7 Underrated but Intriguing U.S. Cities You Need to Visit
But too often America’s hidden gems and smaller cities get ignored or perhaps overshadowed by the urban hubs with big tourism budgets. We carefully curated spots that have wide-ranging appeal but are still up-and-coming as tourist destinations. You’ve probably heard of them, but you haven’t put them on your bucket list yet. Let us tell you why you should.
From a Texas cowtown to an Arkansas art mecca, here are seven underrated cities truly deserving of a visit.
Fort Worth Stockyards (Photo: Corbis Images)
Fort Worth, Texas: Railhead Smokehouse BBQ has a statement on its website that reads, “Life’s too short to live in Dallas.” For Fort Worth residents, it’s OK that Big D steals the thunder. This city is unpretentious, laid-back, and charismatic in all the right ways. The Fort Worth Stockyards National Historic District is a slice of American West history that earned the city’s Cowtown nickname. Twice daily, genuine Texas cowhands drive a herd of Texas longhorn cattle though the streets. But make no mistake — this boot-scootin’ business doesn’t take away from the sophistication that Fort Worth brings to the table. Southern chef darling Tim Love calls the city home, with a handful of high-end restaurants on his roster (check out Lonesome Dove and Woodshed Smokehouse while you’re in town). If culture is what you are after, head to the Bass Performance Hall, the Kimbell Art Museum, or the Fort Worth Opera. When it comes to lodging, we can’t rave enough about The Ashton. It is charming, opulent, and within walking distance of everything you want to see.
The Fox Theater (Photo: Thomas Hawk/Flickr)
Oakland, California: This East Bay city is too often shunned by its fancy neighbors, but Oakland is on the rise — sometimes referred to as the Brooklyn of the Bay. The once-busted stretch of waterfront has been transformed into Jack London Square, and its Uptown is thriving with drinkeries like the cocktail-driven Dogwood (you’ll never want to order cured meats anywhere else) and Make Westing, which boasts indoor bocce. There’s also the Oakland Museum of California, which gives you a deep dive into the history and science of the Golden State that you never knew you needed, and the Fox Theatre, a historic gem that draws world-renowned acts. Best of all, the food scene here is new and edgy — from Camino, by Russell Moore of Chez Panisse fame, to the Michelin-starred Commis. Oakland is one of the most ethnically diverse cities in the nation, which means that everything from Ethiopian to Korean food is available. And don’t forget, this is just about the best place in the United States for a Mexican food-truck crawl.