There’s nothing wrong with New York, L.A. and Boston, but there are plenty of other amazing cities in the U.S. that deserve recognition. This summer, get off the beaten path and consider visiting one of these five underappreciated U.S. cities.
Burlington — perhaps better known as the birthplace of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream — doesn’t see as much tourist traffic in the summer as other cities, and we're not sure why. The town is beautiful and eclectic. Walk the Robert Frost Trail, look for the legendary Champ monster at Lake Champlain from a sunset cruise on the lake or shop the open-air Church Street Market for some souvenirs. Burlington doesn’t fall short in the food and drink category, either. Stop by coffee shop Scout & Co. for some creative ice cream flavors made with local ingredients or Taco Gordo for tacos and cocktails.
Boulder is a picturesque town nestled just below the Rocky Mountains that’s full of fun things to do. Start by taking an easy hike to enjoy the scenery and the fresh Colorado air. Then head to Pearl Street for some shopping. Boulder Dushanbe Teahouse should be your next stop; much of it was built by hand in Tajikistan and sent to Boulder, where it now serves afternoon tea to tourists and residents. Finally, visit Beyond The Mountain Brewing for live music and great beer.
Most Hawaii visitors head for Honolulu, Oahu or Maui, which all have plenty to offer. But Hilo, located on the east coast of the Big Island, is one of the best and most beautiful places in Hawaii to visit — and even better, it’s not as crowded with tourists.
Hilo is best known for the Rainbow Falls in Wailuku River State Park. Five minutes away from downtown, Rainbow Falls is an 80-foot waterfall where the mist creates a rainbow on sunny days. Other hidden gems in Hilo include Hawaii Volcanoes National Park’s 150 miles of hiking trails (which includes the Kilauea volcano, one of the most active volcanoes in the world), the Boiling Pots (a section of the Wailuku River that runs through lava flows) and cheap and delicious food such as the boxed lunches from Kawamoto Store.
Charlotte, North Carolina
History, NASCAR and great food make Charlotte a fun destination for the entire family. Visit the Charlotte Motor Speedway for a race and then the NASCAR Hall of Fame to better appreciate the sport. Historical sites such as the Historic Rosedale Plantation and the Wells Fargo Museum add a little education to your summer months, and sweet treats from Amelie’s French Bakery will placate kids who might not fully appreciate Charlotte’s rich history.
Cleveland is often overlooked by tourists, but it shouldn’t be. Cleveland is home to numerous museums — the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, the Museum of Natural History and the Museum of Art. It’s also home to some incredible food. Pierogi and the Polish Boy (essentially a sausage sandwich) are two popular dishes you can’t leave without trying. And for fans of the movie A Christmas Story, you can tour the very house that was used for the film’s exterior shots. You might even spot the leg lamp in the window.