When it comes to US cities, one thing is certain: there is no shortage of incredible places to visit, with each destination having its own unique blend of spectacular sights, inspiring landmarks, cultural nuances, and gastronomic delights to discover. Below are the most popular US cities by visitor numbers.
Top 10 most popular US cities:
- New York
- Los Angeles
- San Francisco
- Las Vegas
- Washington DC
Everyone travels for different reasons though, so whether you’re searching for the ultimate party scene, stunning architecture and scenery, beautiful beaches, foot tapping live music oozing out of bars, or top-notch eateries, there will be more suitable options than others. That is why we’ve put together this guide, so you can find your best cities to visit in the US… or even better, you can combine a few of them in to one amazing multi centre itinerary to experience the full American ‘shebang’! We are the specialists at multi-centre holidays, and we love a challenge, so get in touch so we can organise your dream USA adventure.
The Best US cities for nightlife:
Las Vegas: It will come as no surprise that Las Vegas is on our list for having the best nightlife in the US, given its global reputation as an adults-only playground. The iconic stretch of the Las Vegas Boulevard known as ‘The Strip’ sparkles with some of the world’s largest casinos, nightclubs, out-of-this-world glitzy hotels and entertainment venues. You’ll find superstars from around the globe performing concerts, world class DJs pumping out beats all night long and of course a plethora of luxurious casinos to try our your ‘Lady luck’.
Miami: Life in Miami is as hot at night as it is in the daytime and its vibrant nightlife scene has been a popular haunt since the 1990s with its mega clubs and impressive line up of international DJs and pop stars. Miami Beach and South Beach are the perfect destination if you’re looking for a mix of sun, cocktails, beach, and pool parties. If you’d prefer something a bit more ‘hipster’ head to Wynwood which is famed for its quirky cocktail bars and street art. Due to its large Cuban population and influence, any visit to Miami isn’t complete without a visit to Little Havana neighbourhood where you’ll be sure to find a salsa party or two.
New Orleans: With its French-inspired buildings and atmosphere, New Orleans is a wonderful city to wander round in the day, but it’s at night that the city really comes alive. For the ultimate New Orleans experience, head to Bourbon Street in the French Quarter which is packed with bars, restaurants, and clubs, many of which offer live music, particularly jazz. Foodies will not be disappointed, as the city is a haven for delectable Cajun and Creole cuisine.
New York: New York has been coined ‘The city that never sleeps’ for a reason. There is so much to do here after dark, whether you want to catch a show on Broadway, go for a gastronomic meal or hit the underground clubs. New York is huge, with over 600 bars and clubs in the city, not including all the boroughs, you most certainly won’t be bored. Depending on how much time you are spending in NYC, discover some of the nightlife hotspots in areas such as The East Village where you can visit the micro distilleries, West Village with its great bars and live music, Williamsburg in Brooklyn, and the hipster neighbourhood of the Meatpacking District.
Los Angeles: For an intoxicating mix of parties, beach life and theme parks, LA is THE place to go. For rooftop bars and trendy cocktail bars, head to Beverly Hills and West Hollywood. Downtown LA is home to numerous Latin clubs for you to dance the night away and is also a hotspot for EDM (Electronic Dance Music) clubs. For something a little more lowkey, head to Santa Monica or Silver Lake.
The most beautiful US cities:
Boston: Boston is adored by many for its stunning architecture and picture-perfect views. Simply wandering the city on foot will delight any visitor. One of the best ways to see the city is to walk the 2.5-mile Freedom Trail where you’ll explore some of the city’s key historic places of interest. The trail starts in Boston Common and ends in Charlestown at the Bunker Hill Monument. If you don’t fancy walking, you can hop on a Duck Tour which also takes in some of the important city sights. You can also walk along the Charles River and explore the elegant town houses, known locally as brownstones.
