how hard they try to advertise themselves.

9 Underrated - Middle America

via: blooloop.com

As mentioned before the Midwest in the United States gets no love from anyone traveling to the United States due to larger cities on the east and west coasts. While this entry isn't based on one city in the Midwest there are plenty of smaller cities and towns along middle America that are worth mentioning. These cities are usually considered "flyover" cities as they are usually just flown over to travel to another city rather than stopping in them along the way. Lincoln, Chicago, and St. Louis are great examples of cities that are overlooked by the general tourist community.

8 Overhyped - Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

via: visitphilly.com

Philadelphia gets a lot of love from tourists and it is mainly due to the entertainment industry. Specifically movies and TV shows. For example, the Rocky films are one of the many reasons people travel to Philadelphia, especially to run up the steps and feel like Rocky. It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia is another great contributor to tourism in Philadelphia. While the city is a nice visit once there are much greater cities in Pennsylvania that are worth the visit such as Pittsburgh. If you are looking for a good city to vacation in you may want to skip out on Philadelphia.

7 Underrated - Denver, Colorado

via: matadoranetork.com

Denver, Colorado sees its fair share of tourists every year, however, it is still fairly underrated among the cities in the United States. The state of Colorado is a favorite among many and you would think that would come with a love for Denver but that isn't always the case. Possibly the most popular thing to do in the Denver area is to ski as there are some phenomenal ski slopes just outside the city according to snowpak.com. However, if hitting the slopes isn't your cup of tea then Denver has a lot of unseen potentials. The nightlife and music scenes in Denver are severely underrated and the city features a lot of great places to eat.

6 Overhyped - Atlantic City, New Jersey

via: oceancity.com

Atlantic City being on the overhyped side of the list may not be a surprise to anyone. In the past, Atlantic City was in its prime but today it is more or less just living in the shell of what it once was. If you want to have a better experience doing the same things you could in Atlantic City just head to Las Vegas. Ever since Las Vegas became more and more popular, Atlantic City has seen the number of tourists dwindling year after year. It is still a favorite among people who live on the east coast of the United States but you may as well just go to New York City.

5 Underrated - Austin, Texas

via: austintexas.org

Unlike the two other major cities in Texas (Dallas and Houston), Austin seems to stick with the charming tourist atmosphere that the other larger cities lack. Dallas and Houston stick to the industries that built their cities while Austin lays under the radar and invites tourists in with its friendly atmosphere. The city is a large college town as the University of Texas at Austin is located only a few miles from the city. The best part of Austin is the fact that you don't have to deal with the crowds of the other two big cities in Texas and you still get to enjoy the delicious foods that Texas has to offer.

4 Overhyped - Miami, Florida

via: coastalliving.com

Miami, Florida is one of the hottest tourist locations in the United States and especially in the southeast according to MiamiHerald.com. The website reports that in 2017 118.5 million tourists flocked to Miami and so far in 2018 that number has only gone up. So what is so special about Miami? The only thing the city really has going for it is the fact that it has a large beach presence. You will find overpriced food and lodging if you decide to vacation in Miami. There are plenty of better coastal cities to visit in the southeast that won't leave you broke.

3 Underrated - Salt Lake City, Utah

via: upr.org

As mentioned before the Midwest of the United States gets no love as far as tourism goes. One of these cities that don't see nearly enough tourist traffic in is Salt Lake City located in Utah. Considering Utah doesn't have much going on, Salt Lake City is more or less the only thing to do in Utah as far as major cities are concerned. Similar to Denver, Colorado, Salt Lake City has several ski slopes located near the city. It also has several tourist attractions such as ghost tours, and a few museums according to Trip Advisor. If you want to take a relaxing vacation and see the Midwest Salt Lake City is a great start.

2 Overhyped - Dallas, Texas

via: unvisiteddallas.com

As mentioned before Dallas is mainly focused on their industrial side rather than Austin which is more open to tourism. Dallas seems like a city that would have a lot to do but in the end, the city is simply there to provide jobs to those living there. While the city isn't completely against tourism it certainly isn't at the forefront of what is important to Dallas. That isn't to say if you visit Dallas you wouldn't get a true Texas experience, it is just to say that there are better cities to visit in Texas that are more welcoming. Houston would be an even better start to Texas than Dallas.

1 Underrated- Charleston, South Carolina

via: Luxury Simplified Retreats

We mentioned that there are much better coastal cities in the southeast than Miami, and Charleston is one of those cities. Located in South Carolina, the city has a lot of history and also has a great beach presence as it is located on the coast. If you want a true southern experience, whether that be learning about its history or simply eating the great food, then  Charleston is a great first step. The city has a great nightlife and they even offer ghost tours to those who are brave enough according to Trip Advisor. The city is also very open to tourism and you will have a much better time in Charleston than you would in other coastal cities along the southeast coast.

More in Destinations