Top 10 Underrated Cities for Vacation in the US

Underrated cities

In case you haven’t heard, Los Angeles and New York are so last year.

For your next vacation, why not go somewhere off the beaten path? The United States has hundreds of awesome cities that don’t get the credit they deserve.

On this trip, satisfy the adventurer in you. These underrated cities can surprise you with awesome food, perfect photo ops, and unexpected adventures.

Now that you’re looking for a completely underrated but super cool city to visit, keep reading to see which one interests you most.

1. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Philadelphia is a cultural hub of awesome food and fascinating history. You can’t visit the city without trying a Philly cheese steak, and Geno’s Steaks has the best.

For history buffs, here are the landmarks you want to check out: Independence Hall, First Bank of the U.S., the Liberty Bell, and obviously, the Rocky steps.

If you’re looking for more adventure, check out the Eastern State Penitentiary on a ghost tour. This jail is no longer open, but they say ghosts of prisoners past still linger in the cells.

2. La Push, Washington

If you want to spend your trip in nature but not surrounded by a bunch of other hikers, La Push is for you.

It’s generally secluded so you can feel immersed in nature. It has some of the country’s best campsites and hiking trails.

Rialto Beach is worth visiting because of its scenery and tide pools. When you’re done there, paddle out to James Island for a new view and a dip in the water.

3. San Diego, California

Skip the busy streets of Los Angeles and head to San Diego, one of California’s most underrated cities.

San Diego has some cool monuments to check out, like the Cabrillo National Monument, where you can see Mexico from its base. Or the USS Midway Museum, which is located inside an old aircraft carrier.

Belmont Park is the place to be if you love rides, vintage arcade games, and wooden roller coasters. If not, Disneyland is a perfect day trip option.

If you’re a foodie, you’ll love sampling various cuisines at the local market.

4. Branson, Missouri

Perhaps the most underrated city on this list is Branson, Missouri.

You have tons of museum options if you’re interested in history, like the Titanic Museum, the Dinosaur Museum, and the History of Fishing Museum. The Veterans Memorial Museum should also not be missed.

Check out the Silver Dollar City for retro amusement park rides. For a breath of fresh air, go hiking at Table Rock State Park, one of the best vacation spots in MO.

Branson is known for blending city-life and nature together, so make sure you explore both.

5. Chicago, Illinois

Chicago is one of the underrated cities to visit if you love live music, comedy, and the urban experience.

Check out a baseball game at Wrigley Field before getting your shopping on down the Magnificent Mile. Cry laughing at a comedy show at Second City.

No trip to Chicago is complete without a visit to The Art Institute. Make sure you get a picture with the giant lions!

At night, enjoy a romantic stroll down the Riverwalk. Try a slice of Chicago’s strange but delicious pizza. There are dozens of bars and restaurants along the river to enjoy the city lights at from.

6. Sedona, Arizona

Sedona is Phoenix’s underrated little sister–with way more fun to be had.

Check out the Red Rock State Park to see the legendary red rock formations (hint: this spot’s perfect for taking pictures). Oak Creek Canyon has awesome views, too.

In town, you need to go on a vineyard tour and try some local Sedona wines. You can also check out the Sedona Community Farmer’s Market for other local gems.

If you’re looking for adventure, Sedona has some of the country’s best mountain climbing, dirt biking, and hiking destinations.

7. Cincinnati, Ohio

Cincinnati is an all-around fun, historical, and cultural city.

One fascinating stop you must make is to the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center. You’ll learn about a tragic, but interesting, part of Cincinnati’s background.

For more light-hearted activities, check out the Cincinnati Art Museum or the Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park. Both demonstrate Cincinnati’s devotion to the arts.

If you want to spend your time outdoors, the Findlay Market has dozens of outdoor vendors selling local foods and crafts. Washington Park is also a good option if you want to take a stroll past some beautiful scenery.

8. Buffalo, New York

Most people only see Buffalo when they’re en route to Niagara Falls, but here are some reasons why you should stick around and explore.

Beaver Island State Park has luxury golf courses and various golf tournaments you can participate in. It also has lots of trails and walking paths to explore nature.

There are tons of historical sites, too. Lafayette Square, the civil war monument, is a must-see. As you’re touring the city, take note of the exceptional architecture. Many of the most intriguing buildings were designed by Frank Lloyd Wright.

9. Norfolk, Virginia

Norfolk is one of the prettiest and most underrated cities to visit in the fall. There are multiple parks that provide the perfect autumn scenery. Check out Sarah Constant Beach Park or Ocean View Fishing Pier for a breath of fresh air.

The Mermaid Factory sells handmade mermaid crafts related to the folklore of these creatures. The Hampton’s Road Naval Museum depicts this city’s strong navy association.

If you’re looking for a calm, relaxing, and enriching vacation, Norfolk is your place.

10. Louisville, Kentucky

For a fun time filled with raging nightlife, live bluegrass music, and unique excursions, check out Louisville.

You could spend the day at the Derby betting on horses, and your nights at The Mercury Ballroom enjoying local bands. Or, stop by the 21C Museum to learn about Kentucky’s visual arts scene.

For even more fun, check out Atlantis Waterpark to get your adrenaline flowing.

Want to Visit One of These Underrated Cities?

So, which of these cities caught your eye?

Whichever one you choose, you’re sure to have an incredible vacation!

For more helpful travel advice, check out our classifieds’ travel section.

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