There are a number of cities across the United States that are on most people's bucket lists. These popular destinations, like New York, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, and Nashville, always come up when people are asked which cities in the U.S. they'd love to travel too. While these top travel sights are definitely worth a visit, we tend to forget that the U.S. is huge, and other cities that are just as thrilling, are simply overlooked.
Every city in the U.S. carries its own unique characteristics and charm, and we aren't here to trash any of them or tell you not to travel to them, but rather take a look at some other not as popular sites. New York City is bustling with electrifying restaurants, museums, and nightlife, but it can get overwhelming if you aren't used to a fast paced environment. And we won't say no to traveling to "Sin City," but an ample amount of gambling and drinking gets old.
However, we are here to let you know that before you book your next trip to one of these beautiful and lively cities, you should consider this new list of must-see cities across the U.S. that are just as cool. Have you ever consider hiking in jaw-dropping Sedona or visiting "The American Venice" in San Antonio?
We've gathered a list of 15 cities in the U.S. that are without a doubt impressive and highly intriguing but could be put on the backburner for a later time to visit. The 9 cities that we did list definitely need to be given a second glance and could possibly end up being your favorite place to travel too in the U.S.
24 New York City, New York (Skip)
No matter what you are into, if it's trying new foods, bar hopping until 4 a.m., or checking out a bunch of museums, there is something for everyone in New York City. The city is truly amazing and like no other, however, it can get overwhelming for people who can't adjust to crowds, loud noises, and the fact that everything is expensive. From Broadway shows to a Bud Light, everything is pricey in NYC so be prepared to leave with a lighter wallet. A problem with New York City is that there is just so much going on that it can be hard to enjoy yourself and it can be extremely tiring if you aren't used to the hustle and bustle of a major city. Of course, everyone should visit The Big Apple, but the harsh truth is, it can be a little overrated.
23 Miami, Florida (Skip)
There is no better nightlife than in Miami, and if you have the money to party in this city than by all means go right ahead. However, unless you're P.Diddy, most people are realistic with their spending and don't have thousands of dollars to spend at one nightclub for the night. Plus, Miami has gotten some pretty harsh criticism over the years, with many lists calling it the most "vain city" in the United States. While New Yorkers might get a bad rap for being rude, resident in Miami and those who vacation there regularly, are said to be highly judgmental, judging how you dress to what car you drive. While the beaches are beautiful and the restaurants offer some of the best food around, there really isn't a reason to travel here more than once.
22 Salem, Massachusetts (Skip)
Salem, Massachusetts is a small town and is practically the Halloween capital of the world, or so they say. It's famous for being the town where the 1692 witch trials took place, and they took quite the advantage of that episode happening in their neighborhood. Salem has a few landmarks and museums dedicated to the witch trials like the Witch House, the former home of a trial judge and the Salem Witch Museum, which is actually really intriguing, and where visitors watch as they recreate the witch trials, but you can only hear the same story so many times until it gets dull and boring. Also, if you don't go to Salem in October, it's said that options to check out other places around the city are slim.
21 Tulsa, Oklahoma (Skip)
Tulsa is a vibrant city and the second largest city in the state of Oklahoma, with Oklahoma City being the first. Tulsa has many amenities for a visitor like art museums, an aquarium, the Tulsa zoo and an entertainment district with restaurants and bars. However, there isn't a wide range of things to do here and being one of the only well-known city’s in the state that isn’t a good thing. Recently, the city has even created a program that will pay anyone who is willing to work and live in Tulsa for a year! These tactics are used to entice people to end up staying in Tulsa for the long run. It just seems like the city might need more attractions to get people to visit rather than using money as bait to get them to live here.
20 Boston, Massachusetts (Skip)
If you really love history, American history to be exact, you'll enjoy visiting Boston. The city is beautiful with historic architecture everywhere, views of the water, plentiful parks, and cobblestone streets. However, the city is getting a bad rap as being one of the least friendly cities in the United States and it's been known to have a massive superiority complex. According to Escape Here, Boston's superiority complex stems from "their cultural significance, as well as the perceived excellence of their sports teams." If you're a New York Yankee fan, we highly suggest keeping your jersey at home.
