New York and Los Angeles are the two most visited cities in the US and then there’s Las Vegas, San Francisco, Orlando, and Chicago which are also big-hitters. However, if you’re planning a trip to the US there’s so much more to see.
If you want to get away from the crowds and experience a more authentic American city you are not short of options. Here are ten fascinating, lesser known cities in the US that you should visit if you have the chance.
If you’re traveling to the US from abroad you need to complete the ESTA visa form before setting off. It is quick to fill out and visitors need to print out the ESTA to show to the border authorities. It may be necessary to get a sponsorship letter for the tourist visa to successfully apply if you need a B1 or B2 visa.
Portland is known for its world-class craft beers, hipster cafes, bridges and cycling lanes, and general eco-friendliness. The city has thriving live music and theatre scenes and a great place to go shopping. Its beautiful, green surroundings make for idyllic hikes and the iconic Washington Park incorporates Japanese gardens, Oregon Zoo, and a children’s museum.
Salt Lake City rose to fame in 2002 when it hosted the Winter Olympics. It is a highly-elevated, picturesque city with is bordered by the waters of the Great Salt lake and the snowy peaks of the Wasatch Range. It is the perfect destination for hikers, skiers, climbers and any sort of outdoorsman. The city itself is more than just a convenient spot to set off. The 19th-century architecture is stunning and includes buildings such as the Salt Lake Temple.
If you are touring the east coast, Philadelphia is just a short drive from New York and it’s way less stressful. The city was regenerated in the 90s and many of the most run-down neighbourhoods were transformed. The Fairmont Park is impressive, and and the city is culturally-rich, containing numerous museums and monuments including the Independence Hall which is a UNESCO site. If you go there remember to try a mouth-watering Philly cheese steak.
Memphis is famous for its music and particularly for the king of rock’n’roll, Elvis Presley. Johnny Cash and BB King also recorded albums in the legendary Sun Studio. Presley’s Graceland mansion is the most popular attraction but other landmarks such as the Blues Hall of Fame, the Rock’n’Roll Soul Museum, and the Stax Museum of American Soul Music, are also of interest for music lovers.
San Diego is the perfect place to finish a west coast trip. Located on the Pacific Ocean, close to Tijuana, the climate is warm an ideal for relaxing at Mission beach or learning to surf. The huge Balbao Park is the site of the reputable San Diego Zoo and numerous art galleries, museums, and gardens. You can also visit the harbor where there is an aircraft carrier (USS Midway) which became a museum.
Despite being a large city with an incredible amount to see, Atlanta is not a place which visitors tend to go. the city played an important role in the American Civil War, the Civil Rights Movement, and hosted the 1996 Olympics. You can visit the National Historic Site, Martin Luther King’s former home, Georgia Aquarium, and the headquarters of both CNN and Coca Cola. The food is fantastic and it’s a particularly good place for waffles, shrimp, and fried chicken.
Home to a vibrant arts community, a host of music festivals, and reputable wineries and microbreweries. Some of the most popular festivals include the Treefort Music Festival, Punk in Drublic, and the Boise Brew Olympics. The city is surrounded by mountains and hills which are perfect for hiking, skiing, cycling, and rafting. Visitors can also enjoy the 25-mile Boise River Greenbelt, the park at the heart of the city.
If you love live music, Nashville is the place to go. There are hundreds of venues and bars and you can see performances every night of the week, and many of them are free. If you want to see a big gig, see what’s on at the Ryman Auditorium or the Ascend Amphitheater. You can also visit Jack White’s studio Third Man Records and see artists recording. Make sure you try BBQ chicken when you’re in Nashville.
Charleston is characterized by its quaint cobblestone streets, horse-drawn carriages, and its beautiful French quarter and Battery districts. Its Waterfront Park overlooks the harbor and Fort Sumter was a stronghold during the Civil War where some of the first fighting took place. The beach is stunning and there are countless hidden gems dotted around the city.
Jackson is dubbed as the ‘City with Soul’ and it is worth a visit. History runs deep in the city which was central to the American Civil Rights struggle in the 1960s. There are numerous museums based around this topic as well as others, such as the Mississippi Museum of Art which displays a stunning collection of the state’s masterpieces. It is also has a famously good restaurants.