San Francisco: ‘The City by the Bay’ enjoys an ideal location next to the Pacific Ocean, with rolling hills and the magnificent landmark that is the Golden Gate Bridge. A great way to see the city’s beautiful sights is via the legendary cable cars. For one of the best places to watch the sunset over San Francisco and the Golden Gate Bridge, head to the top of the Twin Peaks where you will be blessed with a 360-degree view of the Bay Area.
Seattle: Beauty and Seattle go hand in hand. Its nickname ‘The Emerald City’ is directly related to the greenery that surrounds the city all year round, even during the winter, thanks to the ever-green forests that wrap around the city. Almost everywhere you look, you’ll see the peaks of Cascade Range, Mt. Rainier, and the Olympic Mountain range in the distance. Inside the city itself there are numerous activities for those seeking culture and beauty. Visit the impressive collection of art museums and pop-up galleries, take in the great view at the Space Needle, head to Pioneer Square and indulge in the city’s famed coffee culture.
Charleston: Charleston frequently tops the list of most desirable cities to live in in the US and we can see why. Located in South Carolina this small city is a truly charming place to visit. It is one of the oldest American cities and is home to some beautiful 19th century architecture, cobble stoned streets and stunning historical sites including Fort Sumter and St Philip’s Church.
New Orleans: Most famously known for its live music and celebrations, there is also a lot of beauty to be found in New Orleans, from its historic architecture and streets to its sprawling green parks. With its French and Spanish Creole influences, wandering around the French Quarter is a simply divine place to take a stroll. A great way to experience the city’s beauty is to hop on a river cruise that will give you panoramic views of the Mississippi river and its unique and romantic sights along the way. Must-see places of beauty are The Garden District, Woldenberg Park and St Louis Cathedral, The Botanical Gardens at City Square and Longue Vue House and Gardens.
The Best US cities to combine with beach time:
San Diego: San Diego offers sunny skies most of the year round and 70 miles of beaches within the city limits. One of the most popular of the city’s beaches is Coronado with its silky soft white sand and a vast array of water sports to enjoy. This is a great city to visit if you have children, with attractions including Legoland and San Diego Zoo to keep everyone amused. The dining options are world class too.
Miami: The combination of amazing weather and beautiful beaches make Miami, Florida, a very popular tourist city. With its Caribbean influenced vibe there is of course a lot of partying to be found, but it’s not just about the nightlife, there are plenty of glorious white sandy beaches where you can unwind with a mojito, plus some wonderful sights to explore such as the Little Havana neighbourhood. A trip to the nearby Everglades, home to one of the world’s most diverse eco systems, is not to be missed.
Carmel by the Sea: Often referred to simply as Carmel, this is one of the smaller US cities, situated on the South end of Monterey Bay California. Carmel has a dreamy vibe and is one of those cities you instantly feel at home in. Enjoy a leisurely stroll around the little shops and quaint cottages and have a spot of lunch at an authentic Italian restaurant. Then walk the scenic path above the beach before heading down to the white sands to watch the sunset.
Honolulu: Honolulu is the capital of Hawaii and a fun place to enjoy both beach and city life. It is located directly on the coast and offers miles of beautiful beaches with rolling waves and the stunning backdrop of mountains. However, there is a lot more to this Hawaiian city than just the beaches. Visit the Pearl Harbour National Museum, Iolani Palace, the Diamon Head State Monument, or back on beachside, take a surf lesson on the world-famous crescent-shaped Waikiki beach.
The Best US Cities for music lovers:
Nashville: This southern US city lives and breathes country music and has rightly earned its nickname ‘The Music City’. You can’t go to Nashville without visiting the legendary honky tonks on Lower Broadway or checking out a show at one of the many performing arts venues. The city is full of music-related attractions, including the Music City Walk of Fame and museums dedicated to music and musical stars such as the Country Music Hall of Fame, The Johnny Cash Museum, Patsy Cline Museum and RCA Studio B, where legends such as Elvis and Dolly Parton recorded their hits.
