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20 Best Cities To Visit In The USA

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The United States is filled to the brink with incredible and diverse cities. They range in size from millions of people to a few thousand and from an intense fast paced inner-city experience to a more gentle and slower pace with easy access to nature. Some offer year round warm sunny weather while others offer you the wonderment of all four seasons. Whether you are looking for access to amazing restaurants, world class museums, great beaches, or a launching spot for awe-inspiring day trips, you will find your heart’s desire in one of these 20 best cities to visit in the USA recommended by travel bloggers and industry experts.

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Best US Destinations By Month

Many of us want to take a vacation, but then, have no idea where to go. As we all know, the United States is enormous. With its wide ranging geography, some places are better to visit during certain months while others are best avoided at all costs. In addition, most destinations offer amazing annual festivals and events that would be fantastic to see, but how do you plan to go when you have no idea what’s coming up? For a list of the best places to visit in the US by month, including special events that you wouldn’t want to miss, please take a look at:

If you are looking for a warm winter getaway in the United States, take a look at the 50 best US beaches in winter.

Best Cities To Visit In The USA

Here are 20 of the best cities to visit in the USA according to industry insiders and travel experts. They all offer fun or interesting attractions and are easily reached from all parts of the United States (and the world). Most provide an amazing foodie scene and straightforward access to beaches or nature. Included are the best times to go, when you might want to avoid, and a pro tip or two from those in the know.

best places to visit in the USA in April
Boston, Massachusetts (Photo courtesy of Aubrey Odom from Unsplash)

Boston, Massachusetts

According to Samantha from Seeing Sam, Boston might seem like just another bustling city, famous for beans, baseball, and the legendary bar Cheers but the healthiest city in America (according to the Deutsche Bank) has so much more to offer.

Boston‘s charm, history, and innovation make it one of the best cities to visit in the USA from its stunning architecture, historic parks and buildings, food markets, sports teams, and cultural museums.

A duck boat tour through downtown and Massachusetts bay is a great way to see the city. Catch a fly ball at iconic Fenway Park or enjoy $1 oysters at many delicious raw bars around town. For those history buffs, soak up some American history on the 2.5 mile Freedom Trail walk.

Boston is home to countless museums, and art galleries, one famous for the largest art heist in the world, the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum.

Boston also makes an excellent base for lots of day trips, including Cambridge, home to Harvard University, the famous Witch town of Salem, or the popular summer spot, Cape Cod.

There is so much to see and do in Boston; this beautiful historic city easily brings life to the term “something for everyone,” solidifying its place as one of the best cities to visit in the USA.

Population

Approximately 700,000 people.

Best Time To Go

The fall is the greatest time to visit Boston, for its mild autumn weather perfect for walking around the varying neighborhoods. Boston offers beautiful views of fall foliage and plenty of fall activities for travelers, including the famous Boston Marathon, and the New England Christmas Festival beginning in early November.

Best Time To Avoid

Winters are harsh so summer and fall are best.

Pro Tip

The city is very walkable, so stay near the center to avoid renting a car and overpaying for parking.

Directions

Boston’s international airport, Boston Logan International (BOS), makes Boston convenient to reach from all over the US.

Hotel Recommendation

The Newbury Boston is a new luxury hotel located in Boston’s Back Bay, the city’s premier shopping and dining neighborhood. Tourists and locals alike can be found perusing boutiques, fashion houses, art galleries, and cafes – all housed in elegant brick townhouses. Copley Square, the 1800s landmark Trinity Church, the Boston Public Garden, and the Boston Public Library, are just a few of the famed destinations that can be found in the area.

best cities to visit in the USA
Louisville, Kentucky (Photo courtesy of Louisville Tourism)

Louisville, Kentucky

Louisville, Kentucky is one of the best cities to visit in the United States because of its unique culture and attractions, accessibility and unmatched spirits and culinary scene. A visit to Louisville offers a chance to experience things you can’t do anywhere else in the world, like a walkable Bourbon distillery trail, underground ziplining, and a visit to the home of the longest annually held sporting event in the country.

Kentucky is home to 95% of the world’s Bourbon supply. One third of it is made right in Louisville. Along Louisville’s Main Street, there are five Bourbon distilleries within walking distance, with a handful of others just a short drive away. All of these distilleries offer tours for you to get a taste of America’s only native spirit.

While Louisville does have a Zoo, amusement park, science museum and history museum, it also offers one of one-of-a-kind attractions that can’t be found anywhere else, such as the Muhammad Ali Center, Kentucky Derby Museum, Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory, and Louisville Mega Cavern – which offers the world’s only fully underground zip-lining adventure.

Population

Approximately 620,000.

Best Time To Go

Spring & Fall – specifically April -May, September – October. These are the best times of year from a temperature standpoint. The summers are often extremely hot and humid (mostly humid). In addition, Churchill Downs offers live horse racing during this time.

Best Time To Avoid

Though it’s a bucket list item for many, the Kentucky Derby weekend is expensive and has extra crowds. Accordingly, avoid the first full weekend in May.

