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8 Underappreciated Cities in America That You’ve Got to See

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By Alessia Barranca

Frugal Feature

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The United States boasts a wealth of travel hotspots, with millions of visitors worldwide heading to New York, LA, and Las Vegas. While these tourist attractions offer abundant cultural activities, the U.S. has much more to offer. Here are 8 of the most underrated cities perfect for an off-the-beaten-track vacation.

Asheville, North Carolina

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Asheville, North Carolina, is nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains and is an outdoor enthusiast’s paradise. Visitors can enjoy hiking to breathtaking vistas, kayaking down scenic rivers, or exploring the Biltmore Estate, America’s largest home. Asheville also boasts a thriving craft beer scene with over 100 breweries. The city is particularly popular with art lovers who enjoy a vibrant scene with galleries, studios, and street art throughout the city. The River Arts District, a former industrial area home to over 200 working artists’ studios, is a popular hub for locals and tourists.

Portland, Maine

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Portland, Maine, is the largest city in the state and offers a typical New England experience. The historic waterfront is home to working fishing wharves, converted warehouses with trendy restaurants and shops, and scenic views of Casco Bay. With such a scenic waterfront, visitors can indulge in Maine’s array of fresh seafood at the many waterfront restaurants, including amazing Lobster rolls and signature clam chowder. Away from the waterfront, visitors can wander through Portland’s charming streets lined with brick sidewalks and 19th-century architecture. There is also an abundance of art galleries, boutiques, local shops, and a bustling craft beer scene. 

Minneapolis, Minnesota

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Nicknamed the “City of Lakes,” Minneapolis offers a vibrant cultural scene alongside stunning natural beauty. The world-renowned Minneapolis Institute of Art boasts an impressive collection spanning over 80,000 works of art, from ancient artifacts to contemporary masterpieces. Artists flock to Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, a free sculpture park featuring iconic works like Claes Oldenburg’s “Spoonbridge and Cherry.” Living up to its nickname, Minneapolis is home to an impressive chain of lakes woven throughout the city. You can check out the lakes by renting a kayak, canoe, or paddle-board, or simply relax on the shores and soak up the scenery. Away from the art scene, tourists can stroll down Nicollet Mall, a pedestrian-only street lined with shops, restaurants, and street performers. It’s a fantastic place to people-watch and soak up the city’s atmosphere. You can buy tickets to watch a show at Guthrie Theater in the evening and dine out at many restaurants.

San Antonio, Texas

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San Antonio, Texas, is a city filled with rich history and is rich with Texan culture, offering something for every visitor. History lovers can dive into Texas’ fight for independence at the Alamo, a historic mission-turned-fortress and now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. You can witness living history through reenactments and explore the shrine’s captivating exhibits. One of the main highlights of San Antonio is the River Walk, a multi-mile urban waterway that winds through the heart of the city, lined with shops, restaurants, bars, and public art installations. You can also immerse yourself in the city’s rich heritage by exploring the Spanish Colonial architecture, with the San Fernando Cathedral and the Spanish Governor’s Palace, showcasing the city’s colonial past. Guests cannot leave without trying traditional Tex-Mex cuisine, with dishes such as fajitas and nachos being washed down with a mouthwatering margarita.

Buffalo, New York

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While most visitors to New York are centered in Manhattan, Buffalo is on the rise and offers a unique vacation for tourists looking for something new. Buffalo has a revitalized waterfront with stunning architecture, trendy restaurants, and exciting nightlife. You can catch a Buffalo Bills game and immerse yourself in the city’s passionate sports culture. For a more cultural day out, explore the Albright-Knox Art Gallery’s impressive collection or stroll through the picturesque Delaware Park. In the past, people may have been put off visiting Buffalo due to higher-than-average crime rates, but the city has made significant steps in reducing crime, and tourists just need to be aware as they would in any other city. 

Savannah, Georgia

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Step back in time with a visit to Savannah’s historic district with horse-drawn carriages clip-clopping down streets lined with moss-draped oaks and elegant antebellum mansions. Visitors can explore the city’s vibrant squares, each with its unique charm, and delve into Nature lovers can relax and soak up the Savannah sunshine in Forsyth Park, a sprawling green oasis in the heart of the city. This picturesque park features a beautiful fountain, walking paths, and a historic Victorian conservatory. The bustling River Street area offers a vibrant mix of shops, restaurants, bars, and street performers. Take a scenic boat cruise on the Savannah River for stunning views of the city skyline and harbor. 

Austin, Texas

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Austin is known as the “Live Music Capital of the World” and is a haven for music lovers. Music lovers can catch up-and-coming musicians on Sixth Street or soak in the sounds at legendary venues like the Broken Spoke. If music is not your thing, you can soak up the quirky shops and art galleries on South Congress Avenue or kayak on Lady Bird Lake for a dose of nature. Aside from music, people are ticking Austin off their foodie bucket list with offerings of traditional Texan fare, including a famous Texas BBQ and trendy food trucks.  

Albuquerque, New Mexico

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Immerse yourself in the unique blend of Native American, Hispanic, and Anglo cultures that define Albuquerque. Visit Old Town Albuquerque, a historic district with traditional adobe architecture, local crafts, and delicious New Mexican cuisine. Albuquerque sits at the foot of the majestic Sandia Mountains, offering stunning hiking and biking trails. The Sandia Peak Tramway is the longest continuous tram ride in North America. You can soar to the 10,378-foot peak of the Sandia Mountains and enjoy panoramic views of the city and surrounding landscapes.