When it comes to visiting the United States, there are plenty of great options to select from. Tourists can literally take their pick from so many destinations and different activities, exception, more often than not, they are selected destinations that are to cities that many consider being overrated. There are many reasons a city can be considered overrated, including too many people in their tourist traps, no culture of their own, or the city offers limited choices for activities to do and all the hype around the city is gone as soon as you take away that one popular attraction.
Meanwhile, there are plenty of cities around the United States that don’t get the same love and attention as the big overrated ones do, but they still offer amazing culture, arts, activities, communities, and people, and they would make a great place for a vacation, to move to and to visit. Some of these underrated cities have revamped themselves to make them more vibrant and really put a focus on cultural aspects, as opposed to year-round tourist traps. See which cities are overrated and which cities a tourist may want to consider booking a trip to, in order to experience something a little outside what is the most popular, but definitely a city on the rise.
25 Overrated: Los Angeles
We’ve all heard the cliché line in the movies or on television of someone heading to Los Angeles to make it big. And then they end up as a waiter or waitress, auditioning for scripts and trying to make it onto the big screen.
But one thing Los Angeles is notorious for is their heavy traffic.
According to The Verge, Los Angeles has the most gridlock of any city in the United States. Why would anyone want to go on vacation to just sit in traffic for hours on end trying to get to their next destination?
24 Underrated: Nashville
Nashville is most known as the home of country music. And they will make sure you know about it. In fact, the biggest complaint about Nashville is that, if you don’t embrace the country music lifestyle, you’re probably in the wrong place.
Everything is country music, people live and breathe it there.
There is even a show called ‘Nashville’ that is about, of course, country music stars. It’s just lacking for people who aren’t into wearing cowboy hats and boots and singing about their pickup truck.
23 Underrated: Louisville
People don’t think of Louisville when they think vacation, but if music is what you’re into but the big music cities are not up your way, then take a trip to Louisville, which was named by Time Magazine as one of the United States’ best music scenes.
They host plenty of music festivals, which they are gaining a steady reputation for, have plenty of venues for it, and they don’t have the tourist traps that other bigger music cities would have, so you can avoid a lot of cliché experiences.
22 Overrated: New York City
New York is the largest city in the United States and has something for everyone. The problem is, those things all tend to become the same when tourist get to New York. It’s like a checklist of cliché things to see and do in the Big Apple.
Statue of Liberty, check, Empire State Building, check, Broadway, check, Time’s Square, double-check.
There are plenty of fabulous things to see and do in New York, but unfortunately, most people stick to the tourist traps and don’t venture out of their comfort zone.
21 Underrated: Philadelphia
For sports fan, Philadelphia has the defending Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles, and most perhaps know the City of Brotherly Love from the Rocky franchise, but Philadelphia is turning into a must visit place, as it comes with plenty of history and is turning into one of the best cities in the United States for art.
According to Business Insider, Philadelphia is becoming pretty famous for the murals all over their buildings, and Philadelphia was ranked one of the 10 cities with the fastest growing wages in the country.
20 Overrated: Seattle
Seattle was a booming city on the west coast with one of the best music scenes in the country. But today, it has been taken over by coffee shops and the hipster culture and the headquarters for some of the world’s biggest companies, including Amazon.
These large companies have taken over the city, with The New York Times even saying that Amazon took the soul out of Seattle, as it’s impossible to find someone who doesn’t work for the largest company in the world.
19 Overrated: New Orleans
New Orleans is known for a few things, such as the French Quarter, Mardi Gras and incredible food, but under that, there isn’t much else to New Orleans that is bringing tourists in any other time during the year.
The famous Bourbon Street doesn’t have many favorable reviews, and many people say that during the week, there isn’t much going on as all the action, parades and festivities happen on the weekend when the tourists come to town, pushing it more to the overrated list.
18 Underrated: Detroit
Detroit went through some really rough times and was bankrupt at one point. But with the millennial movement, more young people are taking up shop in Detroit and bringing new life to the city with them.
Even the New York Times called them the most exciting city in the United States, with vibrant restaurants feeding the new young people who moved in.
Detroit is looking away from the tough times in 2008 and starting up new green initiatives all the time, growing into a community that people want to settle in.
17 Overrated: Las Vegas
When the most famous phrase coming out of your city is, ‘what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas’, you already know you’re on the overrated list. Las Vegas is known for the party and casino lifestyle, more built for high rollers than tourists looking for art and cultural scene.
When someone says they are going to Vegas for a vacation, chances are you know exactly what they are going to be doing, and the photos and experiences will generally be all the same as everyone else who has gone.