Pro Tip

Get out into the neighborhoods. While downtown offers a majority of the cities museums and distilleries, many of the city’s best bar and restaurants can be found in neighborhoods adjacent to downtown. Louisville’s East Market District or NuLu has an eclectic mix of boutique shops and restaurants, while Old Louisville boasts the countries largest collection of Victorian-era mansions, which you can view on a historic walking or haunted ghost tour. 

Directions

Louisville Muhammad Ali International Airport is just a short drive to downtown, but Louisville also is located within a day’s drive of over half the U.S. population, which makes it an ideal destination for weekend road trips as well.

best places to visit in the USA
Chicago, Illnois (Photo courtesy of John Jacobsen From Unsplash)

Chicago, Illnois

Chicago is the largest city in the Midwest (and the third largest city in the U.S.). It is home to 77 distinct cultural neighborhoods each with its own vibe and personality ensuring that no matter where your interests lie, there is something special for everyone. Check out this neighborhood map to find the scene that best suits your mood, whether it’s the artsy vibe of Wicker Park/Bucktown, the historic appeal of the 19th century Pullman Historic District, or one of the many others. 

There is an overwhelming amount to do in Chicago. The Chicago Riverwalk stretches 1.25 miles from Lake Michigan to Lake Street. You will discover cafes, wineries and bars, public art installations, monuments, museums, and a boatload of excursions on the water.

Chicago, the birthplace of improv comedy via groups like The Second City, is also home to a thriving theater scene. This includes the Steppenwolf Theatre Company, whose all-star ensemble casts over the years have included the likes of John Malkovich and Gary Sinise. The Chicago Shakespeare Theater’s year-round season features as many as 20 productions and 650 shows annually, including plays, musicals, premieres, and family programming, all inspired by (arguably) the world’s greatest playwright.

As for food, it is one of the reasons Chicago is one of the best cities to visit in the USA. Deep dish pizza, invented in the 1940s, is a legendary Chicago style, instantly recognizable for its bowl-like crust filled with cheese, sauce and toppings. However, Chicago is so much more than just the deep dish pizza. You could spend months eating your way through Chicago!

Population

Approximately 2.7 million.

Best Time To Go

The best time of year to visit the city is considered by many to be the “shoulder seasons” of Spring (April-June) and Fall (September-October) when temperatures are mild and there are plenty of festivals and events.

Best Time To Avoid

Summer tends to be busy and the weather can get very hot. Winters in Chicago are notoriously cold but, on the upside, you are more likely to find cheaper accommodations and can use the winter season as an opportunity to explore Chicago’s indoor attractions, such as its world-famous museums and thriving theater scene! 

Pro Tip

Avoid renting a car in Chicago. It has a fantastic mass transportation system and ride sharing. Parking is extremely expensive downtown.

Directions

Fly into Chicago via Chicago O’Hare International Airport or Midway International Airport. Downtown is easily accessible from both.

Hotel Recommendation

There are fantastic options within blocks of the Michigan Mile with amazing shopping and restaurants. For an upscale experience, consider Omni Chicago Hotel which offers suite style accommodation. For something more value driven, explore the Fairfield Inn And Suites.

best cities to visit in the United States
St. Augustine, Florida (Photo courtesy of Floridas Historic Coast)

St. Augustine, Florida

St. Augustine, Florida is the oldest city in the U.S., founded by Spaniards in 1565. Set on the Atlantic Coast of Northeast Florida, the appeal of this small city is its incredible food scene, the inspiring artistic culture, its rich history, beautiful beaches, and more.

There are more than 60 historic sites and attractions for visitors to explore. Some of the most popular are the Castillo de San Marcos National Monument, the oldest fortress in North America. Built between 1672 and 1695, the fort protected the city from British raids and pirate sackings.

The St. Augustine Lighthouse and Maritime Museum celebrates the city’s rich maritime heritage through exhibits and displays, and guests can climb the 219 steps to the top of the tower for a spectacular view of the city.

Finally, tour the city’s historic area (144 sq. blocks on the National Register of Historic Places) aboard the Red Express Tour or one of the other many tours to learn about the history and people from the city’s storied past. Take a food tour with one of the local walking tours to eat and drink your way through history, or take a boat tour to see the city from the water.

Population

Approximately 14,500.

Best Time To Go

The year round temperate climate makes this a comfortable place to visit throughout the year and one of the reasons it is one of the best cities to visit in America.

From Mid-November through January, during Nights of Lights, the City is lit up with millions of tiny white Lights to celebrate the Holiday season.

With the romance of Mediterranean-style architecture, old-world charm and dozens of elegant inns, February is the perfect time to come to celebrate Valentine’s Day.  

Spring time is filled with food, music and art festivals.

Summer and fall months are perfect for beach getaways (this is a coastal city), family fun and even more music and food.  

Best Time To Avoid

Late July and August it does get a bit warmer, but there are usually afternoon showers that cool things down. For those who want to avoid outside, there are plenty of museums and galleries from which to choose.

