When people in the United States think of traveling to major cities, they usually consider places like New York, Boston, Miami, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. But there are some great large cities in the United States to visit that are often overlooked by travelers. These are six of the best overlooked cities in the United States to visit.
One of my great hobbies in life is to travel. I have been to every state in the United States, and to each of the lower 48 states multiple times. I’ve also been to every city on this list multiple times, and I have found each city to be a great and rewarding place to visit.
I feel a great rush of adrenaline every time I travel and see new things. I hope I’ve pointed out some overlooked cities and sites that you can travel to and have the same types of experiences.
The Six Best Overlooked Cities in the United States to Visit
When most people think of a large city to visit in Pennsylvania they usually think of Philadelphia. While Philadelphia is a great city to visit, the second largest city in the state of Pennsylvania, Pittsburgh, is also a great city to visit.
Located where the Monongahela and Allegheny Rivers merge to form the Ohio River, Pittsburgh is a picturesque city with a ton of great visitor attractions. That includes the 42 story Cathedral of Learning, the Carnegie Museum of Natural History, the Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, the Carnegie Science Center, the Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium, and the Frick Art and Historical Center, which includes the Frick mansion called Clayton.
No trip to Pittsburgh would be complete without a ride up one of the two incline railways that climb Mount Washington offering great views of the city. Both the Duquesne and Monongahela Inclines are located along the Monangahela River across the river from Pittsburgh.
When most people think of a city to visit in the Pacific Northwest they think of Seattle. But Portland is another Pacific Northwest city that is well worth a visit.
I’ve been to Portland a few times, and it is one of the most lush, green cities you will ever see. Located near the confluence of the Willamette and Columbia Rivers, Portland has great visitor attractions like the Portland Art Museum, the Lan Su Chinese Garden, the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry, and Washington Park, which includes the Hoyt Arboretum, the Portland Japanese Garden, the Oregon Zoo, and the World Forestry Center.
Portland is a really great city to visit at certain times during the year. The great Portland Rose Festival takes place in June. Portland also hosts awesome beer festivals like the Portland International Beerfest and Oregon Brewers Festival in July, the Spring Beer and Wine Festival in April, the Organic Brewers Festival in June, and the Holiday Ale Festival in December.
When most people think of big cities to visit in Texas they think of Dallas and Houston. But San Antonio is another really great city in Texas to visit that is loaded with great visitor attractions.
Most people know about the Alamo in San Antonio, which is a great place to visit, but the attraction I’ve always enjoyed the most when visiting San Antonio is the River Walk. The River Walk is a series of walkways that run right next to the San Antonio River right through the heart of San Antonio. The River Walk is lined with restaurants and stores, and you can even take a dinner cruise on the river.
Other great visitor attractions in San Antonio include the 750 foot high Tower of the Americas, SeaWorld San Antonio, Six Flags Fiesta Texas, the San Antonio Zoo, the Japanese Tea Gardens, the Spanish Governor’s Palace, and the San Antonio Botanical Gardens, which includes the Lucille Halsell Conservatory.
When most people think of a city to travel to in New Mexico they think of Santa Fe. But Albuquerque is a great city to visit filled with plenty of fun things to do and see.
The one visitor attraction most tourists to Albuquerque take is the Sandia Peak Tramway. I’ve taken the Sandia Peak Tramway a couple of times and it is awesome as the tramway climbs from Albuquerque to the crest line of the Sandia Mountains some 4,000 feet above the city. The views on the way up and from the top are spectacular.
Other great visitor attractions in Albuquerque include the Museum of Natural History and Science, the Albuquerque Museum of Art and History, the Old Town Albuquerque historical district, and the Albuquerque Biological Park, which includes the Rio Grande Zoo, the Rio Grande Botanic Garden, and the Albuquerque Aquarium.
When most people think of a city to visit in Arizona they think of Phoenix. While Phoenix is a great city to visit, so is Arizona’s second largest city, Tucson.
I’ve been to Tucson a couple of times and it’s a great city to visit filled with many excellent hotels and spas. There’s also plenty of great things to do and see in Tucson like the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, Old Tucson Studios where many Hollywood movies have been filmed, Biosphere 2, and the University of Arizona, which has a bunch of great museums, planetariums, arboretums, and observatories that are open to the public.
Saguaro National Park is located close to Tucson and it’s another great place to visit. My favorite thing to do when visiting Tucson is to drive into the nearby mountains for the spectacular views of the city and surrounding countryside from places like Sentinel Peak. I like to go around dusk and watch the city light up at night.
Indianapolis is best known for hosting the Indianapolis 500 annually, but it’s really a great city to visit for more than just the race. Indianapolis has one of the best downtown areas of any city in the United States.
I’ve been to Indianapolis for the Indy 500, and I’ve also been to the city a number of times just to visit the city itself. The downtown area is a really great area, filled with shopping, restaurants, great walking areas, many fascinating visitor attractions, and you can visit everything by simply walking from one of the big hotels located right downtown.
I’d put one stipulation on visiting Indianapolis. I would not go in the winter. The rest of the year, though, is great for walking and seeing Indianapolis along the Central Canal and the White River where great visitor attractions like the Indianapolis Zoo, Indiana State Museum, White River Gardens, Indiana War Memorial, the 284 foot tall Soldiers and Sailors Monument, and the Indiana State House (capitol building) are located.