16 Underrated: Birmingham
If southern charm is what you’re looking for, then Birmingham, Alabama may be the place to visit in the future, as it’s not one of the major southern cities that gets all the tourists, but is a vibrant city that is trying to recapture what it means to have southern charm.
They have updated plenty of their facilities, including their baseball field and century-old Lyric Theatre. Today it’s the home to Alabama’s largest farmers market and a nice location for some southern hospitality.
15 Overrated: Hollywood
When tourist travel to Hollywood, they are expecting celebrities to be on every street corner, big movie executives, expensive shops and plenty of tourists. A few of those are right, as tourists, of course, are taking in the Hollywood sign and the Walk of Fame, but it’s not the celebrity haven many think it is.
Celebrities don’t just hang out in Hollywood and walk up and down the street.
Most are on movie sets filming their roles. Considering the name Hollywood is used for the movie industry, it earns a place on the overrated list because it doesn’t live up to the industry it represents.
14 Underrated: Baltimore
If you watch TV shows such as The Wire, Baltimore doesn’t come across in a good light. But according to Smithsonian.com, Baltimore is quickly becoming the next cool city.
Plenty of change has happened over the years to make it that way, including plenty of development and transportation.
The city has quickly become a center for arts, cultural events, and festivals, and the annual Miracle of 34th Street Christmas light display takes over an entire block. It’s taken Baltimore from the underbelly to a place people call ‘charm city’.
13 Underrated: San Antonio
San Antonio was named one of the five most underrated cities in the United States by The Huffington Post. But places such as the Briscoe Western Art Museum, the Pearl Brewery Complex, the Spanish Colonial Missions, and Hotel Emma are a few of the reasons that San Antonio came in at number three on that list because they are exciting destinations that are making San Antonio a destination city.
It’s hard to believe that the seventh largest city in the United States and second largest in Texas could be underrated, but most people think Dallas when going to the Lone Star state, and San Antonio wants them to know, they have other options.
12 Overrated: Miami
Miami has one of the best nightlife in the United States, and the beach city is great for spring break, but many are putting Miami on the list of overrated because outside of partying all day and night and laying out on the beach, it doesn’t offer that much else in return.
It’s also very expensive to live and play in Miami, so a trip there could break the bank, all for an experience a tourist can get in plenty of other cities across the coastline, without stretching their wallet to the max.
11 Overrated: San Francisco
San Francisco is a beautiful city on the west coast, don’t get me wrong, and the Golden Gate Bridge is definitely a sight to be seen.
However, San Francisco has got itself a bit of a reputation for being a city that protests everything.
It makes some people think of the city as stuck up because the people are always up in arms about something. On top of that, it has some of the highest rents in the country according to escapehere.com, so even with a young vibrant city life, it’s expensive to live here.
10 Underrated: Oakland
Oakland didn’t do itself much favor in being called the unfriendliest city, but it has recently been dubbed the ‘new Brooklyn’, as a rise in creative, culturally rich scene has taken over.
Oakland doesn’t get the same fair shake as many California cities do, but as many say, it’s a place where people go to live, as opposed to visiting, much like their friends across the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, who get plenty of tourists coming every year.
9 Overrated: Boston
If we want to talk about cities with an attitude, the first one that comes to mind is Boston for many. The people from Boston love their city and they aren’t afraid to tell you about it.
Couple that with the fact that their sports teams have won 11 championships in the past 16 years, it has gone to some people’s head that they are the true best city in the country. It has earned Boston the ‘least friendly’ status according to a study conducted by two Michigan psychiatrists.
8 Overrated: Napa
Napa is home to some of the best wine in the world and according to Business Insider, they get three million people a year to visit and sample wine. That makes it a very crowded place and not exactly the romantic getaway many people are thinking of.
Sure, it’s a beautiful place, and the wine is amazing, but for some private moments, alone time and relaxation, there are other places to visit that are less expensive and less crowded than Napa Valley.
7 Overrated: Honolulu
Honolulu seems like a paradise to many people, especially in cold climates where they are about to experience snow.
But locals will say, Honolulu isn’t all that it is cracked up to be, as the weather can get unbearably hot, to the point that tourists can’t even enjoy themselves or set foot outside.
The other thing that is pushed is the ‘Aloha spirit’, which companies use as a catchphrase to bring people in. But local’s will say, that spirit is going away, especially with the mass influx of tourists.
6 Underrated: Salt Lake City
Salt Lake City, Utah wasn’t on many people’s minds perhaps until they hosted the Winter Olympics back in 2002. Now, Salt Lake City is on the fast track to becoming one of the most upcoming cities in the United States.
It has miles of protected bike lanes, excellent hiking trails, and a vibrant community that welcoming in tourist who may have otherwise gone to more upscale cities, bypassing the capital of Utah altogether. It’s also the industrial banking center of the United States.