Pro Tip

Weekday visits present better hotel deals and smaller crowds in the Historic district.

Directions

There are many major airlines offering non-stop air service to Jacksonville International Airport from larger hub cities like Atlanta, NY, Miami and Charlotte. Orlando International Airport (MCO) is just a 1.5 hour drive away.

Best cities to visit in the USA
Golden Gate Bridge in San Fransisco (Photo courtesy of Umer Sayyam from Unsplash)

San Fransisco, California

San Francisco is one of the best cities to visit in the USA. It is full of great neighborhoods, parks, history, beaches, museums, and fun things to do.

Some amazing things to see and do in San Francisco includes exploring Fisherman’s Wharf. In addition to accessing the former terrifying maximum penitentiary Alcatraz, Fisherman’s Wharf features Ghirardelli Square (for some mouthwatering chocolate and ice cream desserts), the stores and restaurants at Pier 39 (along with a view of hundreds of sea lions lounging in the sun), and The Cartoon Art Museum.

You should definitely cross the Golden Gate Bridge, either on foot or by bike (rentals are easy to find). This incredible bridge is a work of engineering and a popular San Francisco landmark. You should visit the Visitor’s Center to learn about its history.

Population

Approximately 875,000.

Best Time To Go

The best time to visit San Francisco is in the fall (September through November) when you’ll get the warmest weather and smaller crowds.

Best Time To Avoid

Summer is the time to avoid San Francisco because tourist season is at its peak. In addition, temperature hovers around the 60°F and fog consumes the city most afternoons and nights. 

Pro Tip

Book your tickets to Alcatraz far in advance. You can only access it by boat and there are limited availability and times.

Directions

If you’re traveling internationally, San Francisco International Airport is the best option. If you’re traveling from another US state, Oakland International Airport (OAK) and San Jose International Airport (SJC) are great choices.

Another option is to fly to Los Angeles International Airport and take the Pacific Coast Highway route. Despite its length (442 miles), it is one of America’s most beautiful drives. You should give yourself a day to drive this route so you can enjoy the views along the way.

best cities in the USA to visit
Anchorage, Alaska (Photo courtesy of Tabitha from Travel Compositions)

Anchorage, Alaska

As part of the Last Frontier, Anchorage is in the heart of south central Alaska. It is the largest state in the United States, full of natural beauty, and one of the best cities to visit in the USA.

According to Tabitha from Travel Compositions, Anchorage is a special city surrounded by pristine mountains and large bodies of water. Moose roam the streets like it’s their own. At the height of summer, it gets 19 hours of daylight; in the winter, only 5 hours. 

Anchorage sits against the Chugach Range and has numerous hiking trails like Flattop Mountain, Rabbit Lake Trail, or Blueberry Loop. In the winter you can go skiing at Hilltop Ski Area.

The best pizza in the country is at Moose’s Tooth Pub & Pizzeria. There is always a wait for a table to get their perfectly baked pizzas, like Amazing Apricot (yes! Apricot pizza). They even have their own brews and serve rotating flavors and classic standards such as their signature, crisp Hard Apple Ale.

A drive down the Seward Hwy along Turnagain Arm will take your breath away. The road hugs the curves of the mountain range with the inlet following you all the way until you turn into the Kenai Peninsula. Keep your eyes open for mountain sheep up among the rocky cliffs or beluga whales swimming in the inlet. If you plan right, you can experience the bore tide and possibly watch surfers ride the wave.

Population

Approximately 293,000.

Best Time To Go

Late May – early September is the best time to visit this great city. Daylight is at its max, the weather is temperate, you “shouldn’t” have any snow, and the foliage is full and colorful.

Best Time To Avoid

Try to avoid visiting during break-up (April-early May) when everything is muddy and slushy and the trees are brown, not yet bloomed.

Pro Tip

The earlier you leave for the Seward Hwy along Turnagain Arm drive the better. It allows you to enjoy the view and not worry as much about the car in front of you. As the day progresses, you get more tourists and RVers on the road.

Directions

It is only a 3.5hr flight to Anchorage International Airport from Seattle, so it is a lot closer to the lower 48 than most people realize.

best cities to visit in the USA
Rochester, New York (Photo courtesy of Visit Rochester)

Rochester, New York

Rochester, NY is located on the southern shore of Lake Ontario and one of the most underrated American cities.

Rochester offers world-class attractions like The Strong National Museum of Play, which houses the largest collection of toys, dolls and games in the world, and the George Eastman Museum, the world’s oldest photography museum. In addition, you can find the National Susan B. Anthony Museum & House, the national historic landmark home of the woman who devoted her entire life to voting rights for women.

Rochester supplies a wide-ranging culinary scene (where else can you dine on something called a “Garbage Plate” for lunch only to have dinner prepared by a Michelin-starred chef), and booming craft breweries and distilleries

More into wine? Rochester is home to two wineries, including Living Roots, the first urban winery in the Finger Lakes region. Beyond Rochester, there are more than 100 wineries spread throughout the region.

