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When deciding where to travel in the United States, the possibilities are endless. From coast to coast, many people will choose to head to some of the more cliché American cities such as New York, Miami or LA, or the obviously trendy spots such as Nashville, Portland and New Orleans. The country has plenty of destinations that are both more affordable and relatively less explored, however. Here are 11 spots to visit that are fun, quirky, cultural and won’t break the bank.
The capital of Indiana is brimming with culture. Kurt Vonnegut was born and raised in this Midwestern city and the author is commemorated in the Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library. Racing fans will enjoy a spin on the iconic Indianapolis Motor Speedway, home of the Indy 500, and the White River State Park is the perfect picnic spot on a sunny day.
Located South Central Texas, the city is home to the historic Alamo, where, on Feb 23, 1836, Mexican troops infamously overpowered 200 Texan defenders after a 13-day onslaught. Visit the site, as well as the Mission San José, which dates back to 1720, and San Fernando De Bexar Cathedral. After discovering the landmarks, take a stroll along the River Walk, which takes you along the San Antonio River.
Art lovers will thrive in this capital city, which is home to the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum, 300 art galleries and dealers and the third largest art market in the country. From biking and hiking trails to winter skiing opportunities, the city offers as many wellness activities as it does cultural ones. Visiting an Indian Pueblo is also a must when visiting Santa Fe. There are 19 around New Mexico all offering an important educational experience.
For a rustic, ocean-side getaway, look no further than this coastal village on the Quillayute River. Famous for its stunning beaches and surrounded by Olympic National Park, you can discover natural wonders at every corner while hiking, swimming, surfing, fishing and whale watching. You’ll be supporting the local Quileute tribe with every dollar you spend.
One of the famous twin cities, Minneapolis is also known as the ‘City of Lakes’ because it is home to 13 impressive bodies of water. If water sports aren’t your thing, there are 197 parks to explore, but make sure you check out the renowned Walker Art Center, and don’t miss the craft beer, which is some of the best in the country.
As host of the annual Kentucky Derby, Louisville is a supreme stop for sports lovers, who come to see the legendary Churchill Downs racetrack, where the derby takes place. It is also home to the the Louisville Slugger Museum and Factory, which honours the classic baseball bat, and the Muhammad Ali Center, a museum commemorating the boxer, who was also born here.
South of Seattle and on the banks of the Puget Sound, Tacoma offers an eclectic mix of nature and art. The art scene is especially impressive here with The Museum of Glass and the incredible Chihuly Bridge of Glass, a is a 500-foot (150m) pedestrian footbridge designed by architect Arthur Andersson and adorned with installations created by glass artist Dale Chihuly.
Nestled in the majestic Blue Ridge Mountains, Asheville is home to a host of independent bookshops and learning opportunities for the intellectual traveller. There is a community drum circle on Friday nights in downtown where all are welcome to drum, dance and join the fun. You can also visit George W. Vanderbilt’s epic Biltmore Estate, which holds the title for America’s largest home.
A coastal town in San Diego county, many visitors like to rise early, bring their coffee to the beach, and spend the day surfing. Whether or not you’re up for getting in the water, make sure to eat as many burritos as possible during your stay; they’re a local favourite. Encinitas really takes the laid-back California attitude to a new level.
With big names such as Pabst Blue Ribbon and Miller High Life produced in town, and offering guided brewery tours, beer is king in Milwaukee. The Harley-Davidson Museum is another highlight, celebrating the 100-year plus history of the brand and showcasing bikes once belonging to the likes of Elvis Presley. The Milwaukee Art Museum, one of the biggest museums in the country, is equally impressive, housing almost 25,000 artworks.
Home of the Gateway Arch, a 630-foot symbol of America’s westward expansion built in the 1960s, St. Louis is a big city with a big soul. The blues music scene is excellent here as is the delicious barbecue. Make sure you visit Cathedral Basilica of Saint Louis, which dates back to 1907 and has one of the most extensive mosaic collections in the Western Hemisphere.