19 Laguna Beach, California (Skip)
Talk about overrated; Laguna Beach in California is pretty much its own secluded town that caters to a specific person. With more and more wealthy people coming to Laguna Beach to purchase a home on the water, shops and restaurants are catering to those who are willing to spend, spend and spend some more. Laguna Beach is a stunning area in California, with crystal clear blue waters, pristine beaches, and cool surf spot, but that's pretty much all you're going to get if you chose to visit it. The small coastal city has just become too expensive for an average person to have a good time in.
18 San Francisco, California (Skip)
San Francisco, California has a ton of things to do, but it makes this list of places to skip because it seems to favor a certain type of person, which we refer to as a hipster. The city has a bad reputation for being a place where you'll always find numerous protests, an overwhelming bad smell, and according to people who have traveled to the city, there are numerous homeless people who also partake in a bunch of recreational drugs out in the open. The city is also very, very expensive, dubbed one of the most expensive cities to live in, according to SmartAsset.com There seems to be a list about how overbearing this city is, from the bad public transportation to it being very hilly, we recommend skipping this city.
17 Ocean City, Maryland (Skip)
Ocean City, Maryland is a fun resort town, but heavily populated by tourists during the summer months and is practically a ghost town during the off-season. One Trip Advisor writes, "Looking at the internet and magazine pictures, you'd think that Ocean City was this fantastic place lined with boardwalks and baby strollers. And it was, but the major problem was that it lacked character. The amusement park there was literally for kids, as were all of the nearby attractions. The beach wasn't any better than the ones you find on jersey shore, and that was amply reflected by vast empty sections." Compared to the beaches in the south or along the western coast, it is not as alluring.
16 Fort Wayne, Indiana (Skip)
Sadly, Fort Wayne, Indiana has been ranked as one of the most boring cities in America and it seems to be true. The city does have some pretty cool festivals and okay minor league sports, but it isn't a place you'd want to vacation too. According to Movoto, the population of Fort Wayne is older and there isn't much nightlife or fine dining options per capita. The city is good looking and if you like to relax and be outdoors you can head to Headwaters Park, which includes bike paths and a calm river. Besides that, Fort Wayne isn't a great place for people looking to have fun and if you aren't there during a festival, you won't like it too much.
15 Jamestown, Rhode Island (Skip)
Rhode Island is extremely small and if you're visiting, you'll definitely want to check out its capital, Providence. Jamestown is a lovely and picturesque town almost entirely on Conanicut Island, but there isn't much more to it than its lighthouses and state parks. Jamestown attracts thousands of visitors each year because of its important history, however, the area is quite desolate and underdeveloped so you won't find much to do here. There are numerous historical sites across the U.S. where you'll also find lots of great restaurants, bars, and nightlife nearby, and it seems like Jamestown still isn't able to get with the program.
14 Nashville, Tennessee (Skip)
We aren't knocking Nashville, Tennessee. The city of country music, legendary music venues and thrilling nightlife is on everyone's bucket list of places to go to in the U.S. However, it's become a haven for bachelorette parties and that could be extremely annoying if you and your friends want to hang out at a cool bar and can’t with five bachelorette parties going on. Nashville has also become an increasingly popular city to travel too, which means you'll have to wait in long lines to get into places and end up disappointed when restaurants have waits over an hour long.
13 Austin, Texas (Skip)
"Keep Austin Weird" is the slogan adopted by the residents of Austin to show that they live in a city unlike any other, with quirky and unique business scattered throughout. However, it seems much as changed about Austin, Texas, and it's become like a lot of the other major cities in the U.S. with its never-ending traffic and its ridiculously high prices. "Not only has Austin failed to “stay weird,” it’s sold the heck out. Its once quirky bars now feel gimmicky, with lines out the door and crowds full of transplants. Austin also failed to plan for its explosive growth, to the point where people sell the “fun” of waiting an hour for pretty-good brisket as a tourist attraction," writes Matthew Meltzer of Matador Network.