With more than 12,000 acres of parkland, and a number of different waterways (a Great Lake, the Erie Canal, a river, bay and the Finger Lakes), there is no limit to what you can do in the outdoors in Rochester. 

Rochester is underrated, friendly, easily accessible, affordable, and one of the best destinations to visit in the USA.

Population

Approximately 206,000.

Best Time To Go

Weather is optimal from May – October with lots of festivals and events.

Best Time To Avoid

It is suitable all year round, but if you are not familiar with traveling and getting around in snow, winter is best avoided.

Pro Tip

Be sure to check out High Falls, a 96-foot waterfall located in the heart of downtown Rochester. The Falls are best viewed from the Pont de Rennes pedestrian bridge or the rooftop deck of the Genesee Brew House, the oldest brewery in New York State.

Directions

Best airport to fly into is Greater Rochester International Airport.

best American cities in the USA
Charleston, South Carolina (Photo courtesy of Rachel from Means To Explore)

Charleston, South Carolina

According to Rachel from Means To Explore, Charleston, South Carolina is the perfect city: not too big and noisy, a thriving and diverse foodie scene, and gorgeous historic district with its own brand of Southern charm. Include the fact that you can easily access sandy beaches that can be used all year round thanks to the warm Southern climate, you can understand why it made the list for one of the best cities to visit in the USA.

Go kayaking at Shem’s Creek and meet the local dolphins that inhabit the harbor. Explore the Charleston Historic District via a walking, carriage, or food tour. Take a leisurely walk down the Battery, Charleston’s riverside promenade that was once a defensive bulwark. Across is Fort Sumter where the Civil War began. Take some pictures at the Rainbow Row and make sure you pick a sweetgrass basket at the Charleston City Market. Or just get away for a beach day on Isle of Palms.

Population

Approximately 135,000.

Best Time To Go

Plan your Charleston trip for spring, end of March to mid-April, when the azaleas burst into bloom and cover every inch of the city with vibrant pinks, purples, and whites. There isn’t a home in Charleston that doesn’t have azaleas!

For an unforgettable spring experience, visit Middleton Place Plantation or Magnolia Gardens & Plantation on the Ashley River. The gardens will blow you away with their spectacular colors.

Best Time To Avoid

The summer is hot and has lots of humidity.

Pro Tip

Visit The Battery in late afternoon to see dolphins playing in the harbor during sunset.

Directions

Charleston International Airport is only 20 minutes north of downtown, but also only 20 minutes south of the Ashley River plantations if you want to check out a gorgeous plantation before you even check in to your hotel. 

best US cities to visit
Seattle, Washington (Photo courtesy of Megan from My Moments And Memories)

Seattle, Washington

According to Megan from My Moments And Memories, there are many reasons to visit Seattle, one of the most beautiful and best cities to visit in the USA.

The city centre overlooks the stunning waters of Puget Sound and the mountains of Olympic National Park. You can easily explore island life, lush rain forests or wild beaches with one of the regular ferries from downtown Seattle.

If you don’t have time for that, head up to Smith Tower for an insight into Seattle’s past, and stunning 360 degree views of the city, and beyond. This includes Mt Rainier, another Seattle icon. You can even enjoy a cocktail as you take it all in. 

There are an incredible range of hiking trails within an hour or two from Seattle. Mt Rainier National Park is one of them. For an easy hike only 30 minutes from Seattle, consider the spectacular Snoqualmie Falls.  

For city experiences, explore Pike Place Market. It opened in 1907 and it is one of the oldest continuously operated public Farmer’s Market in the USA. You can find fruits, vegetables, seafood and other fresh ingredients, as well as artisan crafts and delicious restaurants.

For something wild, fun and completely different, visit the interactive Museum of Pop Culture.

Population

Approximately 725,000.

Best Time To Go

Summer when it rains the least.

Best Time To Avoid

Winter tends to be damp and gloomy with lots of rain. It rarely snows but when it does, the city shuts down.

Pro Tip

If you are short on time, do a Float plane tour of the city (from Lake Union). It is the best way to see as much as you can.

Directions

Seatac-Tacoma International Airport is only a 20 minute drive to downtown Seattle.

Virginia Beach, Virginia

Virginia Beach is a legacy destination, known for wide open spaces, pristine beaches and family-friendly attractions.

For a seaside resort town, there is a surprising amount of hiking and biking opportunities. The destination is home to 293​ parks and park facilities and 29 miles of scenic waterways. Lake Lawson is surrounded with stunning trees which in the fall are engulfed in vibrant colors. The nature area also features several overlook platforms for fantastic photos. 

False Cape State Park is an oceanside preserve with 15 miles of trails. It is located at the edge of the Virginia-North Carolina border and offers a serene environment to experience nature. For a shot of adrenaline, take a zip-lining ride at the Adventure Park.

With more than 200 miles of trails, a perfect way to spend a day in Virginia Beach is from a bike seat. Rent a bike and take a self-guided Bike, Brew and History Trail tour, which traverses 30 miles of terrain in three hours and includes a salt marshland preserve and coastal dunes. 

