Here are a couple of facts that Americans tend to forget: The United States is the most geographically and culturally diverse country on Earth. Each and every state has their own culture, history, food, drink, geographic features, local customs, and attractions. While every state is different, the people are generally the same. They are warm, fun, kind, and willing to show new people around. This makes traveling within the US one of the most eye opening and enjoyable experiences one could possibly have. And since many US cities are reinventing themselves for the 21st Century, now is a great time to add to your travel calendar. Below are my top 10 cities to travel to in 2020.
10. Tampa, FL
Tampa is a young city with a vibrant arts scene and plenty of opportunities for adventure. Busch Gardens offers thrills for families and risk-averse adrenaline junkies, as does the domed IMAX theater of the Museum of Science and Industry. Spend a day touring Tampa’s many art museums, then cheer on your favorite Tampa Bay team at a home game. Get up close and personal with the majestic lions, tigers, and leopards of the Big Cat Rescue animal sanctuary. On St. Patrick’s Day, the city dyes the Hillsborough River green!
9. Nashville, TN
There are only a few things more American than apple pie, and country music is one of them. With live music to be heard all across town, 24/7, 365 days a year, Music City lives up to its name. From honky-tonk bands jamming at Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge to songwriters in the round at the Bluebird Cafe and country music legends rocking the Grand Ole Opry, you never know who you might see. Southern restaurants abound featuring local staples such as meat and three, hot chicken, catfish, etc.
8. Boston, MA
Ever heard the saying, Massachusetts Invented America? Well, walk a mile or two along the Freedom Trail and you’ll quickly get a sense of how Boston, MA played a key role in the founding of the country. The spirit of Boston was born out of an act of revolution, and its “don’t tread on me” attitude is apparent in everything Bostonians do. A hub of entrepreneurship, diversity, art, culture, and education, Boston is bursting with things to do. Just a few miles south you’ll find Plymouth Rock, where the Pilgrims arrived in America’s Hometown, Plymouth, MA.
7. New Orleans, LA
New Orleans is world-renowned for its distinct music, Creole cuisine, unique dialect, and its annual celebrations and festivals, most notably Mardi Gras. The historic heart of the city is the French Quarter, known for its French and Spanish Creole architecture and vibrant nightlife along Bourbon Street.
6. San Diego, CA
San Diego embodies laid-back California culture, complete with a Boardwalk, surfing communities, and outstanding Mexican food. Take in the fresh ocean air at Sunset Cliffs Natural Park, then gobble down a fresh fish taco at a La Jolla seafood joint. The naval aircrafts at the USS Midway Museum will have you standing at attention. A free Sunday concert at the Spreckels Organ Pavilion is the perfect way to unwind after a Saturday night bar-hop in the thumping Gaslamp Quarter.
5. Cheyenne, WY
While Cheyenne is the capital of Wyoming, it’s also considered America’s rodeo and railroad capital. But there’s more to this Magic City of the Plains – the high tech industry uses the mix of weather, landscape, and populace for their latest innovations. Cheyenne is home to museums, historic hotels and mansions, a collection of heritage steam engines, western-themed attractions and shopping, resorts and ranches, a thriving arts community and a wide array of outdoor adventures.
4. Houston, TX
Houston hums with an energy and independent spirit all its own. A leading cultural and culinary destination in the South, the city is home to over 11,000 restaurants featuring cuisine from more than 70 countries. The thriving arts scene includes resident opera, ballet, symphony and theater companies. The Museum District houses 19 museums, all within walking distance. Be sure to visit Space Center Houston, where you can visit NASA’s Historic Mission Control at the Johnson Space Center.
3. Portland, OR
You’ll wonder why you don’t live in Portland after you’ve visited this laid-back and friendly city. With a reputation for manicured parks, eclectic nightlife, fine micro-breweries and distilleries, and nature that cuts right into the city, Portland’s a Pacific Northwest must-visit. Don’t miss the famous Japanese Garden, one of the largest and most beautiful of its kind outside of Japan.
2. Savannah, GA
Charming Savannah is the picture of antebellum hospitality, thanks to period architecture and oak-lined streets. It’s tempting to spend your trip just relaxing on vast verandas and sipping mint juleps, but there are plenty of historical sites and museums to explore. Haunting (and possibly haunted) Bonaventure Cemetery is one of the hallmarks of the city, featuring beautiful obelisks, masses of flowers, and ivy-covered crypts. Dine on fresh seafood and creamy grits for a taste of Savannah home cooking.
1. Charleston, SC
Historic Charleston is bursting with Southern charm and hospitality. The city feels a bit like it’s suspended in time, thanks to its antebellum architecture and surrounding plantation landscapes. Take in incredible views of the Battery and the French Quarter as you stroll the Waterfront Park, then become inspired by the cultivated beauty of the gardens at Middleton Place. At night, try a ghost tour for an introduction to the spooky side of the city.
Have a blast! And remember: if you want to get paid for airline delays, diversions, and cancellations, visit the Winglet website before all of your domestic flights.