The U.S. is alive with thousands of exciting cities, but the lion’s share of attention still goes to those with the most name recognition: Los Angeles, Chicago, New York. Discovering America’s more unsung places can make for surprisingly gratifying travel.
Nothing like the steel town you thought you knew, the first thing you notice entering the City of Champions is its glorious skyline. As this walkable metropolis is a rich intersection of shopping, cultural district, and award-winning sports teams, it’s not far to just about everything on a traveler’s checklist, from culture at the Andy Warhol Museum and Heinz Hall, to shopping at the Strip District’s specialty shops, to nightlife at Touch Nightclub, to family fun at PNC Park. And don’t leave the Steel City without riding the Duquesne Incline for a fabulous dinner at one of Mt. Washington’s premier restaurants. Downtown Pittsburgh has several convenient hotels to choose from, including Renaissance Pittsburgh Hotel and Omni William Penn.
Kansas City, MO
‘Crazy little women’ aren’t the only reason to visit this revitalized city. Start your stay at one of KC’s attraction-accessible hotels such as the Westin Crown Center Hotel or Raphael Hotel. If baseball is your thing, take the family to Negro Leagues Baseball Museum or Kauffman Stadium, home of the KC Royals. And no visit to the city that brought the world such iconic figures as Duke Ellington and Count Basie would be complete without visiting the American Jazz Museum or one of the city’s world-renowned jazz clubs.
Albuquerque is an outdoor adventurer’s fantasy. This breathtaking city sits a mile above sea level and boasts an average of 310 days of sun per year. You’ll marvel at its stunning scenery as you engage in one of this city’s favorite pastimes, hot air ballooning. If you’re a film aficionado, visit Albuquerque Studios, where such shows as Breaking Bad have been filmed. Steeped in centuries of history, Albuquerque is as culturally diverse a city as they come, with more than 20 museums and cultural centers. Visit Nob Hill for a shopping experience you won’t soon forget. Hotels range from economy such as downtown’s Econo Lodge, to luxury such as the iconic Hotel Andaluz.
Yes, it is one of America’s more recognizable cities, but history buffs often mistakenly bypass the first home of the U.S. Continental Congress opting instead for D.C. as their premier choice of historic destinations. But this culturally rich Pennsylvania epicenter can offer travelers more patriotic terrain than just about any other U.S. city. Home to Independence Hall, Liberty Bell Center, National Constitution Center, Christ Church Burial Ground and Betsy Ross’s house, among others, Philly should be a target for all freedom-loving Americans. Hotels convenient to these landmarks include Windsor Suites and Holiday Inn Express.
Branson has long been the place for your parents and grandparents to visit for the great shows featuring big stars of nostalgia. But its amazing sites, world-class fishing, and renowned wineries can make this an exciting destination for any generation. Branson/Lakes Area offers hundreds of miles of shoreline as well as thousands of acres of breathtaking wilderness perfect for outdoor enthusiasts. And, of course, with hundreds of live shows and award-winning theme parks, this city offers more in the way of fun than your family could exhaust in ten vacations. Branson has over 200 hotels and inns to suit every budget.
Salt Lake City, UH
Astonishing landscapes surround this booming capital of Utah. At the top of the list of attractions for this historic city is the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. In winter, Salt Lake City is home to some of the country’s best skiing, and in summer nature lovers can head for the mountains for cycling and hiking. Hotels range in price from economy such as Doubletree, to AAA five-diamond such as Grand America Hotel.