Population

Approximately 450,000.

Best Time To Go

Fall is an excellent time to visit Virginia Beach. The destination is blessed with an extended summer as it lingers into fall. You can see the leaves changing and you’ve got the beaches practically to yourself. 

Best Time To Avoid

 In Virginia Beach, the summers are warm and muggy and the winters are very cold and windy.

Pro Tip

Pack comfortable shoes and an appetite as there is a lot to explore outdoors. Because of the destination’s unique positioning, where the waters of the Chesapeake flow into the Atlantic Ocean, Virginia Beach is home to numerous fish species. As a result, it is one of the best cities to visit in the USA for seafood. But if that isn’t your thing, the destination has a diverse culinary offering as well.

Directions

Virginia Beach is conveniently located in the mid-Atlantic. Visitors can fly into Norfolk International Airport and then drive 30 minutes to Virginia Beach.

one of the best us cities to visit
Los Angeles, California

Los Angeles, California

Why is Los Angeles one of the best cities in the USA to visit? Well, there’s a ton of reasons – but to start, the city exudes “main character energy” and quite honestly — it’s hard to deny the allure of Los Angeles. It’s flashy, in-your-face and a city for anyone who wants to live the golden fantasy. Frankly, it’s about time some of us got a glimpse of everything La La land has to offer.

Everyone’s visited Disneyland, The Grove, and Beverly Hills, but if you’re looking for hidden gems, here’s where you’ll need to go! The Last Bookstore displays the art of preserving stories through fully-stocked bookshelves and custom-built book sculptures. So, If you love the smell of books and the vintage feel of printed material, that’s where you should be!

If you ever wanted to cross off trespassing a “no Trespassing” sign from your bucket list, head over to Sunken City. After a landslide occurred in a San Pedro neighborhood, “Sunken City” formed. Today, it has become a very popular hiking trail that locals & tourists love.

Lastly but definitely not least, how can we forget Griffith Park? It’s where Mia & Sebastian fell in love in the Oscar-winning film, “La La Land”. Notable mentions include the Venice canal, The Museum of Death and the Hollywood sign.

Population

Approximately 4 million.

Best Time To Go

March to May offers fewer crowds, comfortable temperatures and hotel prices that don’t kill your appetite for exploring the City of Angels. Key events during these months include the Los Angeles Marathon, Fiesta Broadway, Jazz Reggae Festival & more!

Best Time To Avoid

Avoid June – August as it is peak tourist season, meaning higher prices & less peace.

Pro Tip

While Los Angeles International Airport is the biggest, busiest airport in L.A., it is by no means the only option in the area. San Diego International Airport is only 2 hours away and can be a much better option depending on how much time you have and where you plan to spend most of your time in the LA area.

best US cities to visit
Columbus, Georgia (Photo courtesy of Visit Columbus Georgia)

Columbus, Georgia

Columbus, Georgia, is one of the best places to visit in the USA as it oozes southern hospitality, culinary opportunities and adventure. You can enjoy an outdoor urban escape with geocaching, birding and biking and then, explore city pleasures like fine dining and cultural events.

For thrill seekers, take on the challenge of the rapids of the Chattahoochee River’s urban whitewater course which is the largest in the world of its kind. Alternatively, reach new heights on one of the country’s only interstate zip line system.

The urban core of Columbus offers big city amenities while its waterfront location keeps the outdoors at your fingertips. Souvenir shopping in the heart of the city provides something for everyone including boutiques, large national retailers, antiques and outdoor outfitters.

Culture is tangible through exhibits at the National Civil War Naval Museum at Port Columbus, the River Center for Performing Arts and the Springer Opera House. The Opera House is also a historic landmark built in 1871 in Columbus, GA, and stands as the state’s official theatre. 

Population

Approximately 200,000.

Best Time To Go

The best time of year to go is September through June when the weather is relatively temperate.

Best Time To Avoid

July and August are very hot and humid, and best avoided.

Pro Tip

The Lunchbox Museum is very unique and nostalgic. It pulls at your heartstrings when you find the lunchbox you used as a school-age child. The National Infantry Museum adjacent to Fort Benning is Smithsonian quality. The public art in “Uptown Columbus” is worth a stroll. The Scrambled Dog is definitely something to try at Dinglewood’s Pharmacy.

And, if you don’t go rafting, you have to at a minimum go walk along the RiverWalk with a stop at Waveshaper Island to watch the white water rafting…see who gets through the “cutbait” rapid without getting dumped out of the boat!

Directions

Columbus, Georgia is only an hour and a half south of Atlanta via I-85 and I-185 from Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport.

best cities to visit in the United states
New York City, New York (Photo courtesy of Christian Ladewig of Unsplash)

New York City, New York

New York City is known worldwide for a reason. It is unlikely that any list of the best cities to visit in the United States or the world wouldn’t include it.

There is something for everyone to do, and it is impossible to see it all whether you are there for a weekend or a month.