12 Los Angeles, California (Skip)
You should visit Los Angeles once in your life and see its beaches, the Santa Monica Pier, Beverly Hills and experience some of the nightlife. Los Angeles is over the top and has a reputation for being glamorous. The city is known for its high-end lifestyle and very rich neighborhoods including the famous 90210 zip code. But the truth is, L.A. is home to the worst traffic in the U.S. and a lot of things that you can do in this city can be done in other states and probably in your hometown. Of course, the city is also very expensive and as a visitor, you’ll find yourself constantly swiping your credit card everywhere you go. Plus, the tourist areas like the Walk of Fame or Santa Monica Pier can get extremely overcrowded.
11 Atlanta, Georgia (Skip)
Atlanta, Georgia is home to the busiest airport in the world, but despite being a huge travel hub, the city still isn't seeing large numbers of tourists taking the time to discover the southern city. One writer for The Travel simply states that there is nothing to do in this city, adding, "Once you've seen the big Coke bottle and CNN headquarters, you've maxed out a lot of the tourist attractions Atlanta has." There are however beautiful and surprising things to discover in the city, including Lullwater Park, which is smack dab in the middle of Atlanta. Walking through the park takes you away from ATL's hustle and bustle with multiple trails, peaceful running water, and open fields. However, if you really want to experience Georgia, we recommend going to Savannah instead.
10 Fort Lauderdale, Florida (Skip)
Fort Lauderdale might have the fun in the sun vibe, but you should avoid coming here unless you like crowded beaches with college kids and spring breakers. Fort Lauderdale, Florida has always been a popular vacation destination to escape the winter, but it has become too dependent on the spring break and summer schedule, where you'll see beaches so crowded you can barely check out any of the attractions this city has to offer. When the college kids leave and the crowds die down, more businesses close their doors and there is not much for visitors to do here. However, if you like the crowds and the high volume of traffic, then, by all means, check this beautiful city out.
9 Williamsburg, Virginia (Visit)
Williamsburg, Virginia has great significance to American history and it's also worth a visit if you want to learn about the United States' independence from the British, leaving you with a new appreciation and understanding of our nation's beginnings. Walking around this historic area makes you feel like you've traveled back in time, with actors recreating historical events, like the eve of the Revolutionary War. Colonial Williamsburg is a must-see attraction, where you'll feel like you're in 18th century colonial Virginia with its resorted taverns, homes and gardens. There's also Jamestown Settlement where you can learn about the troublesome relationship between the Indigenous tribes and the colonists and Yorktown Battlefield, the area where the Americans defeated the British.
8 Savannah, Georgia (Visit)
If you're interested in traveling south, we truly believe Savannah, Georgia is worth the visit. The city is loaded with Southern charm and its historic district is unlike any other place in the U.S. Savannah's Historic District has more than 20 cobblestone blocks filled with stunning antebellum mansions, historic churches, beautifully manicured gardens, and the gorgeous Forsyth Park, with more than 30 acres, it is a wonderful place to go too. You'll also want to take a scenic drive down the avenue of oaks and arrive at Wormsloe Historic Site, home to the oldest standing structure in Savannah. The city's storybook look is something you have to go see.
7 Park City, Utah (Visit)
Park City, Utah is an amazing city for those who like to partake in outdoor activities. Park City is home to the famous Deer Valley Resort and Park City Mountain where visitors can ski, snowboard and take in the vast beauty of the gorgeous snowy terrain. Even if you aren't that big into snow-related activities, the city has a quaint downtown village with cute shops, après-ski bars, and a bunch of fine dining options. And getting around the city is quite easy, so you don't have to deal with heavy traffic like in other major cities. Hub recommends having a five-course meal paired with house-made whiskey at The Nelson Cottage, a spin-off of the popular High West Distillery and Saloon.
