To me, summer means lazy days by the pool, beach books, and of course, traveling. I’ve always loved taking small trips around the country to see new places. So, I wanted to put together a fun list of the best US cities to visit.
Of course, I’d love to travel abroad and take a chic European vacay, but that’s not always feasible. I almost always drive, but even if I fly, a domestic flight is far less expensive than an international one.
So, if you’re looking to take a stateside trip this summer, here are the best US cities to consider:
Related Read: 10 Steps to Planning a Road Trip You’ll Love
Best US Cities to Visit
1. New York City
New York City, the Big Apple, also known as The City That Never Sleeps. As far as US cities go, New York is probably the most popular, and for good reason. There’s an absolute abundance of things to do.
First, there’s the overall scenery—the skyscrapers and iconic landmarks such as the Brooklyn Bridge, the World Trade Center, and the Statue of Liberty. And then you’ve got Central Park and Little Island, natural landscapes in the midst of an urban oasis.
Finally, for culture lovers, you’ve got a ton of art museums, galleries, and world-class entertainment (from music to dance to theatre).
Must See Attractions in NYC:
Ah, Chicago, the Windy City. It’s the third largest city in America, smack dab in the middle of nowhere (ie, in Illinois).
But that Midwestern charm only makes it one of the best US cities to visit. In fact, Chi town is one of my personal favorites. Between the lake, the art, the restaurants, and the weather, it’s honestly an amazing city.
Chicago is known for their skyscrapers, bustling atmosphere, and for their fabulous food, including deep dish pizza and their famous Chicago-style hot dogs.
Must See Attractions in Chicago:
3. San Fransisco
Honestly, California has some of the most beautiful cities in the entire country, and San Francisco is no exception.
It’s consistently being touted as one of America’s coolest cities thanks to its diverse cultural scene, fantastic weather, and rolling hills.
And of course, you can’t forget about that world famous Golden Gate Bridge!
Must See Attractions:
4. St. Louis
Next on the list of best US Cities to visit, we have St. Louis, The Gateway to the West.
I’ve lived in the Lou my entire and I absolutely love it. Of course, I might be a little biased, but Time Out also named it number 11 on the most beautiful US cities in 2022.
St. Louis is probably best known for The Arch, but there’s also a ton of culture here. We have an amazing art museum, which, like many of our museums, is free!
In addition, St. Louis has one of the best zoo’s in the country – also free to visit!
As far as food goes, we’re known for our St. Louis style pizza, our barbecue, and our frozen custard.
Must See Attractions in St. Louis:
5. Colorado Springs
Colorado is one of the most beautiful states in the US. And if you’re planning a visit, Colorado Springs is one of the best cities to check out.
It’s incredibly scenic, from Pikes Peak to my personal favorite, The Garden of the Gods, there’s so much natural beauty to take in.
Then, for those of you who love art, check out the historic downtown Manitou Springs. There are a ton of unique art shops here.
Must See Attractions:
Seattle is known as the Emerald City thanks to the lush forests that stay green year-round. Part of that is due to the weather (you’ve probably heard Seattle’s other nickname, Rain City.)
It might be famous for it’s rainy climate, but that’s a bit of a misnomer. Although it does rain often (on average, a whopping 152 days of the year!), it’s typically just a light drizzle that stops within minutes.
And the end result, a city surrounded by water, mountains, and evergreen forestry, is nothing short of striking.
But natural beauty isn’t the only appeal. Birthplace of Starbucks coffee and the grunge music scene, Seattle also has a vibrant city life.
Must See Attractions in Seattle:
7. Las Vegas
Las Vegas, or Sin City, is also known as America’s Playground.
It’s famous for its bustling nightlife, world-class entertainment, and of course, it’s casino’s. Along with the gambling, Vegas has a number of adult-themed attractions, hence the nickname Sin City.
But, there’s also a great deal of shopping, restaurants, and shows to check out.
8. Washington DC
Next up, and one of the most popular US Cities to visit, is Washington DC, our Nation’s Capital.
There is so much history in DC, making it a perfect vacation spot. From national monuments to museums, there are a ton of things to do and see. Plus, a lot of the attractions are free to visit, making it an affordable place as well.
One of my favorite things there is the Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial Wall. I remember it being an incredibly powerful experience for me.
Must See Attractions in DC:
Boston, Massachusetts is one of America’s oldest cities. It’s famous for having some of the best colleges in the country, including Harvard and MIT.
But aside from that, the city is undoubtedly rich in history and culture. Walk the Freedom trail, visit the John F. Kennedy National Historic Site, and see the Paul Revere House.
Boston is also a popular foodie destination, well-known for their baked beans, lobster rolls, and clam chowder.
Must See Attractions in Boston:
10. Canyon Country
So, this last one isn’t really a US City, but rather a US Trip. Technically, this trip spans both Utah and Arizona, but trust me, it’s well-worth the drive!
Starting in Utah, you’ll want to check out Bryce National Canyon. It’s honestly one of the most beautiful parks I’ve ever been to.
Next up, you’ve got Zion National Park. It’s a huge park in Utah with absolutely gorgeous hiking trails. Thanks to the river, the park has what’s known as Emerald Pools with stunning hanging gardens and waterfalls.
After that, you’ll head to Arizona to see the Grand Canyon. Now, I will say, I personally think that both Bryce and Zion are prettier than the Grand Canyon, but it’s the Grand Canyon, so you won’t want to miss it.
Plus a Few Extras!
Cleveland, Ohio is known for its beautiful parklands and rich cultural atmosphere. The city has a vibrant art and music scene and is often called the birthplace of Rock-N-Roll. Make sure to check out the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame there!
Annapolis, Maryland is often called America’s Sailing Capitol. It’s a small, coastal city right by the water with a walk-able downtown area, beautiful architecture, and plenty of amazing seafood.
Dallas, Texas is known for its amazing food and cosmopolitan atmosphere. Plus, it’s home to the largest urban arts district in the US
There are a ton of restaurants, shopping centers, and skyscrapers. Plus, Dallas is home to the largest urban arts district in the US.
New Orleans, Louisiana is one of the coolest, most unique US cities there is. It’s famous for vibrant festivities (most notably, Mardi Gras), jazz music, and Creole food. Don’t miss the French Quarter and Bourbon Street while you’re there.
Hilton Head Island, located off the coast of South Carolina, is one of the most beautiful islands in America. It’s a 12-mile stretch of white sandy beaches famous for its incredible lighthouses and golf courses.
This list of the best US cities to visit was a highly collaborative effort. Thus, I’d like to thank The Picky Bookworm, Transatlantic Notes, Mind Beauty Simplicity, Riyah Speaks, and Let’s Grow Mom for all their help!