However, if you are only there for a few days, every traveller should visit Times square at least once. Whether you like it or not, it is probably one of the most iconic symbols of New York City with its towering billboards, chintzy souvenir stores, and thronging masses of people.

Another iconic symbol is the Empire State Building. Arguably one of the most famous skyscrapers in the world, you should head to the top for panoramic views of the city and to plan your next adventure.

Lastly, try and go see the Statue of Liberty, designated a National Monument in 1924. It is situated in a park like setting and climbing the stairs to one of its platforms for breathtaking views is an incredible experience. In addition, you must take a ferry to reach the Statue of Liberty and it is a fantastic way to see NYC from a different perspective.

For incredible tips to make your trip to New York City the best, please see 50 Best New York City Tips For First Time Visitors.

Population

Approximately 8.5 million.

Best Time To Go

You should visit between April and June or in September and October when the weather is warm and the crowds are more manageable.

Best Time To Avoid

July and August are best avoided. The days are extremely hot and humid. The nights are barely any cooler. In addition, it gets cold in winter. While the snow is pretty when it falls, it turns into muddy slush quickly.

Pro Tip

Take public transit. It is extensive and affordable. Do not rent a car as parking is a fortune and often difficult to find. There are lots of taxis and ride sharing opportunities, but be prepared for traffic.

Leave midtown and explore. Besides seeing Times Square and a Broadway show, there’s nothing to do there. Prices are higher than elsewhere in the city. If you need a meal in midtown, walk a few blocks east or west for a better and more affordable meal.

Directions

There are three international airports that service New York City: John F Kennedy International Airport, LaGuardia Airport, and Newark Liberty International Airport. They each offer shuttle services, bus and ride shares to NYC. Newark offers a train to Penn station in downtown NY.

Hotel Recommendation

Nothing is quite as staggering as choosing a hotel in New York City. However, two great choices are Hotel Kimpton Eventi and Knickerbocker Hotel. They are upscale, well located and good value for what they offer. They have easy access to popular subway lines.

one of the best cities to visit in the usa
Cleveland, Mississippi

Cleveland, Mississippi

Cleveland, Mississippi is found right in the heart of the Delta, midway between Memphis and Vicksburg on historic Highway 61. They say this small place has big vibes. That’s a lot of praise in the Mississippi Delta, an area known for its legendary musical vibe. However, in Cleveland, the vibe isn’t just big, it’s one of a kind.

Cleveland is home to the GRAMMY Museum® Mississippi. This interactive experience celebrates music of all genres. It is 28,000-square-foot and includes multiple exhibits with films, memorabilia and more. Permanent and rotating exhibits cross all musical spectrums.

Cleveland’s music scene is notable. From the Deep Roots music spectacles to the Bologna Performing Arts Center, music and the arts are a central part of this small city making it one of the best American cities to travel to in the USA. 

Dockery Farms known as the “Birthplace of the Blues”, is a short drive away and a must-see for Blues enthusiasts. Art lovers will want to visit famed McCarty Ceramics in Merigold and Peter’s Pottery in Mound Bayou.

The heart of the city centers around the railroad. The popular Crosstie District in downtown is vibrant and welcoming. It is anchored by the Railroad Heritage Museum, home to an amazing “O” Gauge model train exhibit, which is one of the largest in the country.

Population

Approximately 10,600.

Best Time To Go

Christmas here is especially charming. A Christmas tree with more than 100,000 lights presides over the town’s legendary 50 Nights of Lights from mid-November until the beginning of January. More than 350 holiday displays, some as large as 65 feet, fill downtown. You can walk but it also drivable by car. 

Best Time To Avoid

Summer is best avoided as it is hot, often with 90% humidity.

Pro Tip

Have a drink overlooking the colorful sparkle at Bar Fontaine, its rooftop bar and restaurant at The Cotton House Hotel, and enjoy award-winning cuisine from James Beard Award nominated Chef Cole Ellis.  

Directions

International travelers should fly into Cleveland via Memphis International Airport. It is about a 2 hour drive.

Hotel Recommendation

The Lyric Hotel brings Delta traditions and luxury together in Cleveland’s West End. The Cotton House Cleveland offers an impressive hotel experience like none other in the region. 

one of the best American cities to visit
San Antonio, Texas (Photo courtesy of Shelley Collins from Unsplash)

San Antonio, Texas

San Antonio is one of the best US cities to visit for its rich colonial history and architecture.

One of the many highlights is The San Antonio River Walk which is made up of a network of paved paths and lush landscapes that gently wind through the city, offering views of the beautiful natural scenery and the city. The path runs along the San Antonio River, which represents the heart and soul of the city, and gives access to several of San Antonio’s top attractions, restaurants, and other forms of entertainment.

Another is the San Antonio’s five Spanish colonial missions which were designated a World Heritage site in 2015, only a handful of cultural properties in the United States on UNESCO’s list. You can visit one or all five of San Antonio’s well-preserved 18th century Franciscan missions. Four of them are still active and you can attend a service.

