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My Favorite USA Cities and Places

What I recommend to visitors from abroad

Austin City Limits

As we travel around the world we meet many people who want to visit the United States.  We often meet people who have visited the USA and want to go again.  But the thing I find a bit surprising is that these foreign visitors all tell me they want to visit the same places; New York, Las Vegas and Orlando.

Maui sunset – the sun sets between Lanai and the West Maui Mountain

Those are the top three we hear.  Sometimes Los Angeles or San Fransisco or Washington DC.  Occasionally the Grand Canyon.  But most people we meet from other countries have New York, Las Vegas and Orlando on the top of their list.

Chicago Illinois

Wait.  What? I really find this surprising.  The USA is huge.  I know you can’t see it all at once.  But if I was recommending to someone where to visit in the USA I would never suggest New York, Las Vegas or Orlando as my first options.

The United States is made up of a remarkable mix of geography, geology, ecosystems, history and cultures from sea to shining sea.  If a visitor wants to see and capture and feel what America really is…they would be better served visiting some smaller cities and unique places.  Don’t get me wrong – I’ve had good times in New York, Las Vegas and Orlando.  I just don’t feel they are representative of the whole of the USA, particularly Vegas and Orlando.

Seattle Washington

So here are some suggestions I would propose to consider when visiting the USA for the first, second or tenth time. My favorite USA cities and places.

Miami Florida

Hudson River Valley NY 

We visited the Hudson River Valley in upstate New York three years ago, a place I had always wanted to go for the history and beauty.  It remains one of my favorite places in America.  Rich with history of powerful people and events, it is worth a visit when in the New York area.  Read about it.

Portland OR

Portland is only two and half hours drive from where I live in Washington State but I don’t get down there to visit often enough.  It is one of the hippest  cities in the USA and I love the vibe, the food and the scenery.  Thanks to Empty Nesters Hit the Road for this blog.  Read it here.

Charleston SC

I just spent some time in beautiful Charleston, another small American city with so much historical significance.  I love it there, and hope to go back again soon.  Read about it.

Austin TX 

I loved Austin as well as the Texas Hill Country and San Antonio when we visited several years ago.  A wonderful mix of food, music and history in a small, manageable and oh so friendly little package.  Thanks to GypsywithaDayJob for sharing this post.  Read it here.

Washington DC

Long before I was a blogger I lived in Washington DC with my family when my kids were little.  We loved living there…so much history and culture and great weather too.  We didn’t mind the snow even.  We spent our days exploring everything the region had to offer.  I hope to go back some day soon.  Thanks to Wired2theWorld for this post. Read it here.

Nashville TN

One of the craziest and most fun weekends I ever spent was in amazing Nashville Tennessee.  The food was great, the entertainment and music non-stop and the fun abundant.  All wrapped up in an easy to navigate historic little town.  Read about it.

Central California

My youngest used to go to school in Central California and we spent a lot  of time visiting.  What a great excuse it was to hit the road from our home in Washington and make the trek down or back on Historic Hwy 1 enjoying the many wonders of what I believe is California’s most underrated region.  Read about it.

Scottsdale AZ

I’ve visited Scottsdale several times and I can’t get enough.  My favorite Arizona small town has so much to offer from golf to restaurants, history to shopping and plenty of sunshine to go around.  Read about it.

Boston MA

Special thanks to The Traveling Tulls for this contribution about visiting Boston.  It’s one of my favorite cities anywhere in the world, and I can’t wait to go back again soon.  Read about it.

Miami FL

I visited Miami for the first time last December.  It was such a surprise.  I wasn’t expecting to love it as much as I did, but this city is made up of a collection of neighborhoods that are each so individual and unique, it’s like visiting many cities at once.  Read about it.

Maui HI

For me, one of my favorite places on the entire planet is Maui.  I can never get enough and I wish I could go every year.  It’s my favorite Hawaiian Island, and even though it has grown so much since my first visit there in 1979, I still love it.  Read about it.

New Orleans LA

It’s been a long time since I visited New Orleans but it still remains one of my favorite USA cities.  Steeped in history and some really unique culture it is as beautiful and delicious and friendly as they come.  Thanks to Jentheredonethat for this post.  Read it here.

Utah’s National Parks

I love the National Parks we have in the USA and of course love the Grand Canyon and Yellowstone parks as well as the Olympic National Park in my own backyard of Washington.  But I’ve got to say my favorite USA National Parks are in the amazing and under-the-radar state of Utah.  Stunning geology, crystal clear lakes, mountains and rivers all accessible to the public.  Read about it.

Seattle WA

Okay this is where I grew up, and still have a home about an hour from here, but I don’t usually write about how much I LOVE this city.  It is THE place to be in the USA in the summer, with the absolute best summer weather.  Don’t even get me started about the food.  So thanks to Wired2TheWorld for this post about Seattle.  Read it here.

Denver CO

I’ve been to Denver and the surrounding area and National Parks several times and I can’t wait to go back and spend even longer enjoying this beautiful place.  Some of our country’s most stunning scenery and outdoor recreation is at the finger tips of Denver’s sports-enthusiastic  population.  And lots of great food too.  Thanks to The Travel Bunny for this post.  Read it here.

Chicago IL

For a big city Chicago doesn’t feel big.  It’s a walkable, eatable, loveable place with what I think is some of the best public art and museums in the entire USA.  Thanks to World Travel Tribe for this blog.  Read it here.

Charleston South Carolina
Nashville TN

So no matter where you live, in the USA or far far away, consider some of these beautiful and amazing cities and places when you are planning your USA adventures. You won’t regret it.

Zion NP, Utah

Special thanks to my travel blogging friends for their assistance with this post!

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6 Comments

  • Reply Ann

    Great suggestions! ☺️ I love your country and its fantastic natur!

    July 12, 2019 at 1:53 pm
    • Reply La Vida Journey

      Great tips, very nice pictures too 🙂

      July 14, 2019 at 4:41 pm
  • Reply Yaina

    Nice list! I’ve been wanting to go to Seattle so long And never thought of Portland. Living in Puerto Rico, the West Coast is far from us. Any trip to the West Coast needs to be supersized!

    July 12, 2019 at 7:44 pm
  • Reply Lauren

    Wow! What a great review of the states! Love your honest opinions!

    July 14, 2019 at 12:32 am
  • Reply Bernie

    Some of my favourite places made the list: Chicago, Nashville, Boston, Austin.., and I suspect Portland and Charleston are going to be added. Fab collection of memories you’ve brought back here!

    July 14, 2019 at 12:31 pm
  • Reply Anita

    So many beautiful places, so little time. I wish to explore more of the United States someday. Thanks for the great tips!

    July 15, 2019 at 11:06 am
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