5 Unique American Cities Worth Visiting

Many people have been to or heard of the big cities of the United States, like Chicago, San Francisco, and New York, but there are many smaller cities that boast exciting cultural attractions, one-of-a-kind outdoor recreation, and unique dining experiences. This list, presented in no particular order, highlights several places to visit on your next vacation.

The #1 entry is Missoula, Montana. This city is nestled in the Northern Rockies and is known for its blue-ribbon trout fishing. Surrounded by several wilderness areas and at the confluence of three rivers, Missoula offers many outdoor recreational activities such as kayaking, rafting, hiking, and camping.

The city also features three distinct shopping districts as well as restaurants, cafes, coffee houses, and breweries. It is home to the University of Montana and was the setting for the 1976 novella by Norman Maclean, A River Runs Through It.

Coming in at #2, we have Spartanburg, South Carolina. Historically a textile town, the city features many mills still standing today. Other sites of interest include a railroad museum and Walnut Grove Plantation, where visitors can learn how enslaved people settled the state backcountry and fought for independence.

The greater Spartanburg area has thousands of acres of lakes and rivers, available for locals and visitors to kayak, fish, picnic, and more. It is also home to the BMW manufacturing plant, Performance Driving School, and Zentrum museum.

Next up, at #3, we have Laramie, Wyoming. It is home to the state’s only land-grant institution, the University of Wyoming, founded in 1886. Visitors to the city can find many restaurants, shops, breweries, and public art intertwined with historic buildings downtown.

Laramie also offers an abundance of outdoor recreation, such as camping, hiking, and fishing; Medicine Bow National Forest is a popular location for these activities. The city was named as one of the best places to retire by Money Magazine.

Taking the #4 spot is Emporia, Kansas. Located in the East Central edge of the Flint Hills and home to the Unbound Gravel bicycle race, there are hundreds of miles of gravel roads in all directions from the city where cyclists can ride casually with family and friends or train for competitions.

In addition to cycling routes, Emporia has several professional disc golf courses. It is also home to dozens of locally-grown eateries, a brewery, a winery, a distillery, and an Irish pub. The Oscar J. Peterson Planetarium, found at the local university, is open to both students and the public.

Finally, at #5, we have Sarasota, Florida. The city, located on the Gulf Coast, has several beaches where guests can partake in water activities such as parasailing, kayaking, and boating. Its Marie Selby Botanical Gardens is dedicated to the study and conservation of air plants like orchids and bromeliads.

The city also has several family-friendly activities and attractions. The Big Cat Habitat and Gulf Coast Sanctuary is a safe haven for all animals in need where visitors can experience up-close encounters with the critters. Sarasota's Shamrock Park and Nature Center is a place for people to relax and bird-watch.