6 Juneau, Alaska (Visit)
Juneau, Alaska is simply breathtaking and if you love the outdoors and nature, you'd better book a trip here. Juneau is the capital of Alaska and its vast landscape of towering peaks, ice fields, stunning fjords, lush green rainforests, rugged wilderness and miles of coastline are jaw-dropping. This is the only capital in America that you can't reach by car with visitors coming and going by plane, ferries or most popular, cruise ships. Hiking is one of the best ways to discover Alaska and its amazing wildlife, forests, and sounds of nature. And don’t worry, you don't have to be an expert hiker to see all of these awe-inspiring sites.
5 Boulder, Colorado (Visit)
Most people travel to Denver, Colorado to check out its art scene, culture, food, and nightlife and forget there's the beautiful city of Boulder that's just less than an hour away. Boulder is a favorite among nature fanatics, with tons of hiking trails thanks to it being at the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. While here you'll also want to make your way to the Flatirons in Chautauqua Park, which is known for their iconic sandstone rock formations that form the city's backdrop. After your amazing hiking experience, check out Boulder's Pearl Street, where you can shop around this pedestrian mall, sip a coffee and people watch. Boulder’s also home to the number one farmer's market in the country and is the perfect way to experience the city just like a local.
4 Maui, Hawaii (Visit)
If you're really looking for some fun in the sun, skip Florida and California where you'll be surrounded by massive crowds and find your peace in Maui, Hawaii. Maui is simply gorgeous with pristine beaches and tons of water activities where you don't have to be surrounded by a bunch of college spring breakers. While you can lie on the beach all day, some of the most fascinating things to do in Maui is joining luaus, each with a different personality with some built for kids and some for romantic couples. There are also private kayak tours, stand up paddleboard lessons, zip lines and snorkeling where you can see dolphins and whales.
3 Portland, Maine (Visit)
Portland, Maine is a charming city that should be on people's bucket lists. The city is known for its Old Port, with cobblestone streets, 19th-century brick architecture, fishing piers and a waterfront that features warehouses converted into hip restaurants serving delicious lobster, clambakes, delicious lobster rolls, and Maine oysters. After your stroll through the Old Port, you'll want to visit the Portland Museum of Art or tour the stunning Victoria Mansion. If you want to see Portland's beautiful landscapes, make your way to Eastern Promenade, which offers visitors trails and takes in the gorgeous views. You'll want to spend a day in Cape Elizabeth for those who want to see lighthouses and beaches. There really is something for everyone here.
2 Sedona, Arizona (Visit)
If you're looking for adventure in the great outdoors Sedona, Arizona is your best bet. Red rock buttes, canyon walls, and pine forests surround this spectacular desert town. With major cities like New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago scattered all over the country, we forget that there are actually places like Sedona that exist here. These iconic red rocks can't be found anywhere else in the world and there are over 100 hiking trails of various difficulty levels for you to walk through. For shopping, head to Tlaquepaque Arts and Craft Village for authentic Sedona keepsakes. The area mirrors a Mexican pueblo and features over 50 galleries, workshops, and boutiques.
1 San Antonio, Texas (Visit)
Texas is a huge state and most people visit its main cities, Dallas, Austin, and Houston, but San Antonio should easily be on that list of main cities to see in The Lone Star State. Once you've visited The Alamo, an 18th-century fortress compound that's been preserved as a museum, check out the city's River Walk, a cool city with delicious barbeque and shops, with a network of waterways along the banks of the San Antonio River. The waterway is lined with old-world taverns and amazing restaurants and has become known as "The American Venice." The city is bursting with history and culture and should be visited just as much as Texas' three main cities.
References: escapehere.com, cnbc.com, teamblind.com, tripadvisor.com, thrillist.com, visitwilliamsburg.com, hub.united.com, themanual.com