New York, Los Angeles and Chicago are amazing. No doubt about it. But, if you want to expand your travel horizons—without leaving the country—we highly suggest looking beyond the aforementioned metropolitan areas. From up-and-coming cities like Louisville to those that have seen a recent renaissance (hello, Motor City), these destinations are shaking up our domestic itineraries.
14 Up-and-Coming U.S. Cities You Should Try to Visit in 2019
Looking for a place with stellar drinking and dining? Consider Milwaukee. Beer, bratwurst and frozen custard are just the beginning. Don’t leave without sampling squeaky cheese curds. (When in the Dairy State, right?) Take a break from glutinous delights to tour Pabst Mansion or Frank Lloyd Wright’s Burnham Block.
After years of hardship, the “Comeback City” is seeing a resurgence with a slew of new restaurants (make reservations at Lady of the House, please and thank you), shops and lodgings (snooze at the Detroit Foundation Hotel, set in the former fire department headquarters). It also boasts a vibrant art scene and has become a popular filming location.
Baseball? Sure. Horse racing? You bet. Bourbon? Duh. Louisville checks all the boxes with its mix of all-American pastimes and well-documented revelry. Of course, you’ll want to visit Churchill Downs and the Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory. Don’t leave without hitting up at least a few distilleries.
St. Paul, Minnesota
Step aside Minneapolis, St. Paul is oh-so cool. Hip cafés, funky bars and loft-style apartments make Lowertown a favorite among millennials. Over on the East Side, a long-abandoned factory-turned-urban farm sprouts hydroponic kale. The complex also touts the first distillery cocktail room to open in St. Paul. Mall of America? Puh-lease.
Richmond is on the rise and showing off its modern side with chic stores and eateries. We’ll even go out on a limb and say that the Quirk Hotel might just be one of the cutest spots to stay south of the Mason-Dixon Line.
Ohio’s state capital has glorious green spaces—notably Scioto Audubon and Franklin Park Conservatory—plus tons of family-friendly activities. Kiddos of all ages will dig the hands-on exhibits at COSI. Planning a grown-up getaway? Play the slots and catch a concert at Hollywood Casino Columbus.
Fort Collins, Colorado
Poised on the Cache La Poudre River, just 56 miles north of Denver, Fort Collins provides an abundance of outdoor activities. Stroll through the botanical gardens or enjoy a picnic in one of the many groomed parks. Add to that friendly locals, and it’s no wonder folks are flocking to Fort Collins.
Sioux Falls, South Dakota
Don’t sleep on South Dakota. There’s lots of exciting stuff happening in Sioux Falls, including the debut of the first ever boutique hotel—which interestingly enough is housed in a converted century-old bank—and the highly anticipated Arc of Dreams. Equally noteworthy? Classic attractions like St. Joseph Cathedral.
Most people (save Brigham Young University alums) probably haven’t thought much of Provo, Utah. But that doesn’t mean it’s any less awesome. Whether you prefer paintings, paleontology or panoramic views, this budding locale delivers. Plus, you’ll find a bunch of candy shops and downtown parking is free. How sweet is that?
Nashville draws music enthusiasts from far and wide, but Memphis deserves a stopover, too. Not only is this mellifluous metropolis the home of the blues, but it’s also the birthplace of rock-and-roll. And with the bicentennial coming up, it’s the perfect time to visit.
New Orleans, Louisiana
It wasn’t so long ago that Hurricane Katrina nearly leveled New Orleans. Today, business and tourism are booming. And with that comes exciting hotel openings such as The Eliza Jane along with renovations at esteemed properties like The Ritz-Carlton, New Orleans. Who can resist po' boys, beignets and the explosion of food that can compete on the world’s stage?
When it comes to Southern charm, Charleston isn’t the only destination worth noting. Everyone who goes to Savannah falls in love with the antebellum architecture and moss-covered trees. It’s also synonymous with spirits. Sip bourbon at Ghost Coast Distillery and get ready for some frightful fun at the Sorrel Weed House.
Kansas City, Missouri
Kansas City is known for its barbecue. But there’s more to savor than just brisket and ribs. Besides its culinary prowess, KC has a lot to offer in the way of arts and culture. Check out the American Jazz Museum or watch a ballet performance at the Muriel Kauffman Theater.
Omaha is quickly becoming a foodie hot spot with an ever-evolving roster of chef-driven restaurants. (Snag a table at The Grey Plume and V. Mertz.) Still hungry? Devour pub grub, craft beer, tasty tipples and $1 oysters in the Old Market district. Sleep it off at the 1930s-built Hotel Deco.