‘As I draw ever closer to my 40th birthday (not that I’m freaking out or anything…!) I’ve been reflecting on how fortunate I’ve been to have squeezed in a fair amount of travelling across the USA over the years…’
My very first trip to the USA was to Manhattan and my last American adventure was my honeymoon in New Mexico, Nevada and Arizona. In the years between, I’ve been to 44 from 50 states and my idea of what constitutes a good road trip/city break has changed dramatically. These are the top seven US cities I’d return to in a heartbeat.
There’s something romantic and olde world-y about Savannah that I can’t get enough of. The hanging trees, the original buildings, the gorgeous city squares and river walk. Wandering around the streets is like going back to the time and it always, always has a relaxed, chilled out vibe. This historic city is one of the only destinations in the USA that I’ve been to on several occasions that never seems to change. The speed of change in America has always been constant, but Savannah is one of the few glorious cities that’s perfect just the way it is.
My favourite place in the city is Wet Willie’s slushie cocktail bar on the river front (which I wrote about HERE)
Official info on visiting the city can be found on their official website.
I’m a huge country music fan, so Nashville has always bee a favourite of mine. However, steel guitars and sad lyrics aside, the city is filled with live music, honky-tonks, and history.
‘From losing your bra at downtown’s Coyote Ugly, or catching a new artist at the legendary Bluebird Cafe, there’s something happening all the time…’
Downtown is a safe and easy place to walk around and the gift stores and cowboy boot outfitters are always fun to check out. I love nothing more than randomly walking round, desperately hoping I’ll bump into the city’s most famous resident, Doug the Pug. Although, I would also settle for any of my favourite country stars…
Check out what USA’s Music City’s got going on at its official website.
I adored wandering around the city and checking out the view from the top of Sear Tower. I ate amazing desserts in the Cheeskcake Factory and saw the iconic American Gothic painting at the art gallery. I also bought shoes that were *way* too expensive on the Magnificent Mile. For walking around, Chicago has some incredible public and street art, which is spread throughout the city. It also has the ‘bean’, which is an enormous mercury-like bubble in the middle of Millennium Park. I spent an amusing hour here, making myself look like I was 2 feet high by standing underneath it. Also, for fans of sports or pizza – Chicago will NOT let you down.
For fun ideas of what to see and do during a visit, check out Choose Chicago website.
OK, so I’m cheating here as these are two cities; Twin Cities, actually. The adjacent cities of Minneapolis and St Paul sit on the Mississippi River in the Mid-Western State of Minnesota. I visited one year on the run up to Christmas and It. Was. Fabulous. I had *never* been as cold in my entire life, and spent a large chunk of my time genuinely wondering how people actually managed to go outside without contracting pneumonia. It was almost -20 on some days and it was physically painful to breath in However, the Christmas displays of Christmas lights in the city centre were just glorious. I managed to catch a Minnesota Wild hockey game at the Xcel Center whilst visiting and it’s the one time in my life I’ve been colder inside than out.
The Walker Art Gallery and Minneapolis Sculpture Gardens are a must for visitors, but the cities have a *ton* of things to offer. For details, visit the official Twin Cities website. As an aside, the neighbouring city of Woodbury is also a great visit for a day trip. It looks every inch like the kind of place you want to buy and house and raise a massive brood of kids. Not me, obviously, but someone else.
Lahania isn’t technically a city, but officially termed a ‘census designated place’ on the island on Maui. I felt a bit bad leaving it out, but didn’t want to change to title of this post to ‘7 Amazing USA Cities and Census Designated Places You Should Be Visiting’. It just didn’t have the same ring to it, y’know? Anyway, I spent an amazing two weeks in and around the resort of Ka’napaili on the island, and adored everything about it. Hawaii is pretty much exactly as you think it will be: absolutely stunning.
‘From the resorts, to the roads, to the beaches, to, well…everything, it’s a wonderful place to chill out and completely switch off…‘
Driving can be a *wee* bit stressful when you’re off the main roads as there are some massive sheer drops down cliff edges. Buying food in the grocery stores is also VERY expensive (much of it is shipped in…).
You can find out all about Maui on the official Hawaii website.
Santa Fe, New Mexico
Everything about this city is laid back and pretty. Take time to wandering around downtown and check out the fabulous adobe buildings. Follow the amazing Margarita Trail as this is great way to spend time and the most fun I’ve ever had on a Monday. Eat traditional huevos rancheros at Casa Chimayo or chill in the covered patio at Del Charro. Santa Fe is a historic city with a very Spanish feel. I got married here in 2016, so there’s a chance I might be a *touch* biased, but the reason we chose it for our wedding was exactly because of its charm. We loved spending the first days of our honeymoon taking in the sunset from the vantage point at the Cross of The Martyrs, and enjoying the fabulous crafts and artwork in the beautiful main square. This is one city that holds a very special place in my heart.
For ideas and itineraries, visit the official city website.
Fort Collins, Colorado
This is probably the least well known of all the cities included but, if I could up and move to the USA, this beauty would be top of my list. I’m already a huge fan of Golden and Pueblo in the state, and love the fact that there’s so much open space. Colorado is such a mecca for outdoor activities and adventure junkies. I’m neither of those things, but I do love walking. I’ve found that a lot of the beautiful cities in Colorado are easy to navigate on foot, which makes them easy to explore. Fort Collins is one of the those gems that I uncovered by accident on my honeymoon.
The downtown area is small and quaint. It’s filled with independent boutiques, gift stores and cafes (the Little Bird Bakeshop being my personal favourite). It also has the sweetest public art dotted around and the locals were friendly and welcoming. If I hadn’t literally had to fly home because of work and general life stuff, I’d have stayed forever.
For a feel of the massive range of things to see and do in FC, check out their official website.
What are your favourite US cities and where should I be visiting next?