To get a feel for the multiple cultures that impact the culture of the city, take a food tour.
The Moveable Feast Tour is a walking tour that takes you to the King William district to show you all of the early architectural influences. In addition, you tour the private portion of the riverwalk, rarely seen by tourists. 

Population

Approximately 1.5 million

Best Time To Go

The best time to go is September – December, and March – June. This way you avoid the extreme temperatures and can enjoy the outdoors.

Best Time To Avoid

The best month to avoid is January as it can get very cold. 

Pro Tip

Make sure you visit the San Fernando Cathedral laid in 1731. It is vastly different from the European Cathedrals and almost seems to spring up from the ground around it.

Directions

The best airports in which to fly would be Austin and drive 1 1/2 hours to San Antonio.

New Orleans, Louisiana

There is no other city like New Orleans in the United States. In certain parts, you feel like you have been dropped into a small European city. Its French-Creole culture is unique and the city is full of great cuisine, music, and architecture. It has something for everyone whether you are travelling with friends or family or hoping for a romantic getaway.

A visit to Nola wouldn’t be complete without spending at least one day and one night in the French Quarter. There are amazing restaurants, great shopping, and a lot of history in this beautiful part of New Orleans. Make sure you go to Jackson Square, St. Louise Cathedral and of course, Bourbons Street to experience it all. At night, the streets come alive with party goers and music fills the street. At all times of the day, there are tons of exceptionally talented street performers around every corner.

You should also visit the National WWII Museum. Even if you have no interest in World War II, this is an incredible museum. It is completely interactive as you explore America’s role in Asia and Europe during the war. Videos, lights, sounds, and visual imagery completely capture your attention.

For some fantastic day trips, take a swamp tour or explore Oak Alley Plantation. The swamp tour is a blast. You head out by boat onto the bayou and look for crocodiles, feral hogs and other wildlife. Oak Alley Plantation is a more serious look at plantation life and includes many original buildings and furniture.

Population

390,000

Best Time To Go

Fall is the best time to go when the temperatures are cooler or springtime for Jazz Fest.

Best Time To Avoid

It is best to avoid traveling to New Orleans in the summertime. It is quite hot and humid. You may also want to avoid Mardi Gras which happens in February or March every year. Although it is a bucket list item for many people, the city becomes very busy and expensive.

Pro Tip

Be aware that B&B’s require a minimum two-night stay. Consider the suburbs for more savings.

Skip the long line ups at Cafe Du Monde and instead head to Cafe Beignet to try one of these New Orleans treats. Beignets are a cross between a french pastry and a doughnut. They are served warm, a little soft and gooey and are absolutely delicious.

Directions

Fly into New Orleans International Airport (MSY). It is only a 25 minute drive from the airport to the French Quarter.

Indianapolis, Indiana

Indy’s undergone momentous growth in the past decade with more cool hotels, an incredible dining scene, and bike trail expansion.

As the home of the Cultural Trail, deemed by Project for Public Spaces as “the biggest and boldest step by any American city,” Indy is truly one of the best cities to visit in the United States from a bicycle seat.

Public art has been a huge focus for the city, including the new, massive Major Taylor mural downtown honoring the life of the country’s first Black sports super star and fastest bicycle rider.

As one of the most family-friendly destinations in the country, families can enjoy the world’s largest children’s museum, a Smithsonian-affiliated interactive history park, and 250-acres of urban green space with the Indian Central Canal flowing through it.

For those with a passion for cars and speed, go 185-mph+ in a real Indy Car on the most iconic racetrack in the world, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Population

Approximately 870,000.

Best Time To Go

Indy is best when it turns from summer to fall. You beat the humidity of the summer, but it’s not yet cold. Temperature is mild and you can start to see the foliage turning bright fall colors.

Best Time To Avoid

Unless you’re specifically coming to see the “Greatest Spectacle in Racing” – the Indianapolis 500 – avoid dates in May as it is super busy with the 500 Festival. Room rates are on the higher side.

Pro Tip

If you’re flying, no need to rent a car. The downtown is extremely walkable and transportation like the Red Line, ride shares, and bike rentals are readily available.

Directions

Fly into Indianapolis International Airport (ranked one of the world’s best). Downtown is only 18 miles away. However, Indianapolis is within a day’s drive to more than half of the United State’s population.

best us cities to visit
Tallahassee, Florida (Photo courtesy of Visit Tallahassee)

Tallahassee, Florida

Named as one of Southern Living’s top 10 cities in the South, Tallahassee’s charm and style is derived from the pretty and often unexpected features found in Florida’s Capital. 

Tallahassee is situated in one of the most biologically diverse regions in the U.S. It is home to more than 700 miles of biking, hiking, paddling, equestrian and running trails — aptly earning the nickname “Trailahassee”. For outdoor enthusiasts, it is an ideal escape.

There is zip-lining through canopied trees and over a cypress swamp at the Tallahassee Museum. In addition, there are wildlife encounters while cruising along Wakulla Springs – the world’s deepest freshwater springs.