New Orleans: Music oozes out of every pore in New Orleans. This is a city for music lovers, including R&B, soul, brass, but especially jazz afficionados. The city comes alive during Mardi Gras and Jazz Fest but is equally fabulous at any time of the year. Frenchmen Street is filled to the brim with live music clubs and street musicians. The area around Jackson Square is also popular with buskers. Plan a visit to Preservation Hall on Bourbon Street for daily live music performances and the Maple Leaf Bar in the Carrollton neighbourhood for live music every day of the week.
Chicago: The music scene blew up in Chicago shortly after WW2 when the ‘Chicago Blues’ was born. Since then, jazz, blues and all genres of music have been firmly rooted in the city’s DNA and some of the greatest musicians have called Chicago their home. Chicago Blues Festival is always a big draw as well as the annual Lollapalooza music festival in Grant Park where nearly 200 bands perform across multiple stages.
Memphis: The birthplace of Rock n’ Roll, Memphis offers amazing live music venues and must-see museums: a true dream destination for music lovers. Notable attractions include Stax Museum of American Soul Music, which helped launched the career of Otis Redding and other soul artists. Beale Street Historic District is renowned for its live music and sparkling nightlife. Of course, no visit to Memphis is complete without a visit to Elvis’ former home, Graceland, which is now the largest Elvis Museum in the world.
Austin: Austin, Texas is home to a fabulous showcase of live music to suit all tastes. From the gritty venues of the Warehouse District, the nightclub district of Red River, to the laid-back Rainey Street to and the rustic beer gardens of Sixth Street, you can enjoy many fabulous music venues in this fascinating city.
New York: New York is alive with many things, one of them being music! Music can be discovered almost everywhere you turn and is incredibly diverse, with impromptu gigs in Central Park, hip-hop music tours in the Bronx, and the musical theatre scene on Broadway. While you’re visiting the city, make sure you check out what’s happening at music hotspots such as Carnegie Hall, Madison Square Garden and Radio City Music Hall and for theatre lovers, book a ticket and experience the showstopping delights of Broadway.
The Best US cities for foodies:
San Francisco: Ranging from Michelin starred world-class cuisine to farmers markets offering the freshest ingredients, there is no shortage of options for foodies in San Fran. Food lovers will delight in a visit to the huge Ferry Building Marketplace which is home to one of the best food markets in the USA. Some of the many local specialities for you to try are Sand dabs, Dungeness crab, abalone, artichokes, Tomales Bay oysters and bay shrimp.
New Orleans: Food is as much of a passion as music in New Orleans (which is saying something!) This city is known for its Creole and Cajun cuisines and there are multiple stand-out restaurants and eateries across the city for you to sample the very best of the local fayre. On your New Orleans food bucket list should be gumbo, jambalaya, po’boys, Crawfish Etouffee and Beignets.
Chicago: Often referred to as the culinary capital of the Midwest, Chicago offers award-winning restaurants, unique sandwiches, the Chicago Dog, and its world-famous deep-dish pizza. Chinatown is home to many standout eateries especially when it comes to dim sum. If you can only make it to one foodie-area though, head to West Loop which features one of the city’s hottest dining scenes, centred around Randolph Street, which is also known as Restaurant Row. Here, you’ll find celebrity chefs, cool bars, and rooftop lounges.
New York: As with everything else on offer in NYC, great tasty food is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The food options are diverse, and the quality is high. A popular area for great restaurants and cafes is Brooklyn, where you can find almost every kind of cuisine, served up by locals with a real passion for food. Another popular foodie heaven is Greenwich Village which hosts the best food festivals in the city and a huge range of cafes and restaurants. East Village also offers an eclectic mix of high-quality eateries, Astoria is perfect for fans of Greek cuisine, Flushing and Chinatown are the places to go for Asian food, and Greenpoint is known for its Polish influenced restaurants and cafes. Whichever neighbourhood you find yourself in, we are sure you will find yourself with a full tummy and a happy soul!
Recommended Itineraries: Best US Cities Multi Centre
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