By Dana Perkiss
You don’t have to travel far for an unforgettable vacation – the U.S. is filled with diverse cities boasting distinct attractions and culture, making for the perfect domestic getaway.
Whether you want sunny beaches, vibrant culture, or daring adventures, you’ll find all of that and more in the U.S. To help guide you, here are eight of the best cities in the U.S. to visit!
If you’re wondering “why should I go to LA?” the better question is, why shouldn’t you go to LA? Filled with beautiful beaches, a rich art scene, and of course, Hollywood, LA is a hotspot destination for all travelers and one of the best U.S. cities.
If you’re looking for a relaxing beach getaway, LA is a great choice with its surplus of gorgeous beaches. Venice Beach is one of the most popular beaches in LA, with Santa Monica being a close contender. Harry Potter fans will be ecstatic to visit The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Hollywood, decorated with its very own Hogwarts Castle and exciting rides.
Interested in shopping? LA is filled with shopping districts perfect for the fashion lover, including the LA Fashion District and iconic Rodeo Drive! Speaking of Rodeo Drive, you’ll have to visit the infamous 90210 of Beverly Hills to get there. Keep your eyes peeled for your favorite (or not-so-favorite) celebs walking around here, and do some shopping (or window-shopping) yourself!
Oh, New York… the City that Never Sleeps, the Big Apple, the hub of Broadway, and a shopper’s utopia. There are tons of reasons why you should visit NYC at least once in your life, and at least a million things to do each time you visit.
Don’t sleep on the typical New York attractions like the Empire State Building and Statue of Liberty, or having a picnic in Central Park and getting lost in Times Square, but just know that there’s so much more to NYC than these usual recommendations. The newly created man-made Little Island opened in 2021, located along the Hudson River and filled with gorgeous green spaces and an amphitheater for live shows. Visitors can also check out the tallest outdoor sky desk in the West, the Edge on Hudson Yards with its exciting glass floor and panoramic views of the city.
You can also head out of the “city” to visit Brooklyn, where you can devour scrumptious pizza in Dumbo, chill on a rooftop bar in Williamsburg, or even lounge on the beach at Coney Island. Book enthusiasts will adore the surplus of bookstores like the Strand, foodies will love the diverse food markets like Japan Village, and history-buffs will love the numerous museums like the iconic Metropolitan Museum of Art. Whether you’re looking for nonstop entertainment, historical experiences, or outdoor activities, NYC offers it all.
Every island in Hawaii has its own unique charm and scenic wonders, but our recommendation would be Oahu as it's where you’ll find the state’s capital: Honolulu.
Filled with phenomenal beaches, imposing volcanos, wondrous rainforests, and high-class restaurants, Honolulu is rightfully one of Hawaii’s most beloved destinations. Whether you’re looking for adrenaline-racing activities or laid back vibes, Honolulu can provide whatever you want! Adventure-seekers should head to Diamond Head to witness the dazzling volcano crate or participate in a shipwreck dive, while nature-enthusiasts will enjoy the vast Honolulu Botanical Gardens or the Honolulu Zoo.
Beach-goers should head to the expansive Waikiki Beach or Kuhio Beach Park, while those looking to shop should visit the Ala Moana Center or Downtown Honolulu. It’s here where you’ll also find some of the best restaurants around, and trust us when we say you should not sleep on Hawaiian cuisine! You’ll also want to catch a luau when you travel to Honolulu, where you’ll get to feast and dance the night away with fire dancers and performers!
The Jazz Capital of the U.S. has so much more to offer than what meets the eye – a melting pot of history and culture, NOLA is one of the liveliest and most interesting cities in the U.S. For the foodie, historian, and night-owl, there are tons of things to do in New Orleans for everyone.
Firstly, the French Quarter should be high up (if not first) on your NOLA bucket list. This historic neighborhood boasts colorful buildings decorated with streamers, lively jazz clubs, classic Cajun eateries, and the infamous Bourbon Street. Dance around to live music with your favorite cocktail, watch extravagant street performers, and visit the iconic Café Du Monde for some coffee and beignets!
Art-appreciators can check out the New Orleans Museum of Art, those looking for open green spaces would enjoy the 1,300-acre City Park, and historians can pay their respects at the National WWII Museum. Though NOLA is a super-walkable city, it also boasts a great Streetcar system that can transport you around easily to popular city sites like Audubon Park and the Garden District.