Lastly, Tallahassee has a vibrant arts, culture and deep-rooted history. They are on display in its murals, museums and performing arts.

Population

Approximately 191,000.

Best Time To Go

The best time to visit is in the fall or spring. That is when you can enjoy its trails full of Florida fauna.

Best Time To Avoid

Summer weather is usually long and hot, and best avoided.

Pro Tip

Download the destination mobile app for iPhone and Android users, which will allow anyone to view and save listings of places to stay, events to attend, sites to visit and where to eat and drink. Users can make custom itineraries based on their own unique interests, which can be shared with others.

Directions

Tallahassee is a great drivable escape for a handful of major cities such as Orlando, Atlanta, Tampa, Jacksonville, Birmingham. However, for those travelers who prefer to fly, the Tallahassee International Airport is only 15 minutes away from downtown.

best US cities to visit
Phoenix, Arizona (Photo courtesy of Winona Grey from Visit Phoenix)

Phoenix, Arizona

Phoenix is the fifth-largest city in the United States and its southwest inspired dining options, innovative cocktail experiences and awe-inspiring museums make it one of the best US cities to visit in the USA. 

It is home to one of a kind experiences like Century Grand, a turn-of-the-century inspired, cocktail-centric, immersive hospitality venue. Guests journey into an extraordinary world when ‘The West’ was won. Enjoy a cocktail experience filled with intriguing characters and tales of adventure.

Travelers can also experience the vibrant history and culture of the Native American community in Phoenix at the internationally-acclaimed Heard Museum

The Phoenix Art Museum is always a favorite amongst locals and visitors. The Phoenix Art Museum opened in 1959 and is now the largest art museum in the southwestern United States providing access to visual arts and educational programs in Arizona. The museum is located in the Roosevelt Arts District, which is known as a hub for arts and culture.

Population

Approximately 1.65 million.

Best Time To Go

The best time to visit Phoenix is in the fall when it is still warm enough to relax by the pool during the day, but the nights are cool enough to enjoy the gorgeous Phoenix sunsets from a patio or rooftop bar. 

Best Time To Avoid

Phoenix has sun and clear skies year round, but for those looking to spend time outside in the desert, it is best to avoid the hot summer months.

Pro Tip

For the full art and culture experience of Phoenix, come on the first Friday of any month. Phoenix First Fridays start at the Phoenix Art Museum and through a self-guided tour, visitors get to experience Roosevelt Row when it is most alive. This monthly event also offers live street performers, access to local galleries and Phoenix’s unofficial “Mural Alley”, and a fantastic bar and restaurant scene.

Directions

Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport is centrally located and welcomes travelers to Phoenix.

Hotel Recommendation

The Arizona Biltmore Resort, A Waldorf Astoria is an iconic Phoenix destination filled with glamour and magic. This resort is an oasis with 39 acres of luscious gardens, glistening swimming pools and awe-inspiring architecture influenced by the famed Frank Lloyd Wright. 

best US cities to visit
Concord, New Hampshire (Photo courtesy of Visit Concord)

Concord, New Hampshire

Concord, New Hampshire is one of the smaller cities that made the list for one of the best US cities to visit. Whether you come to be a part of its fantastic arts community, the local food movement, or the array of outdoor recreation sites, you’ll be sure to find plenty to do. With a wide range of events hosted all year round, Concord is a lively New England city full of fun-filled opportunities.

With tax-free shopping and plenty of parking, the downtown offers wonderful opportunities for shoppers. In between exploring consignment galleries, cafés and boutiques, you will often find street music – whether it is on the public piano tucked away off Main Street, or the saxophone player often found outside Candle Tree Soy Candles shop.

Beyond local cuisine, local artisans thrive in Concord. The League of NH Craftsman is found in town, and hosts Concord’s annual Capital Arts Fest. The Capitol Center For The Arts hosts performance arts, including music and comedy. With more causal music venues like Dos Hermanos Lounge & Tequila Bar, you will be going day and night.

There are many choices for outdoor recreation right in town. Whether you are looking for hiking trails, family friendly parks, or cross-country skiing, Concord has plenty to offer.

For groomed cross-country ski trails, visit Carter Hill Orchard. In the summertime, you can also pick your own apples.

Population

Approximately 43,000.

Best Time To Go

In summer, you’ll find a fantastic Farmer’s Market throughout Saturday mornings, hosting vendors from all over the state. In addition, there are many welcoming patio spaces sprinkled about town.

Best Time To Avoid

Concord, New Hampshire is an ideal year round destination.

Pro Tip

Concord is only 60 miles from The White Mountains, an outdoor enthusiasts dream. You can use it as a home base for day trips or a stopover on your way there.

Directions

Concord, New Hampshire is 80 miles or 1 1/2 drives from Boston Logan International Airport.

Last Word

The 20 best cities to visit in the USA offer excitement, fun, good food, and plenty of culture. There is something for everyone. The only problem now is deciding where to go first!

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