There are some cities in the US that are so well known just their name evokes a feeling. New York City, Chicago, Las Vegas, Los Angeles. Each of these places has its own vibe and conjures some specific imagery that is completely enmeshed in the persona of the city. And while it’s fun to take a trip to these hotspots and check out the sights, there are so many other incredible places in the US that it would be a shame to miss out on. Take a look at the list of ten most underrated cities in the US to help plan your next, best ever, visit.
10 St. Louis, Missouri
The first thing most people think about when it comes to St. Louis is the gorgeous arc that is a backdrop for much of the city. And while this is a definite must on your list of places to visit while in St. Louis, it’s not the only interesting thing about the city. St. Louis is a city of firsts, 7-U and the ice cream cone were both invented here and it was the first US city to host the Olympics. This is a great location for a family visit, starting at the City Museum. Springtime in St. Louis is particularly beautiful, so book a ticket, grab some BBQ and wash it all down with a beer. You won’t regret it.
9 Portland, Maine
Mention Maine and it brings up images of life on the water, warm sweaters, and gorgeous main streets. And charming is exactly what you’ll find in Portland, Maine although don’t mistake it for anything other than the progressive city it is. Visiting Old Port, the downtown of Portland gives a glimpse into the fusion of historic and contemporary.
Follow the cobblestone streets to find excellent restaurants, shopping, and theater. Hop on a ferry and visit the Casco Bay Islands to experience a bit of sea and land. Finally, no trip to Portland would be complete without a trip to Cape Elizabeth to catch a breathtaking lighthouse view.
8 Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Milwaukee is one of the sleepers on the list. While it may seem like a quiet midwest town it’s a big city with a little city attitude. One of the best things about Milwaukee is the seemingly unlimited festivals during the summer, one of the largest aptly named Summerfest. This festival is the world’s largest music festival, and that’s not just bragging rights, the festival has been certified as such by the Guinness World Records. This massive festival lasts 11 days and has an incredible lineup of musicians.
7 Boulder, Colorado
There are so many reasons to visit our next location it’s hard to pare it down. Travelers will have a similar problem when it comes to planning your trip, but what a good problem to have. Start by working up an appetite by hiking Mt. Sanitas or rent a bike from a local bike shop to tool around town.
After that check out one of the many award-winning restaurants, you won’t be disappointed as Pearl Street has been listed as one of the best Foodie Streets in America. If you’d like a hands-on experience you can tour the Redstone Meadery to see how mead-making happens or take in some Shakespeare at the Colorado Shakespeare Festival. And of course, skiing!
6 Asheville, North Carolina
Asheville is an outdoor paradise with so many great activities and locations to experience the best of nature. Check off an item on your bucket list and go for a hike on the Appalachian Trail. Next, go for a drive on the famous Blue Ridge Parkway and take in the incredible views. If nature isn’t your passion there are still plenty of other things to do in Asheville. Take a day to visit the Biltmore Estate, which at approximately 174,240 square feet is the largest house in the US. Take a tour and see some world-renown art from Renoir, Whistler, and Sargent.
Finish up your trip to Asheville with a stop at the Asheville Pinball Museum. Admission is only $15.00 and you can stay all day on any of the over 80 pinball machines in the collection.
5 Providence, Rhode Island
Providence, Rhode Island is one of the oldest cities in the US, founded in 1636 and was part of the original 13 colonies. The history of this city is one of the reasons Providence makes our list.
You can start by talking a walk down Benefit Street which holds a large collection of Colonial homes that look out over the city’s waterfront. You can catch a walking tour guided by The Rhode Island Historical Society to learn more about this historical gem. After you tour Benefit Street, stop in at the Museum of Natural History and Planetarium. Visit the museum’s website to check on special events, like a cemetery walk in Williams Park and learn the history behind the symbols found on headstones with the park.
4 Baltimore, Maryland
Baltimore is the sleeper city on this list. There is so much to do that it’s hard to narrow it down to just one trip. Be prepared for a jam-packed agenda when you visit this monumental city. If museums are your thing, you’ve got your pick in Baltimore. There’s the Baltimore Museum of Art which holds the words of Picasso, Cézanne, and Matisse and has the bonus of being free. There’s also the Walters Art Museum which is also free and has art dating back as far as 5000 B.C. If more recent history is your preference, check out Fort McHenry or the USS Constellation where you can tour a battle site and the decks of a historic ship.
3 Detroit, Michigan
There is a reason that Detroit was put on the map at one point in time. It can be easy to forget what a vital and innovative city it was once it was overshadowed by some less praiseworthy news, but Detroit has been making a comeback and it definitely deserves some love on our list. If you have a love of anything to do with mechanical things, music, or art than Detroit should be a must-see city. Stop at the Henry Ford Museum and learn about the incredible achievements of American innovation. After that, check out the Motown Museum and learn about all of the musical legends who recorded hits at the Motown studio that is now the museum. Before you leave town, make sure to stop by the Detroit Institute of Arts to take in the beauty of Diego Rivera’s frescoes.
2 Louisville, Kentucky
While the first thing that comes to mind when thinking about Louisville, Kentucky might be the Kentucky Derby, it is a city that has so much more to offer all year long. Of course, you can plan your visit to coincide with the Derby, but visitors looking for a bit more of a low-key visit should stop by these sights. Baseball fans won’t want to miss out on the Louisville Slugger Museum and Factory. Learn all about how these famous bats are produced and get up close to bats that were used to hit some epic home runs (think Babe Ruth!). If spooky thrills are more your thing, you can visit the Waverly Hills Sanatorium, known for being extremely haunted. Visitors can take guided tours and learn more about the hospital and its history.
1 San Antonio, Texas
San Antonio, Texas rounds out this list as a bustling city with a small-town feel. Sights like the Alamo already make San Antonio a tourist destination but there is so much more to enjoy in this laid-back city. Visitors can rent bikes and take a tour around the Paeso del Rio (River Walk). There’s a lot to entertain on the route, from mariachi bands to people watching. Be sure to check out the farmers market in the Pearl District to get a real sense of the community. With lots of food options and local vendors selling their wares, you’ll have a hard time walking away without a full stomach and a bag of goodies. If you can plan your trip just right, make sure to check out the Fiesta festival which takes place in April and includes tons of events that are sure to entertain.