If you want a wild good time, constant parties, and laid-back beach vibes, then Miami is the place for you! Known best for its exuberant party scenes, beautiful beaches, and top-notch restaurants, Miami is rightfully one of the best cities to visit in the U.S.
Head to South Beach for the classic Miami experience, where you’ll feel like you’re inside of a movie with sparkling white sand and glittering sun as your backdrop. Spend ample time strolling around the Art Deco Historic District, filled with old neighborhoods and hipster culture. Take a selfie at the outdoor art gallery of Wynwood Walls, and shop till you drop at the Bayside Marketplace.
The Venetian Pool is by far one of the best things to see in Miami, with this Mediterranean-like pool being the perfect place to lounge in its crystal blue waters. Try to catch a performance at the cabaret-style Faena Theater, admire tropical plants at Fairchild Tropical Botanical Garden, and find tranquility at the 120-year-old “wish tree” in Upper Buena Vista.
Branded with the slogan “Keep Austin Weird,” this southern city is renowned for its diverse creative community, almost endless sunshine, numerous parks, incredible live music, and so much more. It’s the perfect U.S. destination for travelers looking for a unique experience, a lively city with a small-town vibe and friendly atmosphere.
There’s an eclectic mix of things to do in Austin, starting with the foodie who loves Tex-Mex cuisine, barbecue, and coffee! Yes, that’s right – along with the most mouthwatering barbecue you’ve ever had, plus most savory queso you’ve ever tasted, Austin also has a thriving coffee culture. When you’re walking around Austin, make sure to try out as many cafes as you can!
You’ll need that caffeine, considering Austin is filled with both outdoor adventures and indoor entertainment! You’ll definitely want to check out the fascinating Bat Bridge, where you’ll see hundreds of thousands of bats flying over the bridge (from March to October). Nature-lovers should check out Lady Bird Lake and the Hike-and-Bike Trail, and Sixth Street is your go-to for the best restaurants, bars, and nightlife in Austin.
If you’re searching for your sweet Southern fantasy, then Charleston is the place for you. Filled with Southern charm, hospitality, and delicious food, Charleston is great for both family-friendly vacations and romantic (or friendly) getaways.
Folks can stroll around the colorful streets of historic buildings, particularly at the Rainbow Road promenade or along The Battery. You’ll also want to meander around Waterfront Park and cool off by the iconic Pineapple Fountain – in fact, it’s the perfect selfie spot! Lounge in paradise at Folly Beach, marvel at the 65 feet tall Angel Oak Tree, or learn about the city’s dark history at one of its many plantations. It’s important to note that while much of Charleston’s past is rooted in the American Civil War and slavery, it’s present is filled with restoration projects and acknowledgements towards its past.
There’s also the bustling Historic Charleston City Market, one of the oldest markets in the country featuring stalls with locally-crafted goods, clothes, and food! Speaking of food, bring your loosest pair of pants – because you’ll want to splurge on Southern comfort food, barbecue, biscuits, and some savory sweet tea. You can find some of the best food and bars on King Street, Charleston’s 300-year-old main street.
Internationally known as a major entertainment city with numerous nightclubs, casinos, upscale restaurants, and more, Vegas is a prime destination that everyone should visit at least once. Practically a playground for adults, you’re doing something wrong if you’re bored in Vegas.
Seeing the spectacular Bellagio fountain show is a must when you travel to Vegas, which you’ll find on the iconic Strip. Here you’ll also get to see the famous Eiffel Tower at Paris, Las Vegas, the Luxor’s Pyramid, and the Venetian’s Grand Canal. You’ve probably seen these iconic sites in postcards or movies, but trust us when we say it’s nothing like seeing these gems in person.
If you’re looking to gamble, you’ll find no shortage of casinos in Vegas. There’s Caesars Palace Casino, MGM Casino, and so much more. Aside from the nightlife, there are also plenty of things to do during the day in Vegas. You can go kayaking in the nearby Black Canyon, get your adrenaline pumping at the Grand Canyon Skywalk, and see majestic animals at the Lion Habitat Ranch. There’s also the extravagant Topgolf driving range, the Supercar Racetrack where you can drive like you’re in Fast & Furious, and the tallest Ferris wheel in the world: Las Vegas High Roller!
Which of these U.S. cities will you visit next?